The Increasing Complexities of IT Support in 2011

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Your 2011 IT Service Desk Resolutions

Resolve to make your IT service desk the best it can be in 2011.

When it comes to delivering IT support, there's no doubt that this is one of the more thankless jobs in all of IT management. But not only is it thankless, it's downright tough. And as we look forward to 2011, it sure looks like IT support is only going to get harder.

On the client side, we're seeing a proliferation of devices, ranging from increased usage of Macintoshes and Linux on the desktop, to all kinds of new mobile computing devices. Meanwhile, on the server side, things have never been more complex thanks to the advent of virtual machines and cloud computing.

Of course, the real issue with IT support is that it colors the perception of the entire IT department. An IT manager could be running a data center that is the envy of the world, but if the IT service desk is found wanting by the end users, then the entire IT department must stink from top to bottom. This is why so much of managing IT is about managing perceptions as much as it is the technology itself.

To help deal with these issues, the folks at Bomgar, a provider of IT service support software, have come up with a list of 10 things that IT organizations should be focused on in terms of IT support in 2011. The list mostly comes under the heading of "an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure every time."

But the most important thing, says Nathan McNeill, Bomgar vice president of product strategy, is for IT organizations to develop a real strategy when it comes to IT support. That means, for example, first recognizing that not all end users are created equal. It's not a good career move to subject the president of the company to same level of IT support that might be provided to an office administrator.

In addition, McNeill says IT organizations are going to have to come to terms with IT automation. They may be concerned that their jobs could be eliminated. But in reality, the simple fact of the matter is that they don't stand a chance of meeting service level requirements without it, said McNeill.

Finally, McNeill says IT organizations need to take a more collaborative approach to IT support. No one can know everything they need to in order to support the complex IT environments in place today. He says that IT organizations need to be able to quickly look both inside and outside the company for expert advice from vendors, service providers and their peers. But they can't do that if they spend most of their time talking to each other rather than engaging the rest of the IT community.

As the overall IT environment continues to get more complex, major support issues are simply accidents waiting to happen. Preventing them all is nearly impossible, but what the IT department as a whole will be judged on is how well they respond to those inevitable problems the minute they happen.

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