Tech trends for 2020: Automating 1st line IT support

By Alan Conduct|2 January 2020

In its ‘Predictions 2020’ report, Forrester says that in 2020 CIOs will automate 10% of tasks, including 1st line IT support. If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to reduce the amount of time spend resolving these kinds of tickets, here’s how to do it. 

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5 ways to automate 1st line IT support 

Whether you need IT support for customers or for staff, the strategies below can help you automate your 1st line IT support; transforming technical support, increasing productivity and saving time and money. 

  1. 1. Streamline your IT support journey 

The first step is to review how your end users access support and whether this process can be more efficient. For example, if you provide self-serve options (see point 2) but end users bypass this and call your technical team directly, you’ll need to explore ways to get end users to follow the right support journey.  

Signpost users to your preferred journey and give them clear reasons to take that route rather than draining your technical team’s resources with 1st line tickets. Highlight the benefits of self-serve or logging tickets via a support portal, such as faster resolution times. 

  1. 2. Implement self-serve options 

From knowledge banks to AI support bots, many 1st line issues can be resolved by the end user without direct contact with your technical team. This has advantages for everyone concerned, and obvious productivity gains. Investing time in building a comprehensive and easy to navigate knowledge bank will provide solutions for common issues time and time again. With this in place it also becomes easy to implement AI IT support bots that help users get the information they need and enhance the support journey so they get the best outcome. 

  1. 3. Outsource 1st line IT support 

Technical teams can get overwhelmed by 1st line tickets that take them away from other activities. Outsourcing your service desk to a managed services provider is a cost-effective option which increases productivity both for end users and your IT team. 2nd or 3rd line tickets can be escalated back to your in-house technical support, or also outsourced to a trusted provider.  

IT service desk providers also invest in technology to automate 1st line IT support, so you don’t have to. Choose a provider that can clearly demonstrate a commitment to driving efficiencies for your organisation, without compromising on the quality of the service. 

  1. 4. Supercharge your technical support with big data 

Use data to manage demand for 1st line IT support and supercharge your service desk! Big data can help you identify common issues, how much resource they need and what scenarios create them. Data can pinpoint the types of end user - the device they use, their location and other factors – that have high demand for IT support. It can also help you spot trends in demand.  

With this information you can optimise technical support to meet users’ requirements and identify key areas that can be automated. For example, you may find that your technical team provides more support for end users in a specific country, in which case you can explore localising the support journey to meet demand. Translating your knowledge bank for this market could be appropriate. Or outsourcing 1st line support to a multilingual service desk provider might be more cost effective. 

  1. 5. Put in place scalable processes 

Demand for IT support is not going to decrease any time soon! In fact, with organisations using technology to automate more and more processes – HR, accounting, supply chain etc. - IT support is a business-critical function. It’s therefore important to ensure that any automated processes can scale with demand: from more users and for more IT systems.  

Automating 1st line support is a scalable solution, especially when scaling your technical support team is not feasible or cost effective. But make sure the processes and providers you use have capacity to scale and flex with demand and technical innovation.  

If you would like to discuss the subjects raised in this article in more detail, please get in touch. We’re specialist 1st line IT support providers and can help you identify how to make this function more efficient in your organisation.  

Further Information

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