The Future of IT Support

The Future of IT Support

Last year, the folks over at Service Desk Institute (SDI) published an in-depth report projecting the future of IT support entitled “Analyst 2.0.” The report spans a number of areas, including the way IT service desk analyst skills and staffing are evolving as well as the growth and impact of automation and self-service technologies. If you’re curious about what the IT support of tomorrow will look like but haven’t got time to dig into the full report, this blog should help by providing a broad overview of its finding, focused primarily in three key areas:

  • Skill requirements of future service desk analysts
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) adoption thus far
  • Service desk challenges as they relate to customer experience

Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these points below.

Skill requirements of future service desk analysts

The SDI report drew contrast between the top three skills that are currently require of service desk analysts and those that will be expected over the next three to five years.

Skills needed in 2017…

Skills needed in 2020 and beyond…

While the increase in analysts’ customer service/empathy skills may not come as much of a surprise, some of the other projected changes may. In particular, the marked jump of tech industry knowledge from 34% to 67% and the ability to be flexible rising from 8% to 27%.

Both of these things are indicative of the need for IT support analysts to know and be capable of performing more complex tasks, particularly in light of the fact that self-service and automation will be eliminating the simpler, more repetitive tasks from their to-do lists.

Further, the increasing need for adaptability and flexibility signify the fact that the service desk will experience frequent and ongoing change.

Artificial intelligence (AI) adoption thus far

Of those surveyed for the SDI report, 27% indicated that they’ve begun the process of researching AI or virtual assistants for their organizations. A smaller percentage is either interacting with potential partners or have already implemented AI to some degree. While trends indicate that these numbers have already risen since the date of the SDI report’s publication, it still appears that the current use of AI in a help desk capacity hasn’t yet caught up with the industry buzz surrounding the technology.

There may be several reasons why this is the case, including the fact that the opportunities for and benefits of AI for IT support haven’t been adequately “sold” to the market (something we are working hard to change here at Ayehu). Other hindrances may include budgetary restraints and fear of change.

A second, perhaps more telling question asked of survey participants was whether or not they felt technology is keeping up with the “hype” surrounding AI and automation. The responses were an even split between yes and no (both at 29%). The rest indicated that they were unsure.

Service desk challenges as they relate to customer experience

The third noteworthy component of the SDI report involved a particular question relating to the customer experience. Specifically, participants were asked: Do you feel pressured to provide the same level of customer service as big businesses?”

The response is demonstrated here:

As you can see, there is significant pressure (whether real or perceived) on corporate IT support teams that extends far beyond the “consumerization of IT.” Service desk leaders need to respond to these pressures accordingly. In particular, adopting self-service and automation can improve the end-user experience and alleviate some of the pressures agents are facing. It will also free up skilled IT staff to focus on more meaningful and fulfilling work, boosting morale in the process.

These are really just a few of the many intriguing points uncovered by the SDI report. You can view the full report here for free.

And if you’re ready to start preparing your support desk for the wave of the future, AI and automation are the place to be. Experience the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities by taking Ayehu for a test drive today.