Now that I’m somewhat caught up with my inbox and have had some time to reflect on the HDI Conference, I plan on sharing some interesting data and observations from the conference over the next couple of weeks.
As a member of HDI’s Desktop Support Advisory Board I have a vested interest in staying up to date with the latest trends and practices in desktop support (and IT support overall). Although each desktop support organization is unique, the challenges that desktop support professionals face are not. So today I thought I’d share what I consider to be the most significant trend that was discussed during the conference. This wasn’t just the talk among the desktop support professionals I spoke to, but it seemed to me that this was one of the biggest, if not the biggest concern coming from IT Support Managers and Directors. I’m talking about the increase in ticket volumes and the idea of “doing more with less”.
What’s Driving Increases in Ticket Volumes?
The life of the desktop support professional is getting busier and it’s for several different reasons. According to HDI’s most recent Desktop Support Practices & Salary Report, 56% of respondents reported an increase in ticket volume. Here are the top five reasons.
- New customer equipment/devices/applications – driven in large part by BYOD
- The number of customers has increased
- Change in infrastructure
- Older equipment
- The number of applications has increase
Working in many different verticals, I could tell you that my experience over the last couple of years closely mimics this data. We’re seeing both the Help Desk and IT support professionals in general handle higher volumes. Additionally, many organizations are still being asked to do more with less resources. While some are just continuing to do their best with what they have, others are looking towards outsourcing while yet others are putting projects on hold due to the lack of available resources to implement and support any new initiatives. Do these resonate with you? Are you seeing an increase and if so, why? How are you addressing this increase?
For the 14% that reported a decrease in tickets, they attributed the decline to the competency of their Service Desk (presumably solving more problems at “level 1″) and utilizing remote tools for support.
Are you providing the proper training to your front line Help / Service Desk staff?
Are they empowered to solve problems with remote tools or are they just opening tickets and taking the next call?
Could your organization benefit from a more blended model? Which brings me to…
The “Blended” Model
Another trend that caught my attention was the idea of a “blended model” for IT support. If you’re not sure what that means, it’s the concept of using the same technical resource to perform both level 1 and level 2 support tasks.
Between 2012 and 2013 there was almost a 5% drop in utilizing support models that had distinct roles (Help Desk vs. Desktop Support). Strengthening this data is the fact that 38.2% of respondents said they used a blended support model (up from 34.8% the prior year). Although this might not seem like a significant increase, my own informal poll during the conference suggests that the numbers may be much higher. Roughly 2/3 of the people I met and spoke to are using a blended model for support and believe that the industry is trending this way.
Does your IT support model utilize distinct roles for level 1 and level 2 support or are you using a blended model? If so, why or why not?
How Do You Compare?
Some other interesting facts from HDI’s desktop support research:
- The average desktop support person supports 310 end-users and 620 devices (regardless of industry)
- 55% report that it takes more than a month before techs work proficiently on their own
- The median number of tickets per technician is 101 to 125 per month and 21% average over 200 per month
- Almost 9% of respondents have a goal of less than hour for resolution and almost 19% said 1-4 hours
- 39% resolve more than half of their desktop support tickets remotely
If you’re a manager, how does your desktop support operation compare? If you’re a technician, how do these numbers look to you?
What trends are you seeing?