5 IT support trends in 2021
IT support services have been growing and adapting in order to keep up with high demand. Discover the top IT trends of 2021 on our blog.
Information technology (IT) support is a crucial component of business operations. The last thing you’d want is for all of your hard work to be affected by viruses, glitches, or security breaches. IT support services are put in place to ensure that you and your company’s IT resources remain optimized and safe, while ensuring a smooth user experience for customers.
While trying to fix any problems that arise by yourself may be tempting, placing your trust in professionals may well be the wiser choice. Not only will they understand what protocols to follow if your systems get infected, but more often than not, they’ll be able to rectify the issues faster than you would be as you learn on the go.
It’s also common for businesses to store sensitive information online, so utilizing qualified IT professionals to protect that data could provide you with further peace of mind.
There are plenty of reasons that you might invest in IT support, including:
- Protection from unexpected service interruptions, cyber-attacks/hacks and loss of data
- 24/7 support
- Access to the latest technology expertise
- Help maximizing your company’s efficiency
- Specialized services for your IT needs
- Optimized customer service. (1)
It should come as no surprise that the IT service market in the United States is expected to grow in 2021, reaching approximately USD$354.1 billion. There’s plenty of need, since according to Rival Data Security, there were 1,473 data breaches within the US in 2019 alone. Over 164.68 million sensitive documents were also exposed. (2) (3)
The need for proper IT support is unlikely to decrease any time soon, especially following the recent COVID-19 pandemic that has forced more individuals to work from home. In order to keep up with the demand, various IT support trends have emerged in an effort to offer services that are faster, more efficient and affordable:
- Social media
IT support service technicians have decided to utilize the rise of social media as an IT service management (ITSM) enabler. In 2020 alone, the number of social media users hit 223 million in the US, estimated to rise to 257 million by 2023. With the newer generations relying more and more on social networking platforms to submit incident reports rather than email (or the good old telephone), IT support technicians have the opportunity to adopt social media as a new help desk tool. (4) (5) (6) (7)
- Enterprise service management (ESM)
IT companies have been embracing and optimizing ESM (considered to be the “new” ITSM) in an attempt to improve the overall performance, efficiency and level of consumer trust. The basic premise of ESM is to apply and integrate IT help functions and principles to other areas and processes of the company. The introduction of automated service is one example.
Benefits of ESM can include:
- Enhanced service delivery and productivity
- Balanced workloads
- Competitive edge
- Increased control
- Ability to eliminate and replace redundant practices
- Aiding customers in resolving issues quickly and easily. (6) (8) (9)
- Replacing manual operations with digital
As mentioned above, leveraging digital technology is one method of ESM that has become an increasingly prevalent IT support trend due to the pandemic. Help desks often face various challenges and pressures, from insufficient working hours to meeting high customer-expectations. It’s been suggested that moving away from manual practices can improve customer engagement and employee productivity, create smoother operations and offer new and improved services. (10)
Other benefits of automation include:
- Improved ticketing systems and incident reporting
- Optimized workflows
- Frequent updates
- Enhanced security systems
- Improved user experience (UX) and employee experience
- Faster and cheaper process execution. (11)
Some companies have implemented/improved the following functions within existing ITSM platforms:
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
- Artificial intelligence (AI) (for features like chatbots)
- Machine learning
- Virtual agents
- Digital analytics. (12)
It’s important to address the fears that have arisen in regards to total reliance on automation. Automating all, or even a majority of processes, it’s feared, could lead to lost jobs. Therefore, it’s essential for companies to prioritize procedures that need to be done by people, and to communicate that to their employees.
- Optimized employee experience
In 2021, improving employee experience has become a leading initiative among IT companies hoping to both optimize help desk functionality and provide better results. Employee productivity and engagement are at the forefront of these efforts, and understandably so, considering the correlation between satisfied employees and quality services.
Automation plays a role in this, but so does aiming to strengthen the connections between employees and the company as a whole. It’s also important to increase and support services which focus on ideas of identity, pride and self-esteem. (7) (13)
When business leaders and human resources (HR) take the time to encourage and receive feedback from their employees, it becomes easier for them to understand what methods to implement to improve employee workflows and workloads—and ultimately the company’s overall efficiency.
- Improved customer experience
Understanding the needs, personal preferences and concerns of customers is a key area of IT support. While digitizing experiences and tools has been suggested to enhance customer engagement and UX, a Deloitte survey has revealed that many individuals prefer a balance of virtual and personal interaction. While AI-powered options are becoming increasingly “life-like,” there still seems to be a need for human-to-human contact. (14)
This isn’t surprising considering how frustrating it can be to run into an IT problem and then struggle to resolve it with automated help alone. Airing your concerns with a bot will only get you so far. In response, IT companies are experimenting with how to implement the best of both worlds, to ensure customers are satisfied with the levels of automation they’re offered.
In order to achieve higher levels of consumer satisfaction, some IT service companies are also moving from thinking about service-level agreements (SLA)—i.e. ensuring deliverables are met—to so-called “experience level agreements.” This approach takes a focus on ensuring that consumers not only get what they want, but that they also feel satisfied with the exchange, enhancing the company’s overall consumer-knowledge in the process. (15)
IT support is a vital aspect of our digital lives. Sometimes simply turning your computer off and on again won’t fix the problem. With persistent security breaches, hacks and glitches, keeping sensitive data safe and consumers satisfied is crucial.
There have been varying IT support trends spreading across the globe in attempts to keep up with the post-pandemic demand, including an increase in automated services, a focus on enhanced employee and customer experiences as well as utilizing social media to file incident reports.
As more and more users experience and provide feedback on these latest IT support trends, companies will be able to further refine and improve, speeding up processes and ensuring consumer-company trust.