Martin Hodgson at monitoring specialist Paessler AG describes how self-service IT will increase technological efficiency for businesses
The availability of portable technology and home internet has enabled entire workforces to pivot to flexible working patterns in the wake of COVID-19. If we had faced this pandemic 20 or 25 years ago, we would not have been able to shift operations quite so easily.
But, this wholesale shift to remote working does not come without challenges. It’s now more important than ever for communications and connectivity infrastructure to be functional and running to avoid productivity loss from downtime. And, we’re only likely to see more remote working in a post pandemic world with two-thirds of Gen Z and Millennial workers seeking permanent home working according to Deloitte.
But to help ensure that remote working is a success, IT teams can now empower users to manage their own home IT set-ups themselves as much as they can. Troubleshooting problems in the user’s vicinity will be key moving forward to ensure accessibility and connectivity when remote working.
User IT proactivity is the new normal
With the likelihood of remote working being still very much the norm for the foreseeable, we’ll likely see a lot more proactivity from the user’s side when it comes to troubleshooting IT problems.
Businesses will start training and helping remote workers identify how to source their own knowledge and find out, at a base level, where things may be going wrong in order to fix the problem themselves. Some common examples of easily fixable problems are video conferencing falling apart at the user’s side rather than through issues with the corporate platform. In addition, there’s often an inability to connect to corporate systems, not because the VPN isn’t working, but due to settings being changed accidentally by users or them not updating them regularly.
Companies must empower remote workers to do their due diligence and resolve issues with tools at their own disposal when possible. Users can access a web portal to link to office systems to see if internal systems are up and running – people can gain their own sort of monitoring literacy. It can just be at a surface level, but it adds a bit of proactivity and helps users know where they stand or what they need to do in their own capacity to fix problems.
In addition, with security in IT, companies need to ensure that there’s absolutely no options other than good behaviour when it comes to cyber safety. Default systems that people utilise, with BitLocker encryption, cloud secure systems, and encryption on SharePoint spaces for working on live documents, can all ensure that it’s almost impossible to not be secure.
What keeps IT admins up at night?
We’ll likely see a continuation of frustrations around remote working issues in the coming months. From surveying IT users in 2020, we found the biggest challenge, by a country mile, was connectivity issues for employees working from home. Second to that was access to video conferencing technologies. Some of the reasons for these challenges is remote workers ignoring best practice methods for the sake of speed or users failing to sort out software updates on time or not investing in signal boosters to help with connectivity if they’re far away from a router; it’s often quite hard to make users change bad habits like these.
There will now be a greater call for enhanced IT monitoring as people expand the types of software they use. Newly introduced software will require a new set of monitoring to ensure that problems like downtime are avoided, and we’ll see IT admins training users to manage such issues themselves. Admins already have a number of tools for monitoring basic connectivity, such as sharing a traffic light view of service availability with users. These can help users work out for themselves whether the issue lies with IT or their domestic ISP.
What’s on the horizon for self-service IT?
Self-service IT is set to become increasingly normal in the remote working landscape. Many IT teams operate service desks with a traffic light policy, but we’ll likely see an uptick in IT teams training or providing tools for users to resolve non-urgent requests themselves.
Taking pressure off the IT service desk will let IT admins focus on keeping the core technological and communication tools healthy and running. Training manuals, tutorial videos and open forums on service desks to pool information on popular solutions can all help here.
Developing this sort of proactivity will be key with remote working becoming the norm. Isolated workers need to develop their own level of monitoring and technological literacy for their own sake as well – a laborious back and forth over email or chat can be an inefficient use of time for both parties, IT admin and user, so self-service can be a great way to ensure time saving and boosted productivity.
Martin Hodgson is the country manager, UK and Ireland, at Paessler AG. Martin has worked in the IT industry for over 25 years in a variety of technical and commercial roles. Along with his extensive experience in many areas of technology, he has an ability to break down and communicate sometimes complex technologies in simple terms. He regularly engages in public speaking and conducts informative sessions for all IT administrators, managers and directors interested in regaining control of their IT infrastructure and significantly reducing costs.
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