Strengthening the IT support team: the top back-to-school challenge for CIOs?

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ByMindquest

Published13 August 2020at10:00, updated on19 July 2022at17:30

Strengthening the IT support team: the top back-to-school challenge for CIOs? cover

Many companies have been hit hard by the Covid-19 epidemic. Disruption was inescapable, from decline and suspension of activity to forced restructuring of teams and processes. IT teams were among the most impacted by these upheavals, as IT decision-makers had to take on a new role to help their organizations navigate the crisis. Therefore their new mantra: adapt, anticipate, and reassure internally. Is then strengthening the IT support team the top back-to-school challenge for CIOs?

As we approach the start of the new school year, the challenges for CIOs and other IT managers are increasing. Like who awaits impending doom, they are faced with the threat of a new lockdown at any minute. Adapting to a new way of working and conducting business won’t be easy either.

It is now more strategic than ever to strengthen their IT support team, guaranteeing operational continuity and completing the digital and organizational transformation of the company. Yet budget and organisational constraint make this a challenging endeavour.

Strengthening the IT support – A front-line service

IT support has always been a vital service within the company. Operating as an internal customer service, it helps solve end-user problems, responds to all their requests related to the work environment, and improves productivity.

In just months, the pandemic has strengthened the role of IT within organizations and propelled the IT service to the front line. While some companies had to completely shut down activity during lockdown, many were able to remain active thanks to telework.

But managing such a sudden and massive transition has required significant technical and organizational adaptation. Setting up collaboration tools, remote troubleshooting and technical assistance, rapid resolution of incidents, training of employees regarding cybersecurity risks… IT support teams had to put in long hours to ensure the proper functioning of remote work.

Moreover, to complicate things, cybercrime has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic and continues to rise.  Hackers are taking advantage of the human and organizational weaknesses of companies, targeting remote access points and employee email. Finding the right security experts has become a big challenge for businesses in recent months.

In short, IT support teams have made themselves more essential than ever.

Facing new challenges

The challenges related to the Covid-19 crisis add to a multitude of already existing challenges within IT support teams. Issues such as cost reduction, process optimization and quality of service have only acquired more importance.

The notion of the internal customer is leading many companies to redefine their structure and put the user at the heart of the process to improve employee experience. This perspective, which brings benefits like satisfaction and fluidity, often requires support teams to unify points of contact, collect feedback and proactively participate in improving the image of the overall IT department.

Another challenge: reducing tasks with low added value and exploiting technologies such as AI to automate as many operations as possible. The idea here is to allow support teams to focus on more strategic tasks like provide guidance to users.

IT support managers have also one more major new challenge: communication. They need to be transparent and reassuring with their team and play an important role in raising employee awareness about increased security threats.

Set up an adapted Talent Strategy for strengthening the IT support team

To have a good IT support, you need to start by having a suitable team. Having the right people in place is an essential condition for success, as it is often the skills and motivation that make the difference between an efficient support service and an insufficient one.

But how do you make sure you have a strong team? You can start by following these few tips:

  • Perform an audit of current skills within your support teams: look at what skills are missing, see if key skills are concentrated in too few employees, etc.
  • Adapt your team’s organization to be able to call on the right people at the right time: in an emergency, you need to be ready to activate a reorganization plan to mobilize key skills
  • Identify the most efficient resources and secure your existing talent
  • Set up training mechanisms to re-skill certain employees whose area of ​​expertise is no longer suited to the current situation
  • Establish a recruitment plan to cover the missing skills and be able to quickly find the right candidates when needed
  • Focus on communication and transparency

Strengthening the IT support : Is calling on external resources an effective strategy for your IT support?

On top of operational challenges, the current economic crisis is having a heavy impact on corporate budgets. Many organizations have had to drastically cut down their expenses, especially their IT costs.

So how, as an IT decision-maker, can you strengthen your support teams without taking significant budgetary risks? Outsourcing or calling on IT freelancers can be a winning strategy in this time of crisis.

In addition to fewer administrative constraints and the positive effects that freelancers can have on your internal teams, the recruitment of an independent consultant can allow you to mobilize very specific skills to accelerate projects or resolve incidents in key business areas.

The flexibility of working with contractors allows you to limit risks during this unstable period, as well as access highly coveted expertise such as cloud and certain collaborative tools.

Regardless, the start of the school year promises to be pretty intense. Whether you choose to strengthen your support teams through hiring or by occasionally calling on external staff, do not neglect the importance of having a strong support team to face the coming months with confidence.


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