Scarlett Bayes, Senior Research Analyst, The Service Desk Institute.
Technology is omni-present, both in our work lives and our personal lives. Some would say we’re in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, and technology is evolving and developing every day. With 65% of service desk professionals believing they’ll use more Chatbot and Virtual Agent technology, and 75% looking to use more automation in the next 12 months (according to SDI research), there seems to be an understanding of the need to develop their service alongside technology.
As industry professionals, we must acknowledge these developments, understand how they could affect organisations, and also look to the future to theorise where the industry is headed and what service desks could do now to prepare. Predicting the “Next Big Thing” isn’t easy, as there are many technologies that are beginning to be used as support channels which could become mainstream, and many more technology vendors claiming their developments are going to be the next big thing. In 5 years’, business employees could be sitting at their desk and saying “Alexa, log a ticket with IT”.
So, what if “the next support channel” isn’t a support channel at all?
We’re seeing technologies being developed that are self-diagnostic and/or self-healing, and system monitoring tools which can identify and diagnose issues within an infrastructure and prompt a human, be it a customer or service desk staff, to resolve the issue with one click. AI Operation Analytics (AIOps) platforms allow IT departments an unprecedented view into their organisation’s infrastructure. In turn, this enables IT professionals to proactively support the business and identify anomalies and issues, potentially before they become disruptive. So, it’s not totally unreasonable to think that the next support channel we see rise up within IT service management (ITSM) could be self-aware tech which can monitor an entire infrastructure, identify issues before they cause disruption, and alert an appropriate professional, or even resolve the issue itself.
Some may argue that this would cause the service desk to become redundant, risking job losses. However, SDI research shows that service desk professionals are aware of the changes that technology will bring and understand that they need to begin developing their support staff to be able to take on more proactive and complex roles and transcend the role of first line support. Therefore, rather than replacing service desk staff, you could argue that the service desk would evolve to address other areas of service within a business.
Furthermore, by understanding what the future of service could potentially look like, service desks can take steps to prepare their service to allow it to develop alongside technology, continue to support the organisation’s strategy, and deliver an excellent, efficient service to its customers. Working closely with the rest of the business can help you to understand how the service desk can support the organisation’s transformation and lay out a roadmap to improve iteratively overtime. If service desks are to survive and stay relevant as technology continues to develop and become more cognitive, and customer expectations continue to grow, it’s important that organisations start taking steps to prepare for future changes and evolutions of the service desk.
Preparing for the future service desk is exactly what I’ll be looking at our annual conference – SDI20 – 15th-17th March 2021 in Birmingham; with my session giving professionals actionable advice to be able to embark on their transformation journey. Looking for advice on how to stay relevant in ITSM moving forward? Why not come along and join my session.