In recent years, many companies have centralized their decentralized IT offshoots, such as specialist support or support units. The technology, as well as the networking, make it possible that the users are supported via remote access and central monitoring systems take over the supervision of the systems.
The user now has no choice but to contact the central helpdesk. Many companies have even decided to outsource the IT helpdesk to a foreign service provider for cost reasons.
However, there are IT problems that cannot be solved remotely or only insufficiently. Trying to do it anyway often leads to bad solutions, which the employees then simply try to live with.
Today, not many companies offer training on standard programs; this is already assumed and expected at the time of employment. However, in contrast to foreign language skills, IT skills are rarely tested during the recruitment process. Mostly, employees with a longtime company affiliation who have never benefited from further training in the field of IT applications are also forgotten. Statistics show that in most cases they have only sufficient knowledge to do their job effectively. Most of the time, these people do not dare to come out and admit that their expertise does not correspond to the level required. A trusted IT contact person can help to solve this challenge. A central helpdesk usually does not succeed.
Inadequately solved IT problems – as well as insufficient IT know-how of the employees – lead to a loss of work performance, which should be compensated and not downplayed. Some companies have already recognized this and have taken the path of partially decentralizing IT support again. This is not only with regard to the lost expertise, but primarily to ensure professional customer service. Despite all the technical possibilities, it is the human factor that carries out the work, which is becoming increasingly complex and extensive, as well as business-critical. The trend towards professional “field support” is pursuing new goals, not only to provide efficient customer service but also to ensure high availability of IT systems at the locations: field support is the bridge between users and IT – and this at the lowest level. Where the workload arises, the critical points in the processes are identified and can thus be corrected. It has been proven that field support can increase internal customer satisfaction by up to 35%. Proof that this trend makes sense and should not be viewed solely through the lens of costs.
Centralized IT can already cover and solve a great deal with its techniques and tools, but it does not replace personal contact and therefore cannot remove obstacles. The Field Support link takes over this task and fills the hole in professional customer support between users, business analysts, the management, and the account manager.
Field support as an extended arm of IT is another fundamental advantage: replacing hardware, checking cables, or installing an access point – all activities that would otherwise require someone to be found to perform these tasks. From a strategic point of view, the establishment of a field support team is certainly not in line with the company’s objectives but is primarily concerned with reducing costs. However, the productivity of the most expensive and in any case most important good in the company – the employee – should definitely be an important performance indicator for decision-makers and support the consideration of whether field support in combination with central IT can be a worthwhile investment.
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