Anna Frazzetto's Blog

Digital Innovations and Technology Solutions

Tips for Building a Sharper, Mobile-Savvy Help Desk

According to the newly released 2014 Harvey Nash CIO Survey, mobility is the #1 area where CIOs plan to invest and innovate in the year ahead. In fact, 65% of CIOs say they will increase their mobile innovation investment over the year prior. Even more mobility? To anyone working in IT maintenance and help desk/IT support organizations, this is no surprise at all.

From mobile phones to tablets and laptops, every employee leverages a mini-arsenal of tools to get work done. The flood of mobile technologies (corporate owned or BYOD) into the workplace has doubled, if not tripled, the workload for help desks everywhere.

While hiring lots of new staff is one way to address rising mobile support demands, most businesses are still operating with very limited hiring budgets that rarely extend into IT maintenance and IT infrastructure divisions. Instead, IT support/help desk managers have to be creative in building sharper, mobile savvy help desks and here are several ways it can be done:

Establish a Mobile-only Team within Your Team
Create a unit within your support team that focuses exclusively on mobile support needs and issues. Allowing a team to focus on mobile technologies will accelerate the new technology learning curve, creating a band of in-house support experts who can quickly address mobile issues while keeping pace with ever-changing mobile technologies.

Improve & Focus on Documentation
Whether a mobile-only support team is established or not, good documentation is the key to pulling an entire help desk forward to meet new technology support demands. The better documentation standards and sharing are around mobile support, the more quickly support staff will expand mobile support skills. Help desk managers need to review and refresh documentation practices to ensure all mobile lessons learned are well communicated and shared.

Adopt Mobile Support Apps
Mobile users are working everywhere--at home, during commutes, in restaurants, visiting clients, etc. Many times that is before or after traditional work and support center hours. Some help desks are integrating mobile support apps that allow support teams to create tickets in truly mobile fashion--away from the help desk and outside of traditional hours. By increasing the mobility of support teams, many businesses are finding that mobile issues are resolved more quickly as users can immediately reach the help they need versus experimenting with fixes until the help desk opens.

When Hiring: Focus on Interpersonal Skills
The rapid adoption of mobile technologies, as well as the many apps and tools that come with them, demonstrates how fast IT changes and how hard it is to consistently maintain a staff with the right skills. IT managers who want top-notch support teams need to make interpersonal skills--communication, problem solving, analytical thinking and customer service--their top hiring priorities. Zeroing in on specific technologies--mobile or otherwise--is only effective in hiring for today, not for the future. And as mobile, cloud, big data, optical computing and all emerging technologies show us--the future is never as far away as we think.

Consider Third-party Support
If the need for mobile support is overwhelming the internal help desk, consider outsourced third-party support.  Outsourcing this key segment to experts may provide the relief your internal teams need and the critical support users require to stay productive.

In the weeks ahead, I will be blogging on more insights learned from the CIO Survey--from lessons in outsourcing software development to IT management and business process outsourcing.  Get a head start by downloading the survey now and taking advantage of lessons from a global pool of CIOs.