Nashville, Tenn. - March 22, 2006 - Ron Muns, founder and CEO of HDI, presented the state of the industry address at the 17th Annual HDI Annual Conference & Expo, which is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. this week. HDI is the world's largest membership association for help desk, service and support professionals and the premier certification body for the industry.
Muns discussed the evolution of the industry from a strategic and global perspective, as well as trends in technology, workflow and standards. From a strategic perspective, Muns said that the IT support organization is increasingly impacting technology purchasing decisions and recommended that vendors pay attention to this. There is increasing IT-business alignment and CIOs are increasingly listening to feedback from IT support directors as they make mission-critical business decisions. There is an ever-growing overall recognition amongst senior management and executives of how critical the IT help desk operation is to the success of the company.
New jobs and job titles are also emerging, according to Muns. There are more Incident Managers to monitor and manage priority outages, as well as more Change Managers, Asset Managers, Knowledge Champions and Relationship Managers to bridge the communication gap between employees and the IT department, as well as other specified roles that are being created within the service and support organization.
There is a growing recognition that knowledge is crucial to the product. This is changing business’ missions and how they integrate knowledge management within the support center. Those who fear knowledge-sharing will become relics of the past, warned Muns. “If you don’t want to share the knowledge you have, you won’t be allowed to play.” Additionally, security is big issue in IT; therefore the IT support organization needs to be aware of security issues and their role in protecting corporate and IT knowledge.
In terms of technology trends, Muns commented that ubiquitous high-speed connectivity continues to impact support requirements, as does the deployment of VoIP and the growing mobile workforce, which is challenging the support organization in multiple ways, including much more complex support issues and demand for support outside of normal business hours and on weekends.
Also, vendors of call tracking and other service and support industry offerings are “moving up and down the food chain,” according to Muns, trying to scale up or scale down to meet the needs of large and small support organizations. “But what IT support desks really need is the ability to customize the solution. Scalability in cost alone is not enough.” In addition, wikis, blogs and other social networking technology are very low cost tools that are gaining widespread use and having an interesting impact on the IT support industry. Companies like Novell, Sun, IBM, Microsoft and Intuit have successfully adopted these technologies and encouraging their use for relationship building and communications, knowledge sharing, peer-based support, trouble shooting and product development. Muns also addressed changes in workflow and multi-channel support; in part driven by these new participatory communications vehicles as well as emerging technologies such as autonomic computing.
He also addressed the evolution of global industry standards. Knowledge-Centered Support has emerged as the KM-focused set of best practices that complement the existing ITIL framework. Regarding the current status of ITIL and the fact that the UK government has decided to outsource the maintenance and distribution of ITIL materials, Muns announced that HDI would support ITSMF gaining custodianship of ITIL.
There is also increasing diversity in the workforce; multiple language support is crucial and the need to understand cultural differences when delivering support is paramount. “We are now working with highly educated, experienced people throughout the world, and to be truly effective, US IT professionals must learn about the people that we are working with. We must change to become culturally aware and sensitive in order to be effective. We should all celebrate the growing skills of people around the world. Work can and should be parsed to the best people, regardless of where they are.”
Muns concluded by saying, “Embrace what I’ve said today. Pay attention to the changes in workflow, the need for cost reduction and the improved value proposition, and we will all be successful as an industry.”
HDI is the world's largest membership association for IT service and support professionals and the premier certification body for the industry. Founded in 1989, HDI's mission is to lead and promote the IT service and support industry by empowering its members through access to timely and valuable industry information, including reports and publications; encouraging member collaboration through events and online forums; and establishing internationally recognized, standards-based industry certification and training programs. In addition to membership, certification and training, HDI produces the world's largest and highest-rated event for service and support professionals, the HDI Annual Conference & Expo. HDI is member-focused, and remains vendor-neutral in its efforts to facilitate open, independent networking and information sharing within the association network. HDI has more than 7,500 members worldwide including most of the Fortune 500, and 60 local chapters in North America. For more information, visit http://www.thinkhdi.com.