Remote Control and the Changing Role of Desktop Support


by Roy Atkinson
January 12, 2017

According to the 2016 HDI Technical Support Practices & Salary Report, 85 percent of desktop support organizations use remote control software or appliances as a means for providing support. That’s no big surprise, considering the comparatively huge expense of sending a desktop support technician to the deskside to accomplish the same task. What may come as a surprise, however, is that when we asked who provided remote support in general, the percentage for support centers and desktop support organizations was identical: 81 percent.

If the support center staff can provide support through remote control, does that mean that desktop support only responds when remote control can’t be used to resolve the issue? And what does that mean for desktop support?

Desktop Support Does Much More than Break/Fix

Here are some of the areas of responsibility desktop support leaders listed as part of an HDI initiative:

  • Audio-visual support
  • Mobile device support
  • Printer support
  • Hardware (desktops/laptops, etc.)
  • Phone/telecom support
  • Network support
  • Software support
  • Security and auditing
  • Access (onboarding/offboarding)
  • Virtual desktops
  • Software licensing management
  • Area support (kiosks/labs)
  • IT service management processes:
    • Asset management
    • Knowledge management
    • Incident management
    • Problem management
  • Training and consulting with business units

Desktop Support Is “The Face of IT”

When you arrive for your first day at a new workplace, you’ll probably need a phone (desk or mobile), a computer (laptop or desktop), connection to the company network (wired or wireless), a user profile, access to company resources such as software applications and shared storage, printers, and so on. If you meet someone from IT on your first day, it’s more than likely a desktop support technician. If you don’t meet anyone, it is still clear that they have had a role in getting you set up and ready to work with all the tech you need to get your job done. Even if you work for a company that has a robust self-service system for you to get connected and set up, desktop support has done a lot of work on the infrastructure to enable that system.

The desktop support role has grown over the past few years as business has become more dependent on many types of technology to succeed. Don’t forget to thank your local technician.


Roy AtkinsonRoy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.


Tag(s): desktop support, future of support, process management, self-service, service desk, support center, supportworld, trends

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