It Is Time To Usher In A New Era in Desktop Support

by Doug Tedder
Date Published July 8, 2024 - Last Updated July 9, 2024

Desktop support, as we’ve traditionally thought of it, is becoming a dinosaur. As organizations continue to accelerate their journeys in the digital economy, desktop support is an area that will experience substantial transformation. For most organizations, “desktop support” is about delivering and supporting technology. Today’s desktop support function is very IT-centric. Success is measured in terms of outputs, using measures such as MTTR, number of tickets resolved, and response times.

But times are changing. And for modern, progressive organizations, the desktop support team is evolving to the “digital workplace team.” What may appear to be just a change in words is much more significant. The “digital workplace team” provides employee-focused engagements and is driven by delivering or enabling a great consumer experience with technology. Success is measured in terms of outcomes; in other words, delivering or enabling what employees need to deliver business results. 

Why now?

The workplace has dramatically shifted over the past couple of years.

Despite the recent mandates by some organizations for employees to return to the office, working from anywhere is the new reality. This means that employees are working from home, working from the office, and working from all points in between.

Employees are also working within an environment of ever-increasing VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The days of connecting a network cable from a computer into a wall jack and accessing centrally housed computing infrastructure are long gone. Digital environments are continually becoming more complex, with cloud-provided technologies, AI-assistants and chatbots, distributed and federated supplier and partner models for service provisioning, and more. Digital capabilities are increasing at an extraordinarily rapid pace, as new

Gen AI and LLMs abilities emerge daily.

Employees are continually adapting to this volatility and formally– or as is more often the case, informally –  learning new digital skills. Organizations and employees are working within an environment of significant uncertainty, as employees navigate an ever-shifting technology landscape in the absence of a clearly defined and communicated business strategy regarding digital transformation and adoption. And this uncertainty drives increased levels of ambiguity, as priorities and goals continually seem to shift in response to changes in the digital landscape. 

Adding to the scenario is the greater emphasis organizations are placing on the employee experience. The science is there – employees that are engaged and happy provide better customer service

As a result, the traditional role of IT desktop support of providing support of the technology used by consumers is no longer sufficient. Employees’ needs have shifted from just requiring support to requiring enablement

What does this mean for Desktop Support professionals?

In its July 2024 report, Research in Action noted that organizations are “strategically shifting toward valuing the employee experience as a critical factor in achieving broader business goals and maintaining a competitive edge” This means that IT – and desktop support specifically - will play an ever-increasing role in employee experience and in managing the day-to-day work of employees. Employee interactions with technology have a direct impact on the employee experience. The desktop support team must expand from having only technology expertise to a digital workplace team by understanding the broader impact of technology on employee and business outcomes. 

How can this new digital workplace team ensure delivery of an appropriate experience? It starts by putting humans, not technology,  at the center of service delivery. Here a few ways to do that:

  1. Human-centered design (HCD) is just that – designing solutions with humans in mind and how they will use those solutions. The needs of the user are considered as part of the design process to improve end-user acceptance of solutions and increase the economic benefits of solutions.
  2.  Digital Employee Experience (DEX) is an approach that considers the holistic experience with the digital workplace provided by ITii.
  3.  Practicing good ITSM can help as well. IT collects a lot of data about the day-to-day employee experience with technology by logging incidents and service requests. By leveraging that data, the digital workplace place can drive better correlation of incidents and service requests and become more proactive in meeting employee needs

Transform to the Digital Workplace Team 

Is your organization ready to transform from the desktop support team to the digital workplace team? Here are some tips for getting started. 

  1. Prototype new solutions before deployment. Prototyping is a highly effective way of learning by doing and getting feedback from the people for whom technological solutions are being considered or developed. Using focus groups consisting of representative employees in prototyping such solutions will provide the digital workplace team with valuable feedback and make appropriate adjustments to technology solutions prior to roll out.
  2. Map the employee journey. Mapping the employee journey will not only identify where and when employees interact with technology, it will also ensure that the digital workplace team has a holistic view of those interactions.
  3. Mine your data. The service desk are literally sitting on a gold mine of data regarding the employee experienceThe digital workplace team can use this data to identify patterns of interactions with IT-provided technology to proactively address issues that impact employees in their day-to-day use of technology. 

Making the shift from the desktop support team to the digital workplace team will not only elevate the reputation and credibility of the team, it will also enable the employee experience that organizations want. Starting with the above tips will get your team on a good path to success. 


Tag(s): supportworld, ITSM, service management, ITIL, process management, process-improvement, practices and processes, framework and methodologies, continual service improvement


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