Workforce trends that matter in ITSS

IT support services (ITSS) are crucial to the smooth functioning of any company. Its role , as we know, is to access, support and troubleshoot problems across computers, LAN networks and even geographical locations. In a nutshell, they are crucial to a company productivity, business delivery and business and service model.

The key aspects of the ITSS function include comprise Incident Management, Problem Management, Configuration Management, Change Management, and Release Management, all aimed at offering uninterrupted and best possible service.

But like all functions in any organization, having the right people to manage the challenges continues to be an issue. Having an efficient ITSS can mean all the difference between a smooth functioning of a company or utter chaos, within the company and at an ever-demanding client.

In any company, those manning the ITSS are ‘celebrities’ in their own right. You may not know who your colleagues are but you certainly will know who the ITSS guy is: he’s on call almost 24/7 and is perhaps, one of the few people in a company who know almost everyone by their first name.

But at the end of the day, ITSS is a people function and so it is not without its challenges. Alongside in-house ITSS staff, companies have also outsourced their ITSS; from a people perspective, this has its own challenges. Managing this relationship is part of the people issue.

As an example, a good one is Oxford University in the UK. There is a small army of IT professionals that work in and around Oxford in addition to the teams that man individual colleges. Together with college ITSS professionals, the IT eco-system under the banner ITS3 provides a hub that coordinates local requirements as well as provide specialist advice.

As I said earlier, since one is dealing with people, how to manage them is a key part of the overall strategy. So here are some issues to keep in mind

See ITSS as an asset: This is the first and foremost issue. Without them, your organisation can grind to a standstill. Invest in them and see your customer engagement go up. According to a recent survey by Manpower, an HR consultancy, IT staff ranked as one of the jobs most in demand in 2015. All the more reason to protect whom you have hired and trained.

Understanding regulations are key: In the more developed markets, minimum law wages can be an issue calling for IT preparedness. But in India, issues such as the General Sales Tax slated to kick in next year is something IT services should be aware of and be ready to tackle. New norms, whatever be the industry sector, have implications for ITSS.

Ensuring talent retention: With millenials largely staffing the requirements of ITSS, it will be important to remember that millenials’ career plans – time horizons – are not only different but can be unpredictable. Having a second line of expertise is there—redundancy–, therefore, paramount. Ensuring that there are no skillsets gaps is equally important.

Prepare for change: In a dynamic world, it is important to remember that business models are constantly changing. According to Gartner, by 2018, the digital business will require 50 percent less business process workers and 500 percent more key digital business jobs, compared with traditional models. According to Crisil, hiring and revenue growth will decouple as IT companies alter their business models.

Keep outsourced staff in the loop: If you outsource your support services in case you do not wish to burden the staff, remember they are part of your organisation’s staff; their HR concerns are yours as well. And while you may not have a day to-day interaction with them, one needs to be aware of their ‘ people’ problems so that you are not left in the lurch. At a micro-level, it is important to have HR issues addressed in your service agreement with you.

In a world in which people flow across organisations and even borders, workforce issues require a company’s constant vigilance. New trends such as the cloud or BYOD are influencing the IT world. Make plans around these that concern your workforce, so you are not swamped by problems.

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