Support Centers Need to Justify Their Existence - or Perish
February 04, 2014
Robert Stroud
Share this

The Enterprise IT support center has become a feature of almost every enterprise, but it is becoming commoditized and may be displaced by external service providers unless it can justify its existence.

That's the takeaway from a report of 205 North American technical service and support professionals, entitled Show Me The Value: Support's Mandate conducted by HDI and sponsored by CA Technologies.

The technical service and support industry keeps hearing the same thing — that they need to show their business value, but for most internal support centers, there's a conundrum. Too often, support is simply considered to be a cost center, and it has a difficult time justifying requests for additional resources and budget. It may be even considered a target for elimination.

The good news is that a number of support centers are working to demonstrate their value, and better support emerging technologies and new ways of doing business.

As the report points out, support centers are adjusting roles, increasing customer focus, and changing their metrics. But the question remains as to whether they are really in sync with the strategic vision of non-IT executives in their organizations. And if they're not, they may be viewed as a service that adds little-to-no value and is subsequently considered an irrelevant and unnecessary burden.

To deliver relevance and value, today's support centers transition from being reactive to proactively focusing on servicing the business. When support centers are viewed positively by the larger organization and are able to expand and improve the services they offer, their business value increases.

The support center fundamentally needs to understand the business strategy and how it translates into the end-to-end business process and its impact on the customer. For example, support centers need to demonstrate how their phone, email, chat and even person-to-person interactions are helping the business achieve its strategic goals.

Metrics need to be expressed in terms of increased productivity, effective and quality delivery of the business services and accelerating innovation. In reality, support centers must transition to proactive delivery and continuity of service rather than just fixing random problems as they occur, in the order that they occur.

For many organizations, the success and even survival of the support center depends on the ability to demonstrate business value in three key areas — people, process and technology — in terms of the metrics that quantify them.

In order to transition, metrics must transition. Alarmingly, 54 percent of respondents in the survey have not changed their metrics to better measure business value. Forty percent have added metrics, while 12 percent have subtracted metrics that did not show business value.

Some change is occurring with job titles and roles transitioning in forward thinking support organizations. Forty percent of support centers have added new job roles to address changes in their relationship with the business — including director of customer relations and service desk director — based on established ITSM frameworks, especially ITIL.

Just like in our personal lives where our communication is transitioning with Facebook, Twitter, Chat, Video calling, etc., support centers are looking to leverage these capabilities. More than two-thirds of respondents have purchased fully-featured ITSM tools and other solutions in areas such as social collaboration and analytics and reporting to address their changing relationship with the business, or plan to do so within the next year, according to the report.

To succeed, support centers can no longer wait for the phone to ring. They need to put in place processes and enable users to be a self-sufficient as possible to proactively preempt calls to the service desk.

They can also push for automation that correlates events and points to potential issues before they occur. And they need to report to the business on metrics that point to the business value derived from the Support Center.

ABOUT Robert Stroud

Robert Stroud is Vice President Strategy & Innovation, IT Business Management, CA Technologies.

Related Links:

Share this

The Latest

May 21, 2020

As cloud computing continues to grow, tech pros say they are increasingly prioritizing areas like hybrid infrastructure management, application performance management (APM), and security management to optimize delivery for the organizations they serve, according to ...

May 20, 2020

Businesses see digital experience as a growing priority and a key to their success, with execution requiring a more integrated approach across development, IT and business users, according to Digital Experiences: Where the Industry Stands ...

May 19, 2020

Fully 90% of those who use observability tooling say those tools are important to their team's software development success, including 39% who say observability tools are very important ...

May 18, 2020

As our production application systems continuously increase in complexity, the challenges of understanding, debugging, and improving them keep growing by orders of magnitude. The practice of Observability addresses both the social and the technological challenges of wrangling complexity and working toward achieving production excellence. New research shows how observable systems and practices are changing the APM landscape ...

May 14, 2020
Digital technologies have enveloped our lives like never before. Be it on the personal or professional front, we have become dependent on the accurate functioning of digital devices and the software running them. The performance of the software is critical in running the components and levers of the new digital ecosystem. And to ensure our digital ecosystem delivers the required outcomes, a robust performance testing strategy should be instituted ...
May 13, 2020

The enforced change to working from home (WFH) has had a massive impact on businesses, not just in the way they manage their employees and IT systems. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, enterprise IT teams are looking to answer key questions such as: Which applications have become more critical for working from home? ...

May 12, 2020

In ancient times — February 2020 — EMA research found that more than 50% of IT leaders surveyed were considering new ITSM platforms in the near future. The future arrived with a bang as IT organizations turbo-pivoted to deliver and support unprecedented levels and types of services to a global workplace suddenly working from home ...

May 11, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world. From augmented reality advanced analytics to new consumer solutions, IoT and the cloud are together redefining both how we work and how we engage with our audiences. They are changing how we live, as well ...

May 07, 2020

Despite IT professionals' confidence in their ability to support today's much greater dependence on digital services, there is a rise in application performance errors reported by more than half of consumers, according to the Impact of COVID-19 on Digital Transformation survey from xMatters ...

May 06, 2020

The new normal includes not only periodic recurrences of Covid-19 outbreaks but also the periodic emergence of new global pandemics. This means putting in place at least three layers of digital business continuity practice ...