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3 Tips for Optimizing Your Support Team Architecture

07/15/2015 by: The SunView Team

IT service desk teams have traditionally operated in a three-layer system, with tier 1 technicians handling the most basic incidents, tier 2 personnel dealing with slightly more complex issues and tier 3 engineers working on the most nuanced support tickets. This layered system worked well for a long time because businesses needed to maintain support services for a large amount of diverse users. The ability to have a large number of skilled low-level technicians to handle the high volume of basic incidents in such situations used to be essential, but the industry is starting to change and more organizations are starting to flatten the traditional three-layer architecture.

For the most part, the prototypical level 3 engineer will always be needed, as that role is generally filled by individuals with a high level of expertise required for the most complex escalations. However, as self-service portals, knowledge centers, forums and other support solutions give users more power to solve basic incidents on their own, the role of the level 1 engineer is shifting. As a result, many organizations are blending level 1 and 2 service desk operators into a common pool of support personnel that can handle a wide array of support tickets. This functionality can help companies eliminate some incident escalations, improving response times and delivering a more robust customer experience.

The potential gains of flattening your support team architecture are considerable, but it isn't always as simple as it sounds. These tips can help you get such an effort off to a good start:

1. Invest Heavily in Service Request Management
Even after flattening your support team architecture, chances are that you have individuals with varied types of expertise and areas of focus. Service request management solutions will help you to distribute support tickets among your service desk team in the most efficient way possible. Furthermore, having all of your support workers capable of handling relatively complex issues makes it more important than ever to protect them from clerical work. An effective Service Request Management solution will automatically forward the many different types of support tickets to various user groups, taking the pressure off of the support team to handle that filtering process.

2. Focus on Process Innovation
Maintaining a team of highly skilled support workers means that you will need to invest in ongoing training and engagement programs to continue developing your staff. You can no longer depend solely on hiring level 1 technicians with minimal experience and expect them to gradually evolve into level 2 engineers over time. With every member of your staff needing to be ready to contribute to resolving complex issues, you need to make sure that you are taking the initiative to effectively train your workers. In order to efficiently train employees while keeping up with day-to-day tasks, a culture of process innovation and optimization must be implemented in order to get the most out of support teams. Take advantage of process automations and help desk software tool solutions to take some of the strain off of low-level support operators and use their extra time to build their skills with new training initiatives.

3.Take Advantage of Problem Management
As each individual on your staff becomes more valuable, the need to have employees using their time as efficiently as possible is heightened. Problem management can be invaluable in this area because it helps you to identify the underlying issues that lead to common incidents and have them resolved quickly. A good problem management strategy will help you to reduce the number of support tickets your team is dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Throw in functions like self-service portals and knowledge centers, and you can cut a huge chunk of basic incident management out of your support team's work day, freeing your employees to spend more time on projects that create value.

Eliminating some of the traditional layers on the service desk can help you to maximize the value of your workers and, in turn, generate considerable return on investment.