The world has changed dramatically in recent weeks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With most major cities and populous areas under quarantine and social distancing becoming the new norm, millions of people around the world have been forced away from the office and are now working from home.
This sudden, massive shift to a majority remote workforce has underscored huge challenges that organizations must take head on. One of the biggest challenges is the one facing IT departments tasked with managing their remote users while maintaining the security and availability of their critical system infrastructure. Now, more than ever, there’s a critical need for ITSM tools to help remote users get access to services quickly and seamlessly. Through self-service and process automation, organizations can achieve streamlined service delivery and efficiency.
The IT Challenges of Working Remotely
One of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is Education. Schools and Universities alike all of the sudden were faced with the challenge of continuing their classes remotely; with little time and IT infrastructure built to support students and faculty members. Schools found themselves flooded with hundreds of requests from parents and students asking about system and Wi-Fi access, securing the right equipment such as laptops and mobile devices, technical issues that affect video streaming and service portals, and general policies and procedures around technology and digital services.
The business sector is also facing challenges. Organizations that hadn’t been preparing their infrastructure and IT business-continuity plans for work-from-home scenarios were scrambling to support a remote workforce virtually overnight. This meant emergency planning to get users up and running with the equipment they need, licensing and setting up VPNs for access to systems and services, managing sudden massive spikes in remote network traffic, and managing possible new security risks and vulnerabilities that come from a remote working environment. This was additive to the basic needs of keeping critical systems secure and operational.
Service Desks and IT departments everywhere are being tested with unprecedented amounts of demand and system load while struggling to maintain stability and collaboration across departments.
How ITSM Can Help You Now and in the Future
Here are a few areas where an effective ITSM solution can have a major impact:
- Automation – With a huge influx of calls and requests, your team will need to work even faster to support remote workers. Speed is everything on the service desk, and enabling process efficiency through automation is the key to maximizing the business value of IT. ITSM automation that handles repetitive tasks like password resets, standard changes, or approvals can save you time and resources.
Additionally, intelligent automation that uses Machine Learning can go above and beyond the capabilities of standard rule-based automation by helping users through predictive answers and assistance. In many cases, this can help to significantly reduce IT workload, speed up ticket processing and resolution times, and even cut down on the time it takes to train and onboard new service desk staff. ChangeGear ITSM customers who are using automated processes powered by Machine Learning typically see a 25% gain in workforce efficiency.
- Accessibility – Making sure the remote workforce has easy access to systems, services and internet from their remote locations is a top priority for many organizations. An ITSM solution can help to support these needs by providing a one-stop-shop for accessing company services using various channels such as email, phone, mobile, and chat. This is important as mobility becomes a top of mind issue for users that may need to submit requests via a smartphone, tablet, or laptop from locations around the world.
For example, common self-service requests like gaining VPN access, equipment procurement, or putting in repair work orders can be easily automated and facilitated through a self-service portal or service catalog. ITSM makes it easier to provide a user experience that’s both convenient and easy-to-use. This enablement of self-service is becoming increasingly important as remote users can quickly find what they need and take some of the burden off the service desk.
- Collaboration & Knowledge Distribution – With people now working from home, enabling collaboration and managing the flow of information becomes critical as face-to-face interactions are mitigated. ITSM can be used to improve collaboration between IT and the business by pooling internal tribal knowledge through a knowledge base and seamlessly distributing that information to users who need quick access to it via self-service portals, chatbots, and even in-application recommendations powered by AI.
As the world adjusts to the realities of a global pandemic and the shift to remote working, it’s important for organizations to do everything in their power to make the transition as smooth as possible. IT Service Management plays a major part in this and in digital transformation. An effective ITSM solution can help organizations become more flexible and adaptable in supporting the remote workforce.