Every customer who has chosen to go down the digital transformation path is expecting the same level of transformation from the support they receive. Providing technical support to end-users has come a long way – helping users to set up a PC and installing an application, to using modern engineering principles to better achieve work efficiency is simpler than ever.
IT support has spent a long time adapting and focusing on processes and policies to help and maintain a stable infrastructure – we are talking about traditional technologies; blade servers with SAN storage devices, physical network devices and firewalls. These processes and policies revolved around a structured framework such as ITIL which enabled identification, containment and prevention of failures.
IT Support teams were formed around service support and service operations categories of the framework mentioned above. These teams revolved around providing services including incident identification, problem, change, release management and so on, which focused on minimizing business disruptions and maintaining operational efficiency.
As technology has evolved, there has been a significant focus by many businesses on operational optimisation, business agility and cost reduction. More and more businesses now moving to cloud solutions, are exposed to an agile infrastructure involving less hardware, self service capabilities, automated provisioning and management. These cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure, provide capabilities that span across automation, security, backups, data analytics and disaster recovery, thus allowing more and more traditional IT processes to become self-serviceable.
All these self-service capabilities might seem threatening to any traditional IT service provider; however, there is an opportunity to leverage this new-age technology to provide better overall customer service with business outcomes – an opportunity for the service provider and the customer to become business partners. A partnership of two parties working towards the same goals, targets and vision.
IT service providers now focus on service optimisation that result in positive business outcomes. Teams are built with a focus on the business requirements: agility, scalability and reliability. Teams are trained and hired with scripting and engineering skills, to enable a gradual transition from daily operational activities to innovation, resulting in efficient operation. Support services are focused around educating the partner and consultation around technological advancements.
Both the IT service provider and the business partners work towards few or more of following targets:
- A reduction in manual work by x percent: The parties work towards producing more value for business by reducing the amount of manual work required during any build and deployment. The parties use various technologies to automate extensive parts of the process and reduce overheads. A DevOps culture is developed between the parties to enable innovation and drive shorter lead times, deliver rapid solutions and fix issues faster.
- Process optimisation: Focus is placed on reducing and optimising procurement and provisioning lifecycles around resource management; i.e. storage, compute and network resources.
- Better infrastructure: The parties focus on eliminating duplicate infrastructure, which leads to consolidated data centres and a reduced need for further hardware and cloud adoption.
The role of an IT service provider is to enable all of the aforementioned business outcomes through their invaluable advisory services, value-add and technology enablement. They should focus on building healthy relationships with customers, and a culture that’s based on innovation and business success – a mutually beneficial technological partnership.