Have you heard about the new metric by which to measure how hard your IT support technicians are working? It’s “MPP” or “Miles Per Pair”. IT support technicians can put several miles on a pair of shoes in a day as they move from one user to another to address and resolve issues. Face to face support of an end user can often be enjoyable – especially when the problem gets solved and the technician sees the end user’s face light up in delight. It’s also a great opportunity for the IT technician to learn more about how technology is used with the business. While some issues are somewhat complex or require human intervention, many issues are simple in nature and are easily resolved.
Face to face support is sometimes absolutely necessary – but it is also expensive. Why? It’s more than just the salary of the technician. It’s also the time lost while traveling to the location of the end user – time that can’t be or isn’t used for addressing other user issues. It’s also the time that the end-user sits idle – unable to do his job – because of a technology issue.
But the reality is that there will never be a 1:1 ratio of IT technicians to end users. And neither IT nor the end user can control or predict when an issue will occur. Or whether that issue occurs just down the corridor, in the same building, across the campus, on the road, or somewhere across the country.
For the complex things – or issues requiring “hand on” support, IT wants and needs to be able to visit the end-user. But for other issues, a remote support tool may be the right solution.
Why a remote support tool just makes sense
Having a remote support tool for delivering end user support makes sense for a number of reasons.
- No need for the user to wait for desk side support – With a remote support tool, IT can be much more responsive and resolve many issues shortly after they occur.
- Improved efficiency and utilization of IT technical support staff – The time that IT used to spend in transit to the end user’s location can now be used to address other end-user issues. As a result, IT will be able to address a higher number of issues without a corresponding increase in technical staff.
- Users become more productive – By seeing how an issue is resolved via the remote support tool, an end user can learn how to address that issue should it occur in the future.
- Improves the reputation and credibility of IT – The ability to quickly resolve issues while minimizing the impact of the issue on the end user enhances the perception of IT. The end user gains comfort and confidence knowing that someone in IT is actively working on their issue.
What should a remote support tool do?
There are a number of remote support tools on the market. What should an IT organization look for in a remote support solution?
- Ability to chat with end user during a remote session – Watching the cursor move around a screen without explanation can be unnerving to the end-user, especially if the end-user is facing a critical deadline. A remote support tool should provide the capability to chat with the end user during the remote support session. Keep in mind – an informed user is a happy user.
- Provide secure access to the target device – Not only should the remote support tool ensure that only authorized technicians to have access to the remote tool, the end user should have the capability to explicitly provide access to their device.
- Support for multiple platforms – While the underlying architectures may have differences, basic concepts are the same. The remote support tool should provide the same front-end experience for the technician while masking or accommodating unique aspects of the target client architecture.
- Support the user where ever they are – In this “always on, always connected”, an end user can be anywhere. A remote support tool must be able to accommodate this.
- Allow for IT technician mobility – Just as the end user is often mobile, IT technicians are not always buckled into their seats either. Having the ability to provide support from anywhere is critical in an “always on, always connected” world, especially when it comes to providing support at night or over a weekend.
- Integrate with the IT ticketing tool – Having the remote support tool integrated with the ticketing tool helps the IT technician efficiently resolve issues. If a desk-side visit is warranted, the technician will have already had an opportunity to review logs and attempt the basic troubleshooting
Getting ready to provide remote support
But providing remote support is not as simple as just installing and deploying a tool. What should IT organizations do to get ready to provide remote support?
- Have an answer for “Why is a remote support tool needed now?” How would a remote support tool improve how the business does its business? What will be better for the end user? For IT? IT must get a clear consensus on the need for and user of a remote support tool – and have a crisp answer to this question.
- Cost-benefit analysis – Unless your business is in the business of providing a help desk to other organizations, any investment in IT is money that cannot be invested in another part of the business. While having a remote tool may make complete sense to the IT organization, the business will need a well-thought justification for the investment.
- Develop and execute a communication plan – Inform end users about the solution and benefits, set expectations, and gather feedback regarding communications. End users must be assured that the level and kind of support is going to improve, not degrade, with the rollout of the remote support tool. End users also need to know the conditions or scenarios under which face to face support will still be provided. And don’t forget about communications within IT as part of that plan. IT technicians need to understand the “why” as well as the “how”.
- Provide training – IT staff must be trained in the use of the tool and how to communicate effectively with end user during the use of the tool. With a remote support tool, a technician will no longer have the benefit of seeing the user’s reactions. The use of clear, concise, and non-technical communication will be critical during a remote support session. Extended periods of silence or using “geek speak” will only degrade confidence and trust of the end user.
How SolarWinds can help
Dameware Remote Support offers remote administration software for end-user support and system troubleshooting from anywhere. Enable your IT technician. Download a free fully functional 14-day trial now.