Over the last 10 or 15 years, server and storage technology has changed beyond all recognition, but one thing that has remained reasonably constant within the IT Department is the Service Desk.
Granted, it may once have been called a Helpdesk, but the principle is very much unchanged; if you have an IT related problem, you pick up the phone and speak to someone who can fix your problem.
It’s a process that works (generally speaking), but Service Desk technology is now evolving beyond simple call logging. Modern systems have the ability to provide a more complete view of IT operations, and in future there is likely to be a much stronger focus on user self-service.
I know that automatic call logging and acknowledgements have been around for a while, but I think that before too long, the way that people use the IT support service will fundamentally change, and users will only get through to support teams staff if their problem is serious or urgent.
More and more corporate services will be provided this way; many HR systems have a self-service component, particularly for updating personal details, and I know of one instance where it’s even possible order your lunch online.
Transactional intranets (ie intranets where you actually do things, rather than just look up information) are the future, and I’m fairly certain that it won’t be too long before first line IT support is provided through a portal, along with HR, Finance, Office Services and other central functions.
The technology is there already, though it’s possible there might be cultural challenges before this is fully implemented; I have a strong suspicion that many people – and IT users particularly – value a friendly voice at the end of the phone.
On the other hand, it’s really is a self-service that world we live in now – from online banking to supermarket checkouts – efficiency and automation is the way forward.