Employees often try to solve IT problems independently. With often moderate success. But why is it that people do not contact IT support directly? Bad experiences? Clear: lengthy troubleshooting, difficult to understand processes and long waiting times for processing the ticket frustrate. These problems are usually not due to the quality of the support, but often to a thin database and the lack of understanding between IT users and support.
But that shouldn’t be the case. Because the feeling of users that IT only gets to work when “nothing works” is the “Shift Left” method in IT operations. The idea behind it: The main thing is to reduce the amount of time it takes to find errors – and at the same time to determine which devices have the same problem or are likely to experience it soon. The benefit: Based on an issue and its genesis, support can in the best case “intercept” other similar incidents in good time – and thus assist users in the specialist departments faster and preventively instead of reactively. This not only minimizes frustration in the digital workplace, but also strengthens the position of the support team.
“Shift Left” is the name of the method, by the way, because it is based on the image of a classic ticket support, the escalation curve of which typically increases from bottom left to top right. For example, if an IT malfunction occurs and an employee calls the help desk, the person concerned can often not provide any really precise information about the issue. However, first-level support often lacks a real data basis to act immediately on the basis of sufficient information. The result: the ticket is escalated to second-level support further to the right on the curve. In the meantime, consequential malfunctions have opened up in the aftermath of the first issue, and other colleagues have suddenly reported malfunctions in their digital workplaces – the problem is becoming more extensive. As a result, in view of the increased complexity, third-level support is switched on at the top right, which usually drives up ticket costs significantly. For this reason, the “Shift Left” approach wants to create as much room for maneuver in the left area of the escalation curve as possible in order to prevent a swing to the top right.
But how will that work? This is where the database and communication between users and IT come into play again: Because there is often no clarity at any point in the company with which devices, applications or websites the clients actually connect to, the cause research in the event of a malfunction is more and more like a search for the needle in the haystack – because the data is missing. In reverse: the more data is available quickly and easily understandable, the faster and more precisely the support process can be designed. If the problem report by the employee is also not very precise (“My WLAN is not working” or “I cannot print”), there is also a communicative hurdle: The call for help does not indicate whether the problem has existed for some time, is accompanied by other abnormalities, whether the phenomenon is only present on one client or on several, and the like.
IT support is forced to use the trial and error principle to search for the causes of the problem. And with many IT disruptions, an expensive, recurring process begins with lengthy searches by IT staff – across all ticket levels. As a result, specialist departments and IT support continue to live “apart”, and incomprehension, prejudices or accusations spread. A very real scenario: Only a good third of the employees assume that their optimal work experience is really a concern of corporate IT, as the “Mind the Gap” study found.
In addition, it can open up new perspectives in IT support to say goodbye to the usual way of thinking – here the “problem client” with its perplexed user on the one hand and the elusive IT support on the other. It makes more sense to “move” users and their personal user experiences much closer to IT support, so that both defined fault indicators and the “felt” IT satisfaction in the digital workplace can flow into the support process . In the sense of the “Shift Left”, this is best done as far to the left as possible on the “support curve”: If more relevant data is available to first-level support, support inquiries can not only be resolved faster, but second and third -Level support also needs to be involved less often.
A consistent “Shift Left” in IT support also incorporates the following idea into his approach: “Classic” IT monitoring is usually limited to server and application performance. Everything looks inconspicuous when you look into the backend, but a user at his workplace can still not email or print, there is a potential for conflict again. It is therefore advisable to keep an eye on the user experience of the users on their clients in addition to the purely technological monitoring. If the support then comes into contextual and above all proactive contact with the user, resentment does not build up at all.
The fact that the user is certain that a problem has been identified and IT is already dealing with it is an important emotional signal to avoid stress in the digital workplace. “Your hard drive will soon be full – you can go to step x to avoid problem y” or “Your CPU utilization is at a standstill – please follow the following process to get faster response times again …” are proactive signals from IT, that create trust.
- Fax is not sent
Trainee: I cannot send the fax. It keeps coming out of the device.
- Fax broken, please fax problem report
User: “I fax the documents to you. Please fax it back to me later, I still need it.”
- DAUs in the pillory
Choose the “DAU of the month” every four weeks? Choose the “DAU des Jahres” at the end of the year via intranet? Not all admins think the suggestions are good.
- Internet deleted
Clerk: I accidentally deleted the browser.
Admin: No, you just deleted the whole internet.
- Hard disk silted
If the child has played with an external hard drive in the sandpit,
please do not rinse the device with water and reconnect it when it is wet.
- The shredder does not copy
Trainee (standing in front of the shredder): How does the device work? Colleague: Just put the files in here. Trainee: Aha, and where do the copies come from now?
- Hole punch as an input aid
Press the Enter key repeatedly? The punch can do that if you put it on the keyboard.
- Server failure at lunchtime
The most pressing question in the event of a server failure: Where is the canteen plan?
- Mainboard sawn
Admin Arvardan was amazed when a customer brought him a defective computer with a mainboard that had a corner missing. The explanation: The mainboard hadn’t fit and in the sawn-off corner there were only interfaces that the customer didn’t think he needed.
- Original copied in black
The IT technician (!) Had placed the original in the film slot, opened the top cover and then copied it. The original came out, over-copied in black.
- PC with foot switch
The lady, previously only used on typewriters and dictation machines with foot switches, put the mouse on the floor when working on the PC for the first time to control the computer with her feet. She became so ignorant that she continued to train privately and later took over the IT coordination of the department.
- Rewind DVD
How do I rewind a rented DVD before returning to the video store?
- The mouse is hot
Userin: “The mouse is hot. I threw it in the trash.”
- The mouse is not moving
Admin: “I have dialed into your PC. You can see that from the fact that the mouse is moving.” User: “It doesn’t move.” Admin: “Yes, the arrow does move.” User: “Yes, the arrow on the screen is moving. But the mouse is not.”
- The mouse bounces
User: “The mouse moves by itself. I don’t do anything.” The solution: The colleague’s mouse at the neighboring table was also connected to the computer.
- Cat kills mouse
A real mouse had sneaked into a PC case. When she opened it jumped away and was no longer seen. For this she left traces: nibbled files.
- Excel plus calculator
An IT employee was amazed at the colleague, who added Excel values on the calculator and entered the results in Excel.
- White ink
User: “My printer prints white text on a white background.” Support: “You should remove the plastic wrap before installing a new cartridge.”
Making the “Shifting Left” a strategic guide in IT support can definitely be worthwhile. Financially due to reduced ticket durations and costs – and atmospheric in terms of the cooperation between specialist departments, IT support and management. Since IT infrastructures are becoming more and more complex in almost all companies and IT operations are becoming increasingly difficult to handle with manual processes due to an increasing number of applications and devices, automation is becoming increasingly important.
Then clients that show comparable behavior or similar characteristics can be supported in the background. So the user no longer has to be involved in the problem, but only receives information that a whole series of approaching problems have just been solved.
An additional advantage of automation in IT management: IT does not have to wait until an employee has free capacity, for example to apply a time-critical security patch. All clients with a similar profile are automatically provided with the patch – in the best case, while the user simply continues to work on his device undisturbed. (hal)