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Help desk responsibilities increase with advances in AI, cybersecurity, remote working, and cloud computing
Fri, 18th Jun 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

CompTIA finds help desk responsibilities are broadening as AI, cybersecurity, remote working, and cloud computing becoming more prevalent.

The survey shows help desk professionals are taking on new responsibilities and adding new skills as companies increase their reliance on technology, such as cybersecurity, support for remote workers, and cloud computing issues.

“The need for high quality, high availability technical support is heightened as the importance of technology in daily operations and long-term strategic planning is elevated,” says CompTIA senior director for technology analysis at CompTIA, Seth Robinson.

“As organisations rely on technology to a greater degree to stay connected to their customers and keep their workforce productive, the help desk must function at a very high level and do so while tackling a wider array of support issues.

Respondents to the CompTIA survey were asked in which areas demand tech support has most increased, 70% say issues related to cybersecurity, 67% securing networks, 67% remote work and work from home, 60% mobile device issues, and 57% software-as-a-service and cloud.

With the help desk taking on more advanced responsibilities, the skills organisations expect from their personnel are increasing. When asked about technology skills that are critically or very important, 76% of respondents cited cybersecurity followed by 71% saying software, 70% network support, 70% operating systems, 69% hardware, 67% cloud/SaaS, and 67% mobile devices.

“This shift is good news for help desk workers because expanding their skills readies them up for more career advancement options,” says Robinson.

“The typical pathway has been to move from a support role to networking and infrastructure. Now opportunities are available in cybersecurity, software, data, project management, and other areas.

CompTIA says companies are placing more emphasis on having their help desk staff deliver positive customer experiences, with the survey showing 65% of companies rating customer satisfaction as the primary metric for evaluating the effectiveness of their help desk.

According to the survey, 83% of respondents were either completely, or mostly satisfied with help desk support. When asked what changes could improve performance, 56% say better ways to access user systems, 49% want better self-support resources, 40% say better procedures for hardware issues, and 39% say more options for contacting the help desk.

AI and automation are being used more and more frequently in help desk operations. Uses for AI include classifying and routing requests, chatbots, finding patterns in tickets, and curating a knowledge base. Automation is helping with status updates, single sign-on, ticket follow-up, resetting passwords, and asset upgrade notifications.

“Help desk technicians are not being replaced by AI and automation,” says Robinson.

“By automating these things, we are freeing up staff to do more valuable things. Similarly, a hybrid help-desk model combining in-house staff with outside assistance is becoming more common, so routine tasks can be outsourced to free up the internal staff to focus on more complex issues.”

He says while almost half of organisations use internal teams exclusively, 46% rely on a combination of internal and external resources.