IT managers and service personnel who’ve been on the job for, say, more than five minutes or so understand that the purchase price of a given bit of IT gear is just a small (sometimes quite tiny) fraction of the lifetime cost of the item, the lion’s share of the rest being gobbled up by maintenance and service costs. And it’s not just a linear-growth sort of problem, either: each new piece of equipment added to the ecosystem interacts with that system in manifold ways, increasing the complexity — and the service burden — of the system exponentially. Little wonder, then, that so much effort goes into streamlining IT maintenance and service. When the costs are as high as they are, the stakes of even small efficiencies can be huge.
Shrinking the Distance Between Techs and Service Issues
Two of the biggest obstacles to more efficient, less expensive maintenance and service are the logistics of simply getting Tech A in front of Problem X and the diagnostic difficulties arising from all the back-and-forth involved in a typical incident, said back-and-forth taking the form of physically moving from problem site to home base and vice versa and/or hopping among various applications related to the service resolution process (email, service desk application, scheduling, etc.).
What all the above boils down to is sometimes called “context shifting,” which is just a way of saying a tech has to move from one focus to another in physical or mental space, breaking concentration and flow in the process. And ultimately costing the company a pile of money.
Combatting context shift means reducing the physical or mental distance between the tech and the issue. Remote support is a key weapon in this battle, for a number of reasons:
- Remote support reduces physical distance to zero. In the best case, it’s as if the tech is sitting squarely in front of the offending machine, wherever that tech is actually located. No distance = no context shift.
- Mental distance, while being a tougher nut to crack, is reduced in most instances. When problems can be confronted without delay, there’s less opportunity for distractions to creep in, and techs aren’t penalized for taking a trial-and-error approach to problem-solving, which can often generate a solution faster.
- Instead of racing around putting out fires, techs with access to remote support solutions might find themselves with the time to do a little preventative maintenance, reducing future trouble calls and costs.
- Remote support solutions that are integrated with email, service desk software, and other parts of the total support system — and the associated automation — make for fewer errors, less effort, and a further reduction in the distance between techs and the problems they’re paid to solve.