COVID-19 is impacting businesses globally, forcing them to adopt new ways of working. What will the impact be on ITSM?
As this crisis unfolds, one thing is becoming clear; this is impacting nearly every part of our lives, and is likely to bring change for years to come. However, like so much of this crisis, I think it’s fair to say the impacts of Covid-19 on ITSM and the industry as a whole are, for the time being, largely unknown. Our understanding of the pandemic and its effects on our everyday life is changing day on day, making predicting what the future holds a real challenge.
One change we have seen, and I think we’re likely to see long term, is the impact on ITSM from home working. With so many of us around the world now working from home, IT Service Desks have gone from being an internal support function to an external one; with teams geographically dispersed, there is no ‘controlled environment’ in the form of an office. IT Service desks are being forced to develop a greater awareness of the multitude of working environments created. By home working, and of issues faced by those working from home, whilst at the same time working from home themselves. This huge uptick in the number of people working from home is likely to change the demands on IT Service desks, as their role shifts to one of facilitating home working that is as seamless as possible.
As time goes on, there is more and more talk about a more permanent move to working from home. Many businesses that may have once been reluctant to operate remotely, possibly through fear of productivity losses or a lack of communication channels have had their hands forced; and in many cases have been pleasantly surprised by the results. Individual fears of not being able to maintain productivity or a loss of communication have also been allayed, with many experiencing higher levels of productivity thanks to a more relaxed working environment, free of long commutes or distraction.
And that’s not all – Whilst we’re all acutely aware of the pains and difficulties posed by being physically distant, working from home may in fact be having another, more desirable effect on the way we communicate with our colleagues. Working from home requires individual aspects of a business – IT Service Desks included, to be more ‘in tune’ with one another; Without a truly efficacious approach to IT, nobody would be in a position to work from home with any tangible degree of success.
The impact on infrastructure is also significant; Increased home working creates the need for a greater, more accessible knowledge base and is likely to lead to greater investment in cloud services to meet increased demand. Whilst this investment to help adapt businesses may at first appear a monumental one, this increase in investment is likely to be offset by a reduction in other fixed costs associated with running a business, such as property and utilities.
This seemingly elephantine shift in priorities may be something of a profoundly daunting prospect for many organisations, unable to fathom the increasingly real chance that many businesses will no longer simply exist within four walls, but be dispersed across many households, connected by technology alone. However it also represents an opportunity for investment and innovation, with IT at the forefront of this shift, helping business to stay ‘ahead of the curve’ and use technology to become more agile and easy to adapt to a variety of situations and requirements.
So, despite all the unknowns, it is clear that ITSM will be changed by this event forever, in one way or another. With more people working from home than ever before, the infrastructure supporting businesses and IT will change, with focus on a strong knowledge base and cloud technology. During these troubling times, we can be confident that when this ends, which it will; we will have gained much in the way of an improved outlook on life and business. I believe that people’s perception of the service desk will have changed for the better, with a greater appreciation for the work they do, and stronger relationships through the inevitably high levels of communication during the most unsettled of times.