Keeping IT Healthy with Specialized Service and Support

This is the time of year when I try to put in overtime on the treadmill to compensate for the inevitable onslaught of food and drinks during Thanksgiving and throughout the month of December. Proactive and preventive measures must be put in place to ensure my health is maintained during this period. Action has already been taken in advance of the calorie surge so I can come out on the other end of the holidays with my waist size intact. As an example, my wife and I are registered to run in a Turkey Trot (5K road race) on Thanksgiving morning to balance out the apple pie we will be eating later that day.

A parallel can certainly be drawn to the importance of keeping IT healthy as additional pressures mount within this space.

On Wednesday, November 14th, I hosted an EMC Live Webcast alongside Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). The topic was Keeping IT Healthy in an Increasingly Virtualized World and the importance of support services. Steve shared some surprising facts related to skills shortage, including:

  • More than 1 in 5 organizations report a problematic skills shortage when it comes to virtualization and private cloud
  • 1 in 5 organizations experience challenges when it comes to architecting and planning IT solutions
  • Nearly 1 in 5 struggle to manage business intelligence and data analytics

Source: ESG Research Brief: 2012 IT Staffing and Skills Trends, February 2012

It appears that the skills shortage extends to just about every area of IT. In the journey to the cloud, many IT organizations are stretched thin as they strike a balance between supporting traditional storage technology and virtual storage technology. Of course, new advances in hardware, cloud and backup technology add additional layers of complexity.

In many cases, supplemental support offerings (above and beyond maintenance) from technology vendors can fill gaps for IT organizations so they can devote more time and energy to driving business value on behalf of IT. EMC has those resources in the form of Personalized Support Services; the product-specific Designated Support Engineer, the technology-specific Technical Account Manager and the technology-agnostic Service Account Manager. All three resources are described in greater detail in ESG’s white paper, EMC’s Personalized Support Services: A Focus on Keeping IT Healthy.

Similar to the calories that come with the holidays, some types of businesses (especially retailers) need to prepare for an extraordinary influx in demand for service and support.

Kevin Gao, the founder and CEO of Comm100, recently posted on an interesting topic, “4 Ways to Prepare For Holiday Customer Support.” Here are the four tips he outlines in the post:

  1. Provide Multiple Easy-to-Find Contact Options
  2. Add a Live Chat Functionality to Your Store
  3. Make Your Agents More Specialized
  4. Utilize the Power of a FAQ Page

“Make Your Agents More Specialized” resonates most with me because it ties back to the theme of keeping IT and the business healthy.  His comment here is that you don’t want to have a large staff that only has cursory knowledge of all products. Rather, you should establish clusters of employees who have deep, specialized knowledge within a certain category and can support customers in a more efficient and effective manner.  This concept is similar to patients who are referred to a medical specialist such as a dermatologist or a rheumatologist versus a general medical practitioner.

So, back to the strategy for staying healthy at Thanksgiving…This year, I will remain on the other side of the room from the artichoke dip during appetizer hour. That’s been my downfall in the past. Whatever you are celebrating at this time of year, stay safe and stay healthy!

“The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by EMC and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of EMC nor does it constitute any official communication of EMC.”

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