Future data-driven businesses depend on IT tech support teams focused on both internal and external customer success. These IT tech support teams will be more fully integrated into the overall horizontal workflow of business units. They function as catalysts for LOB teams to transition and transform into data-driven LOB teams. Their enhanced role drives value through the organization.
What value do IT tech support teams create in the current LOB equation?
Traditionally, Line-of-Business (LOB) IT tech support teams act as liaisons between technical and business professionals. They work with end users of software and systems to extract increased operational efficiency, define functional (user-generated) requirements, translate requirements into technical specifications and create, manage and implement these projects.
The key word in the preceding paragraph is “liaisons.” It sounds like “order-takers.”
How many IT tech support team members are hired based on their ability to be equally conversant when discussing technical aspects of a project as well as business decision- making aspects? Typically, IT tech support teams are heavy on the tech expertise side of the business equation. Typically, LOB end users are heavy on the non-technical expertise side of the business equation.
This traditional environment creates a communication conundrum negatively impacting business value creation. This current environment is both a workforce and corporate cultural issue impacting customer success. This current environment marginalizes IT tech support teams from playing a major role in LOB value creation.
Recent studies emphasize the importance of creating a competitive, high-performing data-driven culture. That is the ideal. The reality is that many line of business employees continue to struggle with wholeheartedly embracing and continuously utilizing data and analytics in their daily activities. LOB users are described as sporadic and indiscriminate when it comes to extracting, managing and interpreting data from reliable sources when creating real-time business insights.
The focus of these studies is on the importance (and difficulty) of leveraging employee engagement in the data-driven company. However, none of these studies mentions the critical (or any) role of their IT tech support teams in customer success, as measured by successful and impactful data and analytics usage across business units.
Future Line of Business IT tech support teams are customer success catalysts.
The composition of future IT technical support teams is a function of corporate culture, holistic hiring strategy and enlightened IT management and leadership.
When IT technical support teams function as strategic assets, rather than tactical point-of-service delivery ones, they catalyze the success of an engaged and educated workforce. Workflow becomes fluid, cross-functional and collaborative, not only in the parent organization but in the customer’s organization as well.
Customer success (internal and external) builds upon IT tech support teams as catalysts instead of “liaisons.” IT tech support team members become:
- observers of user behavior and trends;
- the ultimate source of Voice of the Customer data for business units;
- translators of observations into product and service innovation; and
- collaborators for leveraging data and analytics in the creation of business value.
That enhanced role is light years beyond functioning solely on operational efficiency and project management activities.
What role does your current IT tech support team play? What role do they need to play in the future?
Take your company’s strategic pulse regarding how IT tech support teams are hired and deployed across business units. Do these support teams remain marginalized from business strategy, functioning solely as tactical problem-solvers called in to “fix” user-generated errors? Are these “fixers” measured in terms of the speed with which they resolve the problem and whether, or not, the user is “satisfied”?
The bigger question is how your IT tech support teams can become embedded, active members of line of business teams, ensuring that data and analytics utilization become daily – and not dreaded – business habits across your entire workforce. LOB members become more comfortable and conversant with data. They, in turn, become catalysts for your IT tech support team members to become more conversant and comfortable with business decision-making.
This future strategy impacts hiring habits for both IT tech support and line of business teams. Team members are hired for their strategic value and ability to work cross-functionally and collaboratively.
IT tech support teams are not absent in this innovative business equation. Rather, IT tech support teams enhance line of business value.
Babette Ten Haken is a management consultant, strategist and coach. She is the Founder and President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. Babette has one of the most distinctive voices in today’s workforce, professional development and customer success communities. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical employees. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.
Image author: JJAVA, Image Source: Fotolia.