How IT can solve for the pressure of supporting work anywhere

How IT can solve for the pressure of supporting work anywhere


In Brief:

  • Employees spent 11% more time on laptops, smartphones or tablets in 2020, according to the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey. The survey polled 10,080 full-time in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific between November and December 2020.
  • More than half of respondents say they use personally obtained apps or web services for collaboration, and 55% use personally owned devices for work some of the time.
  • As a response to the changes in work patterns, IT must ensure tools and processes can support work from any device and location, said Stuart Downes, senior director analyst at Gartner. "People will be working anywhere now, and they'll be working anywhere in the future," said Downes, speaking at the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit Monday.


Employees gained tech savvy after the remote work transition, with 18% of workers grading themselves as digital technology experts after the COVID-19 crisis. Over half would say they're proficient at it, according to the survey.

But workers who have seen productivity decrease blame connectivity issues and technology changes as the main culprit, a sign that IT is increasingly responsible for upholding operations — which in turn has taken an emotional toll on tech workers.

Leaders must think about how to improve IT support under a work-from-anywhere model, according to Downes. 

"The challenge here is that support was traditionally done through face-to-face contact," said Downes. "That's not possible in a work-from-home model, or in a model where employees might work from home two days a week, and come to the office three days a week."

To reduce the physical friction of "anywhere" tech support, IT departments can move to cloud-based unified endpoint management solutions and enable remote access capabilities.

The next step is to lower the frequency of minor issues that hamper operations. Two-thirds of enterprise decision makers say an outage has caused their business to lose productivity, according to data from LogicMonitor.

"To reduce the number of incidents you need to go back to basics," said Downes. "Go into your incident records and look for common problems and engineer those problems out of the environments." 

With the analytics capabilities of unified endpoint management solutions, leaders can access insights into user experience and the performance of devices. It can also show which faults can be solved centrally and where the IT support bottlenecks are.

Teams can put in the work to deploy an IT support model that is "more self-healing, much more focused on self-help," and lets users access support portals or applications," according to Downes.

And while some IT departments turned to automation last year, there's still room to enhance the IT support function with more automation.

"Automate like mad," said Downes. "Make sure that the automation that you do is driven by an understanding of what needs to be automated, use the data from your systems to help identify what should be automated ... and constantly attack the automation targets that will return most value."

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