If industry pundits and trade publications are to be believed, all of the changes in technology – like the emergence of ‘cloud’ computing, mobility, consumerization, etc. – have resulted in the death of desktop support organizations.
There is no one in the IT arena that has a better idea of the actual impact of technology to the business than a dedicated desktop support professional. They often have close relationships with their customers, and are on the front lines of knowing exactly how changes to technology will affect them. It has been my experience – and I have a very long tenure in support operations – that the ‘ivory tower’ teams in IT, such as engineering, app development, etc. often make decisions based on their own convenience, assuming that if a change makes things better or easier for them, then it makes things better for the client as well. Support operations will try to provide their feedback, but are often ignored to the detriment of the user experience.
An organization that doesn’t leverage the important client knowledge in the support organization is doing itself a huge disservice.
This is not to say that 2nd level support won’t have to change. Incoming technologies will certainly impact how support operations will address problems. And I’d remove the ‘desktop’ part of the name, since the days when we only supported a desktop PC is long past. But an evolution of the support team is far from ‘death.’ If you lead a support team, it is critical that you and your team become familiar with incoming technologies. Begin to position yourself for supporting them by marketing the experience of your support team to the appropriate levels of leadership. Make them aware that you exist and are capable of doing far more than ‘fixing’ a broken computer.
The world is changing, but with preparation the support teams will not only survive, but thrive.