Software Support is changing: 4 ways to get ready

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If you follow the news about enterprise software support, you may have noticed increasing predictions that technical support will go through big changes in the coming years. A recent article in The Economist speculates that “unsourcing” (in other words, relying on contributions from user communities or other volunteers) may be the future of technical support. And the article quotes from analyst research showing that integrating user communities into support can reduce costs by up to 50%.

 

This model, in which customers help themselves, is also known as customer self solve (CSS). So will CSS or some version of unsourcing do away with the traditional call center? 

 

Customer self solve: coming but not here yet

As the head of HP Software Support, I’ve been following the unsourcing trend closely. In the short term, I believe the shift has been overestimated. Research taken at this year's HP Discoverevent indicated that only 15% of respondents would prefer to self-solve.

 

But as we look out to the year 2020, we see this trend growing. So how should you prepare for this future? Here are four things you can do, based on preparations that we’re making ourselves in the HP Software Support organization:

 

1. Shift your focus: As you plan for and develop your future service offerings, understand that minor break/fix remedies are not going to make up the majority of your software support case load.

 

2. Prepare for changing expectations: As technology shifts, so will expectations. In the near future, your customers  will demand new and more efficient support service tools. The use of online forums to self serve simple issues may be as common as today's social media use.

 

3. Don’t trust your core to the community: While the move to self-solve will help mitigate or settle non-critical incidents, this doesn’t eliminate the need for more hands-on support for complex business architectures. Mission-critical applications that cannot risk downtime still need traditional support and will remain a high priority in your service offerings.

 

4. Ramp up where it makes sense: Peer-to-peer communities may help reduce costs in many cases, but you may need to ramp up service offerings in some areas to meet changing needs. Maintain a reserve of top talent to deal with more demanding support cases and those that are too complex for community forums.

 

In the case of HP Software Support, we predict that by 2020 new trends in customer service will lead to more training for our teams in areas which may previously have been owned by technical architects. In fact, by 2020 the termsupportmay be replaced bytechnical partnership,technical leadershipor eventechnical consultancy.

 

To learn more about the trends affecting the future of IT, visit the Enterprise 20/20 ebook. To read more from Aileen, visit the HP Software Support blog.

 

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