HDI, a membership association for help desk and IT service and support professionals, announced the 2009 Annual Practices & Salary Report, a comprehensive study that presents an overall look at the state of the IT support industry. The report shows that the technical support industry is working hard to maintain its commitment to the service and support of end-users and customers, despite the difficult economic backdrop.
Report highlights include:
--Even though support centers in general do not appear to be supporting more customers, the large majority of support centers continue to see an increase in their number of incidents. The leading contributor to increased incidents, once again, is attributed to changes in infrastructure and/or products.
--Self-help tools are the primary implementation initiative for 13 percent of support centers. This is up from 10 percent in 2008.
--The telephone continues to be the leading communication channel for incident management, followed by email. One-third of support centers respond to email incidents between 15 minutes and one hour and over one-third respond between one and four hours. Additionally, 70 percent of incidents are resolved with two or less email exchanges and fewer e-mail incidents are being converted to phone support than in 2008.
--The number of support centers whose employees are receiving bonuses is down five percent. Still, there are 19 percent of support centers whose management receives bonuses and 45 percent whose management and staff receive bonuses.
--Fewer support centers are outsourcing services in all areas except for one, hardware support and repair. The top reasons support centers are not outsourcing more are due to concerns about control of service, service quality, customer acceptance and then cost.
--Support managers foresee both hiring freezes and salary freezes in their support organizations. This is up 21.4 percent and 23.6 percent, respectively from 2008.
--Although the primary training focus for new hires is product knowledge, customer service remains the number one area that support staffs are being trained in overall. The Computer industry is currently providing the most training for its IT support staffs while Manufacturing and Retail provide very little.
--Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) seems to be particularly popular in Australia as well as large support centers and with those who provide internal support. Forty-three percent of support organizations are currently using or implementing ITIL and 21 percent are planning to implement some part of it.
--Sixty-five percent of support centers said that there is no direct charge to their customer for support services. This is up 5 percent from 2008.
--Sixty-three percent of support centers currently use Knowledge Management Software, while 20 percent are planning to add it. In addition, over 13 percent of support centers are calling it their primary initiative for tool implementation.
--While many support centers are embracing collaborative tools such as Share Point (30 percent) and Wikis (17.4 percent), they do not widely use social networking tools such as blogs, Linked IN, Twitter, Face Book, or My Space to provide support.