Tips to Handle the Flood of IT Support Requests as the Technology Landscape Shifts

After an extended spring break, higher education students were presented with closed campuses and many of their classes moved to an online format for the rest of the semester. Institutions around the world are now forced to find creative ways to use technology resources to combat the increasingly severe operational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest challenges facing organizations is the mounting pressure on IT departments to deliver increased support as online learning and remote connectivity demands rise.

Given these challenges, what can institutions do to handle the growing IT help desk support requests?

Augment IT Staff

When IT tickets surge and support requests flood current staff, institutions should look to augment their teams with additional personnel through a partnership with a trusted managed service provider. Leveraging additional help desk services can help institutions provide a centralized resource to answer IT-related questions, troubleshoot problems, and facilitate solutions to known issues.

Generally, requests for assistance from students, faculty, and staff are triaged and assigned to the appropriate level of support. Level 1 requests are commonly identified as routine incidents that can be resolved quickly, while resolving a level 3 issue may require high-level technical expertise. Working with a managed service provider can help institutions free up some of their internal staff to focus less on remedial issues and more on mission-critical projects, such as helping move courses online, increasing security, or rolling out new online learning software updates.

Additional support resources from a managed service provider can help institutions handle the influx of calls and emails for support. An experienced third party can also provide deep domain expertise to solve complex network and server issues. Since online learning and remote work has been deployed at a scale never seen before, many institutions do not have the internal resources to resolve issues associated with this new environment.

With an augmented IT staff, an institution’s help desk should be able to tackle a broad range of requests, including:

  • Troubleshooting slow devices
  • Diagnosing and fixing failing web services
  • Restoring VPN connectivity
  • Addressing ERP requests and issues
  • Handling email and connectivity issues
  • Resolving server hardware failures

Extend Support Hours

Most IT help desk personnel are trained in client support and encouraged to work through and close every ticket as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, challenges can arise during periods of crisis, limiting the availability of personnel. By working with a proven managed services provider, institutions can essentially extend their hours of operations and make support staff more widely available.

Having IT help desk personnel available 24/7/365 is important when an institution is operating during a crisis like COVID-19, which has made the “always-on” connectivity demand even more of a reality. In some cases, constituents may be broadband constrained during regular working hours, meaning they can only get online in the evenings. In other situations, students may work late into the night to complete coursework rather than getting up early in the morning to get help. Institutions should take steps to ensure their IT support teams are always available, especially since this generation of students are the first digital natives that expect rapid and reliable assistance around the clock.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the higher education landscape, institutions can look to trusted managed services partners to expand their IT capabilities, augment staff, and make resources more readily available to students, faculty, and other staff. With expanded IT help desk support services, institutions may be able to navigate the crisis with fewer technology complications.

Jenzabar Managed Services

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