Oct 28, 2022

Microland Invisible Onsite Support – The New Avatar of the Field Support Model in the New Normal

Largely, any changes in the workplace are caused by disruptions in technology and process maturity. However, Covid-19 caused disruptions that brought along new ways of working in the workplace services and pushed every organization to adopt digital platforms in a shorter time. While workplaces have gone through tremendous changes, the changes in onsite support are long-lasting. Traditionally, onsite support is in-person, hands-on, hardware-focused, and within physical proximity to work. This high-touch model has been rendered ineffective in this new normal. Onsite support is gradually shifting to a Remote-only or Just-in-time support model. This has led to the need for in-person deskside support becoming an Exception and remote-only support becoming mainstream. This is what we refer to as invisible onsite support.

While it sounds like a paradox, there are multiple reasons why we say onsite support is morphing into this invisible support model. There are strong factors that drive invisible support and a few exception scenarios which still demand physical onsite support. This drift can result in rich employee experience, employee productivity, faster resolutions, and low operational costs to name a few.

Factors driving INVISIBLE onsite support - HIGH TECH

  • Remote working is a long-term reality. The prediction is that there will be nearly 31% of employees permanently work remotely going forward. So, there is every need to look for avenues to provide remote or just-in-time support for this remote workforce. Most companies that opt for a hybrid work model complemented by an uptick in employees connecting remotely have observed an improvement in their collaboration and communication objectives. In line with it, employee support should also happen remotely which can be a true measure of the digital employee experience.
  • Adoption of digital workplace technologies such as seat booking apps, space utilization tracking, workplace apps, etc, enable organizations to manage shared spaces instead of dedicated offices. It further reduces the demand for office spaces and results in a reduced need for physical onsite support. The irony is, that it increases the demand for remote resolution.  
  • Uberization of Onsite support is another flavor of the season. Today’s millennials and gen Z workforce do not prefer to take valuable time away from work waiting for an onsite technician. These tech-savvy, internet-centric, mobile-first workforces rely more on an easier way of availing onsite support by scheduling appointments as and when they require the service vis-à-vis having a technician at the site and being unproductive in many cases.
  • Proliferation of remote diagnostic tools such as device monitoring, application monitoring, self-heal, and analytics tools empower remote teams, including the first level Service Desk to reduce the need for an engineer to travel onsite and resolve remotely within no time. This not only reduces the overall costs but facilitates faster resolutions
  • Modern device management tools such as autopilot, Unified endpoint management, cloud-based app provisioning, and device management have changed the way we deliver workplace services. Unlike earlier, when a technician was required to do imaging and take data backup in case of software and hardware refresh, today these are much more simplified with reduced need for physical onsite support. These tasks can be taken care of through self-service by the end users themselves or with assistance from a remote technician.

Factors driving physical onsite support – HIGH TOUCH

  • Employee experience through personal touch plays a major role in defining the employee experience. While most users are comfortable with remote support and self-service options, Gen X and Baby boomers still prefer physical in-person support for a superior experience. In certain cases, the business demands personal touch which comes with exorbitant costs.
  • The physical proximity of the work is another lesson that the pandemic has taught us. A novel way of looking at workplace roles is - the roles that require a high level of physical proximity to their end customers and colleagues vis-à-vis the roles that do not require that physical proximity would still require onsite support. However, the shift to remote work is limited to some industries and other industries like manufacturing, retail, and hospitality have not shifted to remote working and still need physical onsite support.
  • The size of the organization plays a significant role in this transformation to invisible onsite support. While larger organizations have the scope for optimizing their onsite footprint and adopting invisible support, small and medium organizations would require physical onsite support to foster their business users, VIP users, shift coverage, etc.
  • Device complexity and business processes are other dimensions to look at to understand the demand for physical onsite support. The employees in hybrid workspaces increasingly rely on multiple digital assets for a highly productive and seamless experience. This makes the workplace environment more complex with higher dependencies on applications and processes.
  • Market demand for physical onsite support is another interesting factor to look at it. It is estimated that the market size of onsite support contributes 14-16% with +/-  2% yearly growth in the overall digital workplace services. It indicates that onsite support won’t go extinct, but it is going to take a new avatar by transforming from traditional “High-Touch” support to “High-Tech” support.

How is Microland leading the change from a High Touch to High Tech support in the INVISIBLE support model?

Microland has invested in platforms and tools that allow engineers to provide support invisibly from remote work locations. Partnering with leading workplace and virtualization service providers, upskilling people, and upgrading processes, Microland’s Invisible Onsite Support service offerings enable a seamless transition to fully remote support services. We leverage technologies such as advanced analytics, IoT, and smartphones to move from a state of reactive to predictive onsite support. Our range of services includes:

  • Onsite support from reactive to predictive reduces incidents by 30%: Proactive identification of issues is the key requisite for organizations, necessitating the need for more remote support. To this end, the onsite support staff must be empowered with intelligent and collaborative tools to resolve end-user issues quickly and effectively, to positively impact productivity and customer experience. In the era of evolving technologies, there are myriad tools for identifying end-user device issues before they even occur.  
  • Intel vPro for 100% remote support: This service offering provides augmented out-of-band remote support for the remote workforce by leveraging the inbuilt functionality available on Intel vPro chipsets that are present in most new-age devices. This solution offers our onsite support team the ability to manage hardware and software issues remotely such as OS repair, BSOD, Device drivers, and hardware failures which otherwise cannot be performed without physically accessing the end-user device. Enterprises can therefore enjoy end-to-end device management with 50% reduced onsite visits. It not only helps increase user productivity but also reduces onsite costs significantly.
  • smartAnalytics improving 20% of employee productivity: Microland’s analytics platform, smartAnalytics, improve Digital Employee Experience and employee productivity by arming service desk engineers with greater insights into end-user devices and analytical data which includes both historical and real-time data. Unlike traditional service desk services, our engineers leverage this data to resolve issues remotely thereby reducing onsite dependency.
  • Real-time Video Support: We leverage another modern technology to reduce onsite dependency and increase remote resolution. A live-streaming video adds a visual dimension to the communication between the end user and the technician. In this solution, when the end-user calls for support, the engineer sends a link to the user’s mobile to capture the video of the device issue and attach it to the Ticket. Integrated with an ITSM platform, the ticket is routed with a video/image of the hardware issue enabling faster and remote resolution.
  • Zero-touch services: The futuristic solutions that are utilizing zero-touch in some capacities today are expected to grow in the coming years ahead.
  1. Digital Lockers: Microland’s Digital locker service offers automated IMAC (Install, Move, Add and Change) and Break-fix solutions. We identify potential sites which can have digital lockers in place of dedicated onsite support while most of the work is done by remote teams using remote solutions. This service reduces the onsite staff, thus driving cost optimization. Locations with larger user populations can also be potential sites for these services to improve the user experience further and automate the complete onboarding process.
  2. Proliferation of IoT: IoT solutions for enhanced touchless support such as Asset Tracking, Meeting room bookings, hot-desking, etc has a significant impact on onsite support. Utilizing IoT and telematics can anticipate future events and find ways to resolve them remotely by reducing the onsite visit.
  3. AR/VR support: Augmented reality tools such as Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens can enable better troubleshooting. We are constantly scouting for opportunities and leveraging the AR/VR use cases in a specific niche.
  4. Virtual tech bars and Virtual Clinics: We are working with our partners to come up with virtual tech bars and virtual clinics for specific domains to enable remote support.
  • Digital Assistants: Digital assistants are advanced chatbots that are more smart, functional, and accurate with advances in AI (artificial intelligence), NLP (natural language processing), and machine learning. Apart from being used as a customer connect-connect tool, digital assistants are increasingly gaining popularity in the space of employee self-service. These are capable of automating employee services and enhancing the service management experience. Instead of spending their time on tedious manual processes related to self-services, employees can use the digital assistant to handle simple tasks thereby reducing the dependency on the onsite support staff.
  • Mobile app technology: Customer-connect apps, field service management apps, work order management apps, and customized apps are gaining popularity. Field service management apps facilitate mobility for the onsite workforce by enabling them with on-the-move capacities. Even customers demand the convenience facilitated by these apps, such as online booking of services, ticket raising, on-site invoicing and billing, customer account management, etc. Onsite dispatch apps are soon to become, if not already, indispensable digital tools necessary for automating onsite support workflow and standardizing processes so that operational costs can be reduced, and services can be delivered remotely.

Microland POV

Certainly, the onsite support is dominated by technologies like AI, ML, IoT, AR and VR, and Cloud and mobility solutions, and will take the future invisible model. These technologies will give rise to new work trends and will force organizations to make a change in the way they provide onsite support to their users.

Another factor that we have not touched on but is undoubtedly a critical one is the pressure to drive down costs. Organizations must adopt one or more factors to move to invisible onsite support models. However, as we are in an EXPERIENCE AGE, where the Employee experience is the key to any digital transformation initiative, the onsite support has no exception to it.

Microland offers a “Red Carpet Service” which is aimed at elevating employee experience through the High-Touch model. Organizations should strike a balance between High-touch Vs High-Tech support and choose the right support model. Also, this change should encompass user training and persona preferences without which any support model does not result in the ultimate end-user experience. 

About the Author

Mahesh Gupta, AVP - Global CSO Leader, Digital Workplace. Mahesh is a highly accomplished professional with over 25 years of experience in Digital Workplace Services. At Microland, Mahesh owns the Digital Workplace Practice and go-to-market offerings.

Yamini Machiraju, Solutions Director, Digital Workplace. Yamini Sarath has over 20+ years of experience in the IT Infrastructure Management space and has played various roles in Service Creation, Service Delivery, Service Management Consulting, and Solution Engineering. As a Solution Director of Digital Workplace Services, he is responsible for building service capabilities in the areas of Employee Experience, Employee productivity, and performance improvements. Yamini is responsible for bringing innovative ideas and initiatives and also enabling Microland Delivery teams and pre-sales to work in unison and speak the same language to the prospect.