No big surprise here: the number of support tickets increased again last year, following the same trend it has for nearly a decade. More than 57% of organizations reported an increase in ticket volume in 2018, according to the latest HDI Technical Support Practices & Salary Report.

The question is, why? It seems clear that end users are now fully acclimatized to using technology in the workplace, so what’s triggering this very consistent increase in support incidents and issues?

It comes down to three factors:

Greater complexity in the technology environment. Nearly 50% of organizations are supporting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, with more businesses following suit to stay competitive. These IoT devices scan, measure, and report on the network, adding a whole new world of support issues to manage.

Greater dependency on technology. In the olden days (meaning just a few decades ago) some companies were able to do business without much technology at all. Today, it’s a different story. Now every company relies on technology, even neighborhood mom-and-pop shops. At the very least, these businesses have a payment processing device with Internet connectivity and maintain an online marketing presence. With this dependency on technology comes a dependency on support.

Greater number of devices. Take a snapshot at any office or airport terminal and you’re likely to see how technology has essentially taken over every aspect of our lives. Each person is likely carrying a variety of mobile phones, tablets, laptops, wearables – even portable projectors and printers. With more devices comes more possibility of something going wrong.

All of the above adds up to a greater demand for good support. But an increase in tickets doesn’t directly correlate with an increase in budget for the companies that provide support.

How do support teams handle the pressure of increased demand and complexity without staffing up or spending more money? This is where the popular and successful concept of Shift Left – the practice of shifting complex tasks that are traditionally escalated to higher support tiers to the “left” into lower support tiers, including customer self-service – comes in. Shifting left alleviates the pressure on developer or network administrator teams by empowering frontline support technicians and end users to resolve as many issues as possible.

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Resolving issues closer to the customer is an excellent way to save time and cost. But putting Shift Left into practice doesn’t happen overnight. Here are three ways to lay the groundwork for implementing Shift Left in your organization:

  1. Knowledge Base Brush-up

Bring your knowledge base up to speed. An up-to-date, easy-to-search, and quick-to-access knowledge base is key to empowering users and technicians to resolve more complex issues without needing to escalate to higher-touch tiers. Your knowledge base should be current and well maintained, even if it’s internal-facing only.

  1. Authorization Modification

Give Level 1 technicians broader authorization. Unlock access normally granted to higher support tiers for Level 1 technicians so that they can get into the systems they need to solve bigger requests. For example, if it’s always been the responsibility of Level 2 to assign people to Active Directory groups, that access should be handed down to Level 1.

  1. Access to Remote Support Tools

Arm teams with remote support tools that take some of the pressure off. For example, these remote support tools can automatically route specific requests to the right technicians using built-in roles and permissions, resulting in less deskside travel and greater first-contact resolution.

Want more insight on Shift Left and tips on how to handle your growing support queue? Check out the HDI report: The Importance of Remote Support in a Shift-Left World.