Graham Burchell

In the landscape of modern business, the agility and efficiency of support functions are more critical than ever. Traditional escalation support models, characterised by their reliance on tiered support levels and manual intervention, have shown their limitations: they are typically slow, expensive, and can lead to significant downtime.

As corporations seek to streamline operations and foster a culture of continuous improvement, a paradigm shift is underway. The “shift left” approach to support is gaining traction, emphasising the importance of empowering users to resolve issues independently and leveraging automation to improve service efficiency. This strategy mitigates the shortcomings of traditional models but also accelerates the engagement with new technologies. Through the integration of self-service support functions and automation, businesses are creating a resilient framework that promotes continuous improvement and staff empowerment.

Empowering Through Self-Service

The implementation of self-service support functions is a cornerstone of the shift left strategy. By equipping employees with the tools and information they need to solve issues autonomously, organisations can dramatically reduce the volume of support tickets that escalate to higher, more costly tiers of support. Examples of self-service functionalities include comprehensive knowledge bases, AI-powered chatbots, and intuitive user interfaces that guide users through troubleshooting processes.

Self-service portals not only enable staff to quickly find solutions but also instil a sense of competence and autonomy, enhancing job satisfaction. The reduction in dependency on IT support for resolving minor issues allows IT teams to concentrate on strategic initiatives and tackle more complex problems, thereby improving overall operational efficiency.

Driving Efficiency with Automation

Automation is pivotal in optimising business processes, eliminating the need for manual intervention in both IT-related tasks and daily tasks performed by end users. Beyond streamlining IT support through automated ticket handling and virtual agents, automation extends its benefits to the wider workforce by taking over repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as manual data entry, data reconciliation, and routine report generation. This automation of end-user tasks significantly reduces the likelihood of human error, which is a common source of operational inefficiencies and IT support tickets.

By integrating intelligent automation tools, organisations can ensure that data is processed accurately and consistently, freeing employees from mundane tasks and allowing them to focus on higher-value activities. For instance, RPA can be deployed to automate financial processes, eliminating errors in data entry and speeding up the reconciliation of accounts. This not only enhances the accuracy of financial reporting but also reduces the workload on the finance team, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.

Moreover, automation tools equipped with AI capabilities can analyse patterns in data entry and processing, identifying opportunities for further optimisation and preventing issues before they arise. This proactive approach to managing workflow not only streamlines operations but also contributes to a continuous cycle of improvement, aligning perfectly with the shift-left philosophy.

Conclusion

The shift left approach marks a significant departure from traditional support models, emphasising the empowerment of employees through self-service and the strategic use of automation. By adopting these methodologies, organisations can overcome the inherent limitations of escalated support structures, reduce operational costs, and foster a proactive culture of continuous improvement.

The benefits of such an approach include not only improved efficiency and reduced downtime but also greater employee satisfaction and engagement with new technologies. In the journey towards digital transformation, embracing the principles of self-service and automation is essential for businesses aiming to stay competitive and adaptable in the fast-evolving corporate landscape.

 

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