Different Tiers of IT Support

IT support is an internal service that supports clients of certain technologies or services. This may be for hardware, software, firmware, security, configuration, and network technologies. A typical IT support service includes the following components:

The IT technical support service offers three basic tiers of support. They are desk support, executive support, and remote support. These support tiers are differentiated according to the level of technological expertise of the IT technical personnel providing the service.

IT support desk support is the first tier of the technical service team. The desk support team provides general technical assistance to the customer according to the level of IT expertise of the customer. In the case of larger companies, a number of people may be assigned to this role. The service desk employees are typically very technical and may specialize in one or more IT areas.

Technical Support Team and remote Support Staff

Executive support is the second tier of the technical support team. The head of the executive support staff will receive requests from customers for consultation and assistance. Once the request is received, it will be escalated to the next level of the technical support staff. In larger companies, the executive support team may consist of a handful of employees. This group can specialize in a particular IT area such as firmware or security issues.

Remote support staff is the third tier of the IT technical support staff structure. The technicians employed by a remote support staff are responsible for providing assistance to a customer’s desktop, laptop, or server. A typical technician may include one or two operators. They are usually stationed in a data center with access to other technicians located in various locations around the world. They may include network specialists, telephone technicians, and fax servers.

Knowledge Base articles are the fourth tier of the IT technical support system. These articles provide information about software applications, manuals, and support information. They allow a single point of contact for questions to a large number of people. Because of their low cost, they are used in small business as well as larger corporations.

Technical trainings are the fifth tier of the support team structure. These trainings generally focus on a specific IT technical issue such as network configuration or troubleshooting. They can also be used to teach employees’ basic skills in using Microsoft technologies. IT technical training may include short sessions lasting only a few hours or a series of seminars lasting several days. Some organizations conduct short-term training courses during major holidays or during the school year, while others have regular refresher courses that are offered to employees on an annual basis.

The Four Components To IT Support

The final IT support system that is commonly implemented involves the utilization of a knowledge base forum. This forum provides a centralized location for IT users to access articles, suggestions, and other information related to IT support. Knowledge base forums are usually hosted by IT staff members who are also involved with customer satisfaction initiatives. Forums make it easier for employees to share ideas, information, and best practices so that everyone is able to benefit from the improved level of service provided by their IT support.

There are four components to IT support that fall into the first tier of the knowledge management system: self-service, integrated support, and integrated database management. Self-service involves contacting the customer directly via telephone or through email to determine the needs of the customer and to set up a customized solution to resolve the problem. For organizations that have traditional IT staff, this process typically occurs during the business day or at the end of the workday. For businesses that utilize telecommuting, self-service may occur at the beginning or end of the workday depending on the working conditions of the location.

Integrated support involves using IT technology to automate certain processes and to also collect data about the types of user issues that are being experienced. Information about user issues and IT service request numbers is often collected in a help desk software application that is installed on the organization’s network. A number of web-based tools are available to IT support staff that can be used to consolidate IT service requests, generate an IT service request tracking report, and generate an IT service request management report. Many of these tools are available for a minimal cost to the IT support staff and IT support technicians.

Resolving the Most Complex IT Issues

Knowledge management bases can be used to collect information about user issues as well. Knowledge bases can be constructed to store user knowledge, generate reports based on the stored knowledge bases, and send an email to the IT staff when a user knowledge base requires updating. Knowledge base applications can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of these applications will allow users to post questions on a help forum, create discussion groups, and create a mailing list. Forums and discussion groups are used to aggregate IT professionals in a specific area. Mailing lists are used to send customized, one-time email messages to users that have requested additional information regarding a particular IT service request.

The final tier of IT support is the tier 3 technical team. This team consists of people who are specifically trained to resolve the most complex IT problems. Some of the tasks performed by these technicians include diagnosis, modification, mitigation, testing, maintenance, optimization, and recovery. These staff members may work directly with an IT manager or someone else in the department to execute this IT support process.