Who you gonna call? IT support!When you have a problem, who you gonna call? Even though you probably just said “Ghostbusters!” (at least, I hope you did… even if you only said it in your head), you’re usually going to call tech support.

The person on the other end is there to listen to your problem and solve your issues. They do this day-in and day-out, for thousands of users.

Support is a powerful, multifaceted hub: it can fix or improve products, reduce future customer requests and boost customer satisfaction. But is this feedback actually making its way back to product development?

We set out on a mission to see if tech support and development teams were collaborating. To kick it off, we commissioned a never-been-done-before study with HDI, the largest association for technical support professionals, boasting 150,000 members.

“The nature of support’s role, working first-hand with end users to resolve technological issues, gives them unique insight into the impact on end users from any given release, as well as general end-user needs, issues, and expectations,” says Jenny Rains, Senior Research Analyst at HDI.

Here are five surprising insights about DevOps and tech support:

1. 73% of support teams are dissatisfied with their current level of involvement with development

unhappychatbubble-narrowmarginsThe research team found that most tech support teams were only involved in development post-release.

In fact, 99% of tech professionals report that being unprepared for releases is a challenge to their team. “Support teams need to be engaged much sooner. Hand-off from development to support is spotty, there is limited documentation with no defined standards, and sometimes the support teams are as caught by surprise by changes being pushed into production as everyone else is,” claims one survey respondent.

Un-fun fact: 73% of support teams are dissatisfied with their current level of involvement with development.

2. Only 28% use a tool that integrates with development’s tool

How can you know what’s going on when you’re flying blind? Most support teams said they aren’t able to view updates tracked in the development/QA tool.

According to HDI, knowledge management is the second-most required technology to provide successful end-user support. But only 41% of organizations share knowledge between support and development.

3. 51% don’t have an effective change management processchange management

And what about change management? HDI reports that it’s the second-most widely used ITSM process, and helps organizations manage system changes. While 89% of organizations have a change management process implemented, only 49% have one that works.

According to Gartner, 80% of incidents are due to changes. It’s important that changes are handled effectively. Otherwise, there are more incidents, more problems, and more support needed. Organizations with a successful change management process saw more involvement in all stages of development – from pre-development, to testing, and even post-release.

4. 21% have adopted DevOps in some areas of operations and development

DevOps is a movement that’s only getting bigger. It’s still in a widespread adoption phase, but there’s a lot to be excited about. We found that there was a smaller adoption of DevOps practices within tech support, sitting at only 21%. But, those adopting DevOps reap the rewards.

5. Those who have adopted DevOps practices see positive impacts

DevOps is a movement that rooted in a mission to improve collaboration between IT and development, but has expanded to champion cross-functional collaboration throughout the entire company. When asked, 21% of the organizations have adopted DevOps in at least some areas. Those that had fully adopted DevOps reported positive impacts on several areas of support:

  • Change management cycle time
  • Release management cycle time
  • Communication within IT
  • Job satisfaction
  • Support’s ability to help end-users

“While support is commonly notified after software is operationalized, the entire organization could benefit from support’s continuous visibility and involvement in the development process from beginning to end,” Rains said. HDI detailed their findings in “The Scoop on Technical Support and Development”.

In other words, working more closely with developers might make your job easier. Check out this snazzy infographic for more insights:

DevOps and IT infographic


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5 surprising insights about DevOps and tech support