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The wicked complexity of technical IT support

If life — or your IT infrastructure and the people who use it — were perfect, you’d never need to worry about technical support.

Of course, life and IT infrastructures are far from perfect. But life goes on, and you have to make sure your infrastructure does, too.

Not that long ago, you could hire a couple people to keep your IT infrastructure humming. Lately, though, infrastructures have become more than just complicated; they now embody wicked complexity.

And yes, that’s a technical term, one that describes forms of complexity now inherent in the sort of IT infrastructures organizations must have to function competitively. IT infrastructures have become wickedly complex environments because they are rampant with wicked problems — which is to say, problems that:

  • Are unique;
  • Are symptoms of other problems;
  • Can’t be solved using traditional processes;
  • Have no stopping rule — i.e., the search for mitigations (rather than “solutions”) never ceases because there’s always another potential problem, and another potential mitigation;
  • Have better or worse (rather than true or false) mitigations — and when these mitigations are implemented, they generate consequences that can’t be undone and that can, over time, behave in unexpected ways; and
  • Aren’t understood until a mitigation has been found.

Wicked complexity is everywhere in IT environments.

For instance, as your organization sought ways to improve employee collaboration and interaction with customers, you offered much increased communications speed/availability and far greater interactivity between platforms — only to see people overwhelmed by messages from multiple streams, too much of it malicious. Efforts to “solve” the overload generate the costly overhead of new problems: automated rules with too many loopholes, help desks forever doing password resets, employees attempting to manage floods of emails, etc.

Similar wicked complexity infuses IT infrastructure, and its care and feeding, at all levels. And it’s here to stay.

To mitigate problems spawned of this sort of wicked complexity, you’ll need to consider people aspects, process aspects, and technology aspects equally.

Where to look for wickedly complex IT infrastructure support

What’s the most cost-effective way to ensure your wickedly complex IT infrastructure gets the round-the-clock technical support it requires?

You’ll definitely need access to ever-evolving, leading-edge expertise, so unless you have very deep pockets, the best way to get it is to engage a proven managed services provider. And you’ll want to find one with IT experts that have experience across the IT infrastructure spectrum — because that provider operates wickedly complex data centers and offers a wide range of wickedly complex cloud and managed services.

I also believe it’s important for such a provider to have a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of IT infrastructure support challenges, and they’ll only have that after years of experience.

IT infrastructure support solutions

My advice is to look for a provider with IT support offerings that include:

  • An umbrella support plan which delivers operational support while an assessment is conducted to determine ways to improve your infrastructure
  • A 24 x 7 x 365 technical on-call support service that knows all about your IT operations upfront so that when you need help, the experts are prepared to respond quickly and effectively
  • Two levels of U.S.-managed 24 x 7 x 365 technical help desk support on software and hardware products from certified, frontline-support technicians.

Until next time,

Tim

Tim Burke
Meet the Author

Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.