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Scoring the right IT support in a wicked-problem world

cybersecurity incident response

Like all organizations, necessity prompts those in the public sector to embrace and integrate new information technologies that bring change to the infrastructures central to their staff and stakeholders.

Increasingly, these new technologies have been introduced to help address complex wicked problems, which are not only unique but also are actually symptoms of still other problems that defy traditional solution processes.

Because of these characteristics, a wicked problem has no “stopping rule” since digging into the nest of problems of which it is a part always leads to another, undiscovered mitigation that generates consequences which can’t be undone and that can, over time, behave in unexpected ways.

People who use new technologies are immersed in this sort of wickedly complexity, and as they cope with the altered processes, rules, and norms these technologies impose, they encounter new kinds of problems triggered by conflicting interests and contradictory needs.

So the help and support such IT users need can require levels of flexibility and expertise that tax overworked resources within public sector bureaucracies and hierarchies.

Why wicked (and not-so-wicked) problems need technical support

Tackling the problems spawned by changing technologies — which sometimes involve simple problems, or sometimes quite complex problems that signal the presence of much deeper issues — requires technical support expertise and experience that spans the IT gamut, from systems integration, network management, application development, security, and a great deal more.

You can attempt to build and staff an in-house technical support operation to handle it all, of course. But unless you give it nearly constant care and feeding so the team of experts keeps up with technological change and security threats, its cost-effectiveness will quickly plummet.

You may well be better off bringing in a third-party technical support services provider.

Deploying the right IT support solutions for your agency

Chief among the reasons to engage a trusted third-party technical support services provider is the uncomplicated access you can get to leading-edge IT expertise whenever your staff and stakeholders need it.

Look for an IT support provider with a range of IT infrastructure capabilities, thanks to extensive experience running complex data centers and offering complex cloud and managed services. That provider’s technical support services should include…

  • An umbrella support plan that includes a couple of different elements: first, a period of encompassing operational IT infrastructure support; and second, an assessment conducted during the support period that figures out ways your infrastructure can be improved so you can then decide what’s worth pursuing;
  • A technical on-call support service running 24 x 7 x 365 that onboards your agency up front and knows all about your IT operations — so when you need help, the appropriate experts already understand your issues and can respond accordingly, including any necessary issue escalation; and
  • A dual-level, U.S.-managed technical help-desk comprised of certified frontline-support technicians — available either 8 x 5 or 24 x 7 x 365, as you require — who can handle a broad spectrum of IT support problems, from internet/network connectivity and password resets to operating system and desktop applications, and more.
Amy Comi
Meet the Author

Amy Comi, Government Liaison

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Government