If you have recently reached out to an IT service provider looking for support, you have likely been introduced to the “new normal” in IT customer service: waiting in line. From help desk and troubleshooting at prominent SaaS vendors, to attracting and hiring field technicians and engineers, the talent pool has gotten shallower since early 2020—in what McKinsey & Company terms “the great attrition.” One thing is certain: The way that companies get work done has changed, and it is difficult to predict when—if ever—work methods will return to what they were before the pandemic.
Work in a State of Evolution
For our data center customers, this has meant an even greater reliance on “remote hands” and other IT-related services. The percentage of outsourced work taking place inside the rack has increased over the past few years. For several pandemic-related reasons, the need for on demand “smart hands” or “remote hands” services has grown considerably. Our Ascent Business Development teams have stated that we are having 2 or 3 times as many conversations around our National IT Site Services and Smart Hands platforms as we did before the pandemic. Companies have lost a lot of good human resources in this area and are struggling to get an approved budget and source their replacements. For too many companies, this shifting landscape may be the result of either flexibility, time, workload—or all the above.
Evolving Work Models
First, let’s consider an example that speaks to flexibility. During the pandemic, mandates forced companies to rethink the workplace, and the work-from-home model quickly became the norm. Data center operators were ahead of the curve, with “virtual” or “lights out” facilities already becoming a goal a decade ago. With that said, the operators who staffed these facilities during the pandemic had to modify onsite schedules, with IT site services providing needed on-call, on-demand staffing to offset the absence of physical staff presence.
Evolving Work Windows
Now let’s talk about time. The pandemic changed expectations of time onsite and available work windows. Many IT workers did not return to a normal work week, which created staffing shortages for incident support and project-based move, add and change work in the data center. To fill the staffing gap, leveraging outsourced IT site services has become a means for companies to maintain their IT project schedules.
This all brings us to the concept of adaptation. Over the past three years, we have seen many companies adapt to drastic changes, including a significant impact to the workforce. The pandemic has been tied to a change in the available workforce. Finding qualified technical personnel to build data center IT teams has always been challenging, and the “great attrition” has only exacerbated this condition. In addition, many enterprises have more maintenance work windows than employee availability. Leveraging outsourced IT site services is a flexible way to respond to changes in the workforce and keep projects on schedule.