Back in the distant days of the 1990’s Information Technology was beginning to emerge as being the primary industry of our modern world. It was in about 1995 that the public became increasingly interested with computing, and the social benefits of participating with the ‘Net’, but the places they worked in also began to implement computer networks and systems, they were called on to learn new ways of keeping records, accounting, producing documents and even corresponding.
The computer networks became more sophisticated, and the software likewise became more detailed and demanding from the people who were compelled to use it.
The desktop computer became ubiquitous on every desk, mobile laptops were being adopted by executives, and then mobile phones also became the default standard tools of modern business.
These increasingly complex computer networks could not simply be installed, and then used: networks require constant monitoring, adjustment, configuration, repair, updating, patching, added-to, in short the ‘IT’ industry matured into becoming the largest service industry in human history.
The enormous numbers of business computer users generated a huge demand for ‘Support’, people each have a different level of ‘digital literacy’ and computer savvy, plus the devices and environments they have to work with also demand constant support and maintenance.
All of this has meant that ‘IT Support’ has developed into becoming a computer specialisation; department managers and business owners now have to set aside a considerable budget for this; if your staff cannot use their technology then production comes to a halt and no revenue is coming in.
Today we are understanding that ‘Support’ involves many different skill sets, not all of these are technical in nature, the accomplished IT Support operator has to be socially switched on, sensitive to the specific demands of the environment they operate with, they have to be able to account for many different levels of digital literacy and responses to technology in addition to being proficient with the technology being employed.
The simple truth about Information Technology is that ‘Support’ is the most critical skill set, we can always obtain back-end skills and engineering chops from outsourced sources, but the on-site and specific support is usually best if locally available, the correct language and cultural context is the most successful.