Providing user support presents any number of challenges. What would you consider the biggest challenge facing IT professionals providing user support? What’s your biggest challenge?


We all have to face — and overcome — any number of challenges in the course of providing support for any number of users. One challenge might seem the greatest at one point in time, maybe even insurmountable, but over time, it’s undoubtedly replaced with another challenge — perhaps even a bigger one — when the circumstances change. I know this has been the case with me.

Over time, I would say that my greatest challenges have generally fallen into one of the following categories:

1. Time: There’s so much to do, and there’s no way I can get it all done within the allocated or desired amount of time. This challenge usually rears its ugly head in the middle of a major hardware or software upgrade, and in the quest to do so without interrupting users’ productivity.
2. People: It doesn’t happen very often to me, but some users can be demanding or unreasonable. Or maybe there’s that one user who just doesn’t get it, regardless of how many times you explain something. Or the one who always wants you to do something after hours. Or the one who always seems to complain about things. Or the one…..
3. Technology: Keeping up with the latest and greatest technology is a never-ending challenge. How do new software requirements comply with our hardware capabilities? What are the latest and greatest hardware capabilities — without breaking our bank? When should we upgrade? What are the new features of the latest version of our production software? What should be passed onto the users, and when?
4. System: It seems that there’s no perfect system for reporting problems, resolving problem requests, and so on. What might work for one, may be inconvenient for another. Should I get to something immediately, or can it be put off until later. How should we prioritize what to do and when to do it, all the while trying to keep everyone happy and productive?
5. Management: Some people have great management. Others, however, well, not so great. Managers might not understand what goes on in the trenches. Managers might not listen. Most managers consider the cost of training, but the really good ones also consider the cost of not training. Some managers love to take credit, the good ones always seem to give it. The good managers accept all or part of the blame when things go wrong, while the bad ones are quick to point the finger of blame at others.

Participate in the poll to determine what the greatest user support challenge might be, and feel free to comment in the following discussion: