1 Legacy Remote Control Tools: Not Built for Today s Helpdesk Why applications like RDP, pcanywhere, VPNs and VNC may be costing you time, money and end-user satisfaction
2 Introduction Today s modern enterprise seeks both efficiency and productivity constantly looking for new and effective ways to boost employee workflow. This new enterprise has a global employee base that includes branch offices, telecommuters, and an on-the-go workforce that communicates using a variety of mobile devices. While the workforce has evolved, corporate helpdesks are still using yesterday s support tools, which can impede the effectiveness of both remote employees and the technicians who use them. Many businesses employ legacy remote control tools that come bundled within a suite of applications. These tools, such as Microsoft Remote Desktop or pcanywhere, were not built for the helpdesk and are not designed to support the growing number of end-users who work beyond the corporate firewall. "When businesses start adding up the true cost of legacy tools, they may find that their reluctance to optimize their service desks is potentially costing them thousands of dollars in lost productivity and missed sales." This paper explores the challenges and hidden costs of supporting a remote workforce with legacy tools. In addition, it identifies best practices that decision makers can use to choose enterprise helpdesk support tools that better meet the needs of remote employees, while helping to reduce costs.
3 The New Enterprise Mobility The enterprise of today is in a very different place than it was just a few years ago. Before the dawn of remote workforces, most employees typically worked from corporate offices. Now, there are a number of significant economic and competitive benefits to freeing workers from behind the corporate firewall and unleashing them to every corner of the planet. This trend of enterprise mobility isn t just affecting a small portion of the workforce it s affecting the majority of employees. In fact, by 2013 IDC predicts that over 75 percent of the U.S. workforce will be mobile. This remote workforce, armed with laptops, smartphones and other connected devices, has the potential to increase a company s productivity, decrease its expenses and satisfy worker needs in a variety of ways. But this mobile workforce will face increasing complexities as they acquire multiple devices and IT will face similar challenges supporting these devices. Today s workforce is mobile and remote, yet IT must find a way to support these endusers who need access to the corporate network from a variety of locations such as an airport hotspot or a customer s warehouse in China. This new, dynamic mobile enterprise environment calls for robust support tools that can connect to and support mobile devices and allow fewer technicians to handle more incidents effectively. "By 2013 IDC predicts that over 75 percent of the U.S. workforce will be mobile. 1 " The Helpdesk Dilemma Although mobile devices present a significant benefit to the remote worker and promise increased productivity, they also increase the strain on the help desk. According to Forrester, businesses are in need of more help desk functions for mobility and are concerned about the demand mobile workers will put on them. These mobility solutions remain a critical or high priority among nearly 35% of corporations. 2 When asked what technologies and services could help mitigate the burden of supporting mobile and remote workers, 91% of enterprises with manual mobile support processes currently in place believe that the ability to connect to remote user s devices to install updates, repair software issues, or gather diagnostic information would be a key IT investment to assist with improving these processes The chance of creating a bottleneck that disrupts the enterprise increases when support technicians cannot see user problems or easily access the remote machine. For example, consider a sales rep who calls his helpdesk because his CRM application is not functioning properly. Without a remote support solution for off-lan devices, the helpdesk technician is forced to ask questions to understand the nature of the problem. Assuming the enduser is able to communicate these issues effectively, the technician then must walk the salesperson through a variety of steps to fix the problem. It s like the blind leading the blind, with both parties becoming increasingly frustrated. ¹ Worldwide Mobile Worker Population Forecast, Interactive Data Corp. (IDC), Dec ² Demand Insights: Enterprise Mobility 2009, Forrester, July
4 The Short Falls of Legacy Tools for Remote Support A helpdesk that uses legacy tools may not be able to meet the complex needs of today s mobile enterprise. That s because legacy support tools were never created to be support tools in the first place. In fact, legacy tools such as RDP and VNC were built for remote access and control, with their focus being on systems administration rather than helpdesk functionality. These tools lack the flexibility of helpdesk solutions designed to solve user problems fast and accurately. Consider the following legacy tool challenges: To use most legacy tools through firewalls, the remote computer s firewall and the corporate firewall typically need to be configured to allow incoming traffic. Such configurations are inherently risky, especially since many legacy tools don t secure Internet communications. This means any data transmitted during the connection could be intercepted. While a VPN could be used, it may not be possible based on the location of the user. Whether inside or outside of the network, legacy tools are unequipped to remotely access and control smartphones. According to the Aberdeen Group, the recent trend toward re-consolidation of mobility under IT management indicates the evolving maturity of enterprise mobility as core infrastructure, which is essential to remaining competitive in today's global economy. 3 This transfers the burden of troubleshooting Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, Blackberry, Android and Apple mobile devices to the enterprise. Traditionally, the only options have been sending a device back for repair or providing onsite user training. Additionally, a helpdesk using legacy tools can t support mobile initiatives, such as the rollout of mobile CRM applications that capture detailed sales information. Many legacy tools may fail to deliver the kind of diagnostics technicians need for fast, accurate problem resolution. Also, these tools tend to lack scripting capabilities that facilitate automatic processes and file transfer abilities for installing patches and updates to mobile devices. And they lack the time-saving ability for one technician to handle multiple sessions simultaneously. Auditing capabilities are non-existent in legacy tools, which means IT managers remain in the dark about helpdesk performance and potential breaches in protocol. They can t track call lengths or create surveys to gauge end-user satisfaction. In the past, IT could get by with using legacy tools, when employee access was strictly from within the firewall. But today, they need to support the growing majority of employees who work outside the traditional network. This need to provide support to off-lan workers has created a helpdesk dilemma that will likely get more complicated as more employees go mobile and remote. "In a recent survey of North American and European mobility and remote support decision makers, 78 percent of believed that an investment in remote support would increase remote worker and executive satisfaction with IT." ³ The Enterprise Mobility Management Solution Landscape, Aberdeen Group, August
5 Customer Success Story: King & Spalding International law firm King & Spalding has an Atlanta helpdesk that supports 2,000 users with 2,400 devices. With 14 offices in cities throughout the world, the helpdesk needed the ability to solve any kind of technology problem for its 880 lawyers and staff. Legacy tools could not keep up with the needs of this top firm, which represents many Fortune 100 and Fortune 250 companies as well as hundreds of clients in emerging industries. Before King & Spalding replaced its legacy tools with LogMeIn Rescue, users could only receive helpdesk support by connecting to the internal network via VPN. With Rescue, users no longer needed to be on the internal network. Rescue solved firewall issues, allowing remote access to secure systems. The firm reported that Rescue was fast, easy to use, and facilitated training with advanced screen-sharing capabilities. Rescue also satisfied the firm s security requirements. The Hidden Costs of Legacy Support Tools At first glance, a legacy tool may appear to meet the basic needs of the enterprise helpdesk, while costing little or nothing to obtain. And this of course would come as welcome news in a business climate where the majority of IT budgets are staying flat, while demands for IT support are increasing. 4 However, an examination of several factors uncovers a number of hidden costs There is still a great deal of opportunity to improve the perception of IT within today s highly demanding business environment. In a recent Forrester survey of North American and European mobility and remote support decision makers, 78 percent believed that an investment in remote support would increase remote worker and executive satisfaction with IT. But how are legacy tools costing the enterprise money? Supporting mobile employees can be a time-consuming endeavor in the best of circumstances. And reducing helpdesk call length is an ongoing challenge for many support teams. Furthermore, the slow and unreliable connections experienced with legacy tools can double or triple the length of a support session. Consequently, this can also increase the number of support personnel needed to handle the workload. This alone should send up a red flag. But this is just the beginning. Some other hidden costs of legacy tools include: When an employee is unable to have his smartphone or laptop repaired remotely, he often needs to ship the device to the helpdesk for an on-site fix. The employee experiences downtime at the same time that the helpdesk must deal with the costs of equipment returns. According to Gartner Group, helpdesk best practices dictate that up to 75 to 85 percent of IT service requests should be resolved on the first call.⁵ Whether or not a company accomplishes this goal could well rest on efficient helpdesk tools ⁴ The State of Enterprise IT Services: 2009, Forrester, November 2009 ⁵ Toolkit: IT Service Desks Must Understand the Importance of First Contact Resolution, Gartner, June
6 Customer Success Story: Arise Virtual Solutions, Inc. Arise answers customer calls, and web assistance requests for many of the best-known, customer-driven brands among Fortune 500 companies. But instead of staffing call centers, Arise works with a network of 5,000+ self-employed home-based agents. The service desk that provides support for these widespread home-based agents fields between 400 and 500 support requests per day. Before discovering LogMeIn Rescue, the helpdesk relied primarily on phone support and a limited remote control tool. By moving from a legacy tool to LogMeIn Rescue, Arise now cites that they are able to handle nearly 80 percent of their support requests without having to provide time-consuming and costly phone support. Their internal research indicates that they increased their first-call resolution rate by 23 percent (resulting in overall lower cost per incident), and decreased repeat calls by 33 percent. that can interact with mobile devices beyond the corporate firewall and give technicians the visibility to make highly technical fixes for the end-user. When technicians lack the diagnostic tools to quickly correct problems, it can affect user productivity. For example, if technicians can t collaborate with users to resolve complicated issues or support multiple users at once, then employee queues will get longer. And if employees are waiting in call queues rather than working, the enterprise can lose money Mobile device users without remote support lose between minutes of productivity each time a device fails, according to a VDC Research group report. This productivity loss translates to as much 42% of a mobile device s TCO.⁶ Legacy tools lack reporting capabilities, which can slow a company s ability to make cost-effective decisions. With legacy tools, IT managers can t consult stored chat logs, watch videos of support sessions, or compile end-user feedback. If remote workers are intended to be drivers of enterprise success, then empowering technicians with the right tools is a must to safeguard worker productivity. When you add in the benefits to the efficiency of the helpdesk itself, enterprise grade remote support tools prove to be a smart and invaluable investment. The Last Straw for Legacy Tools Some helpdesks that have adopted purpose-built remote support tools are still using legacy tools to access computers on their local networks. This approach not only presents the challenge of two support tools to the support organization, it means that all sessions performed with a legacy tool are excluded from the auditing trail, resulting in an incomplete picture of support performance and employee satisfaction. Some modern remote support tools now enable support technicians to access on- LAN computers with one-click, using their existing Administrator credentials. While unattended access is the ideal method for off-lan access, with this new capability ⁶ Total Cost of Ownership Models for Mobile Computing and Communication Platforms, VDC Research Group, Mobile and Wireless Practice, July
7 there is no need to have the end-user present to grant unattended access privileges. With LogMeIn Rescue s Connect On-LAN feature, support technicians can select a local computer from a list with a single click. Once connected, technicians have access to a powerful purpose-built support tool-set that enables a secure and streamlined support experience that can be audited to ensure help desk efficiency and end-user satisfaction. This combination of instant on- and off-lan access delivers a solution that is unmatched by any legacy tool. Best Practices for Choosing an Enterprise Helpdesk Solution Now that the modern enterprise has gone beyond headquarters and the office walls, the decision to improve helpdesk support for remote workers shouldn t be far behind. The voices of under-supported workers and helpdesk technicians lacking the right tools to do their jobs effectively will eventually be heard. To support enterprise decision makers in choosing a helpdesk solution that s right for their increasingly mobile workforce, here are a few best practices to consider: 1. Identify cost-saving goals. Once a company understands the potential hidden costs of legacy tools, the process of identifying goals for cost savings becomes easier. Companies looking for enterprise support solutions should investigate those that enable comprehensive support of remote employees and devices and the following benefits: Reduced desk-side visits Fewer equipment returns Increased technician productivity Increased end-user satisfaction 2. Listen to employees. Taking employee complaints seriously just might be the most important decision enterprise leaders can follow. When helpdesk technicians and the employees they serve aren t happy, it is a good indication that there are support improvements to be made. Morale can sink at the helpdesk when technicians must confront displeased co-workers who feel a lack of prompt, effective technical support is hampering their job effectiveness. It can dive further still if resolution rates sink or wait times increase. The morale of the remote worker is equally at stake when a business opportunity is missed because a technical issue can t be resolved. In a recent survey of over 100 LogMeIn Rescue customers conducted by LogMeIn, 80 percent of respondents who had used legacy tools said their primary business reason for migrating from a legacy tool to Rescue was to improve end-user satisfaction. By making employee satisfaction the primary goal of IT support, businesses will see an improvement in worker productivity, cost savings, and higher morale and efficiency in the helpdesk. "Taking employee complaints seriously just might be the most important decision enterprise leaders can follow. When helpdesk technicians and the employees they serve aren t happy, it is a good indication that there are support improvements to be made." 7
8 3. Look for best-in-class features. In the same survey, 83 percent of respondents chose LogMeIn Rescue for its ability to connect to computers beyond the corporate firewall. Once a business defines what its support tool needs to accomplish, it s time to look for a helpdesk tool that can achieve those goals. Some of the features that will make these goals attainable include: Fast and simple connection Web-based anytime, anywhere access without pre-installed software Multiple ways to connect end-users to technicians one-click on-lan access, PIN code, unattended access, end-user desktop icon and instant chat Flexible incident resolution Real-time remote control of a user s computer from anywhere in the world Cross-platform support for PCs, Macs, smartphones and other connected devices Technician collaboration to resolve a single issue Handling of multiple sessions at a time by one technician Predefined scripts and replies for common support requests "Best-in-class helpdesk tools can traverse corporate firewalls and give technicians permission-based access to mobile workers devices no matter where employees globe trot. After all, isn t that what enterprise IT support is supposed to do?" Comprehensive management capabilities Permissions assigned at the technician group level Technician groups assigned to predefined support channels Robust reporting on helpdesk performance and customer satisfaction Monitoring and recording of individual support sessions Proven Security End-to-end 256-bit SSL encryption Permission-based access By gathering feedback from employees and identifying specific cost-saving goals, organizations can begin their search for a helpdesk upgrade that will meet the needs of mobile workers. Applying best practices can help decision makers choose a solution that significantly improves efficiency, eliminates the hidden costs associated with legacy support and leverages enterprise-class tools that are required for today s remote worker. Conclusion Many companies still cling to legacy remote control tools even though they don t effectively meet the needs of helpdesk technicians or remote employees. In today s mobile business landscape, these tools can impact an organization s bottom line in both lost revenue and employee productivity. When businesses start adding up the hidden costs of their legacy tools combined with plummeting employee morale, they re ready for a helpdesk upgrade. And these companies aren t alone. According to Frost & Sullivan, the market for web-based For more info, visit or call
9 clientless remote support software will experience a growth rate of approximately 20 percent to become a $510 million market by 2014, more than doubling 2009 figures. Today s sophisticated mobile devices allow workers to conduct business anywhere in the world. This level of freedom requires advanced support tools designed to handle today s varied mobile platforms. These new tools take the helpdesk out of crisis and position it to effectively safeguard employee efficiency and productivity. Best-in-class helpdesk tools can traverse corporate firewalls and give technicians permission-based access to mobile workers devices no matter where employees globe trot. After all, isn t that what enterprise IT support is supposed to do? LogMeIn Rescue is a secure, web-based helpdesk and remote support solution that gives support professionals the ability to connect to a remote computer or smartphone without pre-installed software. LogMeIn Rescue works on Windows-based PCs and Macs, as well as mobile devices running Windows Mobile, Symbian OS and BlackBerry. LogMeIn Rescue allows support organizations at companies such as Best Buy, Ceridian, and Symantec to cost-effectively deliver high-touch support, training and educational services to customers, partners and employees. To find out more or to try LogMeIn Rescue free for 14 days visit 9
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