XP SP2 to generate jump in help desk calls, study says

Staff report

A new survey finds that 66% of IT managers expect that their help desks will see a rise in support calls related to the recently released Windows XP Service Pack 2.

The study by Redwood City, Calif.-based SupportSoft Inc., a maker of IT automation software, found that 30% said that they have "no idea what to expect" when asked about how SP2 will affect their company's help desk. Another 23% said they expect a sharp rise in help desk calls, but 41% figure they will only see a slight increase in such calls.

The survey was conducted by InsightExpress LLC, a Stamford, Conn.-based research company. The researchers polled 117 IT managers at companies of 500 or more employees. SupportSoft said all those surveyed had significant influence over the IT decision making process at their company and plan to deploy SP2. Nearly 80% of those surveyed said they would deploy it within six months.

Another finding of the study was that 63% of respondents described SP2 as the most difficult Windows upgrade they have ever undertaken, although more than half said that a SP2 deployment would have no impact on their organization's business continuity.

Steve Kleynhans, an analyst and vice president at Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc., said in a recent research report that preparation is the key to successful help desk support for the new XP service pack.

"All help desk staff must be made aware of the changes and be provided with training to handle the inevitable initial increase in calls that will result following implementation," he said. "Despite these potential issues, we believe organizations should move as rapidly as possible to implement SP2 across their WinXP systems."

Apparently, many companies are heeding that advice. When asked how they'll deal with problems that come up with an XP SP2 deployment, 62% said they'll rely on a detailed support plan.

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