Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Recently I have been working on writing a set of practices for taking the IT Help Desk to the next level. Well, actually it's about fixing what's broken and reworking the people, processes and technology components in order to be a great, service-oriented help desk with happy customers and happy, motivated employees. And yes, it is possible to have it all.

At any rate, I read this blog entry by Tim Heuer recently, and it illustrates well the common problem with IT support processes. Read and weep.

When you read something like that and both laugh and cringe (mostly cringe in my case), it makes you think.

ITIL, COBIT, and everything else standards-based aside, there's a whole slew of internal motivations and behaviors common to IT organizations and customers, yet not really addressed by standards, that can make or break the success of your service desk and organization. Having processes and checklists in place is great, but what makes for a really great IT organization? What makes someone a great help desk customer?

You never get perfect (on either side of the desk). But you can run a practice that is measurably successful and does more than maintain status quo (not always a good thing, by the way) and just get the job done.

What are some of your help desk stories, good or bad? What have you seen that works? For all that is decent and tactful, please don't disclose your employers, any people or specific teams here (or they'll be deleted). But some illustrations would be great. Just be nice. :)

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Management | Tech
Tuesday, 16 October 2007 15:01:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Tuesday, 16 October 2007 09:59:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Self help tools are the biggest improvement to our help desk we've made. I work for a software company with a small staff and little resources or personnel to run a traditional help desk. We found alternatives with community tools, and rebuilt our online help using ClearspaceX, and now have a place where our engineers and business folks can interact with customers. We also added chat capability to our website, so customers can chat with someone in the company. In a sense, all employees in our model are support, and it's a win win. Customers like the direct access to engineers, managers, etc, and the ability to help each other. We get more feedback and customer participation now, which helps our development team add features or improve usability. Community based support definitely works.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007 10:08:35 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I like ClearspaceX and Jive Software's products in general, good stuff.

It's probably also worth defining "Help desk" for conversational purposes, as there are two main types, each of which has its own unique characteristics, problems and requirements. One is the internal help desk, where an IT organization supports the company and the cusotmers are the company's employees. The second type is the one where the call center and/or support organization provides product or service support to the company's clients, or external customers.

My main focus right now is the internal help desk, but it would be interesting to know what people think is important for both types.
Thursday, 18 October 2007 07:50:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I used to work for this huge jerk named Greg something-or-other when I was in IT and... oh, crap! I wasn't supposed to mention names! :)
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