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Entries in Value (1)


Help Desk Value

“You know all the problems; you’re going to run operations.”

Those lofty words from the company VP of Systems 25+ years ago launched a career into Operations

and sealed my commitment to the help desk as an integral part of any IT Operation.

Not having a clue of what a help desk was didn’t deter me from accepting the assignment, and along with the role came Cindy, a particularly no-nonsense person with great tenacity, and my first managerial report.

ITIL was just being borne in the UK, and hadn’t made its way across the pond. Fortunately, IBM had a process model we were able to use, and some software we could use to track “calls.”

We printed labels for every telephone in the company and with their application the Help Desk was open. By following some very simple processes, such as tracking every ticket until closed, making sure the Help Desk phone was always answered 24x7, producing reports of every problem type and every resolution type we were able to begin to form analysis of how we could best work to prevent calls in the first place.

This led to the publication of a Help Desk guide…a sort of User Manual for folks to consult for self service prior to calling in to the help desk.

And once we knew what all the problems were, and were able to address them, we were off and running expanding the Help Desk to take calls for telephone communications and some building maintenance items.

Over the years the Help Desk has become a more formal part of each IT organization, and with a variety of process models to choose from (ITIL, ISO 20000, HDI), organizations can select and implement processes comfortable and effective for their organization.

Help Desks also frequently do first level support, accessing PCs remotely and performing trouble ticket resolution. Whenever support can be provided at the first tier, client satisfaction is raised and the service is provided at a lower cost.

Telecommunications technologies make it easy to queue calls, and implement work from home and/or follow the sun models.

Analysis of root cause is still an important factor in help desks. By understanding root cause, the real underlying issues can be addressed.

There’s an adage that the more things change the more they stay the same. The sophistication of Help Desks and Help Desk tools has increased substantially. The basic tenants of customer service remain – be helpful, take all calls, follow through, keep the customer informed.

Cindy is a Principal IS Technical Analyst for a major retailer.