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3 Reasons Why Homegrown Help Desks are Often Not the Answer

11/19/2013 by: The SunView Team

Help Desk

The IT help desk can become the nerve center of an IT department. An effective help desk with a solid incident management platform can give businesses the flexibility, transparency and self-service functionality that businesses need. As a result, the disparity between a quality help desk and a homegrown solution is so great that companies set themselves up for struggles if they do not consider all of their options.

Understanding the problem of homegrown help desks
Many companies start their IT journey with a small technology setup and just a few individuals on the IT team. As a result, they often establish their help desk system as part of an email client. Employees experiencing an incident email the help desk members, they file the email as a ticket of sorts and solve the issue. Some incidents require multiple steps, a change or are a bigger problem. These emails must somehow be stored in such a way to show it as an active ticket and be separated from new incoming incidents.

For a small IT department, this homegrown help desk may initially get the job done. However, all businesses are becoming more dependent on technology and finding they need to collaborate between technology workers, business managers and other company leaders to handle incidents, problems and other help desk-related issues effectively.When hitting this wall, some companies will consider turning to SharePoint or some other corporate collaboration solution to get the job done. While these technologies can enable communication across departmental boundaries and between distinct work teams, they also come with plenty of operational overhead and limitations.

SharePoint and similar technological tools are designed to move projects between users and enable workflows to flow smoothly in situations where tangible progress is common. In the IT department, many of the tasks that must be completed require much more oversight than is provided by such a model. The issue here is not flaws in SharePoint or other collaboration technologies - they do what they are designed to accomplish - the problem is that these solutions are not built to provide the kind of functionality that a maturing help desk really needs to get the job done.

This is where moving beyond a homegrown solution to a more advanced help desk can really pay dividends. There are three key benefits that are unlocked by a robust help desk:

1. Visibility
A homegrown help desk can make it extremely difficult to track progress on tickets, see which steps of a change have been completed, identify whether incidents have been handled and monitor processes in the help desk. A formal, sophisticated help desk solution offers the visibility into day-to-day operations to measure and record these data points, allowing an organization to improve efficiency by understanding what is working well and what needs to be improved.

2. Automation
Many incidents, like a password reset problem, can be resolved automatically without taking time away from help desk workers. At the same time, an automation platform can also be used to prioritize tickets, saving workers from opening every ticket that comes across the desk, attaching a priority to it and moving on to solve the most important issues. These functions help unlock business value in a variety of ways, creating a considerable return on investment from the help desk.

3. Self service
Many basic technology problems can be resolved by users. This is especially true as more people are becoming confident in using more technology in their personal lives. Help desks that can create self-service portals reduce the workload facing IT workers by enabling employees to resolve their own issues quickly or get the information they need to submit a more precise ticket.

While homegrown help desks may make sense on a conceptual level, the operational results of such a solution are usually such that a formalized help desk, or IT service desk, is a much better option.

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