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Free Weekends for the 24-Hour Help Desk

02/20/2012 by: The SunView Team

Ah, those Monday morning blues can be the worst. That is unless your Monday morning already happened, and in fact, the last time you had a weekend off, you didn't need to take out a loan to fill your car with gas. Yeah, we understand it was that long ago.

The truth is, with the modern Help Desk operating all 24 hours of the day, and all 7 days of the week, the concept of a "weekend," or at least the concept most have of the weekend, has gone away. While it may seem like the rest of the world ebbs and flows on the five days wedged between Saturday and Sunday, the truth is that providing support to users (customers) means always being available, or does it?

Now, it's very likely that the answer to that question is that there are most definitely situations and organizations that need to have a Help Desk staffed 24/7. Even under those conditions though, there is no reason, to not look at ways to reduce repetitive tasks, increase efficiency, or find better ways to use technology.

Of course, the interesting thing about those responsible for maintaining or implementing technology, have a tendency to fail at finding ways to put it to use for themselves. Case in point, I've seen and worked on Help/Support Desks in both large and small organizations that used a local email client (and an Excel report or two) to manage incidents, requests, and just about any other aspect of IT Service Management. While that does provide a method, it's really far from a true IT Service Management solution - but what is?

First, and foremost, a true ITSM solution joins the needs of your customers and your staff. It will treat both of those equally, and grow with you as the needs of each of those groups changes. In addition, adaptability will need to be at the forefront. This will be extremely helpful given the nature of modern business where changes occur on a moment by moment basis. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it will provide a platform that's based on developing and improving processes in parallel with business initiatives. This quality will allow you to address cost and efficiency concerns in a direct manner. It also will build a platform that will allow you to evaluate ways in which you just might be able to reduce that 24/7 requirement, or perhaps, provide those service automatically, rather than needing someone there all the time. Our ultimate goal is to restore those two days of bliss much of the world still enjoys.

So, with an understanding of what a solution needs to have, and or provide your organization, the next step is to start looking at areas that we can automate, or at least pull out the unnecessary human components. Essentially, even if we still need staff on hand, they should be focused on adding value, versus simply performing a function. To help with this, we've include five of the most common things a Help Desk could automate, gain some free time, perhaps even a weekend day or two. After you check out our list, be sure to download our Getting Started Guide that proposes 50 requirements of an ITSM solution. Plus, as always, if you think our list missed anything, let us know

Ticket Routing

Using the example above, an email client means all tickets will be routed manually. It's not uncommon to assign a single individual to the responsibility of ensuring tickets have been routed correctly and quickly. However, the right ITSM solution can automatically route any ticket based on any number of criteria that you choose. This means that person can now be assigned to tasks that provide directly value to the organization, rather than an ancillary function.

Service Requests
Password resets, laptop requests, and anything similar are great candidates for automation. Utilizing the features found in a Service Catalog, you will be able to list and describe all the available service. Many of which will never require any human-to-human contact.

Form Customization
A lot of time can be spent between the back and forth of gathering information from a user. You should address that right from the beginning, and make sure your request forms include all the information you need, up front. Of course, you will need an ITSM solution that provides for quick and easy customization.

Reports and business intelligence are the lifeblood of any Help Desk. That doesn't mean the reports can't be created and distributed automatically. Let your ITSM solution do the work for you and send you reports when and where you need them.

Alerts are great way to allow you to step away with some piece of mind that even if there is an issue, you will most definitely be notified. Your ITSM solution should have a wide range of options and specific criteria for setting alert. This should definitely include who to send the alerts to, and under what circumstances.

Image: Flickr | alancleaver_2000