Feeds

Who does the helpdesk really help?

IT or the Business?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Workshop Who does the helpdesk help - IT or the business? Many people (users) think the helpdesk is ‘what IT is for” where as in fact it may be the very thing stopping IT from being a more valuable partner to the business. Is this status quo simply the way things are destined to stay or is there more we can do with this frontline service?

Many IT desks were originally set up to stop business people interrupting the daily work of IT professionals. They were created as call handling systems. Answer the phone, take details, log the event and pass on to someone else. It was a holding pen for problems to be dealt with in order.

Over the years more and more functionality and capabilities have been bolted onto the helpdesk. Now, when a call is logged, the helpdesk operative may have a process to follow which doesn’t just log the necessary details but may highlight known problems and where possible provide guidance to allow them to fix it directly without having to involve ‘higher level’ IT staff. Password changes are the archetypal example, but we know its much more than that, according to the Reg readers who told us about some of the more amusing/frustrating/downright annoying tales from the front line recently.

Comedy and outrage aside: did the creation of formal IT helpdesks move ‘IT at large’ even further away from the business? Some IT staffers may say the further away the better, but this may be fast becoming yesterdays approach. As we talk about (and try to do) more and more of the stuff we do ‘as services’ maybe there is more we can do with the helpdesk to help the effort involved in managing IT through a transition from ‘component monitors’ to ‘service providers’.

What might ‘more’ be? If the helpdesk was seen as a two-way, instead of one-way, communication mechanism it could quite easily act as a means of discovering what new services the business needs: An intelligence gathering point. This currently doesn’t exist in most organisations– or at least isn’t exploited as such.

From an outbound point of view, the helpdesk could become the marketing tool for IT. The point of delivery for telling the external world what IT is actually doing for the business, whether it reports on quality of service metrics for existing services or as mentioned above, provides the means to gather feedback about what new services might be of use to the business or just as importantly, which ones are no longer of use. Doing this as an ongoing exercise could go some way to addressing the traditional ‘communication’ issues that have always existed between IT and the business.

We’d like to know what you think, because for many organisations, their helpdesk is currently a service that employs people at lowest cost to follow scripts and deal with everyday user issues. However, this side of IT has become, and is likely to remain as far as the business is concerned, the real face of IT.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.