What Problems Are Faced by the IT Help Desk?

Support DeskIt is clear that the immense pressure faced by the modern-day IT help desk directly correlates to the increasing challenges that they’re up against.  Urged to do more with less whilst becoming increasingly accountable for the results is forcing IT help desks to make better use of available technology, become more process-driven and efficient, whilst still putting the customer first and improve their experience.

Some have been able to rise to the challenge, but, for many, the continuous addition of new pressures has resulted in an inefficient, unproductive IT help desk with staff and results to match.  It is often the case that frazzled service desk staff (that have their customer’s best interests at heart) expend time and effort finding a solution to the problem that they’re working on at that very moment.

However, they fail to acknowledge that the problem may occur on another call a little further down the line, so they find a solution from scratch each and every time.  This inevitably results in a lot of wasted time and effort, with a focus on finding ‘quick win’ answers rather than long-term, re-usable solutions.  So, just what are the challenges that result in pressured help desk staff that don’t maximise their potential?   And, more importantly, how can they be tackled?

IT Help Desk Resource and Budget Constraints

In the current economic downturn, it comes as no surprise that the resource and budget of an IT service desk is being stretched – often far beyond its capabilities.  This reduction inevitably puts a strain on productivity and efficiency – and, without processes for all to adhere to in place, the problem only worsens.

However, at a point where the allocation of resource and budget is tight (and structured processes are, therefore, more important than ever), the pressure to provide customer responses quickly becomes the most important factor – and any structure can easily become a thing of the past. The solution, then?

Rather than a resource-heavy, manually managed process that takes a long time to implement (and, even then, is not necessarily successful or in line with best practice), a technology-driven knowledge management tool that effectively and efficiently drives forward processes and delivers the right information at the right time is key.

Staff Training

With an industry standard of 30-40% staff turnover, the service desk relies on effective training allowing new staff to easily familiarise themselves with information and the most efficient ways to help customers in the shortest amount of time.  However, whilst 89% of the training that staff do receive is on the subject of service desk processes, 49% of staff receive less than 1-2 weeks’ training¹.

This inevitably raises the question as to whether the training is sufficient.  Should more time to be given to training up new staff?  Possibly.  However, with the issue of resource and budget already mentioned, this isn’t always a feasible option – nor is it a preferable choice; service desks require new staff to be up and running in as short a time as possible.

This, then, begs for a solution that combines both effective training with efficiency and increased productivity.  Knowledge management technology offers quick ways to gain knowledge from the expertise held by fellow colleagues, thus significantly reducing training times – and making the training that is received much more effective.

IT Help Desk Challenges for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Finally, the continuous advancement of technology presents its own challenges; whilst effective implementation of new systems offers an array of advantages, the introduction of too many technologies in a short period of time inevitably results in inconsistent results and costly mistakes.  Nowhere is this more apparent than with the increasingly common trend of BYOD.

For tech-savvy staff wanting to use their personal devices to access their work files and information, the issues that arise from this can be extremely problematic.  This is due to the fact that, for BYOD to work, office staff need to be able to confidently rely on the service desk should they require any guidance or advice.

This means that the service desk needs to be able to provide expertise on a much greater number of technologies and devices. BYOD does, however, have its benefits – the ‘always on, always connected’ style of work can ramp up productivity and efficiency, for example.  So, how does a forward-thinking service desk (that wants to accommodate the needs and requirements of its technologically advanced staff) implement a solution that could potentially bring a multitude of issues?

An advanced knowledge tool that has the ability to pull through information from a wide variety of sources – from forums to social media, in-house knowledge to user guides – ensures that the service desk can adequately provide for the requirements of its employees – regardless of the device in question.

“Too often, people think of knowledge management as a noun. They’re mistaken: Knowledge Management is a verb, a way of getting work done.” – Jeff Angus, Knowledge Management World

Challenges faced by the modern day IT help desk could be overcome with the effective use of technology.

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