It’s System Administrator Appreciation Day at the end of the month (July 28th to be specific), hooray for SysAdmins! It’s great that we get a day to celebrate our awesomeness, although a month would definitely be better, and hopefully we’ll get just a little bit of love from some of our business colleagues too. Well, we can hope.
But SysAdmin Day isn’t just about celebrating our personal awesomeness and our immediate peers (OK, did you just read that as pee-ers? Maybe I should have typed “team members” instead). It’s also a time to celebrate our IT colleagues in other parts of the IT department, such as service desk agents. And I’ll tell you why…
Love Thy Service Desk Agents
All too often, the IT service desk doesn’t get the love, or even the recognition, it deserves. Think about it, your IT service desk is the face of IT and the single point of contact for incidents, requests, questions, and sometimes even customer rants. The service desk analysts are support ninjas – from triaging incidents and sorting the requests from the major IT failures, to answering questions. All while keeping cool, calm, and collected. So, shouldn’t they be getting more recognition from both customers and colleagues?
So with SysAdmin Day looming, here are the first five of ten great reasons why SysAdmins should love their IT service desk and the people that make it work so well.
1. They Provide Faith, Hope, and Clarity
Have you ever stopped to consider that your IT service desk is the front line or shop window via which the rest of the business gauges how awesome your IT department is? It makes so much sense, because they have most of the human-to-human interactions with end users and usually in situations where their efforts will make a big difference to end-user perceptions, i.e. they need help, and quickly.
The service desk is often the first and might be the only contact end users will have with the IT department and it doesn’t matter how complicated your incident or request processes are – from an end-user perspective, once they’ve contacted the service desk, they’re covered in terms of issue resolution. They can carry on with their work knowing that their issue is going to be taken care of in an effective and timely manner (by the service desk). The end users trust the service desk to get things done.
2. They Deliver Incident Management Magic
Incidents can be anything from “my business application is running slowly” to “quick, my laptop is on fire!” and service desk analysts have to respond accordingly. So let’s stop for a minute to appreciate how much the average service desk agent has to juggle.
To start, there’s talking to the end user, and giving self-help advice, logging the incident and making sure that the right categorization and priority levels are used for the best chance of success. All while simultaneously checking any knowledge bases or problem management systems to see if the issue has occurred before. That’s a lot of work for just one phone call, and it’s work that prevents the issues hitting SysAdmins.
Efficiently managing incidents while giving the best possible customer service is a talent. So let’s recognize that talent more often.
3. They’re Always Taking Care of Business Major Incidents
AKA the serious stuff. Where a major incident is an incident where the adverse impact to the business is severe and, left unchecked, could cause unwanted financial, reputational, or even legal damage to the company. It’s not good. It’s a serious situation that needs a crack team of professionals to make sure whatever the issue is, it’s fixed ASAP.
Enter your service desk – from dealing with that legacy, but business critical, server that’s fallen over again to email performance issues, the service desk will be invoking the major incident process, calling out the appropriate senior managers, and issuing companywide communications. All while dealing with the usual calls, emails, and questions. Now that’s what I call multi-tasking.
The IT service desk ultimately keeps your business running! Plus the IT department’s reputation intact.
4. They Provide Service Request Handling “As A Service”
Without an IT service desk and an underpinning request fulfillment process, how quickly do you think your IT department would get overrun just from the sheer volume of requests for “new stuff” from the rest of the business?
Gartner once stated that up to 30% of time on the service desk can be consumed with password reset calls alone (it’s an old stat that still gets quoted a lot and agreed with by service desk agents), can you imagine having the rest of the IT department picking that up as well as managing their day jobs? (Of course automating password resets is even better!)
Having your service desk manage all service requests means that the process is consistent, transparent, and fair. If every request is efficiently logged, categorized, and managed in the same way, then nothing can be lost or forgotten about. So what’s not to love?
5. They Keep Track of, and Manage, Your IT Estate Effectively
Having an IT service desk in place can help your IT department keep your software asset management (SAM) and configuration management processes on track. It sounds ambitious, but stay with me.
All too often, we delay taking care of our IT assets because we’re too busy firefighting and dealing with the day job. An approach that’s all well and good until a software audit needs to be carried out – either to support compliance to a standard such as SOX, BASEL III, or ISO/IEC 20000 or in response to a request from a software vendor.
The service desk can help with audit preparedness. Everyone will call the service desk for help at some point, so build some asset management questions into the basic triage script. Some questions and information you could include:
- Confirming the PC/laptop asset make, model, and asset tag
- Looking at installed software – is it still being used or could something that tends to be project or time-specific be removed and the license reharvested?
- Location and contact details in case cross-charging is needed in the event of an internal move or transfer
Building in some asset questions won’t change the world but it will give you the basics needed to better support and manage the IT asset estate. By double checking the asset details, you are confirming that the component is still in service, the asset is tagged, and being used in the correct way. And thus the service desk is protecting the business from both IT “wastage” and compliance-based risks.
Come back soon for the second part of this blog. In the meantime, why do you love your service desk? Please let me know in the comments!