Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:21 am Post subject: What things should we be getting the Heslpdesk to do?
After implenting a load of new systems over the past year, the number of calls logged to our helpdesk team have dramatically reduced. Now in a way this is obviously good but it also means that basicaly they have nothing to do so they ae thinking thats its ony a matter of time that some of them start to get made redundant. Anyway I was wondering what extra tasks could we get them to do so they are more busy. Basically they log calls and do first line and desktop support. We don't really want to give them more persmissions to the systems but want to get them to do more tasks. We were thinking of things like checking backups.
Anyway I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas of tasks they get the helpdesk to do?
Joined: Jan 01, 2006 Posts: 500 Location: New Jersey
Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:49 am Post subject:
This is a good problem to have. However, it will require you to make a very strategic business decision... What in your firm needs resources the most?
Here are what I believe to be your options:
1) You reduce the headcount of the help desk and give the funding back to upper management to redirect to more strategic work. Very few managers have the courage to do this, as they feel they're losing control.
2) You keep the staff and don't give them anything else to do. Very poor option, as you're wasting valuable time and money.
3) You keep the staff and give them work to do, in another area of the organization, that has nothing to do with their current day job. A lot of managers don't like to do this as they think it muddles the existing organization's intended purpose. However, it is common to do this.
4) You have enough proactive "improvement" or "maintenance" work to use them to improve things, significantly, within your own organization, in such a way that it aligns to your organization's current goals. If you do this, you should be able to prove that you are delivering very significant and measurable improvements that justify the investment you're making. And, it is an investment, as the funds that are used for their salaries belong to the firm and you're making a decision to use them for yourself.
It sounds, from your post, that you're interested in using them for #4. If this is the case, here are some things you can use them for:
1) Automating infrastructure health checks. Have them build solutions that scan the environment (servers, desktops, software instances, log files, etc.) and create automatic dashboards that allow you to determine the health of systems as well as possibly remedy them, right from the dashboard.
2) Create automated software build, storage, deployment, instantiation and teardown solutions that can be used to automate your operations.
3) Have them start to take on the implementation of other parts of ITIL that you may not have implemented, yet. For example: Risk Management, Configuration Management, etc.
4) Have them start to create and manage centralized and definitive inventories of systems, applications, licenses, vendors, clients, etc.
These are just a start. There's always more work to do. Be creative! They'll love you for it! ; )
Anyhow, I hope this helps.
Regards, _________________ [Edited by Admin to remove link]
They can document processes, procedures, and tasks which most technical staff won't want to do as it 'gets in the way' or is seen as admin.
Advantage of this is that they can also increase their skill set and knowledge at the same time.
If they're interested in developing professionally then get them to study during the quiet periods.
Or perhaps there are some projects that need some preliminary background research? They can do this during quiet periods then perhaps present their findings in a team briefing?
Note that the kind of tasks I'm suggesting they take aren't just the monotonous ones that noone wants to do (e.g. sticking mailshots in envelopes for another area of the business) - but things that may pique their interest and develop their own skills.
I think there are some great ideas offered here. I know that when I was leading a Help Desk, most of what has been suggested is what I had my team doing on an ongoing basis, quiet or not. Obviously the support was a key line of business if you like however sometimes even resolving an incident or working on an incident would not have as great a benefit to the organisation as performing some other piece of work.
If I can expand/add to the list(s) already provided.
* Documentation - it's a classic to get quiet spots and suddenly take the approach, ok it's documentation time! This infers that documentation is just an add on that we do when we get the chance as opposed to a critical part of any change or implementation of a system.
What I would suggest is have one of your best writers (lets face it, some are better than others) become the doco champion and work on a system to have documentation included as part of a requirement for a release that can't be marked complete until doco is ticked off. Of course you should have any others working on doco be required to go through the doco champion before it is published. I'm sorry, I may be telling you how to suck eggs there but don't want to assume anything.
Here's another idea - ask them!
* Ask them - How novel to ask your staff what they think they could be doing on a proactive sense . Sure sometimes the response may be a little off but I would put money on the fact that you will get some great ideas with this simple little approach and you will also build a culture that your people are appreciated for their creativity as much as their operability. Before you know it you may set off on a path to some great new initiative.
* Marketing - How well is your Help Desk marketed within the organisation? What things could you do to raise/improve your profile? - no matter how good it is, it is always important to keep a good profile as you never know when hard times may hit. Maybe you could arrange surveys for staff. A great idea I heard at a conference once was to start doing 'spots' on the Help Desk with various staff in the organisation. Have them sit on the Help Desk for an hour (or whatever seems an appropriate time) and take and log calls then publish it via whatever means is the norm. The key thing with this is to start at the top and work you way down. i.e. the first person you get is the CEO/Chairman/MD because if you can snare him/her then when you ask others it is suddenly prestigous to do so.
There's probably other things and I hope I haven't stated the obvious too much in this post... but I hope it's helped.
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