Avoid relying on one IT person in medium to large organizations; this is an extremely inefficient method of obtaining IT assistance

In organizations with many employees, IT departments often rely on a helpdesk main phone number and a helpdesk ticketing system to:  ensure timely responses to clients, ensure issues are directed to the appropriately qualified IT staff, keeping IT work organized, building a knowledge base for future IT employees and clients, and for simply maintaining some semblance of order.

If clients and IT stray from this process frequently, the end result is inefficiency.  An example is when clients attempt to reach his or her “favorite” IT person directly instead of calling the helpdesk number or submitting a helpdesk ticket.  A “favorite” IT person is rarely going to be qualified to properly address every issue the client encounters (ex. a computer programmer in IT may not know how to fix a network router issue).  This strategy only wastes the time of the client and IT by prolonging the time it will take to route the issue to the appropriate IT personnel for resolution.  It is also often very difficult to reach a “favorite” IT person directly because many of them are on the phone addressing helpdesk call issues or are troubleshooting helpdesk ticket issues being experienced throughout a building (other offices, server rooms, conference rooms, etc.).  These inefficient scenarios can be avoided if IT and clients stick to the orderly method of using a helpdesk main phone number and a helpdesk ticketing system.

Unfortunately for IT and for clients, it may be difficult to maintain proper usage of the helpdesk main phone number and the helpdesk ticketing system, here are a few tips:

  1. Ensure proper coverage of the helpdesk main phone number.  If no one answers, then users will stop calling and go back to dealing with a favorite IT person.
  2. Ensure proper attitude.  If the employees answering the helpdesk main phone number are rude or combative, then users will stop calling and go back to dealing with a favorite IT person.
  3. Ensure proper training.  If the person(s) answering the helpdesk main number has no idea who works on what then users will stop calling and go back to dealing with a favorite IT person.
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2 thoughts on “Avoid relying on one IT person in medium to large organizations; this is an extremely inefficient method of obtaining IT assistance

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  1. There is no mystery – if IT organizations were generally efficient in solving problems then people would not need to reach out to a specific or “favorite” person. Hire qualified people – and if you are having problems doing that then you aren’t paying well enough or your shop has a developed a reputation for undervaluing functional employees. I’m currently consulting for a large university IT group that has both problems. The management structure is bloated and salaries on the top end are very high whereas the helpdesk staff are poorly paid and burned out. Worse they are seen as “consumables” (in the words of the CIO) which further devalues those who actually have technical skills. Yet the CIO wonders why he can’t attract solid talent. While not every shop is like this many exhibit these characteristics yet complain about “users” wanting to contact specific individuals. The problem is with the IT groups NOT the users.

    1. When users call a “favorite” IT person and blatantly admits they are calling because it is easier since they already know the “favorite” IT person, it is clear the user would prefer to operate under their own set of rules. This user behavior does not surface because IT is lacking in some way. A person has the choice every day to show up for work and build something great based on the goals of that organization or a person can make up their own rules. Either method has serious advantages and disadvantages.

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