What consumes the majority of an IT department’s time on any given day?
Or maybe end-user support?
If you chose the latter, you would not be alone. End-user support is the one of the most difficult IT costs to quantify; it’s difficult to measure, impossible to predict, and issues that occur are often classed as high severity, meaning resources may be pulled from project work or scheduled tasks to support the problem.
In a short space of time, our user support issue has led to project creep and the rescheduling of work, none of which could have been predicted. Who bears the cost in this situation? It’s not the type of thing most people like to think about. It certainly gives me a headache. Granted, the above scenario may be an extreme one, but it is not uncommon. On a smaller scale, dilemmas such as balancing projects against user support are addressed every day…
- IT-Bot cannot go and fix HR-Bot’s email issue, because he has to hit a project milestone by 3pm.
- HR-Bot has his own deadlines, and so escalates to a superior.
- Management-Bot overrides IT-Bot’s decision to ensure KPI’s are achieved, or because he has a headache, or because HR-Bot is better at complaining than the project manager.
- IT-Bot fixes the email problem. The project creeps, everyone fights over the costs.
The traditional solution here is to hire. If the resource available cannot cope with the work assigned, additional resources must be recruited to help. More cost, but no increase in efficiency.
So, can we fix this? The short answer is no.
Issues will always occur; politics or unknown variables will always direct key decisions within the organisation.
What we can do is drive efficiencies into the process, give the IT team better visibility of the desktop estate, and provide them with a set of tools to speed up the resolution process, allowing the IT team to provide a better desktop experience with less resource.
Is that enough to justify a project? Maybe, however most organisations justify this process through the highly visible business benefits: ‘anywhere desktop access’, ‘bring your own device’ or ‘home working’.
These are the hooks that allow a forward thinking IT department to implement highly requested services, while simultaneously gaining significant end user management and support capabilities.
So back to the scenario presented above.
- HR-Bot has a problem with email.
- HR-Bot contacts IT-Bot, who checks HR-Bot’s session. Alters a configuration setting, and refreshes.
- HR-Bot’s issue is resolved.
- HR-Bot is pleasantly surprised, especially given that they are logged onto a virtual desktop from home, on an iPad.
Author: Toby Skerritt, End-User Computing Lead
Toby is responsible for the design and implementation of EUC projects for Foundation IT’s clients. He has worked in a variety of roles across the IT industry, often focused on the educational benefits of technology