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Help Desks

Essay by   •  August 28, 2010  •  Essay  •  770 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,018 Views

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Help desks must help themselves: With no relief in sight, help desks need to be given the right resources.(Industry Trend or Event)Author/s: Stannie HoltThe internal help desk has a precarious position in today's enterprise. Like Rodney Dangerfield, the help desk staff often gets no respect from its internal customers nor from executives who see them only as a cost center. But other times, like Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, they're your only hope.Insiders say that even though information technology is essential to productivity these days, minding the help desk is a thankless job whose burden will only increase over the next few years as IT's size and complexity multiplies. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel: Better-designed applications, more effective integration, and more Web interfaces could cut down on the IT clutter and therefore the help desk workload -- but not for years to come."The trend for service centers [or help desks] today is we get more and more stuff to support and more and more [IT] complexity," said Renee Seay, senior manager for IT Customer Service at semiconductor maker AMD, in Sunnyvale, Calif.Analysts say most large organizations use 30 to 50 different applications and types of hardware. Some companies have separate help desks for different products, but most prefer the convenience of a centralized service desk.According to Kurt Johnson, vice president of service management at the Meta Group, in Stamford, Conn., in the past decade the number of calls to internal help desks has risen from one or one-and-a-half per employee per month to two calls, and is likely to hit three or more within a few years.There are several reasons for this growth, and they are not all bad, according to Johnson. First, there is "the continued proliferation of technology on the desktop," he said.For example, enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors such as SAP are trying to expand the scope of their manufacturing and financial- oriented applications so a broader range of people can use them.Moreover, many ERP vendors are offering self-service features, such as letting all employees directly look up their available vacation days, which means everyone must have access to these applications, not just the human resources department, Johnson said.On the other hand, such self-service applications can also be a good way to cut down on calls by letting employees look up their own answers on a FAQ list or database, according to Cecil Lawson, director of executive services at Remedy, in Mountain View, Calif., which makes help desk software.The Web is adding its own layer of complexity because it lets nonemployees access internal programs, such as package tracking, via extranets. And now help desks have to cope with all the programs employees might spot on the Web and download onto their own desktops, Lawson said.Besides

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