Compared to other IT budgets, IT help desks rarely receive substantial budget increases. Investing in cybersecurity protection, new apps, or maintaining an ERP or CRM often feel more important. However, the help desk provides a critical function in helping people to solve technical problems and get back to work. Let’s go inside the help desk and better understand this department’s challenges.
Inside the Help Desk: the intersection of technology and customer service
Something stops working. You do the usual fix methods: restart the application or restart your computer. No luck. In the corporate world, the next step is calling the IT help desk. At the moment you place the call, how do you feel? Probably frustrated or angry that your computer is not working and possibly embarrassed that you have to ask for help. If you have upcoming deadlines, having to take 10-15 minutes out of your day to contact the help desk is not attractive.
Now let’s turn to the help desk person who assists you. They face a steady stream of callers urgently demanding assistance. Some requests are relatively simple: reset my password or request access to a new service. Other requests may take longer to service or even require an in-person visit. All too often, there is no feedback mechanism between the help desk and the rest of the IT organization. That’s an oversight because there are rewards for making the help desk matter.
Why Making the Help Desk Better Matters to the Organization
The help desk is the first and most common point of contact between the business and the IT organization. IT’s a classic case of “first impressions matter.” If poor IT arrangements force users to call in constantly, they are more likely to resent the entire process. In contrast, the better approach is to focus help desk resources on solving more complex problems. If your organization has an outsourced help desk function, then there is an even stronger case to be made for reducing the burden. You might be able to reduce help desk expenses by 10-20% by implementing self-serve password management, user provisioning and related solutions. Let’s explore the different ways you can make the help desk and the rest of company more productive.
User Provisioning Makes Life Better for the Help Desk
To make daily work more productive for the help desk, let’s separate help desk requests into two categories: routine and complex. User provisioning — equipping a new hire to use the finance system, for example — is an excellent example of a routine help desk request. It involves the same series of steps, and the new person cannot become productive until it is completed.
Implementing a user provisioning solution makes life better for the help desk in the following ways:
- Reduce Help Desk Routine Requests. Instead of forcing business users to sit in phone queues, they will automatically receive the access they need based on their job profile. Only a small number of changes will come in afterward.
- Solve Complex Requests Faster. When users do call in seeking support, the help desk will have the time and energy to adequately support them rather than worrying about all the other users in the queue. With the extra time you have, you might decide to set up a special help desk line for executives to expedite their requests.
- Increase Self-Serve Resources. If help desk staff have a few extra free hours per week, they will have the capacity to create other resources. For example, users may call to ask how to share their Outlook calendar availability with other users. Instead of answering that question over and over again, you can record a screencast video that demonstrates how to solve the problem.
Once you have user provisioning in place, what else can you do to make life easier for the help desk? We have a few ideas for you.
Keep Improving Your Security and Productivity: What to Implement After User Provisioning
Passwords are the linchpin of modern security. That is why organizations enforce complex password rules such as a minimum number of characters, a mix of upper and lowercase characters, and numbers. While these measures increase security, they have a side effect of making passwords harder to remember for your users. For the help desk, these measures translate into a steady streamline of “Can you reset my password?” calls.
There is a better way to solve the problem: use a password management solution. This self-serve approach to password management means users can get back to work faster. Your auditors can easily download reports they need. Your managers and help desk have less administrative work to do. This is one of the few scenarios where you can have your security cake and eat it too. Normally, there is a trade-off between imposing security requirements, and life becomes a bit more strenuous.
With a password management solution like Password Management, you get the benefit of improved security and convenience at the same time. Since users can easily request a password change without picking up the phone, they will be less likely to rely on unsecure practices like writing down passwords on Post-It notes. You can also put a stronger password policy into effect that will make your organization harder to hack.
Resource: Are you interested in benchmarking your password policy against other organizations? Take a look at Guidelines for Password Management from Carnegie Mellon University. The university makes a good point that passwords ought to be changed every 90 days. If you do not have a password change expectation in your policy, take a closer look at that provision.
How to Choose the Right User Provisioning Solution for Your Organization
There are multiple user provisioning solutions on the market, so how do you find out which solution is right for you? We recommend taking a thoughtful approach and considering all of your stakeholders. For example, make sure you consult procurement about the buying process (you might have to do an RFP). Remember that improving user provisioning is a great way to improve efficiency.