I don’t deny that great remote support tools are needed. It my IT career the best I’ve been able to muster most times is RDP and the joy of combing thru the event logs for server support. On the desktop side of the house I’ve usually had the pleasure of some outdated MS product to work with because it was “free”. This is really sad since I’ve worked in healthcare and in oil & gas with healthy budgets. I am not sure why or how it became acceptable to have MacGyver based support tools or procedures when we would have just spent a healthy part of the budget on a product we now have to support. I guess most times it has to do with new projects are sexy and exciting and support is not and relegated to the background. How does one go about changing the paradigm?
I think the first step is to figure out how much time your spending on support. Chances are it’s a lot more than you think. Studies find 70% - 80% of time in IT is spent keeping the lights on instead of moving the needle. Even if you speed up support calls by 5% it could represent a fairly could chunk of money.
BYOD is another chance to reinvent the support equation. Most support products are built for the land behind the corporate firewall. Having both support and the end user connect to a VPN is problematic. Having a support tool that can integrate to the business applications, traditional or SAS and connect directly to the user would be huge.
Some other things that would be core to helping out support would be:
- 1) Event and logging\correlation tools to present current service levels to a web page to prevent multiple phone calls from hitting the helpdesk
- 2) If the end user was submitting a ticket online, a downloadable tool would automatically do a self-diagnostics and submit results in the ticket. A part of this would be a network assessment.
- 3) Making departments fight for the after hour Service Level agreements
- 4) Location based printing so if the first printer is down it will redirect to the next closet.
- 5) Arm support with the same tools that the clients have. Seems basic but I’ve seen where the executes get MACs and the support team is on windows. Just makes life a little harder.
Is support the ugly duckling in your organization? If you could help support what you do first? What tool would you buy to help the cause?