Improve Your Help Desk Using Post-Conference Momentum

Conferences are great. In fact, the SunView Software and The ITSM Lens teams just finished a great week at the HDI Conference in beautiful Orlando, Florida. Simultaneously, and just across the pond, the Service Desk IT and Support Show saw great attendance as well, even if the weather wasn’t quite as perfect. Needless to say, the world is now has quite a few more positive IT professionals ready to change their organizations for the better. In short, it’s a great time to be part of a business that is ready to embrace change, and make a difference.

Collective Intelligence: 5 Suggestions for ITIL Initiatives

Here in the US bees are in trouble. While it is hard to distill the true concern from media reports, there is most definitely a problem. Whether attack from an invasive species, or some rare fungus, we might very well not have the bees we know today, tomorrow. Why should we care, and certainly what does that have to do with IT Service Management or ITIL?

Interestingly enough, Bees are responsible for a significant amount of pollination. That not only includes flowers, which love to bloom this time of year, but also nearly every item on your dinner table. In short, without the bees, and their amazing approach to coordinated and directed work effort, we’d all go hungry – literally.

In a recent article at, Geil Browning discusses ways to cultivate collective intelligence, or rather how to attack problems with a hive mentality. This article does a great job of establishing a common sense approach to leading a group that has a diverse set of characteristics, motivations, and concerns. In fact the distilled list of approaching the various personality types is well worth a read through. Outside of a Briggs Meyer profile test it is your best bet.

Help Desk 101 - 10 Things to Consider for your EMAIL ONLY Support Team

Automated voice messaging services for help desks make people mad. However, the newest frustration is email only support. Email support allows techs to solve tickets more quickly, and focus on a single issue. This of course, is compared with spending time on the phone, which many times turns into a providing training rather than incident resolution.

In general, while companies are still adjusting to the email only model, you may find some “old-fashioned” individuals that scour the web for a main phone number to work around this non-voice method. To address this,  some companies allow for a premium support option, allowing for calls. Though, many times companies are reluctant to increase costs / department spending in this economy.

Throwback Thursday: ITIL Multitap Edition

This week's Throwback Thursday delivers a number of our most popular articles focused on ITIL. Whether you are just getting started, or already have your IT Service Management project underway, checkout these posts for some great information and resources for ITIL.

5 Strategies to Better Prepare Your Help Desk for a BYOD Assault

If you read much tech news, you may have started to feel the push of a choice, four-letter acronym, BYOD (think BYOB minus the alcoholic beverage, and taking place at your workplace). In fact, according to a recent Gartner study discussed on The Wall Street Journal’s Market, “worldwide media tablet sales are expected to top 119 million units in 2012.”

At first look it just seems like a lot of iPads and Android devices are being sold, which is most definitely so. However, the real piece of information that sticks out here is the increase in sales from 2011. That figure is far more impressive.

With 2011’s tablet sales topping out around 60 million units, there is nearly a 98 percent increase into 2012. Now, all these numbers point to sales that are to end users, or more importantly, not part of giant vertical market buying sprees. Instead, the college student, perhaps your parents, but more importantly, your coworker, and in turn all those help desk users are starting to, as expected, purchase these very personal devices.

Throwback Thursday: ITSM: A Reactionary Approach to Hacking

Over at our on-line newspaper, The ITSM Lens Daily, a headline came across from the Sydney Morning Herald - Cyber Attacks: Resistance is Futile. Of course, we read a lot of stories here, and directly related to those stories, a lot of headlines (we tend to write a few ourselves). However, this one seemed to strike a chord. As a society have we finally reached the point where we will simply give up and let the Borg assimilate our planet?

Star Trek reference aside the article poses a new set of logic that recommends switching the approach of simply fortifying data from intrusion, to a system focused on what should be done after you are inevitably attacked. Of course, a recommendation like this doesn't carry much weight, even from experts. That is unless your expert is, RSA Chief Security Officer Eddie Schwartz.

A Change Management Strategy for Clouds in Azure Skies

Anyone that has spent even a small amount of time in the software industry, whether it is on the development side or the service side, knows there is but one truth; Bug fixes beget bugs, which beget more bug fixes. In IT Service Management language this translates to changes begets more changes, which beget even more changes. It is a vicious cycle of sorts, and no matter how much cloud vendors might tout the pursuit of infinite up time, something is bound to happen. 

Now, even while consumers of cloud technologies may be up in arms (and rightfully so to most extents) about losing access to their systems, perhaps whole infrastructures in some cases, what they really seem to take issue with is the fact that large providers don’t appear to do that much better of a job at keeping systems running twenty four seven, or really one hundred percent up time, than they could do themselves. Is that really true though?

Showing Love to the Help Desk: 8 Things We Love About IT

The ITSM Lens is no stranger to discussing reasons why people hate the IT Department. Upon doing our usual research we came across another blog article from Harvard Business Review's network discussing 8 things people hate about IT. You cannot discount someone's opinion who has worked in the industry - there must be some truth to it. However, I couldn't think of many occasions where the IT department was celebrated.

While all IT deparments do not operate properly or contain people you would want to be best friends with, the list we created accounts qualities that our writers have collectively experienced. The "8 Things We Love About IT" listed below, are not only a list of the features we would like to see in an IT Department, but also a list of qualities that an IT Department should strive to achieve. Please feel free to add any additional points in the comments.

Configuration Management: 4 Steps to Get Your House in Order Before Your Project

Guest Blogger
[Editor Note: Carlos Casanova is the President, Executive Advisor and Solutions Architect for K2 Solutions Group, Inc. He is the co-author of “The CMDB Imperative” and a regular and sought after speaker at national and international Service Management conferences.]

Configuration Management is viewed by many as a very complex effort that only some companies need to address. The problem however is that if you focus exclusively on the complexity of the IT Infrastructure, you lose track of the discrete components. On the other hand, if you focus only the IT components you may lose track of the infrastructure. It’s important to remember that without Configuration Management you are only addressing the needs of the individual components whereas when once you have Configuration Management in place you can focus on the services being delivered.

In order to put a Configuration Management model in place, you need to address certain areas of your infrastructure so as to ensure that the components within it are healthy and won’t be detrimental to the whole unit. Some of the first things you need to evaluate and address are:

The 7 Tenets of Providing Great Service at the Help Desk

Really, when it comes down to a help or service desk, it’s only the medium your particular desk dabbles in that separates it from any other customer service situation. It could be working the ticket desk at an airline, or taking orders for fast food. No matter where your providing service, when it comes to human beings interacting, there are bound to be some issues.

Having spent a number of years, especially those prior to post-secondary education, working nearly every form of service oriented job, I can tell you the stresses, the causes of those stresses, and the ways to get past them, are all very much the same. In fact, it’s likely you’ve even witnessed those that have mastered the ability to dance an elegant waltz with even the most stubborn of customers or users – really those are one in the same.

Like a magical spell or Siren’s song, they seem to caress even the most frustrated of service seekers. Weaving a quilt of empathy and concern, they get results and send nearly everyone away happier than they arrived.

Sadly, though it may just be the years collecting their toll on my own feelings, it would appear that individuals possessing the skills mentioned above are few and far between. On first pass, and without true analysis it begins to appear like more and more have been replaced by angry, unskilled, and apathetic drones. Could that really be the case?