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Overview
 Centralized and decentralized help desks.
 Help desk structure.
 Outsourcing.
 Help desk careers.
 Certification.
 Information technology career paths.
Centralized and Decentralized
Help Desks
   A centralized help desk is a single physical
    location within an organization that
    provides support to all users.

   A decentralized help desk consists of
    multiple support sites located throughout
    an organization.
Centralized and Decentralized
Help Desks




   Advantages and Disadvantages of Centralized and
              Decentralized Help Desks
Help Desk Structure
 Pool
 Dispatch
 Tiered
 Specialized
 Method
Pool
   The pool structure is the simplest help
    desk structure.

   In a pool structure, all support staff
    members support the same technology,
    serve the same customers, and perform
    the same jobs.
Pool
 Staff members are required to have knowledge of a broad

  range of products and services.




 However, the staff members may not have the in-depth

  knowledge required to solve more complex problems.
Dispatch
   In a dispatch structure, the first-line
    personnel act as dispatchers, referring the
    question to the appropriate group.

   The primary advantage of a dispatch
    structure is that there is a very small or
    no phone queue.
Dispatch
   First-level personnel require very little
    training.

   The personnel may, however, not get the
    opportunity to resolve problems, and will
    also have little opportunity to learn.
Tiered
   In a tiered structure, the help desk is
    divided into several groups, commonly
    referred to as levels.

   Each level provides a different degree of
    support.
Tiered
 First-level specialists are the first points of contact with

  users and usually take ownership of a problem.

 Ownership refers to taking responsibility for a problem and

  seeing it through until it is resolved.
Tiered
 Most companies establish a predetermined
  time period for the first level specialists to
  resolve an issue.
 If a problem is not resolved within that
  time frame, then the call is escalated to
  the next level.
 Members of the second-level support team
  are specialists and they are expected to
  solve complex problems in their areas of
  expertise.
Tiered
   Tiered structures produce high customer
    satisfaction when they work as intended.

   There is also employee satisfaction as
    they have the opportunity to learn and
    develop additional skills, while also getting
    the satisfaction of solving user problems.
Tiered
   In a tiered structure, the user may wait in
    a queue, thus resulting in a significantly
    longer response time.

   Response time is the amount of time that
    passes until a call is answered.

   Time to resolution is the amount of time
    that passes until a problem is resolved.
Specialized
Product model:

      In a product model, the help desk is divided into a number of

       groups, each responsible for supporting a specific product

       group.

      Within each product group, the support staff may also be

       broken down into levels.

      Product-based support provides help desk personnel with the

       opportunity to become experts in a particular area.
Specialized
Business model:
     This model represents another way of
      organizing a help desk into groups based on
      the business units they support.
     Dividing the support staff into groups based on
      business units allows them to gain a better
      understanding of a user’s needs.
     One disadvantage of this model is that support
      staff is exposed to a limited range of
      technology.
Method
   In a method structure, help desks are
    organized by the manner in which support
    is provided.

   The method structure assigns staff based
    on specific skills.

   This structure works best when requests
    are evenly distributed across several
    inquiry methods.
Outsourcing
   Outsourcing is the process of using an
    external company to provide support
    services for internal employees.

   It is preferred due to the flexibility offered
    by contract work.
Outsourcing
 The growth of outsourcing has resulted in an increase in the

  number and type of jobs available to support specialists.




 Individuals working on contract sign an agreement to

  perform a specific job for a certain amount of time.
Outsourcing
Reasons for outsourcing:
     Lack of resources.
     Difference in time zones and language.
     Core competence.
Outsourcing
Advantages:
     Reduced support costs.
     Access to latest tools and technology.
     Flexible staff size.
     Highly qualified support staff.
Outsourcing
Disadvantages:
     Lack of familiarity with how the business
      operates.

     Lack of control over the quality of technical
      support and customer service.
Outsourcing
Technical skills and business skills:
     Help desk personnel are required to have
      technical skills to support the technologies
      used in the business. They are also required to
      possess communication or interpersonal skills.

     Help desk personnel are also required to learn
      about the industry they support.
Help Desk Careers
Career stages:

      Accelerated learning - When individuals first join the help

       desk, they learn at an accelerated pace.

      Competence – A help desk analyst resolves most of the day-

       to-day problems, and continues to learn more about

       technology and the different areas of the business.

      Re-evaluation - The analyst considers whether the job is still

       satisfying and whether to pursue another position.
Help Desk Careers
Position requirements:
     The types of positions available to individuals
      beginning careers as help desk analysts are
      varied.

     The required skills and abilities also vary from
      company to company.
Certification
   Certification is the process of measuring
    and evaluating an individual’s knowledge
    and skills in a particular area.

   The two primary types of certification are
    position certification and product
    certification.
Certification
   Position certification suggests than an
    individual has the skills and abilities to
    perform the duties associated with a
    specific position.

   Product certification represents a person’s
    competencies in a particular product area.
Information Technology Career
Paths
   Help desk management - They perform tasks such as

    monitoring service levels, planning staff schedules, measuring

    help desk performance and customer satisfaction, and

    determining the appropriate use of technology.

   Quality assurance (QA) - The QA department is responsible for

    ensuring that a company’s technology products are free of errors

    before they are released and marketed.
Information Technology Career
Paths
 Software engineering - This group
  designs, develops, and revises the
  software used by the company and/or its
  external customers.
 Project management - Projects
  involving team effort, especially leadership
  roles is particularly valuable when trying
  to move into a project management
  position within an IT organization.
Information Technology Career
Paths
   Web production and development -
    Web developers and designers are
    responsible for creating, maintaining, and
    revising a Web site.
Information Technology Career
Paths
A network engineering group is
  responsible for:
     Building and maintaining technology.
     Implementing local area networks (LANs) and
      wide area networks (WANs).
     Ensuring that all aspects of the network
      function optimally.
Information Technology Career
Paths
A network engineering group is
  responsible for (continued):
     Installing and upgrading computers, installing
      software, backing up data, setting up e-mail
      accounts, and resetting passwords.
     Responding to emergencies such as computer
      viruses or breaches of security.
Information Technology Career
Paths
A database administration group is
  responsible for:
     Developing, implementing, updating, testing,
      and repairing a company’s server database.

     Maintaining the data stored on the database.

     Monitoring performance, backing up data, and
      ensuring the security of the information stored
      in the database program.
Information Technology Career
Paths
Guidelines for career advancements:
     Seize opportunities for learning.

     Obtain a certification.

     Develop a network of people throughout the
      company.
Summary
 Help desk locations can be centralized or
  decentralized.
 The primary types of help desk structures
  are pool, dispatch, tiered, specialized, and
  method.
 Outsourcing is the process of using an
  external company to provide support
  services for internal employees.
Summary
 The three stages of a help desk career are
  accelerated learning, competence, and re-
  evaluation.
 Certification is the process of measuring
  and evaluating an individual’s knowledge
  and skills in a particular area.