Help Desk Heroes Need Not Apply

By |April 17th, 2014|Categories: Support|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Help Desk Heroes Need Not Apply

Like many of you, I grew up thinking that being a hero was always good. Case in point: In every episode of The Adventures of Superman, the bad guys busily hatched nefarious plots to set loose upon the planet, but ultimately Superman always prevailed. In the IT world, nothing could be further from the truth: Heroes stand in the way of maturing an IT organization! Let me explain using a help desk example:

Despite anyone’s best efforts, IT customers will always have questions or need something, and IT systems will always run into issues. As an IT organization grows, there comes a time when the volume of calls for help becomes large enough to necessitate establishing a formal help desk with the goal of simply answering customer inquiries to prevent them from calling technical resources directly. In this environment, help desk analysts often take on heroic proportions merely by answering complaints and fixing IT things that break.

But there are a few troubling aspects to this.

Based upon the kinds of repetitive calls the analysts field, they develop a “tribal” knowledge that lives only in their heads of how to satisfy the needs of the customer.
One analyst’s “solution” might be different from another’s.
The “solution” might not ultimately be the correct one or follow the proper process.

The result is little to no standardization or documentation because every analyst is focused on, and praised for, being a hero.

The superhero help desk scenario would probably land the IT organization somewhere below a level 1.5 on TransAccel Group’s Maturity Model. While this kind of hero-driven help desk might seem effective in the short term, it can’t possibly scale to meet the challenges of increased business demand, more complexity or greater economic pressures
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Cost Optimization – It’s The Principle Of It…

By |February 20th, 2014|Categories: Optimization|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Cost Optimization – It’s The Principle Of It…

Groucho Marx once joked “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them…well, I have others.” This is great for getting a laugh, but decision making without guiding principles is like a ship’s captain navigating the wind and current without a compass.

The same can be said about an IT organization’s approach to cost optimization. After years of one-off tactical cost cutting, many businesses are facing the challenge of ongoing and continuous cost optimization. For many, this is no longer the exception but the new reality.

The usual approach to cutting costs is the purely tactical. Problem is, when the clear cost culprits have been identified and reduced or eliminated, future optimization initiatives can become more arbitrary and problematic. Even the low-hanging fruit that appears to be an obvious candidate for reduction to some may not be to others—like your business clients.

In a recent Gartner survey, CIO’s were asked, “What are the main barriers preventing organizations from achieving continuous optimization of IT costs?” Sixty-five percent of the respondents indicated that it was a matter of mindset—that is, creating the environment necessary for all resources to work together, move in the same direction, and agree on the same strategy.

We agree. TransAccel believes there’s a better approach to determining cost optimization decisions—one based on four “Guiding-Principles.” The benefits of using this method include a more consistent alignment with the company’s strategic drivers, a consensus among business leaders, a long-term framework for ongoing cost optimization initiatives, and a correct way to maintain what is most important to the organization.

The Four Principles are:

Transparency – IT and business leaders need to explicitly agree on what IT provides the business, and what the business needs from IT. Often, basic cost optimization
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