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Why Service Desk Managers have the most Challenging Position in IT

February 26th, 2010

The job responsibility itself is demanding.  Managing the group that provides support to end user’s IT related service interruptions, as well as being the face of IT.

Below are some of the key reasons that make fulfilling this role challenging.

1.  Right Staffing!  How do you staff a team effectively when the volume of communications can fluctuate widely?  And the cause of fluctuations are beyond the Service Desk Manager’s control (i.e. outage, change gone bad, new rollout, etc.)?

2.  Higher Staff Turnover!  Service desk staff, compared to other IT staff, tend to turnover at a fast rate.  The primary reasons include burnout from constantly dealing with frustrated end users, as well as, staff using the service desk as a stepping stone to other IT areas.

3.  Unrealistic End User Expectations!  Despite the magnitude and complexity of technology, the end users expect, that regardless of the nature of their communication / situation, the service desk analyst should be able to resolve their issue immediately.

4.  Limited Exposure to Key Business Systems!  The service desk is expected to provide the same level of support and service on critical business systems despite having limited or no direct exposure and/or training.   (This area is one in which the end users question the effectiveness of the service desk function.)

5.  Reliance on Staff not Managed by the Service Desk Manager.   The service desk relies on other staff resources outside the service desk for issue resolution.  Without control or influence of how service desk communications are prioritized by those resources, there is a high probability that the service desk staff and end users can be negatively impacted.

6.  Limited or Inconsistent Communication from IT Resources Outside of  the Service Desk! Most IT organizations do not have a defined process for informing the service desk function of IT related changes and system outages that could impact the volume of end user communications to the service desk.

7.  Perception of Limited Value by Other IT Groups!  The service desk staff are normally criticized by other IT resources for not resolving more issues themselves and/or incorrect assignments.  (Rather than criticize, the IT groups should evaluate what training and knowledge would make the service desk staff more effective.)

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