[unisog] Systems support staff on HelpDesk rotation?

Brian Allen ballen at wustl.edu
Thu Mar 9 01:20:38 GMT 2006

I completely agree that the IT helpdesk should be a priority.  All calls
need to be tracked with a good tracking system, there needs to be
growing knowledgebase of solutions, users should expect prompt courteous
service, etc.  The helpdesk is the face of the IT department and a
positive image can help weather many incidents and outages so we
obviously need strong helpdesk support.

Instead of taking experienced, relatively expensive sysadmins, however,
and bringing them back down the helpdesk, the direction should go the
other way.  There is still quite a bit of turnover in IT and the perfect
way to replenish the ranks is by having a well stocked helpdesk and
student worker program.  The ones showing promise will be young, well
trained, relatively inexpensive, eager to perform well, and ready to
move up to a sysadmin position.

Plus, how many experienced sysadmins would be able right away to answer
the many general types of questions that come to a helpdesk?  It is very
possible that a specialized sysadmin would deliver poorer support.  For
example, I'm sure many more users would be told their problem is due to
a "layer 8" issue ;-)

Brian Allen
Network Security Analyst
Washington University in St. Louis

-----Original Message-----
From: unisog-bounces at lists.sans.org
[mailto:unisog-bounces at lists.sans.org] On Behalf Of Robin Anderson
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 12:44 PM
To: unisog at lists.sans.org
Subject: [unisog] Systems support staff on HelpDesk rotation?

Our management is considering rotating all technical/systems support
through the HelpDesk on some sort of preset schedule.  The stated goal
to expose the staff to a direct customer service and support
making them more sensitive to the customer's needs and the HelpDesk's
position as intermediary.  Management's premise is that a lot of other
schools do this, and that it will be beneficial to all involved.

A few queries on the subject:

	* Is your site actively doing this? ... considering doing this?
		* What experiences have you had	with it?
		* Are customers happier?
		* Are employees happier? (Management, HelpDesk, techies)
		* Have workflow processes been improved?

	* What reasons are behind the decision (either way)?

Feel free to add other commentary as it occurs to you.  Thanks!

Robin Anderson
SysAdmin, Security Specialist
Office of Information Technology, UMBC
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