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Our Work

IT Support – It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it…Part One.

by Brian Holliday

Support is a bit like documentation, it’s vitally important but nobody wants to do it. Well, maybe some of us do like to perform a Service Desk role. Whilst it might take a ‘select breed’, that still doesn’t explain the downtrodden image of Support in most companies. In Part One of this blog, I’m going to look at why this might be.

Why is Support unpopular?

  1. Is it the uncertainty of the work?
    • Every day is different. Any type of incident can happen at any time
    • The rate of incoming incidents is unpredictable - from feast to famine in one day
    • Incidents range from a simple user issue to a complex, full-system outage
    • There’s no schedule – incidents just need to be closed ASAP
  2. Life on a Service Desk pales in comparison to that of a Consultant
    • High profile projects, site visits, customer meetings, project-related bonuses, expenses and sharp suits; Consultancy is seen as more glamourous
  3. Is it the pressure?
    • A system could potentially fail at any moment – an emergency incident is never far away
    • The incident clock/timer is always ticking; Service Level Agreements (SLAs) have to be met at all times
    • “I must close all my incidents” - the mantra of every Service Desk operative
    • Incidents keep on coming with no respite - It’s ‘relentless!’
  4. Is it the level of administration involved?
    • Incident Management – Every email, phone call or alert that represents an issue requires logging, classification, prioritisation, categorisation, investigation and updating until resolution
    • Configuration Management – creating and maintaining a database of every customer’s system configuration
    • Knowledge Centre – creating and maintaining a database of incident solutions
    • Following ITIL-driven procedures for Incident Handling, Service Requests and Change Management at all times
  5. It’s a thankless task:
    • No sooner have all your incidents been cleared than your manager thinks the Service Desk is over staffed
    • The same thing happens whenever there’s a lull in incidents being raised!
    • Nobody else cares! A customer’s system outage is the Service Desk’s problem
  6. Support work is seen as easy:
    • It’s just “Just turn it off and on again”, right? (To be fair, that does work sometimes!)
  7. Is it the Customer contact?
    • Constant interaction with stressed out customers with urgent issues and tight deadlines. Who wouldn’t want that?
    • Responding to issues, pressing for more information, providing regular updates, pushing back on unreasonable expectations, dealing with unresponsive third parties, handling a customer’s senior management during critical outages. What’s not to like?

So, as we have seen, the role of Support can be viewed in a negative light. In Part Two of this blog we will look at how this could be changed…

Here at Aiimi, the role that the Aiimi Managed Services team play and the contribution we make is highly regarded. If you’d like to work in a company that promotes a Support-friendly culture, do please get in touch via our website…

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