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A day in the life of an IT service desk

Faulty equipment. User error. Communication breakdowns. And those are the routine issues.

The heavy lifting comes from data breach attempts, malware attacks, viruses and trojans that can infect whole departments and companies in minutes. Just how does an IT service desk keep up with it all?

Addressing 100,000 alerts a day is too much for any department to handle manually. With the right integrations, some automation, and some discipline, a department can get ahead of its challenges. Just what is a day like in the life of an IT service desk manager? We decided to find out.

Checking for Issues:

Remember when IT service monitoring meant going through logs line by line? Fortunately, those days are long over. With data centers around the world, large enterprises rely on integrations with partners for monitoring.

The monitoring runs in the background while service desk employees handle their jobs. But what happens when the monitoring system finds an issue?

To prevent or limit damage, IT service desk managers need to ensure timely and appropriate communication. With the large number of alerts – that run the gamut from innocuous notifications to critical incidents – responding requires automation of its own.

Managing Issue Notifications:

Just as monitoring runs in the background, notification systems can be automated for some situations to launch their own communications to employees who have the skills and availability.

For other incidents, service techs might have to launch their own notifications. Regardless, having the right procedures and technologies in place is a crucial part of the service desk – especially when you throw in false positives duplicate alerts.

Managing Issue Resolution:

A qualified employee accepts the issue and agrees to handle it. Now the work begins. At each step in the issue resolution process, the IT service desk and issue resolution teams must work with external systems and other stakeholders.

As the issue moves forward, the IT service manager has to know what’s going on, and so do other parties. An intelligent communications platform will help your department keep executives and customers updated if necessary, while simultaneously ensuring that the issue is approaching resolution in a satisfactory manner.

The IT service desk can’t resolve all issues through computer systems, third-party integrations, emails, and phone calls. Sometimes an IT service tech has to actually see a piece of equipment or an employee. And someone needs to confirm when issues are completed.

Internal Equipment Issues:

What could go wrong in a busy office? With laptops, monitors, tablets, phones, printers, scanners, routers, servers, an awful lot can go wrong. And when they do, they can cause business disruptions. Very often the person resolving the issue has to be in the same place as the person having the problem. After all, he has to determine if the laptop is really faulty or if the user just did something wrong.

Such tasks range from mundane (my screen is cracked) to urgent (the dreaded “blue screen of death”) to critical (an infected device on the network).

The tasks can come in fast and furious, especially if there is new equipment for new software. A first-come, first-served approach doesn’t work on a large scale, so IT service desks serving very large clientele usually invest in a ticketing system and in a prioritisation system. They also usually maintain communication with stakeholders (requesters, their managers) to set and meet expectations and try to ensure a positive outcome.

Internal Maintenance Issues:

I’m referring to internal maintenance here as internal systems, office equipment, and processes. For instance, you’re upgrading or adding HR software for the company so employees and their managers can negotiate the quarterly goal-setting and review processes online. You install the software, test it, roll it out, and handle inquiries as they come in from employees.

As you can imagine, IT can lose control if it doesn’t keep a careful eye on things. So for IT service desk managers, planning and tracking takes a lot of time.

Planning for the Future State

The role of the CTO and CIO is changing, and they are taking more of a strategic role in the business at large enterprises. As this happens, expect the IT service desk manager to spend more time in meetings.

Fortunately, implementations are getting easier and easier through cloud deployments, including hybrid cloud environments. Just be sure you’re using fully supported integrations.

Pulling It All Together

It’s an awful lot to manage monitoring services for major incidents, incident resolution, and all manner of routine incidents in a timely and satisfactory manner.

More strategic organisations establish rules and automate escalation processes in the event of an incident that requires action. By establishing rules and processes for all the various activities, strategic IT managers run a tight ship.

It’s important because often one event can cause hundreds of alerts and notifications from employees, partners and customers.

Teon Rosandic, VP EMEA, xMatters

Image source: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia