When they hit a technology snag, what users most need is someone who knows what they are doing – someone who can work out what is wrong, and how it can be fixed.
But there are difficulties here. Users are notoriously bad at describing the problem in the first place, giving the helpdesk few clues as to which expert might be called upon. Where multiple systems are linked together, the difficulty is compounded.
A recent FT example highlighted how much time and energy can be used up on easily fixable snags. Performing what should have been a routine task on an Apple Mac was proving an obstacle for a designer. Temporary work-rounds were put in place while committees discussed, experts were consulted, tests were conducted and memos were sent.
And then suddenly it was all over. The long-suffering designer appeared less fraught and was delighted to report the problem was fixed. All it took was an IT person to pass by who had seen the snag before. He changed a setting and in a few clicks, and not many more seconds, all was well.
With today’s sprawling applications, specialist knowledge is needed to keep them running. But managing that expertise and applying it precisely to every situation is a daunting task. It is one that Digital Business will be focusing on in a future issue, asking whether there are systems and processes that can help – and even whether a helpdesk is a good idea at all.
In the meantime, this issue is full of advice and information aimed at keeping the general business reader in touch with trends in the use and management of technology by the workforce.
And don’t miss our current podcast, which includes IT commentator Nicholas Carr questioning the role of the chief information officer. Find it at www.ft.com/dbpodcast.
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