I think the headline and the takeaway are slightly different issues. OK is the helpdesk disposable with regards to companies that encourage BYOD then yes I guess the argument holds, but the headline suggests that we should not consider helpdesks as disposable items per se. Which I think is wrong.
I work in a large multi-national company that has over 85,000 PC or Desktop users worldwide.
Last year we set to work looking at the RCA on all our reported desktop incidents we found that over 60% where simple or repeat faults where the users found it easier to call the helpdesk than use some common sense or did not have the tools / knowledge to do a simple fix.
In response we instigated a web based FAQ using the historic data to build a self-help database [KEDB] as a first point of call. To that we added a HTB [hard turn back] policy at the 1st line service desk.
When calling the helpdesk the IVR advised the user that there was a web based option that they should resort to first. Failing this to hold but any incidents logged via the helpdesk would be checked against the existing FAQ site. If the incident reported was covered by the FAQ advice and the users had not checked it and followed the advice their manager would be sent a please explain letter to ascertain if the user was a: aware of the FAQ b: if the team had been briefed on the use of FAQ and c: was the team aware of the cost of support to the company. That was usually enough to help change behaviour. If the user continued to the helpdesk they were asked if they had checked the FAQ and if not they were simply told to go away until they had - HTB. It was amazing in the early months how many instigated calls to the helpdesk were dropped before answering, and how many more where dropped when challenged. When a user and the helpdesk were satisfied they had a real incident to report we happily continued to supply helpdesk and 2nd / 3rd line support, but now from a greatly reduced helpdesk team.
Every incident costs the company money and whilst I will accept that not everybody is a PC expert, not every incident needs a PC expert, just simple advice. Why pay an expensive resource to read the same screen a user can read. We reduced our helpdesk traffic by some 80% in the first year by removing the low level stuff. The FAQ developed and became better and better people learned how to fix their own problems and shared that with colleagues so instead of holding onto an over stretched helpdesk waiting for calls to be answered they were back to work and productive quicker and felt more empowered. The net result is we have cut our e2e support costs by over 50% and still going.
So is the helpdesk disposable per se perhaps not but it is also not sacrosanct as this article suggests.
TIP: If BYOD causes the company a problem then outlaw it on the corporate network. The secret is in the term YO "your own" therefore "not our" problem. Swings and roundabouts really you want to save money on equipment by allowing BYOD, then expect to pay more on support.
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