Our IT department is understaffed and overworked….

Really?  How do you know?  What metrics are being used to support this statement?

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Help Desk statistics Reporting is the critical information base of any IT department.  The key to which is, of course:

  1. having a comprehensive help desk call tracking system
  2. having processes and procedures to insure that all users and all support personnel know how to use the system.
  3. utilizing structured and periodic reporting to measure results – including the ability to compare performance of IT staff.

Any time I review an IT organization, the first question I ask is: “What is the average call resolution time?”  If the IT director cannot answer this question, then all the above help desk tracking and call statistics aren’t being utilized.  Worse yet, is the data being collected?

Another important matter is workload.  If an IT director tells me that his staff is “overworked” I ask, “What is the average call load per technician?”  If the IT director doesn’t know this, then any sense of being “overworked” is unsubstantiated.

This type of reporting is the key to unlocking the dysfunction within an IT department.

Average Calls per Month (or Day) is a key metric for the IT department as a whole, and then for each technical resource.  It may be normal for Tier 1 to resolve 10 calls per day or for the Network Engineer to resolve 1 call per day, but your department will never know the norm without collecting and comparing these statistics month by month.  

If your IT resources are assigned by site, this metric will become very important.  It can be used to best manage the time for each resource, but what you may find out, is that unless, they are remote distances away, IT resources are best operating at a central location, and dispatched to sites accordingly.  It would not be surprising that the main campus may need dedicated resources, whereas multiple remote sites might share a single resource.  But without comparing call loads and resolution times, this balance cannot be achieved and maintained.

Help Desk reporting and departmental metrics must also reflect the difference in workload and worktype between Help Desk, or Problem resources, and Projects and Change Management resources.

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It is not uncommon for engineering resources, especially at Tiers 2 and 3, to work on both, problem management and change management (or problems and projects).

If a network engineer spends half his time working on a new routing project (Change), he cannot be expected to have the same call load, or average call resolution times as his help desk peers.  

That doesn’t mean that his statistics shouldn’t be measured, only that the metrics will differ.  In fact, don’t let these resources off the hook.  If someone knows they aren’t being measured while others are, then you will encourage an elite class within your organization.

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About Darryl Vidal

Darryl Vidal has been consulting for schools implementing technology for over 20 years. His projects include district-wide implementations of VoIP, Wireless, Data Center Virtualization, and Video Security. His primary instructional focus for over 15 years has been the ever evolving technology classroom. Mr. Vidal has developed the formal strategic planning and project management methodology known as MapITsm. He is currently the Vice President and principal Education Technology Consultant for Southern California-based technology firm Networld Solutions, Inc.