For those about to bad-mouth IT…
For those about to bad-mouth IT… avatar

So, one day I’m talking to a member of our accounting team and she asks me if we’ve resolved the issue with the fax machine in a nearby unit. Now, as the operations lead for my team, I assign most of the tickets that come into the help desk – so I’m usually aware of any big, time-sensitive issues going on. However, I had seen nothing about this – no email, no ticket, no phone call, nothing. Once I’ve checked with my team and verified that, in fact, nobody had any idea about it, I went to check in on the problem. Of course, they can’t wait to show me the problem but get really quiet when I ask why this issue has been going on for weeks but we have no record of it. Out come the usual excuses about not knowing how to use the help desk, not knowing who to call, blah, blah, blah…

Frankly, I’d had enough of the excuses and I’d had a few other issues with people who were clueless about our support request procedures, so I sent an all-hands email in an attempt to educate the masses:

“Hello all,

Recently, an issue was brought to our attention that, apparently, had been a problem for some time – yet nobody in IT had any idea that it required attention. There was no ticket in the help desk, no email that any of us had been sent, and no documentation whatsoever that support had been requested. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence. It seems that many of us are unaware (or may have forgotten) the proper means for requesting support from IT. So, as a reminder, here is a short summary of the options:
1) Submit a ticket in Service Desk – there should be a shortcut for it on your desktop labeled, “Service Desk”. This is the preferred method as it gathers information about the nature of the issue which saves time and facilitates our response
2) Send an email to {helpdesk address} – This automatically creates a ticket in Service Desk. Please be as descriptive as possible and include your contact information. Note that this option does not allow you to assign a priority level to your request during creation.
3) Send an e-mail to {IT group email} – Best used for general questions that may not require a support ticket. This copies the entire I.T. team, ensuring that someone will see your message and respond in a timely fashion. Directly emailing team members can be counter-productive as they may be away from their desk, out of the office, etc.
4) Call the I.T. Help Desk @ {help desk number}. This is the first choice for password resets and account lockouts as well as other times when you might not be able to use your PC. Also recommended if you require urgent assistance (e.g., if you think your PC might have a virus).
This summary is available in the FAQ’s on the IT Support page on the intranet site. There are many other useful items in the FAQ’s, including instructions for logging into and using Service Desk, instructions for requesting new user accounts, and some simple troubleshooting steps for some basic PC issues. Aside from that, here are a few more recommendations that will help to guarantee faster and more efficient responses to support requests:

DO – submit a ticket whenever possible. This helps us to track and prioritize all requests. It also helps us to gather information specific to various types of requests and has workflows for manager approvals. All of these helps to reduce the time necessary to process and address each request.

DO – send email requests to {helpdesk address} or {IT group address}. {helpdesk address} is preferred for actual support requests as it automatically creates a ticket in Jira Service Desk. {IT group address} is recommended for general questions that do not necessarily require support.

DO – call the help desk. This is especially useful for issues that prevent the use of your computer (e.g., locked accounts, forgotten passwords, etc.) or problems of an especially urgent nature. Any member of our team can assist with simple issues and anyone who answers should be able to route more complicated requests to the technician(s) best able to assist with your specific issue.

DO NOT – call IT staff directly. This is true with the exception of issues that a specific technician is already working on and which may require further input or information from you. The reason that calling the help desk is preferred is that we have a very small team that supports over 300 people and hundreds more devices spread across fourteen sites. Many times, a specific individual will be in another building or at another site (or sick, on vacation, etc.) – often for many hours or over the course of multiple days. Contacting the help desk is the best way to assure that your issue may be addressed in the most efficient manner possible.

DO NOT – email IT staff directly. Specifically, do not do so in order to create a new request for support. Normal email correspondence about existing tickets or other work-related activity is OK. As with the phone calls mentioned previously, the reason for this is to make sure that tickets are created and addressed quickly and effectively.

DO NOT – complain to management or staff about a long-term IT-related issue if a ticket has not been submitted. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing from an irate manager or some other person asking why some long-standing issue has not been addressed when we have no record of there even being an issue.

Finally, please know that we make every effort to address the many needs and priorities of the department and all of its many programs and functional areas in the most timely and effective manner possible. We do appreciate that the equipment and systems we provide and support are necessary for everyone be productive and to meet personal, program & departmental goals. Thank you for your cooperation.


The I.T. Team”

Of course, this is the non-director’s-cut version after I took all the the hyperbole, sarcasm, and descriptive words that might have gotten me in a bind with management. Still, I know you’ve all lived some version of this – so please feel free to use the above as a template for educating your l-users on how to behave.

2 thoughts on “For those about to bad-mouth IT…
For those about to bad-mouth IT… avatar

  1. I totally get it. Having worked in IT as long as I have, I’ve lost count of how many emails, phone calls, or even texts I got directly from users, asking me to work on something without a ticket or any other documentation as to other work done. And when I asked for the ticket number, I’d get endless whining about them having to go through the process of putting one in.

  2. Upper Management are usually some of the worst. They want everyone else to follow the rules and policies set forth, but then they refuse to.

    Just this morning, The CIO received an email from an upper manager (his Boss) and they just forward it in to the Helpdesk. There is nothing critical about the email or an emergency, The work isn’t due until the end of July. Why not politely ask the manager to follow protocol?

    If they wont do it, then how do they expect everyone else to?

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