Make Your IT Department More than a M.A.S.H Unit

There’s no holding back the obvious truths in the land of IT. Helpdesks are inundated and overwhelmed; we are overworked and our teams are scrambling for some lucidity. The problem is simple, most of us know -- mundane, repeated and wearisome tasks that can, or probably should, be automated. Much stress and time could be saved for our IT team’s employees by taking away some of these entanglements, but many organizations overlook doing so in the name of convenience (inconvenience for IT staff, of course) and because leaders are not cognizant of the importance of such solutions.

So, as an IT team leader, you need to do so yourself.

Employ solutions that manage these roundabout, repetitive tasks mentioned above. By automating process that have remained manual and out of date, technology leaders within their organizations are able to take steps to help their teams and their departments – like the helpdesk – focus on more pressing technology matters than resetting forgotten passwords, for example, by allowing employees the ability to do so themselves.

According to a recent Tools4ever survey, there’s a good deal of clear facts that define the overwhelming amount of minutia and redundancies that IT and helpdesk employees are required to take on each day. According to this data, more than half of the respondents say that that their helpdesk receives more than 100 calls a week. Even if one staff member is dedicated to doing nothing more than handling helpdesk calls each day, according to this data, that’s more than 14 calls per day. That’s an incredible amount of time spent doing nothing but handling helpdesk calls; too much, in fact.

Likewise, the survey shows that more than 55 percent of these same respondents said the number of passwords required of employees to access their systems directly affects the number of calls the helpdesk receives (not that they’d want more, of course.) A reason for this might be complex password management. This can easily lead employees to reset their passwords on a seemingly unending basis. Employees who are required to reset their password all the time are going to run into multiple problems for them and for you. Too many passwords and too many policies requiring frequent password changes makes it difficult for employees to easily access their systems and information.

Employers requiring complex passwords in conjunction with requirements to change their passwords every month or at varying, pre-determined times creates an IT and organizational mess, all under the guise of a so-called security protocol. A great deal of time wasted on password resets can easily be handled by end users who, when given access to technology that allows them to answer a few quick verification questions and manage their own password resets without the need to place a call to the helpdesk.

Based on the data mentioned above, most helpdesks are overwhelmed (by password issues and others, not to be anti-password in this piece). What’s also not surprising is that most of these issues are critical, because they mean users cannot access their computers or any additional applications to get their work done. From personal experience in IT and technology (about 20 years’ worth), 70 percent or more of those I work with say these issues are normally time-critical to those affected. Not really a surprise. Most IT departments are nothing more than M.A.S.H. units designed to triage the most pervasive incidents of the organization’s IT and technology issues. No wonder there’s so little time left over for the people that work in these teams to bring in innovation, advancement and even complete a bit of pre-planned organizational IT strategy.

Stop the emergency room IT madness. Make a preventive strike, exercise organizational caution and pull your IT team from the battlefield. Take some of the calls out of the queue. Allow employees to reset their own passwords, for a start. Getting back to the survey mentioned above, and what I see on a daily basis, as end users are able to safely and securely reset their own passwords without having to contact the helpdesk, organizations are able save themselves a great deal of money, increase the level of service for end users and get people back to work without your having to provide any care; preventive medicine like no other.

Your IT team is likely facing bigger issues than passwords, but if you can’t get to them because of these minutia, what does it matter? Self-service reset password managers are not going to solve all of your issues, of course, but this small step may take the yoke from your team’s neck and allow end-users the ability to reset their password on the basis of a number of simple, predefined questions, commonly accessed through a “forgot my password” button on their profile setting, which they use to provide answers to a series of security questions.

Employees and employers both can reap the benefits and time savings associated with such automated solutions, simple as they may be for everyone involved. While password resets are one of the easiest IT tasks to manage, they also are one of the most distracting and time-consuming that IT professionals face. Move beyond triaging your IT department tasks and services and set up solutions that allow you to get more deeply into strategic initiatives that better everyone’s lives throughout the organization.

Dean Wiech

Managing Director at Tools4ever
Dean Wiech is managing director at Tools4ever. Tools4ever supplies a variety of software products and integrated consultancy services involving identity management, such as user provisioning, role-based access control, password management, single sign-on and access management.
About Dean Wiech

Dean Wiech is managing director at Tools4ever. Tools4ever supplies a variety of software products and integrated consultancy services involving identity management, such as user provisioning, role-based access control, password management, single sign-on and access management.

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