When A Blog Entry Goes Bad – Standing Up For Service Desks Everywhere!

So, this might be a Career Limiting Move (CLM), but I’m calling our very own Shane Schick on a post. So why in heaven’s name would I do something like this? Who knows. Maybe it’s the second glass of Cabernet Merlot, as I unwind on aFriday night that is enough to overcome any inhibition (read: commonsense) that would otherwise prevail, and result in this voice beingsilenced.  Is it wrong to “drink and blog”? Perhaps a good topic for a different day…

So I watched this video, and did not feel great afterwards – in fact, I was perturbed.  The reality is, it has nothing to do with our Super-Stupendous Shane Schick (hey…maybe that’s what his initials SS really stand for?).  That was just my shameless ploy at a provocative lead in (yes, it’s all about the magnetic title folks), to a story which has nothing to do with butting heads with anyone – but instead, really has to do with the phrase Perception Is Reality.  I really hatethat phrase.   The problem is this overused phrase is REAL – and whenit comes to perception around Service Desk, perception is KING.

For those exposed (or subjected) to Six Sigma, the concept of Variability Being The Enemyis likely very familiar.  In the realm of Service Desk and ServiceDelivery, projecting an image of a high performance team focused onmaximizing the efficiency and ease with with Technology is supportingtheir customers (businesses, functions, users) is of paramountimportance.  Marty Seldman refers to this as being savvy – for a lot of Service Desks, overcoming the frustration that end-users have with Making IT Work is not a technology issue, but a PR and marketing based paradigm challenge.

Videos like this, that perpetuate the stereotype that a ServiceDeskteam does not take personal responsibility, is silo’d froma workprocess and learning perspective, and is more focused on following“procedures” than driving to outcomes that the customer wants – just“bother me”.  It come down to stereotypes and perpetuating anantiquated image that IT departments everywhere are trying to shake (orshould be)

A successful Service Desk team needs to be truly customer centric -this means “understanding” your customer in a (professionally) intimateway.  Understand what they “need to do” and guide them (as thetechnical denizens we are) as to how they can best infuse technology to“perform at their best”.  The tension between “non tech-savvy” user and“super-tech-savvy” IT staff has no place in the modern ICT/Service DeskTeam.  Videos like this don’t help the cause – they just reinforce thenegative “buzz” that already exists, whether reality or not -perception trumps all remember…

As in a recent ITWorldCanada article – Soft Skills Are Sexy– this human side of IT was emphasized as being key distinguishingcompetencies in demand “out there”.  In my opinion, CustomerIntimacy/Focus should have been included explicitly, though one couldalso argue that soft skills ranging from Listening, Empathy,Communication, Public Speaking to Teamwork and Confidence are allsub-elements of being Customer Focused. YourIT Team should be “perceived” as being a group committed to learningand growth – both among the IT Community, and more importantly, outwardto their user community.

There’s no room for “No Help” IT Desk Guys and Gals (youhave to watch the video to the end to see the credits) .  Let’s squashthat Stereotype once and for all – it’s not one that furthers “thecause”.

Remember – keep Making IT Work.  Be strong, and do the right thing, even when it’s hard.

Above all, have fun.  IT is the “best job in the world”. {Note: Highly biased opinion. YMMV}


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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