This report is based on the support of IT functions in organisations. It is broken down into 4 tasks, where each task talks about the tools used in the IT support functionality, how the existing technology has developed in time and still developing as at this point in time, how the technologies affect customers positive and negatively and the fundamentals of the functionality of the IT support.
Task 1 (Tools available for the IT Support function)
There are some tools available to the organisational functions in aspect to technology and here some few important tools that could aid in the functionality of the systems.
LANDesk Management suite: – A software product that allows for the centralised management of software and hardware in the enterprise and also simplifies the IT complexity improves the IT service level and lays security at the endpoint of most enterprise. It also combines four (4) powerful tools that give you control and flexibility around the whole IT asset (Inventory Manager, Power Manager, System Manager and Server Manager).
Inventory Manager maintains the hardware and software assets and also allows the users gather and track down customer data fields.
Power Manager optimises the power policies to fit into the operating environment hereby managing the power consumption.
System Manager monitors the soft and hardware processes performance, alerting, configuration tools hereby detecting any fault whatsoever and if possible rectifying it.
Server Manager Deals with the updates of the systems and also recovering lost information’s from a crashed system.
The major advantage of using this piece of software is that it saves time and improves the overall upgrade of efficiency of the system.
A typical example of company using this software is the Heineken France. They used this software to improve their high quality user support and also improving the quality of their business process.
Samuel Huttin made a statement after the success of implementation of theLANDesk Management suite in 2008 that “Our engineers resolve the majority of problems immediately by taking over the user’s PC remotely, and by checking in advance the details of the hardware and the software installed on that computer. LANDesk® Management Suite has enabled us to significantly increase the quality of service we offer to our users”.
VMware: – This is said to be the essential catalyst that enables the transition of Cloud Computing. It’s an infrastructure that was built to provide cloud application platform solution and end-users computing solutions that reduces IT complexity.
The International Business Machines (IBM) is a potential user of this software. Before implementing this software, they had close to 105 servers in 9 different locations but after introducing this new software (VMware), there was a massive drop in the number of physical servers to less than 50% without eliminating any of the company’s services.
Using this tool provides the organisation with some benefits which are efficiency through utilization and automation, agility with control, freedom of choice. And also allows the user to access virtual machines from remote access.
Microsoft Window server update Services: – this service enables IT administrators get the latest Microsoft product update to computers that are running the operating system and with this, the distribution of updates that are given out through the Microsoft update in their systems are managed by the administrators. It can also be referred to as Automatic update on Microsoft windows.
Ups (Uninterrupted power supply):- is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source is cut off. It is a device with internal batteries that charge up while the power is still up and running. This keeps the systems on for a little while longer depending on the voltage of the battery in the UPS, after the power has been cut off.
UltraVnc (Virtual Networking Computing):- this remote access software enables the user to remotely access information’s stored in your home PC from any location. And it can also be used to help family members with network problem when not physically at home. This software can allow the user to display the screen of another PC on his PC. This program allows the user to control the other PC with his/her mouse and keyboard and this provides a major helpdesk support by accessing customers PC remotely at any location.
TASK 2 (Existing and emerging standards)
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
“Does ITIL still have a role to play in IT Support? Suggest and describe any other standards that can be used in the IT Support function?”
ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a set of best practices standards for Information Technology (IT) service management.
The ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) consists of 5 volumes:
Service Strategy: Deals with the strategic management approach in respect to IT service management
Service Design: Translates strategic plans and objectives and creates the designs and specifications for execution through service transition and operation.
Service Transition: provides guidance on the service design and implementation, ensuring that the service delivers the intended strategy and can be operated and maintained effectively.
Service Operation: Provides guidance on the management of a service through its day-to-day production life.
Continual Service Improvement: provides guidance on the measurement of service performance through the service life-cycle, suggesting improvements to ensure that a service delivers the maximum benefit.
The UK government originally created the ITIL for their own use but today, it has been widely adopted across the world as the best standard practise in the provision of information Technology services.
ITIL also helps in establishing a business management approach and discipline to IT services management which is a specialised organisational capability for providing value to customers in the form of services as the IT sector are now closely aligned and integrated with the business.
Does ITIL Still Play A Role In IT Services?
Looking at the major roles ITIL provides; they still have a very large role to play in the IT services from the first level support to the third level support and also in the management of different IT operations like the problem management, change management, release management and configuration management.
The ITIL is closely aligned to the IT service from the helpdesk up to the head of managements in the IT department and with this; I would say that the ITIL still plays a major role in the IT services.
Alternative to ITIL (Information Technology Service Management)
ITSM adopts ITIL documented best practises in most cases that involve enhanced processes and implementation to provide additional value to their functionality.
Their methodology has evolved to include specific ways in optimising tasks, planning and implementing ITIL successful practises.
One of the origins of ITSM is found in the systems management services and also historically done in large scale mainframe environments. It has refined its services through the years and has attained a high level of maturity
Justification of ITIL.
According to Marquis, “In today’s cost consciousness climate rife with the mistaken belief that IT can no longer deliver a competitive advantage, more and more IT professionals struggle with justifying IT expenditures. The ITIL offers much more than process control – it provides a roadmap to doing more, for more, with less”.
The ITIL also provides essential steps to the problem management by providing an optimised IT service portfolio. By doing this, they eliminate infrastructure errors reducing the number is IT service interruption resulting in measurable improvement in productivity and profitability.
Task 3 (Customer related issues that affect the IT support function)
There are various customer related issues affecting the functionality of an IT support. It is also possible that the effect can be positive or negative depending on the functions of the organisation; taking communication for example, it could be that a good communication with a customer helps the customer solve their problem and probably share their success with friends or families thereby improving your service quality and getting more customers. But if it is the other way round, either by bad network or being rude or impatient to customer then the organisation could lose their reputation.
Here are some other customer related issues that could affect the IT support functions:
Marketing and sales
Impact of change
Front end support
Reinstalling software and hardware
Customer complaints procedure for an IT Helpdesk
1. Customer lays a complain
2. The complaint is received
3. The complaint details is logged
4. Complaint acknowledged and replied within 3-5 working days (according to SLA).
5. Investigate the complaint by appropriate management
6. Research, action and resolution
7. Set a target date of reply to complaint (4-6 weeks maximum)
8. Complaint resolved? (Yes or no)
If yes, letter of resolution sent to customer
Complaint log updated
If no, revise new target resolution date
Letter sent out to customer informing them about the new change
Complaint escalates to compliance manager for final decision
Compliant log updated
Details of regulator provided to customer.
The customer lays a complain,
The complaint is received and a letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint is sent to the customer within three days of receiving it.
The IT department then investigate the complaint which normally involves passing it our client care partner who will review the matter, file it and speak to the member of staff who is assigned to the complaint.
The member of helpdesk can either invite the customer inn for a meeting or contact them by other means such as phone and email to discuss and hopefully resolve the problem and this happens not long after sending an acknowledgement letter (7-14 working days).
A confirmation letter is then sent to the customer stating any concluded solution to that has been has been made towards the complaint.
If the customer is satisfied, a log is made of both the complaint and the solution and recorded in the system for future
If the customer is still not satisfied at this stage, he/she can contact the helpdesk again requesting for another review of decisions probably from a different member of staff.
A letter would then be sent to the customer within a period of 14 working days confirming their final decisions on the customer’s complaint and explaining the reasons for the decisions taken.
TASK 4 (IT support fundamentals)
Service Deck Institute Award Presentation
Policy and Strategy
The policy governing our helpdesk is reasonable attempting to answer every customer’s problem calls that prevent the necessary operational needs of a system such as system crash, viruses and other related issues within 48 hours. Major problems that require installing new software, creation of company account, etc.; would be attended to within a maximum of two weeks.
We also can exist in your organisation to provide IT and other technical support to the business’ employees and the customers which is in conjunction with the business plans, growth and also outlining the systems and facility support providing a level of service demanded by the customers.
IT support department comprises of various tools used to assist the customers and even the helpdesk members in carrying out their task involving customers
Below are some of the resource tools that help us provide better and quality services to our customers
Communication (telephones, emails)
This helps customers contact our helpdesk at any time due to some reasons in which the customer requires a service and cannot go into the organisation to make a complaint. It runs on a 24 hour shift making the helpdesk available to customers at any time of the day. It also helps the customers provide self to their selves by going through a procedure they have looked up on the internet.
Automated response machines
This is a machine that customers get when they phone up to either make a complaint or to enquire about a certain service required and this machine gives them the option of either following it up and solving their problem or waiting to speak to a member of the helpdesk and this definitely assures the customer on the importance of their call.
Wireless technology and Remote access software
This is a resource tool that assists the helpdesk in their daily task by having access to the World Wide Web from any location and also being able to reconfigure a customer’s home computer from any location.
This is a resource tool that enables the helpdesk members store all call logs and also any improvement in the institute. This comes in very handy when there is about to be a change in the management so that the new management do not bring in new legislations that could affect the current operating system.
Computer Based Training (CBT)
This is a resource tool that helps the members of the service desk members improve their skills and also provide training theoretically for the both new members of the institute and also existing members that are taking on a new role.
Metrics analysis software
This is a resource tool that is used to measure the improvement of quality of every member of the institute and also the institutional growth.
Every member of the institute deserves a reward for their hard work and this reward is given out to them as their monthly wage as they say money is one of the greatest factor that motivates every employee and also a price is always given to the most outstanding helpdesk member and this price is usually given out on a monthly base and this also motivates our members to work harder and with enthusiasm.
In our institute, we have made sure that our helpdesk staffs are based in a comfortable environment in which they carry out their daily task which is attending to customers. We also make sure that every necessary requirement to assist them in their job is provided to them. It is only normal for an employee to be comfortable before he can work at his best.
In our institute we always provide regular updates to our frontline staffs because they are the ones that deal with the customers if there is a change in the operating systems due to an upgrade and if the frontline staffs are not qualified in any particular upgrade, a training program is organised so as to improve the staff to the required level. And this is really necessary because of the regular change in the technological world.
The core activity of the Help is the support is a ‘call’.
A ‘call” on a helpdesk could be made by either be a face-to-face request, a telephone call, emails and other means of one-one communication.
The process is carried out in this order;
The customer calls with a problem,
The helpdesk member makes a note of the request on a call handling system.
The request is then given a reference number or a log.
The customer then receives an acknowledgement of the call either verbally or via email.
The call is resolved immediately by the helpdesk member if it is a minor problem and hence logging the resolution and closing the call or escalates it if it is a major problem.
The person that takes over the escalated problem now has a responsibility for resolving it as soon as possible and logging the resolution and closing the call.
The helpdesk member then confirms the customer is satisfied with the service help rendered, the call is then closed and the call log updated.
The customer receives a follow-up call regularly just to build a good and healthy relationship.
Our major goal in this organisation is making sure that our customers are fully satisfied with the services provided to them, we endeavour to ensure that every problem reported is efficiently attended to by the helpdesk assistant with relevance to SLAs where escalations are utilised if problems are beyond quick and possible solutions.
The customer satisfaction survey which is aimed at getting feedback on services rendered to the customers would involve all the service users in order to be effective and efficient.
The survey would be anonymous in accordance to data protection act (1998). In doing this, customers would be able to express their feelings directly towards the services without sentiments such that both the customers and the organization can experience an enhanced relationship. In other words, customers will be better served to attain utmost satisfaction.
Critical Reflective account about my experiment on comprising this report.
At the beginning of the module (IT Support), we were introduced into a class forum which was really interesting where we all had to do our individual work and then share it with class for general review and possibly feedback and with this, we were all able to read through each other’s work and digest new ideas of the same topic but different approach.
We were handed with four different tasks which most of the group gave and received feedback (positive and negative where necessary) and with feedback; we all had a chance to improve our work.
The final task was the most challenging because we were meant to come up with Sa presentation for a Helpdesk Institute (HDI) Award for the best Service Desk Institute (SDI) and not just that, the presentation was based on us as individual being in an SDI group and giving reasons stating why we deserved the award and this was really challenging because it was not just a presentation, it was more like showing competence, advertising and also trying to be the best which involved a lot of confidence.
Providing this presentation slide eventually was successful due to a lot of research on what the requirements for winning the HDI award and also internal research on out operational and strategic activities comparing them with the objectives of our organisation and making sure that our HDI group met up with these requirements.
Having done all my research, I can now confidently say that If we were a real HDI team, we would definitely be shortlisted not just for the presentation slide alone but for the amount of knowledge gained in setting up this report and if I am given the opportunity to work as a member of the HDI, I can confidently say that I would do a great job and also having the professional British Computing Society Code of Conduct as a point of guidance towards my attitude, I would perform at maximum.
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