Help Desk Metrics

It is common to find companies running with just barely enough human resources to get by with the day to day work.  Unfortunately for the support technicians, that can make for a very difficult life trying to put out fire after fire, never really making any headway into the root cause of these fires.

What typically comes next is a plea to management to hire more people.  If management is blind to where the support staff are spending their daily hours they will be reluctant to hire more staff.  Management, understandably, needs to be convinced of the value that will be realized from incurring a significant cost.  Keep a simple rule in mind:

“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

This adage should be the basis of all IT resource decisions.  Without objectively knowing what IT needs are, it’s difficult to make the case to management that more resources are justified.  In fact, you might not know as well as you think you do what your resource needs are!  This is why it must be stressed to the support technicians that every single interaction they have during the work day needs to be logged within their support application.

Logging work after the fact is difficult as details get lost.  In many cases technicians are accosted on their way to and from their assignments.  This then results in a failure to update their help desk application with the details of any work since they’ve had to perform several unanticipated tasks en route.  So the cycle continues; support staff barely get by with the day to day work, but cannot show any hard data to prove the need for more bodies.

The onus here must be on the support staff to log their activity as they go.  The more detail, the better.    Once the helpdesk database takes shape, the metrics will paint a true IT resourcing picture that explains the bottlenecks, trouble spots, and recurring headaches that plague the organization.  Perhaps another staff member is required as the work has outgrown the team.  Perhaps end user training is the key because IT staff are spending 50% of their time formatting word documents for their users.  Perhaps physical resources are inadequate or outdated and are wasting people’s time.  Once you have the data, you will finally be able to put a strategy in place to best utilize your human IT resources.