One common issue that comes up in the IT field is the pains and agonies of user support.
You don't have to look far on any technical forum or mailing list to find topics devoted to sharing the doozies that tech types come across.
There are apocryphal stories of users complaining their drink holders are broken; upon inspection it turns out the CD tray has been used to hold beverages!
While I've yet to see that in reality there is definitely no shortage of genuine matters to laugh or groan or cry about.
A case in point: yesterday I heard from a beleagured support technician – not at my company thankfully – about several calls he received concerning a conference room data projector.
The first was asking if he could drive over, from a different office, to connect a laptop to the projector so several people could have a meeting.
The second, and later, call was in panic, saying that suddenly the display had disappeared even though it had been working. This one was simple; the technician’s advice to wiggle the mouse was met with “it’s back!”
While the second took very little time and is even slightly humorous, the first matter causes me more concern.
If you’re reading iTWire then I don’t need to tell you that there’s no end of business users who will admit – even with pride – that they’re technically challenged.
Yet, it is one thing to acknowledge this and seek to improve, but another to believe it is acceptable and normal to be perfectly happy with the situation.
This argument has been railing for years, even decades. Should end users be expected to know how to operate their computer? Some say yes, it’s a fundamental business tool. Others say no, they are hired because they are financial or legal or sales experts or whatever it may be they do. The reason IT support staff are hired are so they can assist with the technology and enable the line-of-business people to do their job.
The time for arguing is over. In this current economic climate every skill helps. Every trivial request must be considered in terms of the dollars wasted.
As companies begin tightening up on cash, there’s no doubt in my mind that IT departments are going to be stuck for time, with most external consultants being scrapped and more reliance being put on the internal team.
At the same time, the message to the rest of the company is to become more self-reliant for computing basics.
I’ll explain why.