A database helps the help desk

On many help desks, a support analyst has the option of walking to a malfunctioning computer and fixing it. For Erika Pierce, however, work isn't that simple.

On many help desks, a support analyst has the option of walking to a malfunctioning computer and fixing it. For Erika Pierce, however, work isn't that simple.As a computer specialist for the General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service, she supports 1,200 employees in six states in the Great Lakes region. Her help desk system wasn't designed to manage such a wide area.'Regardless of the situation, an analyst had to be sent to the user workstation to close out the trouble ticket,' Pierce said. For some remote sites, that meant travel expenses and two or three days of user downtime.Then one day the help desk's software died. Hundreds of trouble tickets disappeared. The catastrophe turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it opened the door for new technology to improve the quality and speed of service. The Public Buildings Service looked for a system to focus its efforts and organize its operations.Service officials decided to implement Unicenter Service Desk from Computer Associates International Inc.With IT now an integral part of government operations, there is added pressure on help desks to get users back online and to prevent outages. The task, however, is complicated by the number of applications offices use and the rising number of remote or mobile workers and telecommuters.How do agencies provide trained personnel to handle the array of problems?'You can't add bodies and have a sustainable business model,' said analyst Kris Brittain of Gartner Inc. of Stamford, Conn. She recommends tools that agencies can use to categorize trouble tickets, conduct pattern analyses and automate the entire process.Pierce customized a knowledge base within the help desk system for the Public Buildings Service. It contains basic data on all the office's applications, allowing analysts to record problems and their solutions for the benefit of the entire support staff.Before, support analysts did not have a database to search for a problem's resolution, Pierce said. 'Now they can solve it once and create an item for others to refer to.'Putting knowledge directly in users' hands is part of a trend toward reducing help desk costs. The approach, though, could be a double-edged sword.'Self-service is nice in theory,' said Fred Broussard, an analyst with IDC of Framingham, Mass. 'But it's tricky if users are unfamiliar with technology.'Pierce recommends a two-tiered knowledge base, a technical one for help desk staff and a simple one for end users.'Our GSA customers will have their own basic knowledge base, which includes frequently asked questions about a wide range of topics,' Pierce said. 'This reduces routine calls to our staff.'Another tool in the help desk arsenal is the ability to remotely view and control a user's computer. The Public Buildings Service accomplishes this with Unicenter's Remote Computer Option.Using this tool, the agency's success rate has risen from zero to 70 percent first-call resolutions. With remote functionality the help desk can also support mobile workers. 'Even if the customer is at a hotel using a laptop, we can fix it remotely,' Pierce said. 'We just RCO it and take care of the bug.'Tickets that had taken two to three days to close out are now routinely completed in 20 minutes to one hour, Pierce said. Based on the success in the Great Lakes, the Public Buildings Service rolled the software out to the rest of its 11 regions.



























From a distance






X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.