IT shared services and IT help desk in large multi-nationals
When organizations create IT shared services and IT support help desks, on the surface, they appear cost effective. These support organizations
are focused on resolving issues on a transactional basis, which works well for
low complexity/repetitive issues. Opening a ticket on an IT help desk because
you require a new system account created, or to report a LAN outage would be
good ‘transactional’ examples.
In my experience, two things are lost when IT teams move
to a ‘shared service’ / help desk model (as
opposed to being embedded with business units):
Several years ago, I spent 2 years at a large multi-national
managing a team of IT experts within a business unit solving their day-to-day
IT problems on all their platforms and devices: desktops, mobile devices, LAN availability and network traffic
management, VPN connectivity, as well several in-house R&D labs
with private networks and
scientific lab equipment in use. Ironically, this multi-national had a massive
worldwide IT support organization, with teams of “Help Desk” staff based in
Asia, North America and Europe.
- Skin in
the game - When your IT team members are part of your business unit, they
are organizationally (and often personally) connected with team members. This inherently drives them to try to achieve
a higher level of “solution responsiveness” (as opposed to transactional
ticket-based issue resolution);
business and functional knowledge to solve complex/ambiguous problems, and
to respond to service requests with comprehensive solution proposals.
However, the service the teams could provide was so diluted and disconnected
from the business unit’s real IT issues (which were complex and
often ambiguous), that business unit leaders needed to hire my team to be
embedded and co-located within their organization who could truly help users
with ambiguous problems.
Users (employees) need to be able to raise a red flag
that they are blocked, and tap into a savvy and responsive team that gets them
unblocked, without putting the onus on the user to be able to investigate and
describe their problem to a help desk employee over a 1-800 number.
Leaders who are counting the cost savings from their IT help desk and Shared Service models, would do well to ask if their ticket resolution and
responsiveness metrics are truly unblocking employees in a timely
manner, or if employees have instead avoiding using the help desks at all and
instead figured out alternatives means
to getting themselves "unblocked".