Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crowdsourcing the IT Helpdesk

Bumped into an article and a post that got me thinking. One is an older article (that I reread after going paperless). It is titled "Tailoring IT Support to communities of practice" by Agresti (in: IT Pro, 2003). The other is a recent blogpost by Oliver Marks, "Sorry, the helpdesk doesn't cover that".

What I was wondering is: How many companies are crowdsourcing their IT helpdesks? I see most companies still maintaining traditional helpdesks. So, every employees knows the numbers he/she should call, you call the helpdesk and they try to help you. Usually there's also a system to support that process. This tool supports the helpdesk to manage calls and their solutions. And employees can check the progress of their incident/question.

However, we all know lots of stuff that is IT helpdesk-ish is solved by asking colleagues for help or Googling the solution. And the solutions the helpdesk provides to one colleagues is shared among the helpdesk people, but is not shared with all employees.

Would it be nice and wise to crowdsource the IT helpdesk. I'm not saying the helpdesk employees should move over. We still need them. But their knowledge and that of all the employees can be used to quickly find who else has a certain problem, to solve issues the IT helpdesk can't solve, etc.

I'm wondering: does your corporate IT helpdesk work in this way? Or do you know of companies that have this in place? And is this working for them?

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