Integration of help desk software with social media has received a lot of attention in recent years. If people use social media all the time anyway, why not use it as a channel for delivery of IT services? Naturally, there’s been plenty of skepticism too, with IT help desk workers wondering if it’s just another fad, or something that will add to their already heavy workload.
Social media can be used to deliver tangible results for businesses, and it can do so without putting extra strain on IT personnel.
But transferring social media principles onto IT service delivery isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. If you’ve been considering integrating social media with IT service delivery, here are some things to consider.
Social media tools are already there. Could you put them to work to enable better IT service delivery?
Why Use Social IT?
Maybe your company uses Salesforce, and everyone uses Chatter to collaborate and communicate. Or maybe your organization has widely scattered branch offices and uses Google Groups a lot. Chances are, your organization’s end-users already use a social media platform to collaborate and communicate, so social IT probably wouldn’t involve a major roll-out effort.
Moreover, everyone already knows how to use social media, so adding social IT doesn’t involve a steep learning curve for end-users. And like it or not, social media has made email less effective in many ways. People may not notice a pile of emails updating them on a major IT upgrade, but if it appears in their social media feed they will. Finally, social media isn’t going away, so why not make good use of it as a way to deliver IT services?
Social IT Tools That Are Useful for the IT Help Desk
Many commonly available social media tools can be useful within a help desk software. For example, discussion boards and groups encourage collaboration and communication among group members about important issues and ongoing projects. “Following” is another good tool that can bring together IT personnel and end users, because end users can follow projects and changes that are relevant to them without being overwhelmed by a massive memo put out every couple of weeks.
Wikis are another great add-in to social media. When maintained by the IT community, these evolving knowledge bases can help end-users understand what’s going on and learn to solve some issues themselves, without having to submit an IT help desk ticket. Additionally, you can use hashtags to make it easier for end users to search for content surrounding certain topics, and they can use “Likes” (or their equivalent) to help the IT team learn what information really connects with end users.
How Social IT Can Be Used to Meet Challenges
Here are some ideas on how social IT can help you meet some common IT department challenges:
Faster Resolution of Issues – by breaking down “knowledge silos,” social media can facilitate discussion and create a searchable record of knowledge so end users and the IT team can find solutions more quickly.
Smoother Change Management – by letting end users follow the progress of a major change through easy-to-understand, “snack sized” updates, you can cut down on the number of calls and emails asking IT team members about the status of major projects.
Faster Innovation and Improvement of Services – Engagement between the IT team and end users via social media helps the IT team understand end user frustrations better, and can help them see what end-users respond to and like. This can help the IT team identify potential communication problems early and address them before they become intractable.
Better IT Efficiency – by integrating collaboration into IT service delivery via social media, your IT team and end users can tap into a rich vein of IT knowledge and solutions. Social media can also help you see when a problem is a limited or one-off thing, versus a serious problem that’s growing and that needs to be prioritized.
Social media offers organizations a good way to communicate, collaborate, and share knowledge, and integrating it into IT service delivery doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It can also be a good way to bridge the gaps that can exist between IT and the rest of the organization, because everyone knows how to use it, and news feeds can be a great way to disseminate knowledge quickly.
About Nathan Riley
Nathan Riley is a Sales Director, ITSM at SolarWinds. He has nine years experience in the industry, and has had a front row seat for the evolution of service management as a platform for the entire organization. He helps organizations ranging from SMB to Fortune 500 bring customized service to employees. Nathan proudly served the United States Armed Forces in the United States Marine Corps.
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