IT help desks are not immune to office politics. Every organization has people who use (or try to use) carefully-honed office politics — rather than job skills — to succeed. A Robert Half study of 400 workers in the United States found that nearly 60% of employees believe that knowing how to play office politics plays some role in getting ahead in the workplace.
One critical juncture where office politics meets IT service management is when an executive needs IT service desk help.
“Did you know you can play solitaire on these things?”
Special Needs of the Corner Office Club
Of course, executive needs depend heavily on the kind of company you work in. A still-active, 70-year-old trial lawyer who earned his stripes during the Civil Rights era might be cut some slack for not knowing how to set up video conferencing. On the other hand, the 35-year-old startup titan at a gaming company really ought to be able to set up a work-at-home network with minimal use of the IT service desk resources. In both cases, however, the IT service desk should have a plan for coping with executive demands without compromising services to the everyday front-line workers who just need help so they can get their work done.
The Case For Giving Execs VIP Treatment
In some companies, there’s a strong “trickle down” effect based on the CEO’s happiness or unhappiness. It may not be fair, but telling Rick in engineering that his printer problem is going to have to wait while you get the CEO back on the network comes with the unspoken post-script saying, “Because you know that when the big boss isn’t happily occupied, that’s when he has time to walk around micromanaging everyone and keeping them from actually being productive.”
And there are cases when it’s obvious that somebody needs to drop what they’re doing and help a C-level executive out, like when she’s on her way to a presentation to a potentially huge client and her laptop hard drive is acting wiggy. Short-term disruption in this case could lead to happier times over the long term.
The Case Against Giving Execs VIP Treatment
There’s also a strong case to be made for execs requesting IT services through the request system just like everyone else. After all, why is his “nice, but not necessary” workstation upgrade more important than a network problem that has had the entire accounting staff offline all morning? If your IT help desk runs efficiently, the big wigs will get their services taken care of in a reasonable amount of time just like everyone else.
Corporate Culture May Be the Ultimate Deciding Factor
Ultimately, your unique corporate culture may be the factor that determines whether your IT service desk offers VIP treatment to high-level management. Ideally, your CIO should be plugged into the executive floor zeitgeist enough to know whether special treatment for executives is appropriate or expected. If so, he or she can then work with the IT service desk on a plan to address executive needs promptly, without leaving the rest of the workforce inoperable.
Twelve antsy college interns with nothing to do. One conference room full of rolling chairs. What could possibly go wrong?
As always, communication is the key. If you run the help desk and are unsure how to handle executive requests, ask your CIO for guidance. Otherwise, you could come across as a sycophant (if you kick everyone else to the curb to set up the CFO’s new smartphone), or as a naïve idealist (if you reconfigure the receptionist’s desktop while the CEO waits to print a critical report on a balky printer).
Whether your executive suite expects VIP treatment from the service desk or not, your organization’s IT service management should be built on outstanding ITSM software that won’t let you down. Samanage is a leader in software that provides powerful IT service desk and IT management capabilities that make delivery of IT services as effective and efficient as possible. Samanage also offers great tools, like a self-service portal that allows end users to solve some IT problems themselves, as well as social media integration and smartphone apps that ensure easy access to the IT service desk for everyone.
About Laura Miller
Laura Miller is the Director of Sales in North America for Samanage. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.
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