Most IT workers spend their days at the service desk or in the IT department, isolated from other departments by walls and by association. In fact, 65 percent of IT professionals defined their work situation as such, compared to just 18 percent who define their work as embedded in another department. Yet this number is higher than it was back in 2009, indicating that the practice is on the rise.
Why is it a good idea to utilize an enterprise service desk solution, but more specifically IT workers in other departments? Where should they be located? What are the benefits to the company, its employees, and the customers?
Building Relationships Between the Business and IT
Businesses need better ways to align the needs, desires, and goals of the business with that of the IT department. Some depend on regular meetings or on simple training exercises to “show” IT what business workers do and need to do every day. However, this creates a “us versus them” mentality. Business workers don’t understand why IT can’t or won’t improve processes, and IT can’t understand why business workers can’t understand why they can’t.
When an IT worker is placed within a department, these dynamics change. The IT worker spends their days in another department, working along side other workers in that department. Not only do they begin forging solid relationships, but the IT worker can see first-hand what’s working and what isn’t. Furthermore, it’s easier in this situation for the IT worker to communicate effectively with other workers regarding what’s available, what’s practical, what’s doable, and what is simply impossible.
Identifying Technologies to Improve Work Processes
Conversely, when the IT worker is embedded in another department, they can fully and eloquently explain to IT managers what technologies are needed. Better yet, they can communicate what isn’t working, and what technologies can be scrapped, saving the company money and reducing waste. IT can then develop better systems for workers within these departments, improving productivity and efficiency.
Learning What the Business’ Customers Need and Want
In addition to fostering more understanding and better relationships with other workers throughout the company, embedding service desk workers in other departments gives them a better sense of what the customers demand. No longer is a department manager stuck whining in a meeting that they can’t provide their customers with this or that — now the embedded IT worker can see customer feedback clearly and directly. This allows them to identify technologies and improvements in the existing infrastructure that will allow the entire company to better meet the needs and wants of their customer base.
How to Successfully Embed an IT Service Desk Worker Into Other Departments
If you’re convinced this is a good idea, there are some pointers offered by companies that have done this successfully:
- The IT worker needs a specified set of duties within the other department. This means working along side other workers for measurable benefits. Otherwise, the situation is just seen as IT obstructing business operations.
- The IT worker needs to be physically located within the other department. While it’s important that they maintain a presence in IT in order to retain their clout there, the IT worker and the department where they are located need to feel that the service desk worker is a valuable member of their team.
- The IT worker needs to have good business sense and good IT sense. Someone who is going to give in to every whim the business side conjures up isn’t a good fit for this position.
- The IT worker needs to be respected in both the IT department and the other department. They need to be able to fully communicate both positions to the other party and work toward a viable solution that is amicable to all.
Where are good places to embed a service desk worker? Any department that utilizes the services provided by IT is a good fit:
- Upper Management
- Research and Development
- Human Resources
- Facilities Management
- Other Support Departments
A good enterprise service desk solution can help embedded IT workers communicate with IT while collecting valuable information from their secondary department. Building a knowledge base will help all departments keep up with the progress of this and other IT programs.