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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Non-Profit Help Desk.

Every organization -- no matter how small - needs to have an IT Help Desk of some sort. Actually, every organization already has one, because everyone on staff has figured out "Who ya gonna call?" when hardware or software refuses to behave. A great step forward for your informal user support desk is to provide them with a few procedures and tools that can help them be effective and efficient in this function.

I'm not saying your help desk needs more technical skill. Not at all. As the Wizard of Oz might say, "The non-profit sector is full of help desks that have no more technical skill than yours has. But what they do have that you do not is a Ticketing System.

It's remarkable what even the simplest ticketing system for tracking user requests will do for your informal help desk operation. The users benefit because their requests are less likely to slip through the cracks. Having a formal queue of requests reduces the panic element in support, and this immediately makes the system more efficient. for the entire organization.

But it's the knowledge you gain over time from the ticketing system that is the real benefit. A ticketing system lets your organization track what kinds of support requests are coming in and who submits them. It allows them to know how much time is spent in the aggregate, and on specific types of support. This information provides real business intelligence pointing towards I.T. improvements that you know in advance will save staff time and thus have a positive impact on mission.

What should a Ticket include? More coming up.

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