Enabling people to help themselves with IT issues

Part of working in IT is fixing issues, and the other part is enabling people to help themselves with IT issues.

I was working in a company that was chronically understaffed. This caused many departments to really work hard. It always seemed there were emergencies at this company. One of the frustrating parts of working there is that people often needed things done immediately for valid reasons.

Enabling people to help themselves with IT issuesOne day I was working on an important thing for one coworker and another coworker asked me to do something equally valid. I didn’t have enough time to do both, so I explained this to my boss and with the coworker. The solution that I came up with is to have that coworker do part of the work himself, which he readily agreed to.

I was able to explain the manual work that needed to be done, and he was capable and willing to do it. He accepted the consequences and got right to work. He was able to make it work.

Now normally in every other company I have worked at, the IT department has exclusive IT control. Not in this company. It was distributed in a way I have never seen before. So that’s why I suggested this strategy. It turns out that you can limit the roles that you give to users in IT and even not IT people can do IT related stuff.

This is very popular concept that is called self-service. Many CIO people like the fact that they can reduce IT support staff by giving people the ability to do common IT tasks themselves. Like reset their password, or order computer equipment for a new employee. I like companies that offer this. It gets boring fixing easy things like this, so its more fun to figure out the complicated stuff.

Will self-service put IT people out of a job? Eventually when we have robot and artificial intelligence. However someone will need to fix them, and probably it will be an IT person like myself.

I don’t fear the future, I welcome it.

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