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Oct 11

A Call for Nominations: The HDI Analyst, Desktop Support Technician, and Manager of the Year Awards


Working in support can be a thankless job (nobody calls the support center to let them know when everything is going well).

Every year, HDI provides a fantastic (and FREE) opportunity for you to recognize your employees, peers and managers for the great work they do throughout the year.   Please take a few minutes and nominate one of these workplace hero’s and let them know how much they mean to you and your organization.

Nominations for all of these awards are due by October 31st, 2016.


Nominate someone for this award

HDI introduced the HDI Analyst of the Year Award in 2004. Each year, HDI works jointly with the HDI local chapters to identify and award the industry’s top first-level support analyst. Support analysts who are nominated at the local chapter level will have an opportunity to compete with their peers locally, regionally, and globally for this prestigious award.

The nominator presents to the local chapter a personal business profile of the nominee, including specific attributes that demonstrate the nominee’s understanding of industry standards, commitment to excellent service, and record of consistently exceeding performance objectives.

The winners from each of HDI’s five local chapter regions are invited to participate in the HDI’s Analyst of the Year Awards festivities held during the HDI Annual Conference & Expo. Robert Half Technology, the premier sponsor, provides each regional winner’s conference registration.


Nominate someone for this award

The HDI Desktop Support Technician of the Year Award was introduced in 2011. Each year, HDI will work jointly with HDI local chapters to identify and recognize the industry’s top desktop support technician. Desktop technicians nominated at the local chapter level will have an opportunity to compete with their peers locally, regionally, and globally for this prestigious award.

Each nominator presents to the local chapter a personal business profile of the nominee, including specific attributes that demonstrate the nominee’s understanding of industry standards, commitment to excellent service, and record of consistently exceeding performance objectives.

The winners from each of HDI’s five local chapter regions are invited to the HDI Annual Conference & Expo, where the winner of the HDI Desktop Support Technician of the Year will be announced. Robert Half Technology, the premier sponsor for this award, provides each regional winner with one conference registration package.


Nominate someone for this award

Ultimately, leadership is about doing the things that drive action, get results, and improve performance. It is the ability to influence and motivate others, and provide the tools and environment that allow others to make the best contribution towards the attainment of goals. A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. They might not set out to be a leader, but they become one by the quality of their actions and the integrity of their intent.

The HDI Manager of the Year Award acknowledges and honors a service and support manager who has excelled at supporting any or all IT services within their organization. Through this award program, HDI seeks to recognize prominent professionals who most clearly demonstrate the ability to serve and advance information technology within their industry. The HDI Manager of the Year Award winner is announced each year at the HDI Annual Conference & Expo.


Thank you for taking the time to recognize those team members who champion the needs of our customers.

Mar 25

Service? Support? Help?… these are good enough anymore.

mikeA few years ago I was looking for the right word to describe the IT Help Desk. I attended a meeting to talk about it and so many words were thrown around, “support” and “help” or ”service” and many more.  While these are great words, they just didn’t seem right to me. I left the meeting not satisfied with the words we talked about. This haunted me for a long time, I wanted to have a single word represent exactly how I wanted my team to function.

Finally, my brother and I went to the movies, It was an O.K. flick… Captain Philips, it is a about a shipping boat Captain that gets kidnapped my pirates and spends many hours in a fight or flight mode until he is rescued by the US military.  There is a scene in the movie when Captain Philips has been rescued and they are bringing him on the battle ship you slowly see Captain Philips drop his guard and relax. He begins to cry and shake as he realized he was safe. He was at that moment relieved of the burden of the ordeal. So when I saw this I yelled out (in the theatre, yes I know I was that guy) “that’s it! Relief!”

So I finally found my word, relief, we need to relieve our users of their technical issues and worries. When they call the Help Desk or when we show up on-site to help them to think and feel “Wonderful, IS is here and they are going to take care of this issue, I can stop worrying about it.” So we started to use the word relieved at the support center for about 2 years and it has drastically change the conversation around how we work with our users and the issues they present us with. Good Luck

Feb 25

The Supreme Commander of the Service Desk – Ike and Leadership

Andy NixonHistory often teaches us the most important lessons in life. As we discuss management and leadership in our community, I am often reminded of General Dwight Eisenhower and the scene that unfolded for him and his peers during World War Two. Appointed by President Roosevelt, ‘Ike’ was given command of all of the Allied forces in the European theatre, and ultimately, responsibility for planning and executing D-Day. The future President of the United States is remembered as one of the greatest leaders in the history of mankind, but his ascent to these positions was not without quarrels and lessons in humanity.

A quick study of the Allied command automatically brings several problems to fruition. First of all, Gen. Eisenhower was promoted to his position over a good friend and mentor, General George Marshall. Secondly, Eisenhower was put into his position because of his brilliance in wrangling people. Under his command were Field Marshall ‘Monty’ Montgomery, of England, and General Omar Bradley of the U.S.A. Both of these men were exceptional military commanders, but both were also Alpha personalities that wanted all the glory. As such, they clashed constantly.  D-Day, and eventually the Allied victory in the European theatre, can all be attributed to ‘Ike’s abilities to take these men and lead them despite their differences.  Herein lies the lesson.

 How many of us have been promoted, or been put in a position of prominence at some point in our careers, having done so knowing that others were passed over?  We are all on the same team, however, these are human instincts and must be brought into the open and dealt with. How many of us manage teams full of personalities that are all different?  Who, among us, has a Monty or a Bradley on their teams?  Each person that works with us on a daily basis is an individual, all with strengths and weaknesses, all with obvious direct value to our teams. If you’d asked any one of these historical figures about management and leadership in the military, they would say that the former is easy, but the latter is what makes the difference between men.  Management in the military is black and white: a reporting structure exists, and everyone follows orders. Leadership, however, is something entirely different.

Good leadership has everything to do with having people come with you on a task, not telling them what to do and watching them do it. Leadership exists in many different forms in the Service Desk, and it is not exclusive to management. Leadership takes all of the different forms of the human element, ties them together, and makes a team.  A group of individuals become one voice with the same goals and direction under a great leader.  A good leader identifies the different elements of each personality and arranges them in such a way to get the maximum potential out of each individual.  Human studies show us that there will always be conflict, but good leaders identify the ways to unite diverse personalities, even in the heat of the moment.

The best thing that examining General Eisenhower and his command of the European theatre of World War Two can teach all of us is this: ‘Ike’ never wanted to be the Supreme Commander, never wanted to be known as the Supreme Commander, and consistently shrugged off his accomplishments. They were not his accomplishments, he said, but the accomplishments of the team.  He held his group of soldiers in the highest regard, and was beloved by nearly everyone that served under his command. He trusted his men to do their job, and in turn, they trusted him to lead them to victory.

Throughout history, these principles of leadership have been the key to many successful engagements: on the battlefield, in the court room, in the class room, in the board room, and yes, even in our service desks.

Feb 25

Keeping the Customer out of the Middle

David LoweI have cut the cord. I am now the proud owner of streaming media players instead of cable boxes. This has both improved my experience and led to some interesting challenges. My cable company is responsible for the data connection, my streaming content provider is responsible for the content I watch and the media player is responsible for delivering the content to me.

Recently I began having some intermittent problems with my streaming content. I contacted their support center and waited on hold for 10 minutes to speak to a representative. Once I was able to speak with a person I was assured the issue was not theirs but with my streaming media player, and that they had received numerous calls from other users of this brand of player complaining of the same issue in the last hour. I thanked them for their time and contacted support for my media player. After waiting on hold for over 20 minutes I finally was connected with a technician. This technician assured me that the issue was not on their end, but with the stream coming from the content provider. This left me with nobody to turn to.

I realized that while they both had technically done their job (troubleshooting their own product), they had failed to understand the position this left the customer in. I sat and thought for a good while after hanging up the phone. Does this happen in my support center? How can we recognize customers and situations where we are at risk for putting our customers in this position? After further thought, I realized we most likely do leave our customer in this situation occasionally, and now I have a responsibility to prevent this.

I want happy customers, and I want to know that we are not leaving them with nowhere to turn in those rare instances that the issue lies between two vendors. This can blur the lines of support, but dramatically improve the experience the customer has with my team. It is the right thing to do, and I will be discussing how to implement this with my staff, my director and our account management team.

For now, the issue with my streaming content is resolved (I changed channels to a different provider for the remainder of that evening, and everything worked as expected the following day) but I will always remember the lesson their service failures taught me.


Feb 21

New Year, New Membership, New HDIConnect

Two weeks ago, HDI launched its long-awaited new membership model, a huge change that’s been more than a year in the making.
It all started in 2014, when we detected a slight, but steady decline in our membership numbers. From discussions with members and nonmembers, we knew our membership model was complicated, our benefit structure hard to follow. You have to remember, we had six different levels of membership, ranging from $75 to $6,500. This complexity had muddied the value proposition for joining HDI.
For our members, it’s important to have a growing community. The more members we have, the more networking and collaboration opportunities we can provide. The result is a larger base of expertise, broader research, and a louder voice in the industry, all of which provides members with greater resources and empowerment.
In 2014, the HDI leadership team came together for a two-day workshop to discuss the membership issue. We set out to understand our current customers’ concerns as well as those of former members and nonmembers. It was important for us to look at our membership model from the outside-in and discuss improvements, based on customer concerns. Lots of great, and sometimes difficult, changes were proposed in those meetings. However, myself and others on the team didn’t think we had enough information to support some of the proposed changes without collaborating with the community further.
During the first half of 2015, we conducted fifteen focus groups throughout North America and surveyed hundreds of technical support professionals to get the information we needed to perfect our membership model. Our research and analysis was extensive, and it was your feedback that guided this much-needed update to the membership model. More than …read more

Source:: HDI Blogs

Feb 11

Rate the Mid-Ohio Chapter of HDI

Each year we send out a survey to gain feedback from our members. The survey provides valuable feedback to the local chapter officers and lets the national organization know how we are doing. We know your time is valuable so the survey is very short, only three questions. Please take a moment between now and March 03, 2015 to complete the survey at that link below.

Feb 05

Staff Satisfaction in Technical Support

chart showing percentages of satisfied employees
In the HDI 2015 Support Center Practices & Salary Report, released in November, we published findings on employee satisfaction in the industry. Not all of the 803 respondent organizations measure employee satisfaction, but the news is mostly good in those organizations that do measure.

  • 465 organizations reported having satisfied or very satisfied staff
  • Only 71 organizations reported dissatisfied or very dissatisfied staff
These stats include only the organizations that contributed answers to this section of our survey. About a quarter (24%) of these organizations measure employee satisfaction annually; 14% measure monthly and 12% measure weekly.
What keeps employees satisfied?
In the organizations that have satisfied or very satisfied staff, the largest contributing factor named was relationships within the team (72% of these respondents), and the second largest (65%) was management.
The remaining three of the top five reasons for a satisfied staff were:
  • Compensation including benefits (52%)
  • Organizational culture (51%)
  • Paid time off (49%)

…read more

Source:: HDI Blogs

Feb 02

Top 5 Reasons for a Decrease in Desktop Support Tickets

top 5 reasons for decrease in desktop support tickets
The HDI 2015 Desktop Support Practices & Salary Report shows that while 69% of desktop support organizations recorded an increase in the number of cases (tickets) last year, only 10% saw a decrease in the demand for their services. (So much for the prognostications that desktop support is irrelevant.)
  <br /></div>
  <strong>Why did those organizations see a decrease in cases?</strong>
  <br /></div>
<div>According to the organizations themselves, here are to top 5 reasons for the decrease:</div>
  <br /><em>Percent of organizations reporting each reason<br /><br /></em>
<div>Although it is not clear exactly how knowledge management is responsible for a decrease in the number of cases, it seems likely that this is closely related to the number three reason: Self-help. Good knowledge management, especially using the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thinkhdi.com/~/media/HDICorp/Files/Library-Archive/Insider%20Articles/WhatIsLZS.pdf">Level Zero Solvable</a> metric, can produce excellent self-help, thus helping customers solve at least some of their questions or issues without ever contacting assisted support.</div>
  <br /></div>
<div>New equipment and devices can certainly help reduce support costs. Helping those older laptops or desktops limp along can be a challenge for any support organization. At some point it becomes counterproductive, and refreshing the equipment really helps. </div>
  <br /></div>
<div>Of course customer competency—that is, their familiarity with and comfort in using the applications and equipment they work with every day—makes a great deal of <a href="http://www.hdiconnect.com/blogs/desktopsupport/2016/02/top-5-reasons-for-decreased-tickets.aspx" target="_blank" id="rssmi_more"> ...read more</a> <p>Source:: <a href="http://www.hdiconnect.com/blogs/desktopsupport/2016/02/top-5-reasons-for-decreased-tickets.aspx" target="_blank" title="Top 5 Reasons for a Decrease in Desktop Support Tickets">HDI Blogs</a></p></div>

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