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Who are the Real Decision Making Leaders? Service Desk Analysts of Course

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Most organizations live or die, succeed or fail based on their ability to make the correction decision at the right time. In today’s world, those decisions need to be made quicker and carry more impact if the wrong decision is made. The implications of failure due to poor decision making are well known, but just for the record, let’s summarize them: spoilt image, loss of revenue, loss of investment, cut backs to recovery losses, time lapse behind competitors, staff uncertainty and cost of reversing the bad decisions. It’s just as well that these decisions are in the hands of well trained, well informed and well prepared senior managers.

Not so!

Many more decisions are made every day by service desk analysts. Every incident sent to the service desk results in an analyst having to make a decision, e.g. whether to close an incident or whether to escalate an incident or what priority should be allocated to an incident. Every incident that arrives at a service desk requires at least one decision. This is an important fact that management needs to consider when recruiting, on-boarding and educating service desk staff.

Yet, most service desk analysts get no or little decision making training. Why is that? Especially when you think of the volume of incidents raised every day. For example, if there are ten analysts on a service desk each handling 30 incidents per day that’s 300 decision made by the service desk in one day. Many of these decisions are small, and a wrong decision would not cause much harm, but sprinkled amongst them are some potentially explosive decisions.

There are two approaches we can put in motion very quickly to address this. The first one is to realise that the objective is to reduce incidents not to keep making the same decision again and again as this quote from Ron Muns (founder of HDI) illustrates so succinctly:

An organization must analyze all the decisions made by support analyst to understand what changes are needed so that the same decisions don’t have to be made over and over.

Proactive problem management, root cause analysis, is a must so that dangerous decisions are eliminated. As IT penetrates more and more into the fabric of business, the scope for dangerous decisions grows and will need careful attention. Even with all their resources and support, executives will make the odd wrong decision so just imagine how the service desk must struggle at times.

The second approach is to address the lack of decision making training and knowledge. We can, and should, adapt knowledge management tools to support service analysts, but training will give the needed insight into how to use knowledge management tools.

Finally, all wrong decisions by service analysts need to be analysed so that either they don’t occur again or if they do reoccur, the service desk analysts are trained and equipped with an adequate tool kit.

Senior managers may have the make the really ‘big’ decisions, but in regards to sheer volume, service desk analysts leave them far behind. What’s more, these analysts are also trying to cope with angry customers and tight deadlines both of which hinder the decision making process. Remember there is no room for guess work.

So, who should be viewed as real decision makers – why the service desk analysts of course.

How many decisions does your service desk team make in one day?