Your Tier 1 Support is in the Wrong Place

Lots of us started there. Depending on the size of the company you work for, you might still be doing some of it.  Classic Tier 1 support calls are often things like password changes, mouse and keyboard issues, other things often resolved with the end user either rebooting their machine and logging out and back in.

And I’m almost certain that you have the wrong people handling that job, particularly if that person is you or someone one your team who is also responsible for other more technical projects. Stick with me on this for a minute.

I’ve always been a big advocate of the administration departments and the IT departments working closely together and I think that any administrative or executive assistant worth their salt can handle most Tier 1 Helpdesk tickets. Here’s why: they already have their hand on the pulse of pretty major areas of your company and often work directly with executives and managers.

They know what guests and visitors are coming to your location – relevant IT tasks include providing WiFi passwords to guests, explaining how to use the phones and A/V systems and alerting IT ahead of time to guest that need additional resources.

They know when Execs are grumbling about IT issues that can become emergencies (noisy hard drives, problems with applications) and can let IT know ahead of time of pending maintenance issues. 

They can easily be cc’d on emails regarding upcoming password expiration for key executives or managers and make sure those people complete those tasks in a timely manner. Resetting passwords and unlocking accounts is a easy activity that can be delegated out to admin staff with a quick training session. With the proper permissions, you can only give them the abilities they need and nothing more.

Opening tickets, resetting voicemail passwords for phone systems, replacing batteries in wireless mice, swapping out broken keyboards, changing printer toners, basic troubleshooting of printer jams, updating job titles in Active Directory… That’s just off the top of my head.

So what good could come of this? First off, there is a big lack of women in systems admin roles. I was just on a WiT panel last week discussing how to get more women into this role. Turns out, 3 out of 4 women on the panel started in administrative roles. It’s a great way for someone to get a glimpse into the “plumbing” of how systems and network administration keep businesses running. 

Second, most executive assistants are great managers of time and of people, and can often see and understand the big picture of how a company runs, all characteristics that make successful sysadmins. Letting them handle some of the front facing issues can also take away some of the “mystery” of the IT department.

Integrating these two functions can provide a great cost savings to your company, can provide a pipeline of future staff to pull from when you have an opening in the IT department and as a bonus, you’re doing something to help more women begin their technical careers.

So go ahead, steal the receptionist.

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