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Welcome to the SysAid Blog - the place to go to find out where the IT industry is going, and what is SysAid’s role in it.

Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Free Asset Management Software

Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Asset Management

Signs It's Time to Upgrade Your Free Asset Management Software

Whether you’re a small startup with limited funds or an established company just trying to test different software, many businesses make the initial decision to use free asset management software. Free software is cost efficient, handles the basic needs of many companies, and allows you to experience the benefits of asset management without going all in.

However, there will eventually come a time when free asset management software will no longer suffice. As your business grows and expands, so will your IT needs. In order to make sure your asset management software will be able to support your needs, here are some signs to let you know when you’ve outgrown your free software.

1. You need frequent technical support

Most free software vendors’ offer limited support through community forums or access to a FAQ section. This might be sufficient for startup companies that are bootstrapping, but larger sized companies with multiple needs tend to run into a lot more technical issues that need to be resolved quickly and subsequently require access to phone and email support 24/7.

Consider the amount of time and resources used to figure out how to solve technical issues on your own. That time could be much better used for completing projects or other high priority tasks. With 24/7 support, issues can be resolved immediately.

2. You have a high number of users

If your company is growing rapidly, you will need software that can accommodate all of the users and their devices (especially if your company does BYOD). Free software will limit the amount of end users and assets that can be used.

When the amount of users allowed is capped, so is the opportunity for growth. If the number of employees you have is constantly growing and you are even considering going internationally, lift restrictions and upgrade to a paid asset management software.

3. You want a more customized experience

In general, any type of free software will only allow basic customization if any at all. To create a sense of unity and to establish the company brand, having a customized layout (logo, colors, UI) will help further your company’s identity and setup things in accordance to your specific needs.

4. You want more bang for your buck

Investing a little bit of money into paid asset management software will go a long way. By no means we think free software isn’t good. However, free software works great when there’s no sense of urgency and you just want to test out software without committing to a 30 day trial or a subscription plan.

Free asset management software imposes limits such as the inability to print certain reports and get complete analytics, limited remote access, and less integration. When you upgrade to paid software, you’re able to enjoy the entire capabilities asset management tools offer such as password services, setting up tasks and projects, and being able to completely manage all of the assets in your network.

It’s easy to be tempted by the allure of the word FREE, but free asset management won’t suffice forever. When free software won’t cut it anymore, step up to a paid plan and get the most of your asset inventory tool.

Asset Management is just one of the many features supported by SysAid’s Service Desk Software. By upgrading your free edition to SysAid’s Basic, Full or Enterprise editions, you get all the essentials for IT service management in one service desk, including a robust Help Desk, Asset Management, Knowledge Base, Remote Control, ITIL Change and Problem Management, advanced customization, SLA, and more.

Can’t decide which edition is best for you? Click here to see SysAid’s feature comparison matrix.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

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Everything You Need to Know About SysAid 9.1 Beta

Posted by on August 19, 2013 in SysAid
SysAid Beta 9.1 Happy Beta testing to all our dear Pathfinders who have been enthusiastic and thorough, helping us ensure the official release is even better. I have summed up the highlights of the 9.1 Beta testing, but if you want more in depth information or to post your own comment, please visit the Beta Issue Forum on our Community. And, of course, if you want to become one of our elite Beta Testers, we welcome you with open arms to join the league of SysAid Pathfinder here. You will get an exclusive look at SysAid new Release 9.1 and be the first to test all its new features!

What People Are Saying about the New UI

So far, Pathfinders have given the following positive reviews about the new UI:
  • “More professional…The top menu allows for quick one-click navigation to most pages.”
  • “Everything is faster, more overview, very successful.”
  • “A large plus and a smiley for column auto scaling!”
  • “Very happy about the new Category <> Template relationship. This will help to assign Special templates to different requests.”
And some critiques:
  • Pop-up windows should open wider so users can scroll down and read all the information/ to reach the buttons.
  • In the Customize List on select pages, the check box spacing needs a more defined break between menus and lists.

Patch Management Update

Big thanks to @Tech-Guy for bringing up the issue of Patch Management, which is not included in this release. No worries though because Patch Management will be here in just a couple of months!  SysAid would like to officially inform you that the Patch Management module will be released this November 2013.

Top 3 Bugs

Shout-out to one of our top Pathfinders @ Karlson for being so thorough and discovering the first 2 bugs on this list! We are aware of these bugs now thanks to our Pathfinders, and we will fix them in the upcoming Release Candidate.
  1. Category selection field on New CI form: There is a bug that does not allow the user to select a sub-category when creating a new CI (the values are in the list but will not be accepted).
  2. Knowledge Base article not displayed when selected: There’s a bug when a user selects an item in the new Knowledge Base, the item is not displayed.
  3. Error message when upgrading: *Resolved! While there was a bug in the upgrade installation file, we have resolved the bug with a manual repair fixed in the next build. If anyone encounters the same issue, please contact us at

The Known Issues

Here’s a list of Known Issues and some temporary workarounds to minimize interference:
  • #13129: Can’t select category when adding new article in the Knowledge Base. Workaround: Switch to old view and then add new article.
  • #13084: Service records with “assign_to=none” does not automatically assign to the admin who is editing the SR. Workaround: Manually assign the admin.
  • #13074: SysAid Agent version 8.5 and below that is installed on Windows 8 will not be upgraded to the new .NET Agent due to a .NET Framework issue. Workaround: Uninstall the old Agent and install the .NET Agent manually.
  • #13158: When you select an article in the new Knowledge Base from the sub-menu column, the article is not displayed. Workaround: Switch to old view of the KB.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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Mobile Expense Management: How to Do It Right

Posted by on August 15, 2013 in BYOD

Mobile Expense Management

Managing mobile costs is a challenge for organizations of all sizes. Trends such as BYOD might be leading to a reduction in work device expenses, but operational expenses, software and security costs will be growing. The situation becomes more complex when estimating a budget to cover these costs becomes a long process that requires the collection of data across all departments and management levels.

While it often seems easy to think that the benefits that come along with BYOD are justifiable, BYOD involves many different costs that in the long run, can hurt your business if they become excessive or disproportionate. Mobile expense management is certainly a hot topic. However, the question is, how do you manage these expenses correctly?

Analyze Current Usage

You must have a benchmark or estimate of what the current mobile usage of your company is before you can begin to manage it. In today’s global economy where it’s common for businesses to have offices in several different countries, tracking company-wide mobile use can be difficult. Certain carriers are distinct to specific countries which makes unification an issue. There are a few different options to help in this situation:

  • Find one carrier: Although it may be difficult, you can look for one carrier that services every area your company has offices in.
  • Using one framework for multiple carriers: Instead of restricting the company to one carrier, you can attempt to handle all of the different carriers while maintaining a unified framework.
  • Using multiple carriers: The final option would be to manage all of the different carriers and just keep them separate.

Consolidating all of the company usage can be difficult, but it’s a necessary step in order to manage all of the mobile expenses being incurred.

Budget Based on Departmental Needs/Use

Certain departments will have different mobile device needs and usage. For example, the sales team will mainly use their mobile phones to make calls, send emails, and in some cases text message. The IT department will probably use their phones for emails and to monitor support tickets. It would not make sense to allocate the same amount of talking minutes to the sales team as you would to the IT support department.

Knowing how different departments use mobile devices is also beneficial for keeping costs down. Enrolling every device in contracts that include full features could be a tremendous misuse of the company budget if the employees aren’t using them all.

Mobile device contracts do not scale down every month according to your usage. If your company signs up for unlimited text messaging and employees only send 100 texts a month, the company will still be billed at the unlimited rate. This can result in thousands of lost dollars.

Establish a Line Between Business and Personal Use

One of the reasons BYOD became popular is because companies recognized employees were often using company provided devices for personal use. The problem this created was that companies ended up footing the bill for employees to make unauthorized personal calls with company equipment.

While this still occurs today, BYOD has helped because employees use their personal devices for business. In order to better manage mobile expenses, companies have to make sure that they are only paying for mobile devices being used for business. Thankfully, this once difficult task has been made much easier with a Mobile Device Management Software.

MDM software allows companies to see how each employee is using their devices. If the monthly billing is unusually high one month, companies can look into how each device was used throughout the month and determine which employee is causing the issue.

Weigh costs vs. benefits

Overall mobile device usage has risen substantially year after year. However, this shouldn’t automatically be used as an excuse to increase the mobile device budget. Companies should analyze the costs being incurred by mobile devices and the benefits being gained as a result. This can be done by monitoring overall productivity, sales, and other measurable factors that might be affected by mobile device usage (positively or negatively).

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

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SysAid 9.1 On-Premise Beta is Here!

Posted by on August 12, 2013 in SysAid
SysAid Service Desk 9.1 On-Premise Beta The excitement level here at SysAid is increasing because we just started the beta season for SysAid 9.1 On-Premise! Beta season is great, as this is the time when we bring out all our hard work and share it with our most enthusiastic and involved users. the SysAid Pathfinders. The SysAid Pathfinder Program enables you to check out beta versions before the full On- Premise edition is released, take part in roundtables so you can share your input and feedback, and even receive fun gifts (last release our Pathfinders received a cool solar mobile charger). It is easy to register and take part in the program. Simply fill in the short form here, and you will receive information immediately about the current beta and all future ones too.

What Happens During Beta Season?

Our designated beta team is here to take care of any bug or issue that comes up during the season. Anyone who installs the new beta, whether in a test environment or a production environment, gets priority when reporting issues regarding the new release. We try our best to solve all the issues before the full release, which is scheduled for October 1st.

Where Should You Leave Your Feedback?

Our beta forum has vibrant discussions regarding all the new features, so be sure to take part in the discussion and have your voice and opinion heard. Fact: SysAid has developed many features based on Pathfinder feedback! We are here—reading, listening and responding. You can also email the beta team at with any issue or problem you might have. Additional updates throughout the beta season can be found on our social media channels, especially Facebook and Twitter (@sysaid), so be sure to follow us for full updates.

What Are You Waiting For?

If you haven't joined the Pathfinder Program yet, do so now and download SysAid 9.1 Beta. If you are a Pathfinder and for some reason (maybe you changed email address) you haven't received the links to download, please contact us at and let us know. From all of us at SysAid—Happy Beta Season :).
Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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The Magical Mystery Tour of Metrics – The Real Power Inside ITSM Reporting

Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Service Desk

The Power inside ITSM reporting

Back in my previous life, I would work occasionally with a mythical figure who could do magic—The Reporting Guy.

Here was a person who could pull all kinds of details from the ITSM solution and come up with the most incredible spreadsheets, pivot tables and slide decks imaginable.

There were colours, graphs, numbers that changed magically if you changed something else—all by the flick of a magic wand (or probably an Excel macro).

Of course there were the kinds of calculations you would expect to see in a normal ITSM solution, such as the numbers of incidents and service requests, including those resolved within their Service Level Agreement (SLA) time.

But the Reporting Guy had the ability to pull all kinds of facts and figures and manipulate them to do all kinds of things—a pied piper of spreadsheets, if you will.

Of course I am being perhaps a little facetious, because often in larger projects and deployments, teams work independently of each other and occasionally cross paths.

So while my erstwhile numerically-minded colleague could macro numbers to death, from my perspective at the time, so long as the tool captured that core data for it to be pulled out and acted on, then all was well.

It is only when you lift yourself away from just looking at the tool that you realise why Service Reporting deserves to be a process in itself, and needs some operational AND strategic consideration.

You come to realise that the ITSM Reporting Guy was just pulling out the bare bones of the data—sometimes the easiest things to manage, but not necessarily the right things.

Why is Reporting Important?

We measure to derive value, an understanding of efficiency (or otherwise), and to satisfy ourselves and stakeholders that we are doing the right things, and doing them well.

Everybody measures something, and most ITSM tools offer abilities to dashboard results so you can see at a glance what is open, closed, when, where, how, who—well you get the idea.

But an important concept to grasp is that we should measure performance in a meaningful way.

By that I do not mean a stick with which to clobber a team, but as a means of improving and increasing the efficiency of the teams that are providing a service.

So Give Me the Definitive List of Metrics…

This is often a common request on various forums—as if there is one standard list that fits every range of outcomes for every business, right off the bat.

Well of course, the ITIL books give those considered to be best practice at the end of the process sections, and they are called best practice for a reason.

It is as good a starting point as any, but it is just that.

As part of Continual Service Improvement, you should be reviewing that list and if you have developed other, maybe more sophisticated metrics, then move away from that starting point.

I Don’t Want to Have to Think About This, Just Gimme!

Sigh, tough!

You have to take a long hard look at the reasons why this information is important.

If we look at a Service Desk, and how efficiently they process Incidents and Requests coming in, they can use those figures to drive a variety of conversations with the business to improve their service.

But what about the business view?

The numbers only represent a small part of their sphere of interest in control.

How much is it costing the business for each request or incident?

Suddenly we are taking a broader look at the service end to end—not just whether an end user is satisfied they got their new smartphone in time, or their email service back.

Look at My Beautiful Slide Deck...Pretty Colours...

I am being facetious again, of course, but with a serious purpose—forget about facts, figures and numbers for a minute and consider this.

  • If you had to stand up and explain all those pretty pictures in clear terms of positives and perhaps more importantly the negatives, could you?
  • If you give a service owner or business stakeholder bad news, does anything constructive happen with those stats and reports?
  • If you got hit by a bus and no-one was around to do the reports at the end of the month, would anyone notice?

When used properly, the results of your reporting feeds into the continuing lifecycle of your solution.

They need to be more than just a pretty deck, and key stakeholders need to be accountable if the pictures do not look as pretty.

And much like my point above, you cannot avoid having to attach some thought and rationale behind your reports.

For example, I looked over some figures recently where there was a jump in the numbers of incidents in one particular month compared to others, and a dramatic fall-away in others.

To explain this I have to look at the bigger picture - the client was an educational establishment where incidents would spike as a new intake of students came in to the premises, and maybe another spike after Christmas when students came back with new toys (laptops, smartphones) as presents.

The numbers would dwindle over the summer vacation period as most students would return home for the holidays.

Always look to the context behind the reports.

Food for Thought

Perhaps some other options to consider, as you build your pet list of metrics:

  1. Think about the overall goal the service and/or the business is trying to achieve and use that as the basis for the report.
  2. Next consider the operational factors around that goal and external influences around that operation.
  3. Then look at a number of measurements that will help you answer the questions, and move your organisation towards meeting that business goal.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

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Introducing SysAid Cloud Release 9.1 with Brand-New UI

Posted by on July 31, 2013 in SysAid
SysAid Service Desk Cloud Release 9.1 So you are a SysAid Cloud customer, and you are used to getting new features every few weeks, but this is more than just a bunch of new features—it is a whole new experience! If you are an On-Premise customer, don’t worry, we are launching the Beta on Aug 11th that will include the new UI plus many more features we have added since 9.0.533. So stay tuned.... For me, this release is one of the most exciting releases in the past few years. Every release that introduces new features is always exciting, but there is something special about this one. First the planning of this release spanned over a long time—much longer than previous releases and included a lot of research as you probably read in Maurice’s blog post a few weeks ago, but most importantly in this release, we focused on the experience of working with SysAid. 9.1 has been available as a Release Preview as of June 30th, and since then a large amount of you Cloud customers have asked to be upgraded to this new exciting release. Well the time has come that the rest of you join the party!

Some Background on Release 9.1

Let me tell you a bit about this new release: We kept in mind new design approaches and trends that have been introduced to the world in the past few years via various new services (mainly social) and software that became part of our day-to-day living. A lot of the effort was put into planning a smooth upgrade for all of our existing customers—we took apart our whole menu structure that grew and grew over time and put it back together in a more structured way with simple logic. Once you get the hang of the logic (and you will very quickly), you won’t be looking for functions or settings anymore, they will be in the first place you naturally would expect them to be!

So What’s New?

SysAid Service Desk 9.1 screenshot of new menu Our 4 main categories: Service Desk, Assets, Analytics and Tools cover all the functions and modules and you can quickly access any function you need on a daily basis within upto 2 clicks! This is extremely important for you as we know that the majority of you spend most of your day within SysAid. That is also why we put a lot of effort on designing a clean, carefully measured workspace with just enough borders, spacing, and balanced amount of elements on the screen—so you get a great experience working with our software. We also created a settings section, where we took all the settings in SysAid and put them together in a section of their own. This allows you to easily navigate through the settings based on the various topics. We went another step forward and again took apart all the settings that appeared in tabs, and laid them out in a simple structure that can be easily accessed. We know most of you are used to finding asset settings under Assets and service desk settings under Service Desk, we went back to the main menu and created quick links to bring you even faster to the settings you seek! Both ways lead you to the same settings of course—we just wanted to make sure you have a smooth upgrade :). We added a third menu section for the special menu items like My Settings, the About page, and more. Besides the menus, we also created a new experience in the way you communicate with each other. Service Desk notificationsI am sure you are all familiar with the notification method that has become so common these days on smartphones and social networks, which let you know your attention is needed in a non-intrusive way. Similarly, we created an announcement icon with a number indicating the amount of unread announcements. This small icon is your communication center—it brings together IT news that you publish to your teams, instant messages you write to each other, and instant messages from SysAid about your Service Records (if you have this option enabled). You will also be able to get product updates and announcements in this section from time to time.

Additional Information

For those of you who need help getting familiar with the new UI, we prepared an orientation table that maps every item in the previous UI and where to find it in the new UI. To start, I invite you to watch the recording of our July webinar that guides you through all the new exciting stuff! [embed=videolink]{"video":"","width":"560","height":"300"}[/embed] For further details on Release 9.1, please see: Just a last note to mention that besides all the things I mentioned above, you will also find more fine tuning we did on various screens to fit into the new User Interface. And this is just the beginning—we have much more planned in the near future!
Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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Touch-Tone Phone Menus: Helping or Hindering Hopeless Humans

Posted by on July 29, 2013 in General IT

Touch-Tone Phone Menus: Helping or Hindering Hopeless Humans

In the modern world, technology operates in a neutral space where it can be used to fulfill a variety of potentialities. This is not something unique to modern technological advancements—people have often commented how the two greatest orators of the 20th century were Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King. Their talents were equal, what separated them was how they chose to direct and harness these talents.

Well here in the 21st century, technology is king and as much as we mere mortals often find ourselves gazing with awe upon the newest fad—be it a website, a smartphone or a service— that doesn't mean that it is benefiting us in a meaningful way. Obviously the potentiality for technology to be harmful is vast and I do not need to highlight the dangers of war and the deadly role technology can play in that arena. For me, I often find interest in those technologies that were maybe once helpful but due to lack of forward momentum have become a weight around our virtual necks.

A great example of this are touch-tone phone menus. Their ubiquity is only matched by the pained expressions universally displayed by those who have to suffer long minutes waiting to hear which number will generate a real person on the end of line, any person, even the wrong person!

As someone who likes to keep up with the lesser news stories of the day, I was therefore greatly heartened that someone had taken the proverbial digital bull by the horns in a brave effort to save us all a lot of time. A retired IT manager (and fellow Brit) by the name of Nigel Clarke has launched a website listing the call center menu sequences for accessing thousands of services. He discovered that some automated menus have nearly 80 options, which can leave people waiting for up to 6 minutes, even without the customary delay due to lack of available humans!

In a statement that would be a most fitting epitaph for any of us who are fed up of tech being used in the wrong way, he stated, "I'm not against the system, but I am against bad design."

My sentiments exactly, I tip my hat to you sir....

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Watch the SysAdmin Day Movie Trailer: Revenge of the SysAdmin

Posted by on July 25, 2013 in General IT


Have you ever fantasized about what your life would be like if you, say, hired the Mafia to handle your service requests?

Hmmmm, interesting, right?

Well, SysAid has created a short, HILARIOUS movie trailer starring members of the SysAid team that combines the Sopranos and your daily life dealing with IT tasks and needy end users. 

Wishing you all a Happy SysAdmin Appreciation Day—we appreciate what you do as an IT admin every day!

Hope we gave you the gift of hysterical laughter on your special day.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

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Call of Duty to Shape ITIL and the Best Management Practice Portfolios

Posted by on July 22, 2013 in ITIL
Axelos shapes ITIL Some time ago, I wrote about the latest happenings after the announcement by the UK Government Cabinet Office to enter into a joint venture with Capita for the Best Management Practice Portfolios. At the time, things were ominously silent on the communications front, but Capita had been busy buying up what looked like strategic purchases in view of the joint venture.

What’s Changed?

We know a lot more since that piece was published back in May. The concern for many in the industry was that maybe contributors who worked for vendors and clients in the industry would lose that sense of detachment in continuing to work now with a commercial competitor. But now, just three months on, there is a lot to reflect on, not all of it negative. At the Know 13 conference, representatives from NewCo (as it was called) engaged with key members of the ITSM community to set the new scene – The Red Herring in the Moat of Castle ITIL. And this month, NewCo has announced their new CEO, their new name and now the first of what should be a series of workshops involving more of the great and the good of the ITSM community. With the new CEO coming from games company Activision and the focus on gamification, I can be allowed the liberty of punning with a games title, but seriously – a lot has changed in a short space of time.

What’s Good?

The positive thing from this is that slowly but surely, the wheels of transformation are turning. AXELOS does not become fully operational until 1st January 2014, but in the meantime the initial hashtag of #jvlistening has now evolved into #AXELOSListening and most recently #AXELOSDOing. It is certainly a step in the right direction as they use the remaining five months to baseline their strategy and direction for the entire portfolio.

What Could Go Better?

AXELOS are in a tricky position. They need to keep the ITSM community engaged, many of whom take a pragmatic view when it comes to consulting and implementing solutions – many truly accepting that ITIL®, for example, are a set of guidelines and adapting (rather vigorously in some cases) as they go. But – they will have to accept that they cannot please everyone all of the time. Already there have been rumblings about who has been invited, who was not invited, what countries are in, what countries are out. So much so, it has started to resemble that time-honoured instrument of school torture – being picked for sports sides in the playground.

So What Can They Do?

At the moment very little except keep doing what they are doing. It is totally impractical to expect them to involve the entire body of the global community in one place, at peak holiday season for a number of workshops. But they will need to think about how to engage more than just the key names in Europe and the US. It is almost as though many, who have often consulted on or worked through messy transformations themselves have forgotten what is involved in literally moving from one company to another. Is it frustrating that some elements are slow to materialise (website, out-of-office notifications on enquiry emails)? Yes of course it is, but come on, it is nothing we have not seen ourselves over time. Bit by bit information is coming out – and to be honest if I look at what I wrote in this blog just two months ago, we had nothing to go on.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility?

I think that there are few good things to take out of the communications so far. I was lucky enough to meet up with a few of the people who had been invited to the ITSM sessions, many of whom I respect very highly within the industry. And towards the tail end of the evening, someone pointed out that the invitees find themselves with a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. They have been chosen as the first tranche of the community to help drive the direction of the best management practices. AXELOS have a lot to do post-workshops. They will need to schedule more, widen the net, analyse the results of the initial workshops and keep communicating. But the community is being offered the chance to help shape the new direction – who will answer that call of duty?
Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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How to Motivate Your IT Support Staff for Better Performance

Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Service Desk

Motivate your IT Help Desk staff

Increasing productivity should be a top priority for every IT support staff. In order to get more productivity from your staff, they need to be motivated. Contrary to popular belief, financial gain is not the sole motivator for all employees. Motivation comes from a variety of sources. In order for employees to perform better, it’s your duty to find out what motivates them.

Determine What Motivates Employees

The first step of improving your IT support staff’s performance is to determine what their motivators are. Humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow created a visual representation that describes the basic needs of all human beings called the Hierarchy of Needs. The chart is setup as a pyramid and consists of the following level from bottom to top:

  1. Physiological Needs. The basic needs necessary for human survival such as food, water, sleep, and air.
  2. Security Needs. The things that make you feel secure, such as stable employment, healthcare, a home.
  3. Social Needs. The need to belong - having friends, family, a loving relationship.
  4. Esteem Needs. Having personal worth, reflecting on your self-esteem, and personal value.
  5. Self-Actualization. As the highest level on Maslow’s chart, self-actualization is when you become self-aware and don't desire acceptance or approval from others.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is important because it helps determine the best way to motivate the individual members of the support staff depending on where they are in hierarchy. For example, a young entry level IT support intern is probably at the bottom level. In this case, simply having a job and making money could be enough to motivate him.

However, someone in a higher ranking position such as a support analyst may be higher up on the hierarchy. They could be motivated by the possibility of a promotion or recognition for their years of service. Once you know where an employee is in their life, it becomes easier to figure out how to motivate them.

Strong Leadership

Motivation starts from the top. When employees see that supervisors and high ranking executives are motivated, driven, and have a passion to succeed, they tend to absorb those same characteristics. Positivity is contagious. However, building relationships with your staff is even better.

Are you locked in your office all day, only dealing with executives below you? Take the time to walk around your IT department, listen and observe how your IT staff is handling requests and issues. Ask questions and listen to their needs. Are they happy with the IT management software you use? (I’m sure they are happy if you use SysAid). Does it increase their productivity? What is the hardest goal to accomplish and, why?

Set Goals AND Rewards

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is setting goals but failing to set rewards when the goals are attained. Setting a goal to decrease the response time to customer issues by 25% is great, but what do the employees get once this is achieved?

Intrinsic rewards such as a feeling of accomplishment will be enough for a few employees, but taking it a step further by giving some form of extrinsic rewards when company goals are meant will motivate the support staff to reach those goals both for the company and for themselves.

Positive Reinforcement

When employees feel like they have done something correctly, they try to repeat the same behavior. Taking the time to recognize employees who are on the right path and making a strong contribution to the support staff will motivate everyone to follow suit.

In the book The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, they describe a technique called the One Minute Appraisal. The One Minute Appraisal involves taking one minute out of your day to acknowledge and praise an employee when they have done something correctly. The theory is that these small positive interactions will help employees feel better about themselves and what they’re doing and ultimately perform better.

Develop a Team-Oriented Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is your company’s identity. It sets the stage for how the company operates, handles customers, how employees are treated and every other aspect of business. Creating a corporate culture that emphasizes the importance of employees (such as encouraging employees to be healthy) and working as a team will give employees motivation to perform at their best for the team and not just for themselves.

Many companies have taken this approach and have had tremendous success with employee morale and productivity such as Apple, Zappos, Google, and others.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

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