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Of all the responsibilities saddled on the shoulders of IT organizations, logging yet another trouble ticket from an irate end user has to be one of the least favorite, but one of the most frequent. With a litany of vastly more interesting projects to implement and innovative technologies to research, there has to be a way to quickly dispose of pesky calls and concentrate on the activities that will truly make the company more productive and profitable.

With a slight change of focus to improving the availability of the applications and services end users expect, proactive steps can keep those services available 24/7, taking away their reason for calling in the first place. With the phone effectively silenced, you'll once again have the bandwidth to research new IT solutions, innovate new approaches, and do all those interesting things you never seem to have time for -- coming dangerously close to once again loving your job.

The symptoms unlock the key

Chances are, the majority of your help desk calls start with "I can't get to [insert service here]." Enterprise applications are useless if users can't access them. Depending upon the role of the user, the application or service will change -- e-mail for executives, Salesforce.com for sales, SAP for accounting, or SharePoint for tech-pubs -- but the complaint is always the same. End users are typically uninterested in or don't know the myriad of hardware and software supporting that service, so there is hardly enough detail to properly diagnose the issue. The focus is then finding the root cause to get the service restored and the user off your back.

So, the key to preempting the call is preventing service interruption -- or stated positively, keeping services available. Business users are more service-focused and less particular about the underlying technology. They want reliable connectivity to the services that help them get their job done (e-mail for example) and charter the IT organization with the responsibility to deliver. It doesn't matter how IT assembles servers, routers, switches, software, or protocols, as long as "Send/Receive" functions on demand. A problem in any part of the infrastructure between the user and the service origination point, inside or outside the company, can have consequences that lower employee productivity, cut off extended supply chains, or even stop revenue flow completely.


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