Washington-based BBG, which operates networks including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, has been "relentless" in upgrading and automating its infrastructure, and in turn reducing help desk calls from their 3,000 global users by 27%, according to CTO/CIO Andre Mendes.
Previously, BBG struggled to patch and maintain myriad operating systems running on antiquated hardware, all of which has now been replaced. BBG now has most users on Windows 7, with Windows 2008 Server R2 as the back end, says Mendes. The company now runs Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Lync all in the cloud.
By updating its infrastructure, BBG was able to eliminate many of the reasons people needed to call the help desk, says Mendes. As for the future: "We're now implementing the next step -- virtual desktops -- so that the interface at the user level is much simpler and much less likely to create issues that need to be resolved."
"Folks have been crowdsourcing before the term even existed. They had a friend, a relative and they got tips, then they tried them. Sometimes they helped and sometimes they didn't."
And that's the main problem with crowdsourcing: If the wisdom of the masses is wrong, it can exacerbate a user's problems, and worse, misinformation can snowball through the enterprise. "It's not as easy as changing just one thing, because it impacts others," Fruewald says. "We would prefer that our people come to us. It's easier for us to fix things the first time."
Likewise, while automated cloud-based solutions are being touted as a next big thing, Fruewald says they too only go so far. "Anyone who's ever worked with automatic response call-in systems in an organization would probably share my frustration with them," he says. "For some of our users, it would be a recipe for disaster. Often, you don't get the answers you are looking for. Certainly we use the cloud for other things, but not for our help desk."
The Archdiocese's help desk serves a diverse collection of users, from schoolteachers to medical staff in hospitals to workers in nursing homes and cemeteries. "A vast majority of our users are not road warriors who can solve their own technical issues wherever they are working," says Fruewald. "Instead, they rely on the help desk to help them with their problems. It really depends on the organization."
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