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Enablement trumps break/fix…..always.

Since computing has entered into the workplace decades ago, there’s been a need for the help desk. These help desks have evolved into very sophisticated groups or teams that…on a good day….help users go to IT with day-to-day needs for things that don’t work. There’s a large part of the IT world that’s dedicated to help desk. Software solutions for the monitoring and ticketing of user needs that emphasize up-time and number of tickets cleared per day, week, month, year. And all of it is necessary and important.

However, the resources that tend to be great at help desk and break fix aren’t the same people that are great at training and fostering understanding around technology tools and their application with the business. 

Now, expert break/fix resources will tackle things very differently than someone who comes at this problem with an enablement mindset. For example, the awareness of workplace technology applications that are rolled out and supported with a specific usage in mind must be consistently messaged out to users whether they have been at your firm for a while or if they are new employees. Expert break/fix people tend to think more in terms of “they know” or ‘they’ve been made aware”. Unfortunately, that’s not going to cut it any longer in helping corporations constantly message and enable users as the consumption of flexible technology increases and the business demands evolve. Remember, why invest in technology for users if they aren’t going to use it? The business is going to demand great technology investments for the workplace to keep up with competition in the marketplace and to attract and retain talents.

So, what is the solution or the winning approach to enablement? First off, in no way am I stating that we need to get rid of the help desk or even make strides to drastically change it. The help desk is needed. However, CIO’s and businesses must invest and focus on enablement in the workplace. The best way to do that would be for CIO’s to have a direct report whose job is to focus on things like enablement. Perhaps a “Director of Enablement” that sits outside the day-to-day workstream of help desk, infrastructure, budgets and schedules. Someone the CIO can rely on to maintain a more strategic eye towards enablement and innovation in the workplace. The Director of Enablement can be positioned to say things like “why the heck are we doing it this way?” when budget and schedule pull things towards getting something done quickly or efficiently and leave common sense at the door.

What types of initiatives would a Director of Enablement (DoE) focus on?  

  • Awareness (always communicating)

  • Training (offer different modes of learning for individual consumption preferences)

  • Standards (let’s do it the same or similarly as much as possible for user familiarity)

  • Infrastructure (Are things configured to work as they were meant to, are connectivity issues to blame?)

These are all categories that could have a great impact on the business on the CIO's behalf. A lot of this stuff is very straightforward. But at the end of the day, it leads us to believe what all corporate IT organizations must be thinking of all the time: It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.

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