4 cost effective and simple ways to reduce helpdesk calls

 Now that everyone is working from home many of you have discussed with me the challenges of supporting this huge volume of remote workers. For a 300-user environment one client stated that “it’s like now having 300 office locations instead of 2!!”. The increased workload means that everyone including the IT Manager is now taking help desk calls!!

This puts pressure on everyone and does not allow for strategic thinking and continuous improvement, as well as overworking everyone and will eventually result in burnout of staff.

Another challenge is not being able to physically attend all of these sites due to Social Distancing and at some point, you may be asked to reduce head count, which will compound the situation.

Here are some simple and cost-effective ways that you can dramatically reduce help desk calls and empower end users while maintaining security and control. Many of you will own these tools already.

1. Self-service password reset – Gartner’s research has shown that up to 50% of helpdesk calls are related to password resets.

So, to be able to securely and simply put this back into the hand of users will be a major win for IT.

Azure Active Directory Premium includes Self Service Password Reset (SSPR) among many other great features.

It works based on IT defined policies, where an end user simply logs into a portal and has to enter extra layers or authentication such as a PIN number or answer security questions like “what’s your mother’s maiden name” and they can reset their own password. The new password is automatically written back into On Premises Active Directory.

Users are used to this experience from mobile apps and it’s the same experience and portal as logging into Office365.

2. Zero touch device set up – In a world where you may not be able to go to a user’s site for more than 6 months.

Having to have notebooks sent to an IT staff members home to set up a user’s profile, data and applications is extremely inefficient and painful!

Windows 10 Autopilot- a Hybrid-Management feature of SCCM and Microsoft Intune- allows IT to set up users in Azure AD and based on Groups and Policies determine what applications and data they have access to.

All hardware vendors now support Windows 10 Autopilot. So, you can have a Laptop shipped directly to a user’s home and they can set themselves up without having to call IT or IT having to touch the device!

3. Allow users to create and manage their own groups – This is another cool feature of Azure AD premium and is called Self Service Group Management.

I know this will scare many IT staff. Don’t worry all of this is implemented using policies and security defined by IT.

What this allows you to do is define Azure AD Groups that can managed by end users that are heads of departments(such as Finance or HR) to manage their own groups based on polices you define.

This is exponentially more effective because these these users understand what’s going on in their teams much more than IT does. Users can request membership in a security group and that request goes to the group owner, rather than an IT administrator.

This allows the day-to-day control of group membership to be delegated to team, project, or business owners who understand the business use for the group and can manage its membership and will reduce that communication from the user to IT and then IT to the head of that users department.

4. Automate on boarding and off boarding of users – an extension of having everything in User Groups, using Azure AD (which has a self-service App store included) and having the above Security Groups, is that you will be able to automate the onboarding and de-provisioning of users from Azure AD and on-premises AD.

Given the current situation unfortunately there will be a lot of this and being able to automate this process will be a massive win.

Many of these solutions are bundled in Office365 E3 and E5 packages and all of them are in the Enterprise Mobility and Security Suite.

Microsoft is rebranding Office365 for Business to Microsoft365 for business for organisations with less than 300 users on April 21.

This means that if you own Office365 for Business you will already own 90% of the above solutions. See link below for details.

Microsoft 365 FAQs

If you have any questions or would like to have a look at or need help deploying any of these solutions – or you just need a break from looking at the paintings in your study- feel free to contact me on jrubens@cloudsolutionsgroup.com.au for a brief video chat.

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