The DIY guide to IT support

By: Maff Rigby

Date: 19 April 2012

DIY - IT support the DIY way{{}}I’ve always been a fan of DIY in the workplace as well as in the home. Doing as much as you can yourself before calling in the experts is not only a learning experience, but can also save you money. In times of economic uncertainty this way of working can help bring down costs – especially when it comes to IT support.

IT has become much easier to use and understand over the past five to ten years. You no longer need an IQ of 130 to set up a new laptop or install a new software package.

At the same time, there is an abundance of free information to help you fix your own IT issues. You just need to know where to look for it. No matter whether you outsource your IT support or not, here are a few tips that can reduce how much you spend and increase your self-sufficiency.

  • Find out who your super users are. These are the people in your business who understand how to create powerful macros in Microsoft Office, know how to set up and optimise a WordPress blog, or know their way around a MacBook. Publicise these skills, so other people know who can help with which issues.
  • When recruiting, look for people who are IT savvy. Make it a desired skill on the job description. This way you will naturally bring more IT knowledge into your company without having to specifically employ someone in an IT support role.
  • Always look for answers internally first. You’ll find an increasing amount of IT knowledge within your organisation, mostly gained through your employees‘ increased use of technology in their homes, their cars and their pockets! So before you call your IT support firm, ask your team for answers. You could be pleasantly surprised.
  • Create and maintain a list of your top IT issues. Make sure you publish it somewhere (like on your intranet) so everyone knows where to find it. What are the symptoms of specific problems, and what are the steps you need to take to resolve them? For example, if your wireless router crashes at a certain time of day (like mine does around 11pm!), put that knowledge into a document so anyone can diagnose and fix the problem
  • Finally, ensure you’ve exhausted all your options before calling in the experts – especially if you pay a call-out fee! Create a checklist of troubleshooting steps that people can follow, and channel all escalations to your support partner through a specific person who can check they are necessary.

Maff Rigby has over 12 years of experience in IT support and operations management. He is the founder of IT SmartDesk – a social IT service management platform which enables an organisation’s IT users to help themselves and each other.

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