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Feedback on 2nd line + 3rd line IT support.

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by UCHEEKYMONKEY, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Can anyone give us feedback on what the job role is of a 2nd line/ 3rd line support is in IT?

    Mr Cheeks has offered a good post here for 1st Line support :biggrin

    But what happens if the problem can't be resolved over the phone?
    When does an engineer go out?

    How does the engineer communicate with the customer?

    Do they contact them by phone or email, do they tell a job reference number or explain they are in a que?

    What type of procedures/protocols do you apply to the job requested?

    :biggrin 8)
     
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  2. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    I think this will depend of the size of company and what IT resources (e.g how many staff members) they have.

    I only send an engineer on site when all other options are exhausted. Its quicker to troubleshoot the problem over the phone as some networks I support are a 4 hour drive away! :blink
     
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  3. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Thanks Sparky - are you still drinking that cup of coffee?:biggrin

    I guess what I am looking for is answers to these questions, but i will put you in the picture first.

    The Company has 2800 PC bases and just under 3800 customers. There's approximately 185 -253 calls per day about computer problems from users and only 3 people to provide 1st line support on the help desk.

    If a computer problem can't be resolved by the 1st line support, a job is logged to a engineer.

    There are 6 engineers each with 40 jobs on their list and have approximately 2 -5 jobs added to their list everyday.

    Q) after receiving the job, would ring the customer giving details of who you are, job reference number and approximate time scale.

    Q) don't phone them, email them


    Q) Don't contact them at all, until you have reached the job on the list, which could be anything from 1 hour to 4 weeks?
     
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  4. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    I think there are no real answers to this - as there aren't really answers to 'what is first line support'. It depends on many things including, but not limited to;

    The size of the company

    Generally, the larger the company, the bigger their IT budget. This usually means that there will be more demarcation between teams - with more money set aside for 'true' first line support (mostly call loggers) there is more chance that there will be second line support and analysts than in a small company where everyone has to muck in.

    How regimented their IT structure is

    If they've gone through some service realignment initiative, say by implementing ITIL or some other management processes, then they are more likely to have clearly defined roles for staff.

    What the rest of the IT staff are like

    As an example, I'm sure we all know, and have worked for, organisations where there seems to be a real dearth of technical knowledge. Often you'll find (as I have in my current role) that there are one or two individuals who know pretty much everything there is to know technically about an organisation's infrastructure. These people can often be found somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy, not earning a great salary, but content to sit there absorbing knowledge and routinely performing work that is way above (or, indeed, below) their 'grade'. There are many, many more examples of this, but basically, you can have all the structures you want in place - if you haven't got the staff to fill those roles then there will always be some element of (ahem) 'sharing' responsibilities

    Whether there are 'knowledge bogarts' in the organisation.

    This is my absolute all-time peeve at work. People who know things but don't share that knowledge because they're either too scared that doing so will expose the fact that, in reality, they don't know shite except for two or three things and want to ensure no-one else does so they keep their jobs, or because they don't trust anyone to do things in case it goes wrong and they get the blame for it. Its a serious problem - I can't think of a single place I've worked where there wasn't at least one person who fit this description.

    How middle management works in the company.

    There are different ways to manage people, and this always has an effect on how they work. A prime example is the 'first line support' role. Two distinct ways of looking at a busy service desk are:

    "We're ridiculously busy and have a high turnover of staff accordingly. We're so busy, in fact, that I don't let my staff do ANY second-line work because I want to keep my stats up. I don't want upper management questioning my management skills because they see Joe Bloggs helping the database admin with something whilst his call stats are going down"

    or:

    "We're ridiculously busy and have a high turnover of staff accordingly. I don't like the fact that I manage a team that everybody thinks is technically useless. I'll make sure they do as much work on each call as possible before passing it to second-line so that my 'first-time fix' rate is higher than it has been. To hell with the call stats"

    Neither approach is correct (it should probably fall somewhere in between both approaches), but utilising either has a definite impact on how the organisation designates work.

    I think, for the reasons above and many more, second-line support is the hardest to quantify. Personally I'd say that its calls that the service desk/first line can't resolve quickly - given time they may be able to, but they might screw it up due to lack of experience/skills, spend ages on it to the detriment of other calls or it might be slightly beyond their capability technically. At the upper end, things probably drift into third-line/analysis when they become too difficult for an experienced tech to resolve, or have a potential impact that needs to be assessed thoroughly before being implemented.
     
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  5. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    LOL, yes I am. Drinking coffee and doing some studying for the 70-293.

    Just to add to Zebs post the way 1st line, second line and basiclly IT support in general works can depend if you are the inhouse IT support or you are sub contracted.

    Ive worked in both environments and (so far) being sub-contracted can mean there is more focus on 'customer service' by keeping clients up to date and generally being as helpful as possible even when you get the same user phoning every day as they have forgot the password.

    When I have been working as the inhouse IT guy I could define what I thought was a priority and users can just wait in the queue. This was the tone set by the IT manager so thats the way I worked. I generally didnt like working that way as sometimes if a user requested software the IT manager would just say 'no' as he could not be arsed looking into it. :biggrin
     
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  6. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Wow that's exactly how it is where I work, still it's good to know i am not the only one out there with the same thoughts about people who know things and don't share the information.:biggrin 8)
     
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  7. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Thanks for the reply and good luck with your studies:thumbleft :study
     
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  8. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm working in a similar 2nd line job that is different again - about 3000 users and 2000 workstations spread over 4 sites.

    We get anything that 1st line can't solve - their SLA (service level agreement) is 30% fixture rate. From there, we decide whether its something we can deal with; application support, breakfix work, installation, hardware movement; or if not we move it on to another 2nd line team.

    While we have 3000 users, we normally resolve about 80 calls a week, and about 15 of those are on 1st line, the majority are by the engineers like myself on site.

    For anyone wanting a career in my company, you need to be willing to move around a bit as the teams are compartmentalised from each other - sometimes by physical location (and I don't just mean across the corridor! :) )

    It's split awkwardly for anyone wanting to learn anything, but there is an e-mail team, a web/sharepoint/records management team, a system management team, laptop team, software support/distribution team, several server support teams spread over different sites and a few more. There are other teams like 3rd line, project management, problem management, incident management and several "business" (non-technical) teams. The calls simply get passed around from one team to another to get the call resolved.

    A only a handful of teams are located at the same site (e-mail, web, system management) - everyone else is spread around. In total, 80,000 users using 5 different networks, some 35,000 workstations and about 1300 servers - oh yeah, on about 150 different sites.

    As zebulebu said in his post - there is no real way of defining it - it depends on how the company is run (training, willingness to allow staff to learn/expand) and what size they are.
     
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  9. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Pretty much what zeb said. In my work place I there are times when the techs act like they know things when in fact they give themselves too much credit.
     
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