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Building BRM into the Service Desk: A New IT Career Path?


Like many people, when I started out in IT support I started out on a service desk. While I was excited about my new role, I understood that the service desk was like the “entry-level job” in IT and that in time, I too could graduate to a more advanced support role.

While the work was always different, there came a point where I began to get too comfortable in the service desk and started to feel the need to “get out of there” and into a more specialized role. For the most part, moving on meant that I would make the natural progression into a more senior technical role as a network specialist or systems analyst. For those who were more interested in the customer focus rather than the technical aspects of the role, it really felt as though they didn’t have a natural progression into a senior role.

With some exceptions we have looked at things in these sorts of tiers for quite some time. Maybe it’s time to take another look at what we are doing and ask ourselves some honest questions about how we serve others. Particularly the way we manage customer interactions and what that component brings to the table. In my opinion, one of the obstacles that IT faces in the future is getting away from strictly a technical capability and managing business expectations better. In some cases we could suggest that in the future the IT department will be merely a skill in a larger business sense.

Evolving the “Service” Aspect

We know when we are dealing with a customer service superstar. We leave the experience feeling satisfied, that any time spent on hold was worth the wait and not the other way around. So why not develop that into something that can facilitate a business and provider relationship?

Since we are looking to be better partners for our business, maybe we want to rethink the way we build and manage these teams. Would the model for our service desk be better suited to work within the confines of the business relationship management (BRM) function if one exists in the organization? If such a function doesn’t exist, would this be the first step into developing what the capability would look like?

Since the BRM effectively looks to identify the needs of the business and ensure the services that we (IT for example) are providing are appropriate for their needs, maybe this might be a better long-term fit. The service desk gets a front row seat to see how the service works with our business firsthand. Because they are also the first point of contact, they are in a great position to grow into BRMs down the line by making relationships with the business from the start.

The keyword in the service desk is service, so it shouldn’t have to be said that staffing it with people who are customer-centric is likely going to improve the relations between IT and our business. The trick is to balance our service desk with people who can:

  • Talk with people on a level that extends past technology, and
  • Document what was discussed so that it can be shared within the team to understand the business.

While our service desk may have a great breadth of knowledge on the technology side, we need to give it some depth by looking into how to improve working relationships from their perspective. Having this well-rounded base of knowledge will ensure that our service desk is ready to handle any call it receives. This sounds like more than an entry-level job to me.


For more brilliant insights, check out Ryan’s blog: Service Management Journey

About Ryan Ogilvie

Ryan Ogilvie is a Service Management consultant in Calgary, Alberta with Blackfriar Consulting inc. While working with stakeholders to achieve their business outcomes is his main focus you can also catch his commentary on his blog – Service Management Journey. You can connect with him via the various links below.

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