The History of the Help Desk

Over the decades and through the history of the Help Desk, we have seen remarkable changes. In the early Help Desk days, Corporate Information Technology systems started with mainframes and user terminals. Applications were centrally managed and used collectively.  Mainframes had centralized computer operators that would maintain the mainframe and programmers that would submit program updates. Since the programs were centralized on the mainframe, if one user had an issue with an application, everyone that used it had an issue. Users would report the issue to their manager. Managers would report application issue either by speaking directly to mainframe managers or by filling out a paper report form. The state of the Help Desk in this environment was similar to present day project management meetings.

Help Desk support of personal computers

With the dawn of personal computers, applications and processing started to migrate from the centralized mainframe to individual personal computers. With personal computers the end-user had direct control of the operating system and specialized applications. With this increased individual control came a need for basic and specialized support for the personal computers. Technology issues became specific to individuals. Users became trained to call the Information Technology experts for help. However these experts were dedicated to projects and were sometime not available. Companies and their employees needed a highly available and knowledgeable group, such as a Help Desk, to obtain technology support assistance from.

Help Desk support of mobile devices

Today with most everyone having a mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone, and Android based Smart Phone, access to information is at record highs. People want information readily available for instant access to answer their questions. Help Desks need to position knowledge on demand and ever updating. Portals of information are very common. Help Desk position searchable knowledge tailored to their user base. Real-time chat with Help Desk technology experts are not only common but expected.

Knowledge of the Help Desk Manager

With the complexity of systems and the demand by users to have their issues resolved quickly, the role of Help Desk Manager becomes ever so critical. Sharing support knowledge is critical to ensure success. Organizations such as the Help Desk Institute (HDI) become extremely popular and important.

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