Wiki based Help Desk? February 22, 2006Posted by Matsu in Management, Technology.
At a recent lunch, I witnessed an interesting conversation (maybe a more accurate description would be a heated debate) between two colleagues I highly respect. Their discussion was about computer support and whether or not a corporate help desk should allow end users to post and edit online documentation, like a wiki based system.
I find the idea of providing a way for end-users to share their discoveries of how technology works and encouraging them to post instructions for others to read a really fascinating idea. On one hand, it could really be helpful to allow end-users who take the time to figure things out and create documentation for all to read. But (and this is the main point where the debate hinges), if the documentation is wrong, even if it’s slightly wrong, it will increase the number of support calls to the help desk instead of reducing them. And, that was the argument of one colleague. You will end up creating more work for the Help Desk staff trying to undo the damage or misinformation published by end users (which would seem to be endorsed by the support group since they allowed people to post instructions).
Of course, the opposite argument is that the documentation would be self-correcting just like open source initiatives. If there were mistakes in the end-user posted documentation then others (anybody) could correct it. And, since more errors will be corrected in time, the Help Desk staff will have useful and correct information online without having to create it, themselves. They (Help Desk staff) may even end up directing people to the best posts.
So, the question left to answer is whether it would be do more good than harm to allow any user in a corporation to contribute to an online documentation posting system. I don’t know, but I would sure love to give it a try just to see what would happen.
Check back in a few months. I just might have an update for you all.