By Aaron Madeley
In our environment, user calls go to the front line Help Desk. Backend engineers, such as myself, will get assigned those incoming calls as necessary. Conversely, some things we have to do to the servers in order to preserve overall system well-being will generate calls to the Help Desk. This creates a strong need to communicate between us.
The "old" system of notification went like this. When we would have to do work on the backend that would impact users, we had a designated "tech line" to call. We would call the number and tell the answering tech what we were up to and who would be impacted by it. On many occasions, the answering tech would not communicate this to the others on the Help Desk. As a result, unnecessary ticket generation and frantic calls to the backend engineers would follow. We might get four or five calls about the issue we had called the "tech line" about while we were actually working on the problem.
For the Help Desk, when a server issue was impacting users, they would call the designated "on call" engineer to report critical issues.
It was a flawed system but, at the time, it was the best that could be mustered.
After putting GroupWise Messenger in our environment, things have changed for the better. The Help Desk can send instant messages to the engineer, who may or may not be on site, to report critical issues to us.
For the backend engineers, reporting issues to the Help Desk has become much more efficient. Rather than relying on voice reporting and hoping that the information would make its way to all front line techs, we are able to send broadcasts directly to them all.
We considered email for this solution but it was a bad fit. Certainly, email outages could not be reported in this way. Some techs did not run Notify and/or their email client all the time. As a result, not all techs would not see new emails immediately which made this an ineffective solution.
With Messenger, we have a contact folder that contains all Help Desk personnel. When a critical issue comes up and they all need to be notified, we simply highlight all online techs, right-click them, and select Send Broadcast. Broadcasts in Messenger are preferable because they do not send conversation invitations to the recipients, unlike standard messages. They are one-way and will pop immediately on their desktop without necessary interaction and with all of the pertinent information.
As simple as it sounds, Messenger has been a wonderful utility in maintaining communication with our Help Desk. Some departments in our organization have made use of GroupWise Messenger. Others have not. For us in IT, it has become an invaluable communication tool and helps everyone stay updated on changes in the status of our systems.
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