Finding the right desktop management strategy is crucial for the health and longevity of your business. In this article, we break down the best practices for desktop management (also known as workstation management) to help you optimize your team’s workflow, limit unnecessary costs, and improve the overall agility of your company. Consider the following tips for finding success with your desktop management strategy:
Keeping accurate records of your workstation inventory is the first step to creating an ironclad desktop management strategy. This technique allows business and IT decision makers to arrive at informed conclusions concerning necessary upgrades or changes to existing technology. Consider the following aspects of efficient workstation recordkeeping:
Take Stock of Current Inventory
Log and evaluate the workstations that are currently in use and/or you have in storage. Pay close attention to their age, functional capacity, and projected remaining lifespan. By developing an overview of your company’s current devices, you know exactly how many desktops you have available. This may help you avoid unnecessary expenditures on new machines.
Know Your Archives
While it can be tempting to simply pile obsolete or broken devices in a storage room and forget about them, keeping track of them is important. Knowing the location and status of your desktops, laptops, external hard drives, and flash drives, for example, can help you prevent the threats of data theft and security breaches. If you don’t have accurate records, devices can easily go missing in both harmless and more nefarious ways.
Organize Software Documentation
In addition to keeping records of your hardware, tracking your company’s software and application usage is also helpful. If you have many employees using different kinds of programs, your business may experience application sprawl, where work and/or applications are redundant across multiple departments. Avoid this issue by creating unique software documentation for each of your company’s teams. This will ensure you are only paying for what you need. Taking this action also verifies that your team members have the tools they need to efficiently succeed.
Building robust, repeatable protocols for onboarding and offboarding employees is another critical piece of an efficient desktop management strategy. Consider the following:
- Develop checklists for both onboarding and offboarding.
- For onboarding, be sure to check devices out from your inventory, and update your records.
- For offboarding, check devices in, and perform proper maintenance to clear necessary data.
Standardizing your onboarding and offboarding maintains consistency and efficiency over time, regardless of who is managing the processes. Checking devices in and out helps you maintain records for both planning and security.
Leverage Your Employees
Once you have ensured that your records and onboarding/offboarding processes are up to date, be sure to communicate your desktop management policy and any updates to your employees. Since they are the ones interfacing with your hardware and software the most, their compliance and ingenuity are essential in keeping your workstation management strategy on track.
Proactively communicate with your employees about new programs or any changes to their existing workstation setup. Sharing this helpful information allows your employees to confidently follow your desktop management strategy and ask questions as necessary.
Provide employees with a timeline for software and system updates. Updates not only ensure that employees are using the most recent version of their applications, but they also help to keep your business safe. Patch updates, for example, often provide fixes for zero-day vulnerabilities, keeping your business secure from serious threats like data loss. Giving employees advanced notice allows them to carry out updates without interrupting their work.
Spread the News
Carve out time for training and idea exchange around your desktop management strategy to enhance the effectiveness of your approach. Incorporate discussion and brainstorming activities periodically into meetings, which allow employees to explain what seems to be working and what could be improved. Suggestions from those who actively use your strategy can help to improve your company and show employees that their ideas matter.
Man the Helpdesk
Adjustments to your desktop management strategy over time are inevitable. Whether you are rolling out new software, switching providers of an important service, or updating equipment, supporting your employees through these changes is vital. Consider the following:
- If you haven’t already, set up a designated IT helpdesk service for your employees.
- Train your employees on how to access the helpdesk – email, phone support, chat, and ticket generation programs are all popular methods.
- Ensure that your helpdesk team is attending to helpdesk queries quickly.
- If your in-house IT support is regularly overwhelmed, consider working with a third-party provider.
While in-house IT support can work for startups and some small businesses, third-party helpdesk service providers are often worth their weight in gold. Outsourcing this service allows your employees to focus on their core roles while a designated team of experts supports your employees with all of their workstation questions and concerns.
Optimize Your Process
Finally, to take your desktop management strategy to the next level, ensure that your company is taking advantage of tools that can help to provide optimal efficiency. Commonly implemented solutions include:
Workplaces running at peak efficiency are usually able to do so thanks to automation. Leveraging automated processes within applicable software programs allows your team to benefit from the superior functionality of standardization. For example, if your helpdesk and/or software programs offer automated tech support, they can quickly offer solutions for any issues that arise.
If your business has many unique users or if you have employees that regularly work remotely, investing in remote management is a non-negotiable. Remote management allows your helpdesk team or IT Managed Services provider to resolve issues and monitor the health of your workstations without being on site with your employees. This level of efficiency not only helps your desktop management strategy stay on track, but it can also help to find and resolve threats to your company’s security before they evolve into crises.
Robust testing of any workstation changes prior to roll-out is an important part of optimizing your desktop management solutions. Piloting new programs or spot testing changes can help avoid catastrophic downtime, software incompatibility, and other inefficiencies that might slow down your workers.
Effective desktop management not only improves productivity but also positively impacts your company’s bottom line. These five tips can drastically improve your existing strategy, but working with an experienced Managed IT Services provider can take your business to the next level. If you would like to learn more about best practices for desktop management, start a conversation with Qnectus today.