New system will help share ideas

The Service Desk recently made its debut with a ticketing system that allows employees to share ideas or report issues with technology.

The tickets are monitored, tracked and provided with status updates; a dashboard is used to visualize trends.

Director of Information Technology (IT) Robert Whitlock said the Service Desk has performed well since going live in January and noted employees haven’t been shy about using it. In the first week of April, there were 16 open tickets.

While some reports involve email, passwords, phones and apps, a significant portion of submissions involve ideas for enhancements, which are considered in terms of practicality and return on investment. But even ideas that aren’t immediately used are saved as software development expenses may change over time, said Whitlock, who notes the company is always interested in maximizing its resources.

“The Service Desk is a way for our employees to have their voices heard,” Whitlock said, noting that the new system prevents items from falling through the cracks. 

Employees are kept abreast of their ticket’s progress and informed if their idea will or won’t be implemented.

IT Specialist and Communication Technician Brandon Farley helped bring the Service Desk to life, and he monitors and maintains it, assigning tickets to the proper personnel.

“Brandon did a fantastic job,” Whitlock said.

A good idea

The Service Desk elicited one of its first major ideas shortly after being introduced, as the Mechanical Department requested help with automating processes pertaining to FRA bad order cars. It’s presently in development.

Enhanced security 

In an environment where employees can see an abundance of phishing attempts, spam or other cyber security concerns, the Service Desk makes saying something easier.

Whitlock said the more things employees report, the stronger the response can be, such as blocking emails from a certain domain.

Because of work with contractors and employees who use personal emails, it’s not practical to block all outside emails; so a more surgical approach is necessary, and the Service Desk helps facilitate that.

Whitlock said the advancements in cyber security and cyber attacks seem to develop almost simultaneously, using information on events such as personnel changes to try to trick employees. For example, when President and General Manager Percy Fields took on his new role, a litany of phishing attempts for gift cards followed. Whitlock said the bad actors knew employees wouldn’t want to let the new president down and tried to exploit that emotion for their benefit.

IT Specialist and Communication Technician Brandon Farley