How To Lead An IT Emergency Room


March 11, 2020

“Align yourself with the client, because truly you are on the same team.”

Lorin Fisher is the Service Manager here at Integris. He is an experienced IT Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in technology management, operational planning, IT service management, budgeting, and IT talent management.


An IT emergency room.  

Lorin: “What we call it is a triage process. When a ticket comes in, we’re triaging it. No different than a patient walking into an emergency room. The guy with the gaping hole in his chest is going to get seen before the person who’s like ‘hey, I have pain in my knee right now.’ You go have a seat, we’re going to get to you. You’re still important but it’s not critical that I get to you right now. This guy’s losing blood. He needs to be seen by a doctor stat. It’s a similar process.”

Lorin: “Somebody calls in and says, ‘hey, my printer at my desk isn’t working, but I can print to the network printer fine.’ Okay, cool. You have a workaround, the ticket is in the queue, we’re going to get to that. Versus, ‘hey, nobody in the company has gotten email in the last nine minutes’. Okay, we’re going to go ahead and expedite that, move that to the front of the line because now you’re talking real consequences. How much money do you lose per minute being down?”

Lorin: “To keep on the medical analogies, a vCIO is a general practitioner. I’m the guy that you’re going to for the last 20 years; knows you inside and out, what to do. When you go to the service desk, that really is ER. It’s a transaction. I don’t know your medical history. I don’t know anything about you. It’s an in and out transaction process. Maybe I’ll see you again. Maybe I won’t. You’re not taking that deep dive into the environment or their background.”


Service desk dispatch.

Lorin: “I will say that dispatch, which is the team that’s taking the tickets via email or phone call, have the toughest job on the service desk, because they’re the front-line. They’re the face and the voice for that first interaction of the ticket. Generally when you’re having IT problems, you’re not getting happy and smiling on the other end. Somebody is frustrated. They can’t do what they need to be doing right now, because of some technology malfunction. So naturally they’re maybe a little agitated.”

Lorin: “What I tell them to do is get on the same side of the table as them. If they’re having problems with Comcast or the Internet’s bouncing, get on the side of the table with the client. Be like, ‘man, not that internet service provider, they’re killing us. Let me get on the phone with them. I’m going to take care of this for us right now’. Something along those lines. Align yourself with the client, because truly you are on the same team. So you should verbalize that, and not make it seem like they’re calling Walmart, whom they have no relationship with. We have that relationship.”

vCIO versus Service Desk Manager

Lorin: “It’s extremely different. They require different skill-sets. As a CIO, you really need to be the guy that can see the entire picture at one time, and figure out where all the pieces need to go. Versus service desk where you’re managing a puzzle with a hundred different pieces at once, and you’re just trying to find the corners and start building from there.”

Lorin: “You’re also managing more of a process on the service side. Without a process, service desk would fail. Who’s triaging? What order should this be going in? Where does all this kind of fit?. CIO is challenging in different ways, because you’re going up and speaking to the C-suite, and you’re having really consequential conversations. ‘What is the future of my business this year, next year, five years from now? How much do we need to budget for next year? My budget got reduced by 40%, but I know we need new infrastructure. Where do we go from here?”

Lorin: “Both are challenging, but present very different challenges. I enjoy both. I can’t say that I enjoy one more than the other.”

Service desk team characteristics.

Lorin: “Grit is number one. I can teach someone IT. Grit is one of those things that is ingrained in you. You have it or you don’t. The reason I say grit is because you’re going to come across a problem that just stumps you, and you’re going to say, ‘I have no idea’. You just have to keep plugging away and going. There’s help there for you. There’s resources. But you have to have that determination, intestinal fortitude, to keep moving the ball forward. So that’s the first thing I look for.”

Lorin: “Number two, I want somebody that I’m comfortable having a conversation with. If I’m not comfortable having a conversation with you and we have a relationship, how’s the person on the phone going to feel?”

Celebrate victories.

Lorin: “There’s days where it doesn’t feel like success, where you feel like you’ve just churned, but you’ve made progress. We have all the KPIs that we use to measure how we’re doing overall as a service desk. On TVs, around where the entire team can see. How many tickets came in today? How many tickets were closed today?”

Lorin: “I can look up and go, ‘wow, we’re really moving the needle today.’ Celebrate the small victories. We’re big on rewarding C-SAT, shout outs from clients. Just walk around; give everyone a little pound, “hey, you guys are killing it today.’ I measure my team’s success by my team’s happiness. If everybody out there looks dejected and like they want to be somewhere else, I’m not doing a good job managing my department.”

To learn more about Lorin, connect with him here on LinkedIn.

 Listen to Lorin’s full podcast episode
Tyler Daniels is a Senior Marketing Specialist with Integris.

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