In January 2017, HDI presented the Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management. To help you get to know them better and learn what it means to be a community leader, we’ve interviewed each of our thought leaders. Today, we hear from Roy Atkinson.
Briefly describe your day job and also how you are involved in the community.
My day job as HDI’s senior writer/analyst is complex and ever-changing, which is one of the things I love about it. It includes reading and posting on social media, writing articles and blogs, answering questions—sometimes very complex ones—from HDI members and staff, via email, phone, and social media. I manage HDI’s LinkedIn group, keeping it clear of “salesy” and inappropriate posts as well as approving new members. My job is also keeping up with industry trends and articulating them for internal and external consumption. I get to travel to HDI local chapters fairly often and speak to members and meeting attendees about these trends (one of my favorite things to do!). Recently, I’ve been to four chapters in California, two in Florida, and one in Georgia.
My very first day of work at HDI, back in 2010, was with the Desktop Support Forum, and I’ve been the facilitator for that group ever since. Working with that group keeps me current with what’s going on in that segment of our community as it rapidly evolves. We have a webinar series, and I moderate most of those, and I also speak on webinars for other organizations and at events run by other organizations. My responsibilities also include producing research reports, trend reports, and tool kits.
It’s exciting to be able to work with so many aspects of HDI: membership, training, content, events, marketing, sales. Sometimes I feel like I need to clone myself. I usually giggle when someone asks me if it’s a full-time job.
What motivates you to be active in the community?
I have a passion for service—always have. When there was such as a thing as “paperboys,” I was one, and always made it through my route, no matter what. When I was old enough to get a part-time job, I wound up working at the customer service desk of the (then) busiest supermarket in the world. Later—in college—I was a shift manager at the busiest gas station in the world. (Don’t laugh: There were 64 people working there.) I love delivering good service and making sure that customers get good service. Having a community of people with similar passions is fabulous. The HDI community is one of sharing, helping, and seeking the best, and it’s great to be a part of it. Having a network of people who have faced similar challenges is extremely valuable.
I love delivering good service and making sure that customers get good service.
What suggestions do you have for tech support professionals interested in getting more involved in the community?
Just do it. Attend a webinar, go to a local chapter meeting, come to a conference. Ask questions. Share answers.
What changes do you anticipate for desktop support over the next few years?
Desktop support has really become a misnomer. It was never intended to indicate “desktop computers” but rather the user desktop and everything associated with it: the applications, operating system, and peripherals used. But it has grown immensely. Desktop support teams often manage VoIP phones, network connectivity, audio-visual capabilities, mobile connectivity and devices, and on and on. Now, it is much more about business relationships and advising on—and supporting—the technologies that make business units hum. “Business Technology Support” is something closer to what these people are doing today.
Amy Eisenberg is the editor for HDI where she works with industry experts and practitioners to create content for technical support professionals. She has worked in B2B media and scholarly publishing for more than 20 years, developing content for print and digital magazines, print and email newsletters, websites, conferences, and technical seminars. Follow Amy on Twitter @eisenbergamy, and connect with her on LinkedIn.