It's evident to us that every hero in the comics world has someone or some tool that provides them with a level of tech support, such as Iron Man and his artificial Intelligence Jarvis, Professor X and the tech support he gives to the X-Men, and Black Panther's little sister, Shuri, with her technology knowledge.
While some tech support tools or individual abilities can't exist in the real world, some of them are very much among us. The best example in the comics world is Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler and father figure in the Batman universe. Although Alfred wasn't always the center of attention in the comics or the movies, we can't deny that he is Batman's number one ally and a man of action, saving Batman ever since his first appearance started. Alfred is always presented to us as a very knowledgeable and resourceful person, but have you ever questioned his role as a tech support professional to Batman and the service and support he provides in the darkest times?
For fun, let’s try to evaluate him as a tech support specialist and do a full review of his role and support model, either on the technical or customer service sides. Let us determine if Alfred is running the best help desk ever.
From the first look at the help desk environment in the Batcave, we will notice the following:
Help desk software
Alfred has chosen the right help desk software for the job. Alfred has defined the required features the service desk software needs to fit Batman's purpose and use. Alfred worked with Batman to brainstorm the evaluation criteria and understand the features Batman needs to fight crime in Gotham City. Alfred and Wayne performed a brainstorming session to understand the high-level "must-have" features and then fine-tune the criteria-definition process in succeeding sessions.
Policies and procedures
Alfred knows how essential it is to follow Bruce's policies and procedures to hide his secret identity and conceal the Batcave. Alfred also knows that policies and procedures are vital to establishing an agreement between stakeholders, in this case, Master Wayne and himself. This agreement sets the rules for the help desk and how they are managed. Alfred constantly assists Master Wayne in reviewing and questioning the validity of their policies and procedures to ensure that Batman's journey in fighting crime is successful.
Batman works in a very sensitive and demanding environment when defining SLA; Alfred clearly defines ticket priorities based on urgency/impact and ensures that Batman has a time window for request acknowledgment and resolution when facing his enemies.
Incoming incidents should be picked up, identified in priority and urgency, and categorized. Any miss categorized incident can mean life or death for Batman, and Alfred knows that very well. Defining a clear SLA will help Alfred ensure that incidents are handled correctly, and requests are fulfilled efficiently.
Alfred knows the need for knowledge management and documentation and always keeps records of Batman’s villains and their characteristics and weak points, and uses this massive knowledge base to support Batman when he is in need, as well as constantly improve and update his knowledge base every time Batman comes back to the Batcave with a new set of data.
Batman depends on this knowledge base to view any knowledge articles related to Joker before creating a service request to analyze any key clues related to the Joker’s crimes. Alfred knows that for the knowledge base to be effective, he needs to link the knowledge articles to the service catalog. Batman must be able to view them before attempting to submit a service desk request.
Alfred knows the importance of managing technology assets for the survival of Batman. Alfred understands and takes control of what and where. To monitor how assets are being used, Alfred has built a complete inventory of hardware and software assets that Batman uses, starting with the different suits that Batman wears, weapons arsenal, and spying software. Doing so provides several advantages, including keeping his assets up to date and how critical it is to maintain a healthy CMDB for Batman to be productive in the field.
Although Alfred mainly supports one man, this man has a big responsibility on his shoulders to protect Gotham citizens, so customer service is essential for Alfred's success as a support agent. Alfred knows the responsibility of providing considerate and understanding service to Batman and the need to put himself in Batman's shoes to understand the level of risk that Batman could be facing if the service is not provided on time or within the expected quality levels.
Here are some essential metrics for Batman’s survival:
First contact resolution
We should not miss noticing that Alfred provides excellent first contact resolution in the most critical time. Alfred saves the day by either sending Batman his Batmobile, or by providing him with some tactical information on time to give him the chance to be one step ahead of the villain in the story.
Alfred can't risk having any tickets submitted by Batman unresolved if it's a ticket to fix the Batmobile, another ticket to search for some information, or even to prepare dinner for Master Wayne. Alfred knows that a healthy support environment should have 0 backlogs of tickets.
In the case of Gotham City, it is clear that not all the heroes wear capes. The heroes behind the heroes who provide technical support are very important to keep Gotham’s citizens safe.
Now ask yourself this question as a professional tech support agent: Do you have what it takes to become real-life, Alfred?
Moe Suliman has 18 years of extensive experience in IT service management and operations. Passionate about service management operation improvement, Moe is a hands-on ITSM professional striving to help organizations reach operations excellence and improve their service delivery and operations management practices. Moe has served in ITSM leadership roles in many large organizations in various industries, including investment, financial, retail, health, software development, real estate, and Industrial.