Federal help desk forum announced

Managers of all federal help desks are invited to attend a free Federal Help Desk Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 29 at the Washington D.C. Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The forum will feature a full day program of help desk industry leaders offering a broad perspective on today’s help desk industry and practices, as well as networking sessions designed to promote exchange of ideas among similar federal help desks.

The event will be facilitated by the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) Hotline manager, Daryl Covey, with assistance from the National Performance Review. Guest speakers will include Susan Valaskovic, deputy director of the National Performance Review and Ron Muns, Help Desk Institute chairman.

Some of the common challenges faced by federal help desks include a unique fiscal cycle and changes brought about by new legislation. Topics to be covered during the forum will include an overview of current best practices and trends, measurement and management of performance, “lessons learned” in providing public and internal government support, help desk and support technology, future trends and introductions to professional help desk organizations.

The forum is not limited to computer systems help desks but is meant to address all federal help desk support, regardless of the type of system or service involved. Most, if not all federal agencies, such as the Weather Service’s Next Generation Weather Radar hotline and the White House hot lines for policy assistance, provide a wide variety of user support and real time consulting.

Federal Help Desk Forum attendees will also receive free admission to the Customer Relationship Management/Support Services Expo and special educational sessions addressing federal support issues at the CRM/Support Services Conference March 1 at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center, through the courtesy of ZD Events. For additional information on CRM/SSE, please visit www.crmss.com.

In addition, federal help desk employees are invited to take advantage of a new resource, the Federal Help Desk Registry, by registering their help desks on the World Wide Web at http://www.fedhelpdesk.osf.noaa.gov. Created and facilitated by Covey, the registry is designed to foster networking, bench marking and sharing of best practices among federal sector help desks. Membership is free and open to all federal help desks, regardless of size, location or type of support provided.

The help desk profiles collected on the Web site will be compiled and shared with all registrants for networking and professional interaction to enhance their operations, Covey said. Only federal employees are authorized to enter profiles, including those for contracted support. No individual profile or contact information will be released outside the federal sector.

The NEXRAD Hotline, which is part of the NEXRAD Operational Support facility in Norman, Okla., supported by the Departments of Commerce, Defense and Transportation, has won several awards since it was established in 1991, including a recent Vice President’s Hammer Award for Reinventing Government and a Department of Commerce Silver Medal.

Registration information for the Federal Help Desk Forum will be mailed to all members of the Federal Help Desk Registry. Online registration is available at: http://www.zdevents.com/crmss/spring2000/federal.html. For additional information or to volunteer to help with the forum, contact Covey at (405) 366-6510, ext. 1232 or dcovey@osf.noaa.gov.