How 'Dash' Buttons Could Work For IT - InformationWeek

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4/13/2015
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How 'Dash' Buttons Could Work For IT

If the Amazon Dash button could be used for repetitive household activities, could something similar be used for repetitive IT support tasks? Well, yes and no.
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(Image: Coombesy via Pixabay)

(Image: Coombesy via Pixabay)

Earlier this month, Amazon announced the Dash button, a WiFi-connected button that, when pushed, will re-order pre-defined household products, such as detergent. It's the latest in a long string of efforts to implement the Internet of Things (IoT) in homes.

This got me thinking: If the Amazon Dash button could be used for repetitive household activities, could something similar be used for repetitive IT support tasks?

For some tasks, a "dash button" would work out splendidly and save a decent amount of time. For other IT support purposes, the dash button is an absolutely terrible idea -- and one that would likely be abused by your fellow employees.

In reality, the dash button concept for IT points out areas of inefficiency where automated processes could replace current manual ones. After all, today's IT support dash button would be basically like a ticketing system with a one-button interface.

It’s easy to go through your ticketing system today to see where your support staff is wasting time. Are they assisting others using manual processes that could be fully automated via a self-service option for users? That's precisely where we think most of the dash button benefits would come from. It would be a one-click fix for employees with specific, yet common issues.

Where would an IT dash button go terribly wrong? One place is where employees file tickets informing IT support staff of a major problem that we’re almost certainly already aware of. The second is where issues arise that are far more complex to fix than the end-users think. In either situation, a dash button either creates unwanted noise for IT, slowing down a fix of the problem, or presents a problem that cannot possibly be solved using automated processes.

Dash buttons could be used in IT -- as long as they are directed toward the right tasks. We'll explore these ideas on the following pages. And if you have some IT uses for the dash button that we didn’t think of, tell us all about them in the comments section below.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 11:10:05 AM
Different types of buttons
For things like the 'internet is down' or 'wifi is slow' the button could simply go to a poll type device that lets you see if many people are experiencing it at the same time to give information to IT staff without actually burdening them to do something about it and getting lots of junk calls. It helps the user because they feel they did their part and IT gets info without all the wasted calling the help line or needing to do anything more than they would already be doing about it.
ClassC
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ClassC,
User Rank: Moderator
4/23/2015 | 12:11:24 AM
Re: Button doesn't have to *do* anything
"...They can press it over and over if they like, because the button doesn't do anything!"

 

@somedude8    That's funny !  I like that idea, if people feel better pushing a button, when in fact it doesn't do anything - then I am all for that !
ClassC
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ClassC,
User Rank: Moderator
4/23/2015 | 12:08:03 AM
Re: Not for the Enterprise?

I am not a fan of this push button idea either.  It is bad enough Microsoft has dumb down computing, we don't need more superficial simplicity.

jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2015 | 12:12:45 PM
Re: How 'Dash' Buttons Could Work For IT
>> As for specific suggestions? I suppose I can think of a few. The printer/toner/etc. one that everyone has mentioned seems like an obvious fit - indeed,

Wondering why we don't have "smart printers" which bascially tell <the place they are told to tell> the ink is out. Networked printers already do this, no? This should be totally automated by the printer manufacturers already. At least the option should be there for the end user

For personal printers the message pops up, toner/ink low, order more? press here -- 

It can be easier for enterprise devices, and should be built in 

Still think that SMBs and other places other than enterprises which have built in support functions would benefit from the "press for service" idea

 

 
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2015 | 11:15:52 AM
Button doesn't have to *do* anything
I think things like slow WiFi and Internet is Down are perfect cases for having a Dash button! Instead of calling, emailing and texting (all within 15 seconds) every single person they know in IT when such situations arise, they can simple press the button. They can press it over and over if they like, because the button doesn't do anything!
rsassine
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rsassine,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2015 | 9:36:59 AM
'Dash' Buttons
Sir - I am very offended by your 'Dash Buttons' article.  We, IS Professionals, are not robots nor slaves.  Personnaly I do NOT respond to a push button; I communicate to my customers directly either verbally or through email.  Our world is already demanding and stressful enough.  Please do not give propagate bad ideas to people who may not understand our practice.

Thank you very much

Raymond
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2015 | 2:38:17 AM
Re: How 'Dash' Buttons Could Work For IT
I suppose we find ourselves doing this a lot; deconstructing recent news to see how it relates to us as IT people. There's not only the  logistical breakdown of how Dash works on the backend and what that means for IoT - a topic of it's own-  but also, yes, a glimpse to be had at what this represents for the future of IT processes and trends there. We're definitely moving towards automation - look at DevOps, look at SD(X). The addage 'work smarter, not harder' has never been more relevant. We talk about being asked to do more with less and also wanting to turn IT from a cost center to an innovator - well, if we can free staff and resources up from doing mundane tasks and help users helps themselves, we can bring that about. Then, we can also bring that new streamlined approach to future projects/innovations and other departments will welcome our help.

As for specific suggestions? I suppose I can think of a few. The printer/toner/etc. one that everyone has mentioned seems like an obvious fit - indeed, with Amazon offering support  and an API to build dash-like functionality into devices, maybe some enterprising printer manufacturer could even include it by default.  What about hardware or other replacements in the Data Center? Charlie Babcock published an article recently where PayPal said they do a routine sweep every so often where they replace all their failed devices at once (possible thanks to OpenStack's automatic failover). If you become aware of a device that's failed or failing, or that you want to replace for whatever reason, you could hit a button to log it automatically and get the process started. Come to think of it, this could extend to all kinds of logging/reporting - anything where a time-consuming manual process is currently in place.
ThadeusF903
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ThadeusF903,
User Rank: Strategist
4/13/2015 | 7:28:33 PM
Huh?
Slow publishing week? :) This is truly comparing apples and oranges, with the same practical effect. I can only think of two uses offhand. One would be the copier toner button, which is a replenishable (if we could trust that they'd get the right copier and toner, if multiple cartridges involved). Two would be a button that kicks off an automatic save to temp file and automatic reboot every time they say they have a problem and need IT support--that takes care of it 50% of the time. We should have signs up telling people to reboot before they call or fill out a ticket.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
4/13/2015 | 9:51:21 AM
Not for the Enterprise?
There are so many ways to communicate IT issues within the enterprise, why would a DASH button be of any help?

Repetitive IT support tasks for SMBs, Home Offices, Mobile users, and others without IT on site, or who pay for services via contract or visit -- would they be better candidates for Service buttons? 

Don't know, but there's life outside of the enterprise when it comes to support
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