Helpdesks are overwhelmed, often inundated by mundane and repetitive manual tasks that kill their productively and keep them from achieving their organizational goals. By taking steps, that are usually simple and financially efficient, much time can be saved for employees and organizations managing this process. Also, through the automation of processes that remain manual and out of date, technology leaders are able to take steps to help their teams and their departments, including the helpdesk, to focus on more pressing technology matters than resetting forgotten passwords or managing account access by allowing internal customers the ability to do so themselves.

IT and helpdesk employees often are required to address an overwhelming number of calls each day, according to a recent survey, with more than half of respondents indicating that their helpdesk receives more than 100 calls a week. The survey shows that more than 56 percent of those asked said the number of passwords required of employees to access their systems directly affects the number of calls the helpdesk receives. Complex password policies mean confusion for employees ad reset will occur on a much broader scale. The more difficult organizations make it for their employees to do something as simple as easily access their systems and information, the more difficult their make it for everyone who must support them, specifically IT and tech support services, which is a no-brainer.

However, many continue to report that they are required, by their organizations to create complex passwords in conjunction with requirements to change their passwords every month or at varying pre-determined times. These headaches lead to wasted time on managing meaningless passwords, which could easily be managed automatically by end users by allowing them access to tools where they can reset their own passwords by providing a few quick answers to challenge questions.

These are known as self-service reset password management tools.

Helpdesk employees spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks that are simple, but time-consuming, tasks, but what’s also not surprising is that most of these issues are critical because they mean users cannot access their computers or any additional applications to get their work done. From experience, more than 70 percent or more of those I work with say these issues are often time-critical to those affected.

Finally, organizational helpdesks can save a great deal of time if end users could reset their own passwords. According to this survey, and what I see on a daily basis, as end users are able to safely and securely reset and manage their own passwords without having to contact the helpdesk, self-service password reset solutions can save a good bit of money, as well as increase the level of service for end users.

These IT solutions, self-service reset password managers, allow end-users the ability to reset their password on the basis of a number of simple, predefined questions, commonly accessed through a “forgot my password” button on their login screen, which they use to provide answers to a series of security questions.

Oxford University Press also implemented such a solution. Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world, with a strong presence throughout the globe. The organization publishes products in more than 40 languages in both digital and print format. The IT department supports more than 3,000 users in the UK and 750 in the US. On average, 25 percent of the calls to the helpdesk were password-related. The IT staff was burdened with resolving these calls, resulting in an increased administrative load for the IT department. At the same time, the users also wasted time and during the lockout.

Karl Andrews, IT service desk manager at Oxford University Press, said: “With such a large and diverse organization, user accounts need updating on a daily basis, because of new starters, leavers, transfers and temporary staff, if we relied on manual processes to do this, we would have to employ someone, all year round, simply to do user account updates. This is neither practical nor economical. We needed software that would enable us to provision user accounts and allow non-complex user administration tasks to be delegated to non-IT staff.”

The installation of the password reset manager took less than two hours. By deploying the self-service reset password management tool, Oxford University Press is allowing users to remain productive by conducting a password reset themselves anytime and anywhere, eliminating any idle time being locked out of the system.

Oxford University Press found the 24/7 availability of the self-service reset password manager is beneficial because of the large number of remote users within the organization. The technology gives them the ability to be able to reset their passwords during non-business hours.

Since implementation, “We have seen a marked reduction in the overall volume of calls to the Service Desk. The numbers are good. We get about 500 less requests to the service desk a year since the implementation, which makes a huge difference to us as our team is no longer inundated with resets and the end user is happier as they are able to access their account without delay.”

Employees and employers both can reap the benefits and time savings associated with such automated solutions when it comes to forgotten passwords. While password resets are one of the easiest IT tasks to manage, they also are one of the most distracting and time-consuming tasks IT professionals face.