Service desks historically were viewed as cost centers. In 2021, annual IT Service Desk spend accounted for over 4% of Total IT Spending. The median IT Service Desk spending per end-user was $164, which reflected a 9% increase year-over-year. These investments can be significant, and it is important to point to business benefits such as increased productivity, operational efficiency, and business continuity.
These benefits, however, can be difficult to measure with precision when it comes time to figure out how your service desk drives operational efficiency. Although frequently used metrics exist to track and support ROI calculation, such as MTTR, CSAT, and FTTR, these tend to be abstract concepts to the business, so measuring service desk efficiency may be easier to review specific standard use cases instead
Specific IT service desk use cases can reveal just how much technology is improving day-to-day functions, automating processes, streamlining operations, and empowering employees. The value created in these areas is clear and ties directly to the business value of the IT investment.
1. Improve Business Continuity
Imagine a situation where an HR server goes down: employee records are not accessible, sensitive data is put at risk, and integral responsibilities are postponed until service is restored. The implications of scenarios such as this can be significant. However, with a good service desk solution in place, incidents resulting from an outage can be combined to identify the underlying problem. The ability to identify technical patterns and pinpoint the source of outages can accelerate the response process and help streamline the resolution.
A CMDB can also be used to identify users who are affected by an issue, making it possible to automate notifications to impacted employees of the occurrence. In tandem, a self-service portal should be used to obtain additional information regarding the issue status and provide users with instructions for workarounds and a resolution ETA. Longer-term, with the problem identified, a request-for-change (RFC) can be created. Organizations can then use their configuration management database (CMDB) to identify the assets impacted and thoughtfully plan changes with a full understanding of the services and users impacted by the changes.
The combination of automation and streamlined communications established by an IT service desk can be invaluable for driving efficiency in your organization.
2. Manage Change
Businesses are being tasked with accelerating change processes to keep up with end-user demands and foster an environment of continual integration. This can become complex as organizations are more reliant on IT systems that are spread out between multiple internal data centers, colocation facilities, and cloud systems.
Organizations can utilize the service desk software to schedule all change tasks, assign those change tasks to employees, and automate notifications between users to ensure that tasks are performed in their proper order. Your employees won’t have to wait for notifications that may not come, worry about having to manually document task completion, or send colleagues emails. The automatic log of all events lets you go back and undo an action if anything goes wrong and gives you an audit trail of what was done, by whom, and when. With these built-in checks and balances, you can drive efficiency by letting employees move forward with changes without stalling progress due to approval delays, tension caused by escalations to remove blockages, and lowered risk due to the ability to undo changes if unintended consequences arise at any point.
3. Resolve High Volume, Common Requests
Password resets, small glitches, and similar incidents can often be resolved within a few quick steps. These types of issues may not require specialized knowledge, but many organizations get inundated by the sheer volume of requests. These are costly to handle through analysts and result in the service desk being tied up with mundane tasks instead of more value-added projects. There are two ways to address this problem.
A self-service portal enables users to handle many basic requests on their own. This functionality can be extended to slightly more nuanced issues as well. For example, IT support teams can create a list of recommendations to try before filling out a support ticket. In many cases, activities like restarting a computer or clearing out a browser cache will solve glitches or performance issues. Giving users a guide to perform these actions on their own has the potential to resolve many incidents without the support team getting involved.
A chatbot or virtual agent can add an interactive dimension to request and issue resolution. A chatbot can answer basic FAQs but needs to be fed both the question and answer to be helpful. Many companies begin with this approach but later find that users are frustrated by the unsuccessful attempts at assistance when their inquiries are not understood by the chatbot and the limits to what the chatbot can do. A virtual agent employs more sophisticated technologies and leverages information across the enterprise to serve up information, automate requests, and helps with request capture, and provides user notifications. With its self-learning capability, new user inquiries are learned so responses continue to grow in accuracy and relevance. Virtual Agents are quickly becoming the most cost-effective method to deal with high volume requests coming into the service desk.
4. Leverage Data To Develop A Central Source Of Information
Knowledge is the heart of the service desk. Organizations are overwhelmed by their volume of information and data. Often knowledge is siloed with limited use. When an “expert” leaves an organization, their knowledge may go with him/her because their knowledge was never formally captured, and the original sources are lost. On the other hand, your analysis may indicate that knowledge gaps exist, and content needs to be identified and created. By understanding your user’s needs for specific information, or help, you can build a knowledgebase to serve as a central repository for information. This can range from typical service desk questions to training materials or information on equipment or even vendor contracts. A Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) strategy is important to empower everyone in the organization to share collective responsibility for maintaining information (in a knowledge base) enabling everyone in the organization to solve problems.
These use cases highlight specific situations where a good service desk will deliver meaningful value by driving corporate-wide efficiency. In many cases, the direct benefit a service desk provides to a business is easiest to measure by looking at specific use scenarios.
For information on how Serviceaide can help your organization, contact us.