Service Desk Challenge: Get the Right Service Desk Tools
by Markos Symeonides, on 26-Jun-2020 15:00:00
This is article 8 in a series of 8. Read article 1 in the series here.
Technology is key to providing better IT support in large organizations, yet many service desks suffer from a technology gap between what they have and what they need. There are three key problems that prevent service desk managers from getting the technology they need to run a better service desk:
- Not enough time and resources to upgrade to the most recent version of the service desk tool.
- Tight business budgets make getting funds for a new solution difficult.
- Low perception of IT and the service desk means the CEO and CFO are reluctant to spend more money on a “failing department”.
These days, service desk tools are part of a broader ITSM solution, which means they are shared and used by service delivery teams, IT infrastructure, and operations groups across IT (and often other corporate service providers). That means the service desk neither has sole ownership or sole decision-making power to select a solution. Compromises must be made when selecting an ITSM toolset. Without a clear vision of what you need and a clear case for why you need it, getting the right service management toolset can be a major challenge.
Tools help you do three things: give you visibility of what’s happening now and the changing trends, bring order to chaos, and automate manual IT work. With an effective service desk solution you can make the most of the human capital you have, automate the “low-level” work that consumes much of your agents’ time, and release resources for focused improvement projects that improve IT maturity and quality of support.
IT maturity and ITSM technology go together. To grow and sustain new capabilities in such a complex ecosystem requires automation; manual collection and processing of infrastructure and operations data simply isn’t possible in anything but the smallest of organizations:
- Discovering thousands of infrastructure components
- Monitoring real-time system status alerts at a rate of many thousands per hour
- Managing dozens or even hundreds of process flows, many of which cut across teams
- Automating complex service delivery processes that involve integration with multiple system administration tools
- Hosting and managing a web and mobile portal for end-users
- Aggregating, analysing and visualizing metrics and trends, based on millions of data points
- …and many more complex, data-driven and automation-driven use cases that simple cannot be executed manually
Choosing a new ITSM/service desk toolset isn’t easy. IT is a complex, multidimensional environment with many stakeholders and end-user groups; some with conflicting agendas. Grassroots-level requirements analysis — asking users for a wish list of features — can turn up hundreds or even thousands of requirements.
The buying decision is further complicated by the size of the decision team and overwhelming market complexity. Some vendors prefer to dazzle buyers with the latest innovations, when that’s not what most organizations really need. With different features appealing to different end user groups, it’s easy to lose sight of the initial drivers, the context, and the priority requirements.
There’s no “cookie-cutter” strategy for selecting the right service desk tool as every organization is different, but there are some basic steps that must be taken in order to succeed:
- Requirements – Work out what you need: requirements (current and future). Future-proof your purchase decision by looking at your improvement roadmap and the supporting features you will need tomorrow. In general, flexibility is the key to longevity when it comes to service desk tools.
- Engagement – Getting buy-in from other stakeholders within IT Infrastructure & Operations (I&O), and other non-IT corporate service providers to reach a mutual consensus on what is needed.
- Budget – If you need capital investment for on-premise ownership of the technology, you’ll need to build a business case for the CFO. Alternatively, by taking the SaaS route you may be able to absorb the cost of a cloud solution into your I&O budget; meaning you can take a more lightweight business case to the CFO.
- Vendor selection – Use your requirements analysis to compare what the market is offering with what you need. At this stage, some difficult decisions may be needed to balance budget against what you need to have and what you’d like to have.
- Implementation – If you choose a SaaS solution, your implementation will be mainly toolset configuration. If you go for an on-premise solution you will need to factor in the purchase and setup of supporting infrastructure.
- Adoption – Implementation isn’t the end of the story. New technology can be introduced virtually overnight, but people change more slowly. Having a strategic training and adoption plan will help you get over the productivity “dip” and make the new solution stick.
Any technology purchase and implementation should have a clear purpose, mapped to business objectives. An ITSM technology purchase should always be driven by an ambition to improve IT maturity — by building and improving specific capabilities that are in demand by the business. When the case for new service desk software is presented in this way, it is easier for executives and business unit heads to see the benefits to them and get behind the idea.
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More about Service Desk Challenges:
- Service Desk Challenge: Find, Keep, and Motivate Your Service Desk Team
- Service Desk Challenge: Reduce Call Volumes
- Service Desk Challenge: Increase First-Time-Fix Rate
- Service Desk Challenge: Real World Business Prioritization
- Service Desk Challenge: Keeping up with Business Change
- Service Desk Challenge: Facilitate Peer Support
- Service Desk Challenge: Increase IT Customer Satisfaction