Presented by TOPdesk
How to future-proof your IT service desk when business growth is uncertain? Join this VB Spotlight to identify tasks you should automate to improve customer experience, reduce IT service desk calls, reduce end-user downtime, and more.
IT service desks today face a broader set of challenges than ever before as businesses go digital and employees have access to more sophisticated technology. Service desks are experiencing a large volume of inquiries, which are often repetitive and tedious, requiring longer call durations. Not only does it take time away from more complex questions, but it can also turn IT into firefighters, responding to urgent issues as they happen, rather than allowing staff to be more proactive and innovative in their approach to overall IT strategy of a company.
Automation and self-service are key to transforming the way an IT service desk operates, freeing up experts to tackle bigger business problems, says Jeffrey Jacoby, US services team leader at TOPdesk.
“By automating the standard workflows that contribute to the high number of tasks assigned to the service desk, the time required for input from a service desk technician is reduced, which makes the process more efficient and service desk technicians more productive” Jacoby explains. “Another way could be to use the knowledge base to allow end users to fix themselves, instead of relying on the service desk for answers or using AI-powered automation to predict problems before they start.”
Where automation shines
The types of requests obviously vary by organization, as do the organizational processes for responding to them, but they could be anything from software requests like assigning licenses and checking approvals, to incidents like a broken laptop or ‘unable to find a folder or mailbox going haywire. And team sizes also vary, from a couple of people as front responders and the escalation team, to entire security, network, or development teams.
Whatever the size of a company, however, automation can help businesses realize real ROI, Jacobs says, and TOPdesk has partnered with several very different organizations to help them implement automation into their standard processes.
For example, the notification for a network monitoring outage can be fed into the automation platform as a mail import and from there it can automatically assign the affected asset from the network monitoring tool into a ticket, prioritized based on the affected asset, classified and then delivered to the correct team.
“Categorizing and prioritizing the incident increases the efficiency of the process by dramatically reducing the time it takes for the network team to analyze what the asset was, what its dependencies are, and how the system is being affected,” he claims. “Technicians can go straight to solving the problem at hand without having to play detective.”
He points to offboarding as another repetitive but crucial IT activity that benefits greatly from automation. Organizations often have to do a lot of manual work when an employee leaves the company, such as reviewing the former employee’s roles, system access, and software. Automation can successfully streamline this process by dividing it by employee role. For example, if a sales rep is removed from office, you need to call out tasks such as Active Directory (AD) account revocation and CRM software access, as well as alerts to gather assets such as phones and laptops, schedule an interview of HR offboarding and have the security recover the key cards.
“By automating the assigned tasks, based on the employee’s role, this means that the service desk has a less hands-on approach to deciding which tasks need to be assigned, instead of just doing the work,” he explains. “Using automation in scenarios like these increases service desk efficiency, freeing technicians to focus on more demanding jobs and improving the end-user experience.”
Implementation of an automation strategy
Documentation comes first, even before choosing technology, tools and partners, says Jacobs. Don’t try to account for exceptions and once-in-a-lifetime scenarios. Focus on documenting which workflows are standard and which of these are repetitive and therefore can be easily automated.
“It’s knowing what your goal is, what you’re trying to achieve, and what the road map to adoption should be,” Jacobs explains. “Once you identify areas that can be automated, you’re looking at where you can get positive results and opportunities to be more productive.”
While you should think big during the goal-setting stage, you need to start small, she cautions. Tackle the simple and easy wins for your teams: For example, if you aim to reduce the number of service desk requests your IT team receives, pick the simplest ones that will make the most impressive dent. From there, he’s designing, implementing, testing, and iterating to continuously optimize it, not just to find greater efficiencies, but to make it more robust wherever possible.
Measure KPIs for service desk excellence
From optimizing automations to improving customer experience and identifying new opportunities, measuring service desk performance KPIs is essential. They are based on a variety of factions. Particularly central is call quality, which can be judged by user feedback on their experiences against their expectations and whether their problems have been resolved satisfactorily. While this is a subjective measure, you still need to track the tenor of user responses, whether they’re specifically solicited in surveys or collected as they arrive.
In terms of hard cold numbers, average time to resolution is another important factor in measuring call quality and service. IT service desks should have a service level agreement (SLA) in place, to enforce a delivery standard – a promise to employees or customers in terms of how quickly their problems will be resolved.
Keeping track of the volume of incidents is also crucial. These reports help you continue to improve your automation strategy by identifying emerging activities that can or should be automated to improve overall performance.
To learn more about the ways automation can transform your IT department’s strategy, how to assess your organization’s automation needs, and get actionable recommendations, don’t miss this VB Spotlight event!
- Key factors in assessing the current state of your business and service desk
- Transform and streamline your IT processes with automation
- Accelerate the delivery of internal processes and services
- Barclay Rae, Consultant; Author; Co-host of the Enterprise Digital Podcast
- Jeffrey JacobyUS Service Team Lead, TOPdesk
- Art ColeModerator, VentureBeat