5 Key Questions for Your IT Service Desk

InvGate July 22, 2020
- 3 min read

You’ve probably had the same IT service management (ITSM), or IT service desk, tool and operations for a while. And there’s nothing wrong with this, apart from the “but.” With that “but” being “But is your IT service desk providing what’s needed of it in 2020?” Especially as we all get to grips with the “new normal,” post-COVID-19-crisis. To help you better understand the needs of modern IT service desk tools and operations, this blog answers five key IT service desk questions.

1. What’s the biggest challenge that IT service desks and their tools currently face?

For us, this has to be the ability to deliver a suitable employee experience. The ITSM tool plays a big part, in terms of usability and offering consumer-like capabilities, but the focus of IT support strategies is also important. Whether your IT service desk is confined by cost-cutting strategies or its people are encouraged to simply “fix the IT issues” rather than providing a service that gets employees up and running again as quickly as possible. Let’s not forget that speed of resolution helps with improving employee productivity which is a big influence on employee experience. 

If your IT service desk is feeling vulnerable in the “new normal,” then the focus on employee experience not only helps to get end users onside, it also allows your desk to better demonstrate its value through the minimization of lost productivity.

2. What else should IT service desks be wary of as they look to improve in the “new normal”?

Another common issue is the focus on process over everything else – “It’s best practice, so let’s just follow it to the letter.” This issue is further extended when IT service desk metrics are focused on the mechanics of the processes, such that they measure performance in terms of what’s done rather than what’s achieved. 

A good example is knowledge management where, up until ITIL 4 which offers a more practical approach, ITSM seemed to have a continued focus on process over outcomes. Knowledge management technology was implemented. Knowledge management processes adopted. And the knowledge management metrics showed a high level of knowledge article creation.  

However, it’s too often a “painting by numbers” or “tab a and slot b” approach that neglects the people change aspects of introducing new ways of working. It also measures success in the wrong place(s) – at the point of knowledge capture, say, rather than at the “user interface” where the knowledge is used for a positive purpose. Importantly, that knowledge has little or no value unless someone is using, and actively benefiting from, it.

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3. What is it best to automate first with the IT service desk?

Sadly, the best answer is “It depends.” Because there’s no “one size fits all” solution. The real question should ask about what your IT service desk – and its customers – need help with most, or what would make the biggest difference to its operations and outcomes. 

For example, in the early days of the “new normal,” you might need to focus on reducing costs but also need to improve the end-user experience. Here password reset is valuable – it should tick both boxes – due to the volumes. However, in terms of really improving the employee experience, while reducing costs, workflow automation with associated automated provisioning and remediation will likely improve the employee experience more. 

4. What one thing makes the most difference to getting automation investments right?

This has to be focusing on business outcomes. So, what's the impact, and is it the best use of your limited resources?  By taking this approach you’ll not only invest your time and money on the right things, but you’ll also find it easier to convey the benefits achieved in business terms.

5. Why have many IT service desks struggled to gain high adoption levels for their self-service and chat channels?

As with the knowledge management question and answer above, much of the challenge relates to the lack of organizational change management. New technology is introduced but little attention is paid to the fact that this creates new ways of working, i.e. people change. 

Thankfully, ITIL 4 now includes an organizational change management practice that offers up guidance, tools, and techniques for ensuring that the introduction of new technology doesn’t leave people behind. 

We hope that these five questions and answers have been helpful. If you have other IT service desk questions, that you’d like help with, then please ask them in the comments section below.

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