If you’re reading this post, you’re more than likely acutely aware of the importance of the IT service desk. It functions as the main point of contact between the IT department and the rest of the company. The IT service desk has a lot to handle: communications for operational processes, resolving and escalating technical issues, answering questions, and much, much more. It is one of the key areas in any company.
As such, improving your IT service desk -- ensuring that your processes are aligned with industry best practices and guidelines -- should absolutely be a priority. That said, here are a few quick tips that may seem obvious to some, but are worth looking into regardless. Below are five quick tips on how to improve an IT service desk.
Tip #1: Determine what your organization actually needs
When setting up your IT service desk and attempting to follow best practices, it makes sense to look at what other companies are doing and attempt to follow suit. In principle, this is completely logical -- why would so many companies be following similar practices if they weren’t working for them?
Indeed, it’s useful to take stock of what’s working for other organizations, but it’s also important that there is no single one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to IT service desks. Each organization is different, with specific needs and unique qualities that might affect how you go about organizing your IT service desk.
This is all to say… don’t just follow the herd. Look around and incorporate elements that you think will work with your organization, but also keep in mind your company’s structure and culture.
Tip #2: Empower users via self-service
This is a big one. Studies have shown that customers now prefer self-service over reaching out to somebody else for help. Empowering your users by giving them the ability to seek out answers themselves (via a knowledge base) and find the services they’re looking for (via a service catalog) is extremely important, and will speed things up considerably for your IT service desk. Make sure their experience is well-designed (you'd be wise to look up some design ideas for your self-service portal) and user-friendly.
Tip #3: Foster a collaborative environment
Collaboration -- not just within teams, but between different teams in the organization -- is essential. Especially as teams are still dispersed across various locations, it’s important to foster an environment of open collaboration; you want to avoid teams feeling self-contained and isolated. Encourage team members to share their ideas, as the fear of speaking out of turn stifles creativity and effective collaboration. And use collaboration tools, such as digital workspaces and collaboration software with multi-department support to help teams connect with each other.
Tip #4: Improve efficiency by automating workflows
One of the smartest things you can do when it comes to improving the overall efficiency of your IT service desk is to implement workflow automation. Doing so will increase efficiency and accuracy, not to mention allow your employees to work on other non-automated tasks. This will also lead to cost savings (which, as we know, are synonymous with increased productivity). Additionally, workflow mapping will provide you with a top-down view of your processes, giving you greater visibility and increased communication. Workflow automation will also allow you to get rid of redundancies and focus your efforts more efficiently.
Tip #5: Remember the purpose of your service desk.
Finally, it’s easy to get caught up in how the IT service desk should work, and lose sight of what it’s supposed to do. ITIL refers to people, process, product, and partners, but the fifth P -- purpose -- should also be taken into account. This brings us back to tip #1: it is important to be aware of what the goal is, to come up with a plan that makes sense for your company, and to make sure that all your efforts are directed towards that goal.