The corporate IT service desk is presently in a “perfect storm” for change, or, more precisely, in the “perfect storm” for the need to change. So much has happened that both adds pressure and offers opportunities to improve in the last few years and, as organizations continue to recover and grow post-pandemic, the best IT service desks will be focusing on eight key trends for 2022. For many, it will be a case of “change or be changed” given that the failure to change will continue to erode a service desk’s relevancy and worth.
Financial pressures (related to the pandemic) demand greater service desk efficiency in 2022
Most businesses suffered a drop in revenues during the pandemic and, as they continue to recover and grow in 2022, there’ll likely be a need to focus on costs. Or, more specifically, on cost reduction. For the IT service desk, this focus is two-fold. First, related to IT support operational costs – perhaps even down to the average cost per ticket (and the need to exploit self-service opportunities). Second, is the impact the efficiency and effectiveness of IT support has on the people and business operations they support, with a definite focus on improving employee productivity needed in 2022...
Employee experience must be a key focus for IT service desks in 2022
Much has already been written about IT support and employee experience over the last few years. However, the global pandemic brought the need to maximize employee productivity into focus – with the performance of IT playing a key role in how remote workers were, and potentially still are, able to work (not to mention return-to-office strategies). In 2022, expect the importance of employee experience and, within this, employee productivity, to continue to rise. Importantly, this raises interesting questions about the ability to reduce IT-support operating costs without harming employee productivity. Plus, whether spending more on IT support returns more in employee productivity than it costs, making it a viable business investment. Leading us to the value of an IT service desk…
IT service desks need to be able to articulate their value
IT service desks have long been viewed as a cost center – perhaps even as a cost of quality that’s necessary due to IT issues and failures. Even though an IT service desk does so much more than fix IT issues, the focus of businesses – and not just their IT organizations – has been elevated from what things cost to the value they create (which, of course, of still partly dependent on cost). Importantly, this definition of service-desk value needs to be in business-value, not IT-value, terms. So, if it hasn’t been done already, 2022 will be the year in which your IT service desk needs to link its operations and outcomes to what its customers deem to be of value to them.
Service desks will have more “space” to consider and consume the benefits of ITIL 4 in 2022
In some ways, the need for IT service desks to articulate their value will help to drive adoption rather than any form of ITIL promotion (given that ITIL 4 is built around the concept of value co-creation). The detailed ITIL 4 service desk guidance was first published in February 2020, but the timing was such that under pressure IT departments had little bandwidth to consider and apply it. In 2022, we’ll now see more service desks finally able to focus on ITIL-4-driven improvements.
The use of intelligent automation capabilities for IT support will increase
In 2022, intelligent automation – that uses machine learning in particular – will start to play a bigger role in IT service desk operations. Whether it’s replacing laborious manual tasks, such that service desk analysts can focus on higher value-add tasks, or providing greater insight for decision making. There are already many potential IT support use cases that can benefit from the addition of intelligent automation and the breadth and depth of these will continue to grow based on both the need for operational efficiencies and the demands of employees and customers.
Employee wellbeing will continue to be a ticking timebomb for IT service desks
No matter the survey, the wellbeing of IT personnel continues to be an underserved issue for IT organizations. In some ways, the global pandemic helped – where, despite the additional pressures on IT (particularly in the initial migration of employees to homeworking), IT service desk staff in particular were recognized for their hard work in maintaining business continuity. The IT industry still has a wellbeing problem though, with the inherent pressures of IT support making the IT service desk a priority for employee-wellbeing improvement.
IT service desk metrics and targets will need to change
The aforementioned “perfect storm” of changes will not only affect the required IT service desk capabilities, but there’s also a need to reassess IT service desk metrics to ensure that they are measuring the right things, driving the right behaviors, and helping to deliver and improve on required outcomes. Most of the earlier trends will affect your IT service desk’s metrics in some way. Whether it’s the need to focus on what business stakeholders value most, the delivered experience (including the impact on employee productivity), the operational efficiencies that come with intelligent automation, or the wellbeing of IT staff – IT service desks need to ensure that they’re measuring what matters most and with suitable performance targets.
The extension of ITSM capabilities to other business functions requires IT support optimization
The use of ITSM capabilities in other business functions (to improve their operations and outcomes) – whether called enterprise service management or something else – will continue to grow in popularity in 2022, with the core IT service desk practices shared the most. Hence, the service desk capabilities being shared must be as good as they can be. After all, sharing subpar practices is a missed opportunity to improve business operations and outcomes at best and detrimental to business performance at worst.