ITSM makes your business run. The modern organization relies on technology for both daily operations and strategic initiatives, and that technology will have to be planned, implemented, and managed.
But if you don’t manage the natural gap between IT professionals and end users, you risk alienation at best and stagnation at worst.
In other words, managing your IT services is just as important as those services themselves. Help desk software is a perfect example of that necessity. If your internal or external stakeholders have a problem with their technology, they need to be able to log it easily and get it resolved in a timely fashion.
In a perfect world, that process is accomplished through real-time software which is intuitive to use for your end users, and easy to manage on the IT end. Unfortunately, not all help desk platforms actually fulfill that promise. To avoid being stuck with software that complicates instead of streamlining your ITSM, here are 6 steps you can take to find service desk software that will actually perform up to expectations.
1) Outline Your Main ITSM Goals
First things first: before even starting to look at software options, you have to know exactly what your needs are. Simply put, a five-person startup will and should have very different ITSM goals than a growing mid-sized businesses with 200 employees.
Setting your goals should start with a thorough understanding of what all falls into ITSM. This can include release and change management, incident management, a knowledge base for employees and customers, asset management, and much more. Then, take stock of how well you are providing each of these services, and which might need improvement.
Once you’ve outlined where ITSM service desk software can help, set your metrics. How will you measure your progress toward goal? This might include increased customer satisfaction or Net Promoter Score, faster incident resolve rate, more reliable change management, and more. Only once you have built a strategy for your ITSM plan should you look for software platforms that can help you accomplish these goals.
2) Maximize Problem Management Capability
Without a doubt, a core part of your service desk will be managing issues with your assets or technology before they become major problems. Too often, simple errors within your IT infrastructure produce a ripple effect that can cripple the way you run your business. As a result, problem management capabilities should be a core part of any service desk platform.
The right software helps you log and assign problems, and track their progress toward solutions. It also allows for prioritization that focuses on major problems first. Finally, it should allow you to categorize and separate the known symptoms of a given problem from the actual root cause.
Effective software may even allow you to link the problem and change management capabilities. That way, the analysis of a root cause can directly lead to comprehensive change that ensures it will not occur again in the future. Be wary of any service desk platform that does not emphasize problem solving and management as a core feature.
3) Look for Knowledge Base Opportunities
Naturally, a core function of IT is customer service, helping to solve technology issues both inside and outside the company. At the same time, the majority of service requests you get through your help desk software tend to be relatively minor, focusing on simple issues such as password resets and software tutorials.
What if you could standardize the help for these types of requests? Find the right ITSM platform, and you can build a self-help solution that automates much of the service you would otherwise have to provide manually. For most companies, this materializes in the form of a knowledge base that is essentially a library of tutorials helping users through common problems.
Of course, that database has to be managed. Tutorials need to be updated, and new content needs to be added to continue responding to common problems. Look for service desk software that streamlines this management to maximize the potential of your ITSM.
4) Aim for Future Growth and Scalability
The size and needs of your business today will probably change in the next few years. Your core value proposition might change, or your business evolves and grows. When that happens, can your software adapt with you to continue providing the same services and benefits?
This should be a core question to answer as you look at your alternatives. Ideally, your ITSM remains stable even as your customer base and employee number grows. It might include services that don’t immediately seem necessary, like supplier management, but will come in handy with larger operations. When choosing the right platform, look not just for present but also for potential future needs.
5) Ensure Strategic AND Tactical Capabilities
It’s tempting to look at ITSM as a tactical solution. The right platform helps you better manage your day-to-day technology service operations, and bridges the gap between IT professionals end end users. But while this tactical component absolutely matters, more strategic concerns should also come into play for your decision.
Can your service desk software handle budget planning and management? What about managing the contracts of various vendors of suppliers? How can you keep track of your technology assets, and what about releasing new software? Each of these features may not come into play every day, but that doesn’t make them less important. Look for software that can handle both your day-to-day and strategic ITSM needs.
6) Align Budget Needs and Pricing Options
Finally, an important note: even the best software will hurt your business if your budget cannot support it. That’s why your final step in finding the right software should always be to estimate exactly how much the solutions that could work for your business will actually cost you.
First, estimate your current and future users for the software. Most platforms are priced on a per-user basis. Then, determine whether the software offers different levels of features, and which of these levels makes most sense to you. Finally, decide whether a cloud or on-premise solution makes more sense for your business, which will also impact the pricing.
In short, finding the best ITSM service desk software is not easy. You need to be strategic about the process in order to find a platform that actually solves your service management needs. The more strategic you are, the more likely you will be to choose a software package that actually serves your needs, helps your business grow, and maximizes your IT and technology management capabilities.