There is a saying that goes “IT is simple but it’s difficult to make IT simple.” And with new technologies coming out day in and day out, there is a tendency to think that with every investment, things in IT are becoming simpler.
This is further from the truth, and especially when it comes to IT Service Desk tools, where every CIO dreams that a single investment in a top of the range ITSM solution for the Service Desk will result in an end to customer complaints about IT services and stem the need for future investment.
So what is the ideal Service Desk tool going to look like?
Given that the objective is to make it simpler for the customer, the service desk analyst and the second (plus third) level support teams, the perspectives of all these teams has to be put into consideration. So let’s look at 3 ITIL processes that would require workflows in the ITSM solution, to meet these needs.
For the customer, one ITIL process is service catalog management. The purpose of the service catalog management process is to provide and maintain a single source of consistent information on all operational services and those being prepared to be run operationally, and to ensure that it is widely available to those who are authorized to access it. A customer facing catalog provides a basis for marketing, educating, and providing relevant IT services to different customers as per need. An ideal service desk tool would provide a customer with a view of the IT services that are available, giving the customer the chance to research, select and access the services they require in a simple and efficient manner.
For the service desk analyst, one key ITIL process is request fulfillment. Request fulfillment is the process responsible for managing the life cycle of all service requests from the users. Once a customer has requested for a service, the staff at the service desk would want the ideal Service Desk solution to provide a workflow which allows for relevant approval, billing, access and fulfillment mechanics to be in place in a simple and effective way. The view from the service desk analyst’s perspective would be to see where the process has reached and who is responsible for auctioning the customer’s request and any delays with respect to the agreed service levels.
And finally, for the second line support, a key process with regard to the Service Desk solution is the Service Level Management (SLM) process. The purpose of the SLM process is to ensure that all current and planned IT services are delivered to agreed achievable targets. Once a ticket from the service desk analyst lands on the queue for the second line support staff, it is important that the ideal Service Desk solution highlights the agreed timelines for fulfillment of this ticket based on priority, which is a function of urgency and impact. The service desk solution should also have functionality for warning the second line support staff once the timelines approach a pre-determined threshold before expiry of the agreed timeline, as well as upon expiry of the same. Automated escalation to third or higher level technical support (plus hierarchical management escalation) must be a key feature of the Service Desk solution, simplifying the escalation process.
That holds true for a Service Desk solution seeking to meet the needs of an organization. Any tool can meet any need, but no tool can meet all needs. CIO’s, IT directors and Service Delivery managers have to play a critical role in ensuring that the requirements of the organization are met when it comes to procuring or development of a service desk solution. And simplicity is a key measure of whether that solution will play a big role in making lives simpler for customers and IT staff.