There’s no doubt that the IT world has seen some incredible advancements over the past couple decades, particularly in the area of the service desk. But while we’ve most certainly experienced a number of improvements over the years, the truth is that the real revolution is happening now – as you read these very words – and it’s coming in the way of service desk automation.
Any help desk professional who has been in the field long enough will tell you the job is wrought with bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Traditionally, the end user would contact the help desk upon experiencing some type of IT issue. The technician receiving the request would then have to place the caller on hold or keep the ticket open (depending on the method of contact), and complete a plethora of documentation to officially open a request. Only then could the issue be resolved and/or escalated. Once closed out (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours or sometimes even several days later), the end user would receive follow up confirmation.
Depending on the size of the organization, there might be additional steps added into this process. For instance, some larger enterprises with significant staffing numbers might have all tickets and/or calls initially fielded by Level 1 help desk representatives. From there, all requests are then escalated to Level 2 or higher. That meant that even something as simple as resetting a password could potentially take much more time than really necessary. Not only does this bog down IT, but the delays it causes to the end user can be incredibly costly to the business as a whole.
In this operational model, staff becomes bored and frustrated and efficiency levels are at their absolute lowest. There has to be a better way. Enter service desk automation. Thanks to ITIL combined with advanced, intuitive technology as a foundation of the help desk operation, everything from routine tasks to complex workflows can be structured, organized and standardized. Now, self-service portals provide the freedom and flexibility for end users to troubleshoot and resolve many of their IT issues, including system resets and password changes.
What this does for the IT help desk is it significantly reduces the workload and number of menial incoming requests. Service catalogs have been developed and introduced which deliver standard offerings and provide specific policies and procedures to better set SLAs and manage expectations. Meanwhile, internally, the barriers that once pigeon-holed workers by tier or level are being broken down and talent is being used much more effectively.
With service desk automation, companies are finding a long-sought after solution to the cost conundrum. When is the last time you heard of an IT department getting a big boost in budget? Yet the traditional way of working – with multiple tier levels handling the same issues – is both inefficient and costly. In fact, according to MetricNet, the average cost of a Level 1 service desk technician to manually work a ticket is $22. Escalating to Level 2 triples that cost, and further escalation to Level 3 triples it again. Multiply that by the number of incoming requests and it becomes abundantly clear that this methodology is not only a waste of valuable time, but it’s a terrible and unnecessary waste of funds, which impacts the bottom line.
Furthermore, now more than ever, IT leaders are faced with finding a way to produce maximum output at a minimum cost. Hiring additional staff isn’t usually an option, and burdening existing personnel with extra work will only lead to burnout and subsequent turnover. Shifting a good amount of the work to service desk automation, on the other hand, allows existing staff to handle what needs to get done without becoming overwhelmed. And with greater efficiency comes cost savings, so it’s a win-win.
Customer satisfaction levels also dramatically improve with service desk automation. Gone are the days when opening a ticket would require hours, days or weeks to resolve. Now, whether the end user chooses self-service automation or opens a request to the help desk, technology is there to do the majority of the heavy lifting, often without the need for any human intervention at all. Those issues that do require escalation can be handled much more quickly, ensuring a speedier turnaround. This equates to greater productivity across the board.
When you consider all of the many benefits of service desk automation, it’s clear to see that the tides have changed. With increasing competition and growing pressure to operate at the greatest level of efficiency and productivity while also keeping costs as low as possible, the only solution is automation, and the time to take action is not tomorrow – but today. Right now!