Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
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Survive or Thrive – What Will Happen to Your Service Desk?

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tony-probertThe longer I am in the ITSM industry, which is now more than 20 years, I fear for those hard working dedicated Service Desk professionals expected to meet increasing business demands without the tools and support needed to succeed.In these economically challenging times, companies are deferring new system investments but expect increased services and efficiencies. For many IT departments and Service Desk functions, this is akin to pushing water uphill with a rake.  No matter how hard they try, the systems available to them are just too old and incapable of providing what the business demands or desires.In a recent industry survey of Service Desk professionals conducted by Cherwell and the SDI, respondents stated they spend 49% of their time in ‘fire fighting’ mode.  In another survey I recently saw by an analyst group, a high percentage of board directors said they expect IT contributions to increase during the next few years directly leading to business growth and competitive advantage.

Well, without stating the obvious, unless the 49% ‘fire fighting’ figure is addressed, it does not take a genius to work out that these Service Desks are doomed to fail to meet this expectation.

This “Catch 22” scenario creates a real problem for Service Desks entrenched in break fix issues rather than being able to add value to the business they support by being in a position to provide creative, innovative services their business users’ demand.

This situation has the potential to create an open door opportunity for the business to see if it can gain ‘better’ value through outsourcing and Managed Service providers that of course, can present compelling business cases for the services they provide. Whether these truly stack up is another story, but without the means to fight back, the Service Desk faces an uphill battle to win challenges to its survival.

So, how to thrive?

To add valve and provide competitive business advantage means an increased focus on delivering innovative business services. If Service Desks spend 49% of their time ‘fire fighting’, an organisation has to question either the procedures being applied or the capabilities of the tools they have to work with.

What options do they have to invoke automated processes, utilise effective knowledge management or the provision of enhanced self-service in order to reduce ‘fire fighting.’ Once this is under control, the focus can shift to the delivery and support of more innovative service offerings.

Increasingly, today’s business users demand access to services and information when they want it, wherever they want it, on whatever device they want it on.  IT and the Service Desk must have the functionality, flexibility and agility in the tools available to them to deliver the innovation and business value their Board directors expect.

If the focus is based on the struggle to survive, any Service Desk is at risk, and the business value and competitive advantage expected by the business will not be achieved. However, to thrive, IT and the Service Desk need improved processes and procedures and the appropriate tools to empower IT to deliver measurable business value.

Will your Service Desk survive?  Will it thrive?