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3 Reasons to Consolidate Your Higher Ed Service Desks

Posted by on October 24, 2017

3 Reasons to Consolidate Your Higher Ed Service Desks

Out of all the industries, higher education may perhaps suffer the most from disparate service desks and diverse types of customers. Think of faculty, administration, staff, and students and all the different services they require and the support they expect. Is it possible to bring all IT support into a single service desk offering, and more importantly, why should you?

Jarod Greene, a leader in the IT service management (ITSM) field, shared his view on this topic within an itSMF USA Higher Education Special Interest Group webinar, Best Practices for IT Service Desk Consolidation.

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Greene describes the overall notion of consolidation as “being the same, even when you can’t be together.” This means that regardless of whether you have multiple service desks or one centralized service desk, you need to all be singing from the same hymn sheet and using the same workflow and processes and standard protocols to gain efficiencies, optimize costs, and develop a single source of truth from a data perspective.

When you absolutely must be decentralized, the focus should be on standardization as if there was a single point of contact model. With this, customers can expect a consistent experience regardless of the issue or request they have. In addition, a consolidated service desk enables the efficient storing and sharing of knowledge, which enables scaling, optimization and the growth of the IT organization. The days of ‘knowledge hoarding’ go away, and the benefits are long lasting.

Furthermore, a consolidated IT allows for better allocation of resources and personnel. Many staff members across separate service desks will believe their expertise and services cannot be efficiently taught and distributed throughout the IT organization. According to Greene, these learning curves are often illusory, and the subsequent structural errors result in costlier calls and wasted resources.

In addition, a consolidated service desk will be able to accurately portray its performance. In a decentralized IT service desk model, data must be collected from the separate databases and finagled into its overall priority and value making for a fragmented picture on performance. By consolidating, a single source of truth can be achieved, and performance is real-time and easy to capture and report.

Developing the business case for consolidation revolves around optimizing costs, gaining efficiencies and increasing customer satisfaction.

Costs are optimized as:

Efficiencies are gained as:

Customer satisfaction increases as a result of:

So, if you’re convinced and want to explore how to actually go forward with consolidation, here are the approaches you need to take:

What about the challenges…there must be challenges. Yes, there are, and here are the most common:

No matter how you do it, the change from disparate service desks to a consolidated system requires trust and understanding. As a change instigator, you should research the different cultural and location based differences. Once you understand this, you can balance each culture with the single point of contact view. This way, you’ll allow them to be themselves in the context of your organization’s single face. Furthermore, you should educate the consolidated desk to build trust. It’s a daunting task, but once you have consolidated the service desks, the shared resources and knowledge will open up new doors to efficiency, visibility, and an overall better IT service.

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