In light of these troubled economic
times, every company is looking at ways
to slash budgets and cut costs. Often, a
company will look at its service desk and
say: “The service desk isn’t a profit center.
It’s needed, but we don’t need to nurture
and grow it. It’ll be fine as is.”
This type of thinking will cost you, not
save you, money in the long run. If you cut
corners and chip away at your service desk
budget, eventually you won’t have the bandwidth and capacity to run your business.
“Remember that a large majority of companies’ IT budgets are wrapped around
keeping systems running and ensuring that
the people who use the systems remain
productive,” says Kevin Miller, a director of
service desk architecture at Pomeroy IT
Solutions. “Today’s service desks are the
epicenter of the business incident and
request fulfillment management.”
Smart Business spoke to Miller about
service desks, why they’re so important and
how you can ensure yours is all it can be.
Why is the service desk so important in
today’s business world?
IT departments are faced with daily challenges in the management and support of
numerous and constantly changing end-user requirements, including desktops, lap-tops and handhelds. When one of the systems malfunctions or an end-user has an
issue, you need a solution as quickly as possible. Businesses rely on the service desk to
be the single point of contact for any issue
that their end-users need assistance with. A
capable service desk can even assist in driving out costs from on-site visits from technicians if properly executed.
Some service desks have implemented
technologies to assist their overall environments, which addresses specific infrastructure incidents. Reducing call duration is
one of the benefits of implanting these
tools. Some of the other benefits are
reduced training costs, improved first call
resolution, streamlined processes and better incident tracking (most of the automated tools have built-in components that create incidents for reporting and trending
analysis). Typically, incidents are sent to
the on-site technical teams for resolution.
By implementing service desk tools, you
are able to drive out an additional 15 to 20
percent of the dispatched incidents. Most
importantly, giving the service desk the
ability to resolve more issues as the single
point of contact will increase your end-user client satisfaction.
What tools are popular in service desks right
now? What benefits do they offer?
Password reset tools have the capability
to remove up to 25 percent of the existing
calls to the service desk, while automating
functionality. Companies benefit from a
rapid ROI and increased end-user satisfaction after adoption of this tool.
Knowledge based tools have the capability to reduce up to 5 percent of the potential calls received by the service desk by
giving the end-user the first attempt at
resolving the issue. As today’s environments change and we are seeing a different
skill set of end-users entering the work
force, we are seeing a higher request for
end-user interfaces that give them the ability to resolve the issue before contacting
the service desk.
Software deployment tools allow the
service desk to push updates and new software to the end-user without any other
department’s involvement. Once the security rights are granted and all process and procedures for deployments are
being followed, the tools allow the service desk to be the single point of contact
for more and more incidents.
There’s also the trend to move monitoring services to the desk where you
have less expensive staff than in the
NOC or server administrator and today’s
tools make it easier to move those monitoring and management processes to
the service desk.
Finally, user-provisioning tools allow
the automation of end-user creation,
modification and deletion, which allows
for almost immediate updating of the
user’s account, once the appropriate
approvals are obtained through the
What problems or issues can arise from
these tools and/or service desks in general?
Training is the biggest issue in deploying service desk tools. A service desk
needs to realize that a different level of
technical talent is needed to assure that
the tools are utilized correctly and efficiently. If you turn some of these tools
over to inexperienced users, they can
cause more damage to the environment
than their potential worth. You do not
want rogue agents to be able to modify
the diagnostic tools that can compromise the data. One of the major issues of
implementing tools is assuring that the
tool has the appropriate security controls in place and that certain functionalities are secured.
What are the consequences a company faces
if it doesn’t monitor and/or contain its service
Monitoring the efficiency of the service
desk is key — it allows the management
staff to make any adjustments in their
support model. Monitoring tracks many
efficiencies such as average speed to
answer, average call duration, first-call
resolutions, call abandon rates and others. The key to a successful service desk
is end-user satisfaction.
KEVIN MILLER is director of service desk architecture at Pomeroy IT Solutions. Reach him at (949) 929-6767 or email@example.com.