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Has Your Organization Out-Grown Your Helpdesk?
A guide to determine when your company is at the right
stage to shift to a Service Desk.
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t wasn’t long ago when a new employee only required the addition of a classic desktop system, and maybe a Blackberry for executives to access e-mails (1999 to be precise). Technical issues were resolved with a manual re-boot. Life was fairly simple for the IT team.
When did it all become so complicated?
Has Your Organization Out-Grown Your Helpdesk?
A guide to determine when your company is at the right stage to shift to a Service Desk.
For 15 minutes of your time, you’ll learn:
The difference between a “Help Desk” and a “Service Desk”
A framework to determine when it’s time to make a shift
Aligning your help/service desk to your business growth plan
Implementing a Service Desk when resources are constrained
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Look no farther than the past 10 years:
2000: Only 39% of the population owned a cell phone
Amazon establishes a “Cloud Computing” architectural design by modernizing its data centers and significantly increasing network capacity; proving to mainstream enterprises the monetary and efficiency value in a dramatic operational shift.
2003: Cell phone ownership is deemed mainstream with a market share of over 70% in major metro markets.
2006: Mobil phones become “Smart phones” turning our cell phones into mini-computers running various applications
Desktop computers achieve 68% ownership, laptops are 30%
2007: IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) sets the bar for Service Desk Support, releasing their 2007 edition focused on 26 processes and functions supporting the Service Lifecycle Structure
2008: “Smartphones” increase the need for security and encryption across multiple platforms
2010: Apple successfully launches the iPad (Microsoft attempted, but failed in the early 1990’s.)
2011: The percent of laptop ownership exceeds desktops by 2% and continues to rise (laptops: 57% vs. Desktops: 55%)
ITIL releases 2011 edition focused on 5 core Services Support:
Strategy, Design, Transition, Operations and Continual Improvement.
2012: 62% of enterprises and 47% of small businesses reported they will be adopting tablets in the next 12 months
2013: 34% of Adults 18+ own a tablet computer
Over 55% of all owners either use or plan to use their personal tablets for business
Sources: Computer History. Org; Oracles, Think Quest, Official ITIL Website, Office of Government Commerce (UK)
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company in growth mode will quickly
appreciate the value of adding an internal helpdesk. However technology’s lightning speed evolution, complex computing, security and encryption needs are all critical elements to supporting our operations; moving most organizations significantly beyond the days of ordering and installing the traditional desktop, or resolving a technical glitch with the once tried and
true computer re-boot. Data backup/management, cloud computing, new devices, and applications also introduce a new level of inter-connection and management complexity. The traditional helpdesk may take care of most set-up and troubleshooting needs, but the solution is tactically focused where organizations may require a more robust enterprise- wide, service-oriented solution.
The Difference Between a Help Desk and a Service Desk
Think of a Help Desk as a “Command and Control”
approach which aligns itself to solving the technological problems with an enterprise’s end-users.
It provides a single-point-of-contact call center that manages inbound incidents, logs supported users, and typically offers web-based, incident management access to clients in order to view incident status, reporting and metrics. “Help Desks” will generally focus their efforts in meeting Service Level Agreements (SLA) supported by Key Performance Indicators which traditionally revolve around call volume:
Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
Call Abandon Rates
First Call Resolution Rate (FCR)
Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Contrary to a Help Desk, a Service Desk leverages the operational framework established by the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) which formally categorizes
and manages long-term management solutions that are linked and integrated into every aspect of anenterprise to meet the technological needs of the
employees and the business. According to ITIL, the Service Desk is aligned to the needs of the business and underpins the core business processes”. The following captures the primary support activities:
All traditional Help Desk support
Problem Management: applying several factors, a Service Desk will identify “root causes” to recurring problems, define and implement business process solutions to eliminate or significantly reduce repeat occurrences, and increase overall departmental efficiency
Service Strategies: developing (and implementing) policies, guidelines and processes in the context of services that IT provides to the business
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Service Catalog: a list of IT services that a company provides to its internal customers (employees). Ideally the service catalog is easily accessible (i.e. via a web portal) and integrated with an IT Service Management system in order to request an available service or to report issues.
Continual Service Improvement: continually integrating and aligning ITIL best practices to meet business objectives
The differentiator between a Help Desk and a Service Desk is a services orientation. Specifically, a services orientation which moves the Help Desk
away from providing only incident management for technical issues to providing integrated support that considers the business impact of every issue.
In brief summary, a Help Desk will accomplish many of the same support deliverables as the Service Desk; however; the Help Desk traditionally has a more narrow focus and will often lack the technological (i.e. ITSM software) support and process integration needed to effectively and efficiently support the organization. It is important to note that moving to a services orientation approach
is an executive business and cultural decision and may not be the best direction for some organizations.
The following can be used as an evaluation method to determine if a company has grown to a point where a Service Desk is a more cost and time- efficient approach to meeting the short and long- term needs of its unique organization.
Is a Service Desk Solution Right for Your Company?
A Framework for Self-Assessment
One of the best approaches to assessing the business IT management support needs of your organization is to use an experienced ITIL certified 3rd
party. This will help to ensure you’re receiving an unbiased and honest perspective. Alternatively, organizations can opt for a self-assessment approach, which can then become a basis for a structured business plan to improve and implement
a Service Desk, should this be the direction chosen. Below are nine key attributes, when used with a weighted scoring system to prioritize the company’s unique service management needs, will help prioritize and add clarity in determining how your organization functions today as well as future requirements:
“A Service Desk is not just a Help Desk with a new name”
Jayne Groll, Co-Founder & President of the ITSM Academy
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Foundation: Does your current help desk system have all of the necessary operational support workflows available to meet the needs of your organization? Can you track them?
Controls: Have policies/guidelines been established and distributed throughout the company in order to standardize the IT support processes, objectives, etc.?
Consistency: Do IT activities approach existing processes with consistency?
Internal Integration: Are ALL IT activities supported and fully integrated into the processes?
Quality Assurance: Are there predetermined time frames scheduled to review and verify that processes are meeting internal expectations?
Results: Are current processes (IT service approach) generating the desired and expected outcomes?
Reporting/Decision Making: Are you able to quickly produce adequate and timely reports in order to support effective decision making?
External Integration: Have the IT service processes been aligned and integrated with external (outside of IT) business support units to ensure effective resolution(s)?
Customer Feedback: Are there predetermined time frames to review and verify the processes are meeting the internal customer’s expectations?
The Self-Assessment approach provides a platform to evaluate the current state of your IT support services against ITIL best practices and provides a level of self- awareness respective to management and
control issues that may be inhibiting
continued improvement. Making a shift
from a Help Desk to a Service Desk will also
reduce or even eliminate many of the
recurring IT support challenges below:
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Functioning in a reactionary mode vs. implementing pro-active long-term solutions
Frequent recurring problems
Break downs in transfer of critical knowledge
Unpredictable change impact(s) to multi-connected applications or processes
Unrecoverable cost inefficiencies
A Service Desk Solution
Aligning To Your Business Growth Plan
The Service Desk solution can quickly provide direct monetary and productivity benefits to the enterprise when implemented with an approach that begins with strategic alignment and integrates a continuous improvement loop.
Based on over 30 years of industry experience,
ABS recommends incorporating six key
components to ensure that IT support services achieve optimum benefits for the enterprise at large as well as your internal customers:
1. Strategic Alignment & Audit
This is a critical first step in identifying key internal and external infrastructures, current processes, and applications which need to be integrated and aligned in order to achieve Service Desk objectives. This stage typically involves a thorough audit to account for current service catalog, historical incident, and request management, knowledge management, and basic problem management processes.
2. Customized Design & ITIL Process
Applying the information gathered in the “Strategic Alignment” stage, your “to be” service desk should be
designed based on the unique requirements of your organization. The objective to the design phase is to
implement a plan with the least amount of organizational disruption while achieving the greatest
operational impact at each stage of implementation. Be careful not to implement too much at once in this
phase. Most failed implementations are a direct result of trying to do too much all at once or adopting
processes that are not relevant or required by your business. ITIL is only intended to be a framework for
IT service management and should be tailored to your actual needs.
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3. Technology Automation
Automation has become a pillar in achieving the greatest results in the shortest period of time. Most companies will have some processes automated, however; they frequently are not integrated seamlessly.
A careful evaluation should be made to determine whether the current technology will support the long- term objectives defined within your service desk strategy. An ITIL compliant system alone will not transform your help desk to a service desk; however, a robust, innovative, and automated ITSM platform will serve as the critical foundation for your service desk and should integrate key ITIL workflows and processes into a single environment.
4. Integrating Knowledge Management Continuously sharing and transferring of knowledge is the cornerstone of optimizing overall service performance. A well-run service desk must ensure all critical knowledge is shared throughout all technical support levels and that your end-users have immediate online access to information that will help solve common problems on their own.
While establishing a Service Desk strategy and customized design, it is important to consider both the short-term, as well as the long-term growth needs of the organization. The management plan should be purposely crafted with the flexibility to scale as the organization grows. We call this a continuous loop of improvement; constantly auditing, evaluating, and recommending changes that grow with the infrastructure of the company.
6. Strategic Roadmap (and Guidance)
At the end of the process, your organization should have a clear and precise “Roadmap” to implementing
and managing your Service Desk, along with a plan for continuous improvement to ensure the Service
Desk consistently meets the needs of internal customers using the most cost effective approach for the
organization at large. Again, it is important to not implement too much at once. Following that guideline, a
roadmap should include well-defined objectives, specific process improvements and measurable success
criteria for each distinct phase.
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Constrained Resources & Competing Priorities:
How Do You Move forward?
Similar to what we’ve seen in the past decade, technology will continue to evolve at a lightning pace generating continued complexity against the most optimal way to integrate and adapt. In late 2012, Gartner projected that IT departments will grow at a dramatic pace fueling over 4.4M jobs by the year 2015. However, they also estimate only one third of those jobs will be filled due to the lack of available and skilled talent. A couple of years earlier, Mckinsey projected the shortage could be as great as 50-60% by 2018.
Regardless of where the actual “shortage”
outcome materializes, most IT leaders will agree today that constrained resources and competing priorities are a common challenge preventing them from taking on new initiatives such as ITIL adoption. Leveraging a trusted partner to help design and implement your strategy may be an option worth considering if you don’t have the
required resources to make your IT objectives a reality.
For over 30 years ABS has kept pace with its clients’ IT needs, partnering their highly skilled IT professionals and Strategic Advisors with
organizations and IT teams of all sizes; quickly adapting to the unique operational requirements.
Engaging ABS an outsourced Service Desk solution allows organizations to leverage their best resources with ABS’ helping them to achieve both cost and time efficiencies far exceeding expectations. ABS has also consistently provided its customers with an effective means of eliminating “move forward”
barriers such as skilled talent or constrained
resources allowing team leaders to make the
best decisions which garner the greatest impact
to short and long-term business needs.
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Service Desk Outsourcing & Managed IT Support
Founded in 1982, ABS Associates is a global IT solutions provider of service desk, desktop, managed hosting and network support and services. The mission of ABS is to make technology work for our clients, whether that means implementing an onsite or virtual service desk, hosting complex applications, or resolving problems with servers. The ABS Global Service Desk, the company’s ITIL compliant, US-based service desk, assumes the burden of IT support, eliminates distractions, and allows firms around the world to concentrate on achieving strategic business objectives. ABS delivers a 95%+
satisfaction rate and serves clients throughout North America and in 14 countries around the world.