Eric Wright explains the huge difference between ticking the boxes and offering service desk value that is indispensable to the success of the business.

If you manage or work for a service desk, your position is under threat like never before.  Ceaseless financial pressure means that all business services must justify their position, and the service desk is no exception. With Managed Service Providers and outsources queuing up to offer low-cost options for businesses looking to cut costs, the in-house service desk must justify its position. In short, service desks must demonstrate business value.

Let’s look at some service desk value topics to consider.

KPIs are overrated
Metrics are important to ensure the service desk is delivering what is expected of it. In that respect, incident response and fix times will always be a useful benchmark. However, beyond the speed and efficiency of IT support, most metrics that service desks measure are of no interest to anyone beyond the department. Service desks must therefore rethink these metrics. What other actions does the service desk take that impact business performance? Using this as a starting point, you may quickly discover the disconnect between what you’re measuring and what the business actually needs.

Talk to the business
How do you establish what the business actually needs? The answer is simple to understand: speak to the business. Talking to department heads and professionals throughout the business is crucial to delivering value. These conversations can lead to simple tweaks being made, or inspire major adjustments. The scale doesn’t matter, the importance is that the service desk gives the business what it needs, not what it has traditionally given the business.   

Innovation and problem solving
One of the biggest cultural shifts that service desks must make is becoming a proactive rather than reactive function. This means that rather than just fixing things as the business reports them, the service desk should be working with the business to solve technology challenges.  This requires time and this can be difficult for service desks which are overwhelmed by the volume of incidents. The solution is to improve your self-service portal to take away the pressure. When the service desk has more time to talk to customers and see the bigger picture, this is where it can begin to innovate and help the business harness technology to solve business problems.

Think bigger than the service desk
Part of the big picture is thinking about service management beyond the service desk. The principles of systemising processes are ripe for adoption by other parts of the business, and the cost savings and service improvements can be incredible. By introducing Enterprise Service Management (ESM) into other parts of the business, two things happen. Firstly, the return on investment on service desk tools will increase dramatically, because they can be used as the platform to manage ESM. Secondly, by helping optimise other business functions, the service desk will receive huge credit for saving money and improving consistency.  For this reason, ERM may be the Holy Grail of service desk value.

‘Keeping the lights on’ is no longer enough for service desks to justify their existence. Demonstrating value is vital for the service desk to remain as a integral part of the business and the starting point is altering the way we think about and measure success. 

Guest post by:
Eric Wright, Richmond Systems

Eric Wright

Managing director, Richmond Systems
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