The key to keeping any IT service desk running smoothly is to ensure that the service technicians responsible for responding to, handling, and resolving end user issues are working as efficiently and productively as possible. Although the goal is ultimately the same, today’s companies approach the allocation of their IT service management (ITSM) resources in many different ways.
In this post, we’ll highlight two of the most popular methods for deploying staff resources in an IT service desk, and discuss which technique we believe will be the most successful.
Using Assignment Rules
We’ve seen many IT organizations route their incoming support requests using assignment rules. For example, certain types of tickets are automatically assigned to specific service technicians based on their experience, education, background, area of specialty, etc. Request for new software applications would go to someone in the purchasing department, server problems would be routed to someone with extensive experience in networking, Internet connectivity issues would be assigned to a telecommunications specialist, and so on. The performance and response time of each staff member is then monitored and measured, and the assignment rules are modified accordingly.
Next Available Agent
Another commonly-used technique is to distribute support request workloads based on “first available agent”. This means that, upon completing and closing out their previous ticket, each service technician would then be responsible for going to the log of incoming service requests, and taking ownership of the next unassigned issue in the queue.
We believe that the second approach is the more effective way to ensure optimal utilization of your IT service technicians, and to guarantee the most rapid response time to your end users. Other approaches are likely to cause delays in problem handling and resolution. For example, if a high number of “similar” incidents occur in a short time frame, they are likely to all be assigned to the same group of technicians. These technicians will be so busy they will be likely to experience ticket backlogs, while others sit idle waiting to have tickets assigned to them.