Guest author, Jeff Rumburg, is managing partner and co-founder of MetricNet. MetricNet is is the leading source of benchmarks, scorecards, and performance metrics for information technology and call center professionals worldwide.
Less than 5% of all IT spending is allocated to end user support. The other 96% is spent on things like application development and maintenance, mainframe computing, network ops, and special services, like disaster recovery. This leads many (including most CIOs and CTOs) to wrongly assume that there’s very little upside opportunity in IT service and support. The result is that IT service and support is almost always managed as a cost center, with the goal of minimizing headcount and costs. But the most effective support organizations focus on maximizing value. So, how can IT service and support organizations begin operating strategically, as value centers, rather than tactically as cost centers?
The most effective service and support organizations create economic value in at least three ways.
- Total cost of ownership. 18% of tickets that could and should be resolved at level 1 are escalated to desktop support or higher for resolution. These unnecessary escalations represent defects in the support process, and result is increased costs that often go unnoticed because they are rarely tracked. Note: Level 1 resolution is the number of tickets resolved by the service desk divided by all tickets that can potentially be resolved by the service desk, regardless of whether the ticket is resolved on first contact or not.
- Creating a more cost favorable mix of contacts. By encouraging use of a self-service portal or web chat instead of picking up the phone, agents have the opportunity to handle multiple tickets concurrently, thus reducing the cost of service and support.
- Make end users more productive. A study conducted by MetricNet concluded that knowledge workers lose an average of 33 hours of productive time per year due to various IT outages, breakdowns, and hardware and software failures. The average end-user now has more than three devices, including tablets, laptops, desktops, and phones.. And, when those devices don’t work as they’re supposed to, productivity is impeded. By preventing these incidents from occurring, and by quickly resolving issues when they do occur, a support organization can return productive hours to the workforce.
Perhaps most importantly, strategic support organizations measure their ROI and benchmark their performance on a regular basis. A positive ROI has the potential to dramatically alter the landscape of service and support, and enables many support organizations to break out of the reactive, defensive posture of a cost center, and begin operating more strategically, as a value center.
On average, an end user will interact with the IT service desk twice a month, making service and support the gateway to IT for almost all end users. If the customer has a good experience with service and support, they tend to have a positive view of all of IT, and that perception has far-reaching implications for everyone who works in IT, particularly the leadership suite. So, even if service and support is only 4% of your IT spending, service and support has a high leverage opportunity to influence end user views of all of IT. Making the necessary investments in tools, training, headcount, and technology will enable your support organization to operate more strategically, and ensure that you are delivering the best possible experience to your end users.
Samanage has entered into a strategic partnership with MetricNet that combines the expertise of the two businesses to create the industry’s first truly automated service desk benchmark. Samanage Benchmarking will automatically collect the data needed to benchmark your service desk and provide you with real time benchmarking reports, diagnostics, and action items designed to enable your service desk to achieve world-class performance in the shortest possible timeframe.
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