We’ve been talking a lot about visibility. But as it relates to your service desk, you can really start to see the benefit of being able to see into every aspect of your business. From more clarification in tickets to creating reports on metrics that will help you trim down unnecessary steps, your service desk should make addressing issues easy.
Every tool that you acquire for your organization should drive your processes forward, not become a cumbersome step in getting things done. Let’s take a look at four ways showing how you can get the most out of your service desk.
Okay, let’s start with the basics. A service desk that has optimized visibility will help you see how many tickets are in your pipeline, who is currently working on them, and their status. We here at Samanage are into the idea of being able to hover over a ticket to see a basic rundown of the issue — but that’s just the beginning.
How many times have you been assigned to a ticket and wished you could see who has worked on it and what has already been done? Being able to see a ticket’s full history can help you begin to add context to the issue. Simply having all the information at your fingertips as you start working can help cut out inefficiency as you start to draw patterns or add to your understanding of what’s going on by seeing the work that others have put in. If an issue is being reported over and over by someone in the same location with the same device, it may point to a larger problem that you can begin to tease out.
Let’s talk about your customers. With visibility into the service desk from the outside, it will also help employees check on the status of their tickets; no more extra tickets checking on the status of the previous ticket.
We’ve talked extensively about the benefits of IT asset management. It’s an invaluable facet of the service desk, particularly when it comes to configuration. Asset configuration can slow down productivity, particularly if everyone is working on different operating systems or have different versions of software. Visibility into each device’s software, location and user will help you know when it’s time for a renewal for licenses and other software access; you don’t want to wait until the last minute. Creating service maintenance reminders is a great way to stay ahead of the curve so your renewal routine is automated. Just set it and forget it.
Beyond seeing a device’s current status, you can also get a peek into its history. If a device is repeatedly sent in for fixes and maintenance, it might be time to send it to greener pastures and decommission it. That’s where a detailed service history comes in handy, so that when your boss asks why you need a replacement laptop, you can point to the service history of the device the new one will be replacing. Bad hardware should never get in the way of productivity, and your executives will be hard pressed to turn down a request when there’s strong evidence supporting a purchase.
Seeing What Your Team Is Up To
Speaking of eliminating things that are consistently underperforming, metrics of your team’s performance can finally empower you to fire Ted, who never completes his tasks on time and is generally incompetent. We’re kidding! But seriously. If you’re a manager within the IT department, visibility doesn’t just pertain to ticketing and devices; you can also get a peek into your team.
An individual’s service desk profile can show the devices they currently have, SLAs currently in their possession, and how busy they are. You’ll be able to allocate devices appropriately and evenly distribute the workload among all your employees. You can also ensure that those devices are up to date and working properly.
You’ll also be able to determine if your desk is a first touch resolution — meaning that the assignment of tasks gets it right the first time and goes to the appropriate person, who is then able to solve it without having to pass it off to anyone else. Should you need an escalation, however, visibility into other workers’ tasks can help you determine who is the best fit for the job.
One of our favorite ways to take advantage of visibility in project management is through request approval automation. Let’s say that your approval is needed first after a request is sent in for a new laptop. After you approve, the next administrator above you is notified that their approval is needed. You can get approval quickly and easily and be able to acquire the tools you need. You’ll also be able to view where the request process has been stalled, and by whom.
Creating a Knowledge Base
The ultimate goal of having more clarity in your service desk can be anything from improving response time to always having your licenses up to date. For us, one of the most powerful ways that we’ve taken advantage of visibility is through ongoing improvement and constantly learning for the benefit of the organization as the whole. It’s all part of the service catalog and the knowledge base that will drive your operations forward.
Have you ever had a ticket come your way that didn’t have enough information? You then had to track down who sent it in to ask them for more details. This is where a service catalog comes in. As you grow your knowledge of processes or start to define what it is that your IT department offers, you can help employees know exactly what to include in a ticket so that they get the solution that they need. Before a ticket is even sent in, an employee can look over the catalog for a step by step process of getting a ticket in the right way.
As you grow your service catalog, you’ll begin to create a knowledge base. The effect is two-fold. On the one hand, people can simply access your portal and see existing tickets before they send a ticket in, which will improve efficiency for everyone. For example: If someone has already notified IT about an issue that’s affecting everyone in the office, IT won’t get multiple duplicates. Your employees may be able to fix these issues on their own as well if you include frequently submitted issues that are easy to resolve. On the other hand, efficiency will be improved for you as well. You’ll be able to find previously solved solution and attach to the same (new) task.
Whatever you decide to choose to improve visibility, you’ll be making your work life better — and that should be the end result of any tool.
About Nathan Riley
Nathan Riley is a Sales Director, ITSM at SolarWinds. He has nine years experience in the industry, and has had a front row seat for the evolution of service management as a platform for the entire organization. He helps organizations ranging from SMB to Fortune 500 bring customized service to employees. Nathan proudly served the United States Armed Forces in the United States Marine Corps.
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