Things are changing in the world of academic IT. Budgets are getting higher while demands for services are rising, as well. BYOD policies make security more difficult while ever-changing technologies make IT infrastructure more complex. Additionally, today’s academic tech users are savvier than ever before — meaning their demands are higher. Additionally, academic users want self-service access to the service desk, and depend less on emailing or calling into the department for service. How do these changes in academic reflect on the business world at large?
Higher Tuition Leads to Greater Expectations
Tuition for higher education in the United States rises between 2 and 4 percent annually, depending on the type of institution. Similar tuition hikes are also seen in the UK. This means that students pay more, and therefore demand more, from their schools. When basic services like Wi-Fi, online classroom portals, and campus computers don’t work properly, students feel cheated. Since higher tuition is not translating into higher salaries for professors, the staff wants more bang for their IT buck, too.
To complicate matters, IT budgets are not going up as tuition rises, meaning IT has more demands for their time and attention, yet fewer resources to meet those demands. If there is an upside to this equation, IT service desk workers that are able to meet the rigors of working in academia are better suited to fulfilling the needs of businesses. Graduates who leave school spoiled by a highly successful tech department will demand this high level of service and expertise in their business pursuits.
What Students Adjust to in School They Expect in Business
The most popular way for college students and faculty to contact today’s service desk is via self-serve portals. Over half of IT departments also utilize social media like Twitter to communicate with users. Colleges and universities are learning to make better use of their IT assets, which means investing in better IT service management systems. In turn, this means that IT offers a better value to the school.
Better value for IT used to mean quicker response times and more tickets resolved on the first try. Today, however, performance indicators are shifting from quantitative to qualitative. It’s no longer about how many tickets were resolved on a given day. Now the focus is on how satisfied users are with their experience with the service desk. Again, this phenomenon in academia is making its way into the mainstream business atmosphere.
How the IT Service Desk Can Keep Up
So, how can the service desk keep up with growing demands, shrinking budgets, and savvier users?
- Offer more ways for users to get help and information from the service desk, including self-service portals, social media accounts, and chat features.
- Use a solid asset management system to make the most out of the organization’s IT assets.
- Restructure performance metrics to include customer satisfaction and the quality of customer experiences instead of just how many tickets are resolved.
- Develop a knowledge base, which can decrease the time it takes to troubleshoot a problem, thereby increasing user satisfaction ratings.
With the right tools, meeting the growing demand by customers isn’t out of reach.
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.
Read more articles by Nathan