The service desk as a strategic function

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Service Desks are traditionally thought of as a cost center–something to outsource or to minimize.

This presentation will review why Service Desks are thought of as cost centers, and argue for thinking about your Service Desk as a potential area for investment.

Why invest in the Service Desk? The Service Desk triggers expensive IT processes. The Service Desk is the face of IT–and customer stories affect perception more than service level reviews. Many internal IT areas lack the voice of the customer; the Service Desk is one of the few areas that can speak credibly on behalf of the customer. The information collected by the Service Desk can identify potential opportunities for continual service improvement, grounded in the user experience.

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  • Virtually 100% of contact is for broken things
  • People already talking with customers.
  • Starting in a closed mode going to an open mode
  • The service desk as a strategic function

    1. 1. J O H N B O R W I C K , M A N A G E R A N D F O U N D E R H I G H E R E D U C A T I O N I T M A N A G E M E N T , L L C http://www.heitmanagement.com/strategic-service-desk The Service Desk as a Strategic Function
    2. 2. John Borwick, PMP®  Wake Forest University, 2003-2012  Director of Service Mgt  PMO Director  Manager and Founder, HEIT Management Career goal: Make people’s lives easier by improving how higher education IT is managed. johnb@heitmgt.com
    3. 3. Higher Education IT Management, LLC “Helping Higher Education IT effectively deliver value to campus while minimizing waste.”  One-on-one coaching  Custom engagements  Blog http://www.heitmanagement.com
    4. 4. Agenda  Position of the Service Desk  Process Triggers and Inputs  Open-Ended Listening  Representing IT  What does the Service Desk look like, when it’s perceived as a strategic function?  Q&A
    5. 5. Position of the Service Desk
    6. 6. The Service Desk doesn’t know what it’s doing (user perspective)  “They wouldn’t do anything except reinstall my machine.”  “I told them this was for the President, but they still haven’t gotten back with me.”
    7. 7. The Service Desk doesn’t know what it’s doing (IT perspective)  “The Service Desk manager called me again about that ticket. Like I’m going to do anything about it!”  “The ticket says it’s broken but I can get into it.”
    8. 8. …well, try working at the Service Desk.  “Go to the gemba [real place]”: observe  ITIL simulations
    9. 9. The Service Desk’s in the middle Service Desk Users IT
    10. 10. Service Desks face systemic challenges.  It costs money to do more than reinstall machines.  There may not be a mechanism for the Service Desk to escalate requests—or people may not pay attention.  What direction has IT staff been given about new work vs. existing work?
    11. 11. The Continuum of Usefulness  Unnecessary evil  Necessary evil (cost center)  Worth spending time on (there is an ROI)  Strategic
    12. 12. Strategic means…  A key component in moving to a future state Strategy Current State Future State
    13. 13. Process Triggers and Inputs
    14. 14. Components of a Process Process Inputs Outputs Triggers
    15. 15. Example Triggers  I’m hungry.  Time for the presentation to start!  We should buy a house.
    16. 16. Processes commonly triggered by the Service Desk  Incident management  Service request management  Access management  Problem management
    17. 17. Bad incident description Good incident description User cannot login. Since no later than Aug 7 user has not been able to log in to their Windows machine or Exchange. Can log in to timecard system. User states they changed their password Aug 5. Incident management
    18. 18. The High Cost of Callbacks User calls the Service Desk IT calls the user back User calls IT back
    19. 19. So why are there poor process triggers and inputs?  Tickets opened by the least experienced staff  Key metric: number of incidents per hour  Service Desk used as a “pass-through” for IT teams
    20. 20. Impact of poor process triggers and inputs  Escalation when unnecessary  Second-level support callbacks  Frustration with the Service Desk
    21. 21. How could better process triggers and inputs be strategic?  Free up second-level staff  Improved quality of service for users  Overall operational costs reduced
    22. 22. Open-Ended Listening
    23. 23. Users vs. Customers  Users: Anyone entitled to use an IT service  Customers: People with budgetary authority
    24. 24. Who’s doing open-ended listening?  Service Desk  Business Relationship Management
    25. 25. Talking with users, generally IT knows the possibilities; users know the value to them e.g. listserv digests.
    26. 26. Personal relationships “Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” —Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
    27. 27. So why don’t we listen?  Key metric: number of incidents per hour  IT not listening to the Service Desk  Psychological demands on Service Desk staff
    28. 28. Impacts of not listening  Users feel no connection to IT  Users rely on escalation  Missed opportunities for value delivery
    29. 29. How could listening be strategic?  Create allies and build trust  Service Desk help IT understand what users value  Identify opportunities for process improvement
    30. 30. Representing IT
    31. 31. How do people understand what IT’s doing?  Quantitative (metrics)  Qualitative (stories)
    32. 32. IT governance vs. the gemba  IT leaders focus on IT governance groups  Strong preference for metrics  IT governance tools can be disconnected from service delivery Gemba: “The real place [where activity is occurring]”
    33. 33. The Service Desk is the face of IT for users Service Desk Users IT
    34. 34. Why might the Service Desk poorly represent IT?  Not enough staff  Queues  Callbacks  Processes not designed for people  Unreasonable assumptions  Wasteful process steps  No ability to be flexible  Sorry—I’ll have to call you Monday.  Sorry—we’d have to charge you $100.
    35. 35. Impacts of poorly representing IT  Stories spread like a plague  Lack of respect for IT  IT not trusted to deliver service
    36. 36. How could representing IT be strategic?  IT seen as a partner  Good stories bring resources  The impact of a well-placed good story is virtually unimaginable
    37. 37. A D D R E S S I N G S Y S T E M I C I S S U E S A L O N G W I T H T H E S E R V I C E D E S K I T S E L F . What does the Service Desk look like, when it’s perceived as a strategic function?
    38. 38. Time, space, and structure for improvement  Focus on improvement rather than blame  Service Desk manager has few operational duties  Time for staff training  Consulted or responsible for key supporting processes e.g. knowledge management
    39. 39. Trust and a level of discretion  Ability to escalate  Give options for providing good service  e.g. Call centers can give staff discretion over returns (e.g. <$250 OK to approve)
    40. 40. Identify service quality decisions that can be made by IT governance  “Desk-side support” service can budget for troubleshooting time, not just reinstalling
    41. 41. Reposition the Service Desk within IT  Service Desk manager’s rank respected  Service Desk canvassed for ideas  Service Desk provide feedback to other teams  Operational work prioritized
    42. 42. Quick Review  Position of the Service Desk  Process Triggers and Inputs  Open-Ended Listening  Representing IT  What does the Service Desk look like, when it’s perceived as a strategic function?  Q&A
    43. 43. http://www.heitmanagement.com/strategic-service-desk

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