Service desk ticketing vs. data-driven IT support - focusing on the quality of end user experience is key to productivity

Monday, September 24, 2018

In the traditional IT support model, quality is measured via Service Desk ticketing: number of tickets, how quickly they are solved, and user satisfaction to handling the ticket-based service. This measures the service quality, not the functional quality of the tools. The functional quality is, however, what matters the most for the users. The focus should therefore be on the end user experience and how to manage it.

Ticketing does not show the whole truth... or even half of it, and the reason is simple: according to surveys, over half of the users do not contact the Service Desk when facing the problems but try to fix the problem on their own or ask a colleague for a help. Unfortunately, at majority of the organizations, IT still functions like this.

IT needs to become more data-driven - also in end-user computing. This means that data-based monitoring is required in order to understand the current health status. “What you don’t measure you cannot improve” summarizes it. By continuous measuring you are always aware about the improvement needs.

With agile mindset you can carry out continuous improvements. You cannot change everything at once - and that would not make any sense either. And when you start using data actively in your operations you start becoming proactive in your operations. And user-centric.

Key is to start the change of becoming data-driven and that way to change your reactive operational model to proactive. How the get started then?

Here are 4 practical steps to get you going:

1 Analyze where you are right now

Start from basics! You can start the effective change process only if you understand your current situation. Remember the saying “What you don't measure you cannot improve”? Get an agile tool that gives you a good understanding where you are right now: What are the most important short-term problems that should be fixed first? What are the bigger issues that require long-term focus?

As you get undisputable facts about your own environment, you can also start the process of changing the way your team should operate. Decide which issues have to be fixed first and who should do them. And how to follow-up the change.

2 Define basic metrics

Start defining 3-5 most important basic metrics related to computers and applications used by end users, that you should start following on continuous basis.

These could relate to keeping track of issues such as:

  • Continuous high memory usage of computers.
  • Whether hard drives are getting too full and thus stop functioning at any minute.
  • Whether laptop batteries are in bad condition.
  • If the device boot-up times are getting too long.
  • If Windows 10 OS and/or user’s software version sprawl is getting too broad
  • If there are unapproved applications in use

...just to mention a few examples.

If you are using an external IT partner, engage them in a dialogue and operations related to these metrics. Agree together who does what, and how to follow-up the current status in your regular joint meetings.

Setting realistic metric at the beginning is important. You do not have to reach to the highest level overnight - set realistic short-term goals and strive toward higher excellence with gradual constant improvement.

3 Start continuous improvement

Start executing. Start putting the basics in place. It is really so simple. It’s not science, just hard professional IT work. Keep constant eye on your basic metrics and how you progress with them. Revisit the metrics and goals if needed. Evaluate and develop your way to operate regularly.

Changes do not happen overnight. Be patient and purposive. And be agile! It is a question of doing continuous smaller improvements. Do not expect to have all answers ready. It is a journey that takes you toward better results. Hard work will eventually yield results. 

4 Lead the operations

Leading the change is essential. Data, tools and processes lay the foundations but leading the operation makes the change actually possible. It is question about leading your own work and leading the team work. Without leadership the results most probably end-up being left half way, if even to that.

Part of the leadership is making the things transparent and visible to others, alsofor the business management. It is good to remember that users form the daily business operation and thus users = business. Make business management to understand the value of better functioning tools for users and how you continuously measure the quality and improve it.

For better productivity. And happier employees!

If you are looking for a benchmark, read how Business Finland built its solid IT foundation.

CEO and co-founder of Applixure. Entrepreneur at heart. Business professional with +20 years experience in IT wholesale, Service Management, Distribution and Entrepreneurship.