Remodelling the Service Desk for your Digital Workplace


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05-Aug-2019 11:09:00

In my last piece, I talked about Problem Management and how it is often confused with Major Incident management. In fact, while the two are linked, they are very different beasts. However strong your Problem Management, you must be ready for business critical incidents.

There is a 1960s’ painting by the American illustrator Norman Rockwell that shows a mechanic sent to fix a lift. He is standing outside the lift, doors open, with the cabin itself stopped between floors so that he can access its workings. In the back pocket of his overalls he has a wrench and a spanner.

The mechanic is scratching his head, however. In place of the gears, pulleys and drive belts he has spent his lifetime servicing, this lift has electronics. He has been sent out to do the job with a toolkit and an approach made irrelevant by evolution.

Why the digital workplace is the ‘electronic elevator’ for SD managers

The Digital Workplace has been with us for a while now. It’s a movable feast concept of fluid, flexible and enabling technologies being used to liberate organisations, their managers, their workers and their resources from the traditional constraints of fixed-everything working.

In a Digital Workplace, one or more workers, in one or more places, can do one or more tasks, using one or more platforms via one or more devices at any point in a timezone-free day (or night) to provide the organisation with increased performance, optimised efficiencies and, as a result, otherwise unimaginable competitive and commercial advantage.

From the Service Desk Manager’s viewpoint, however, things may look rather less Utopian.

Devices, platforms, applications and intentions are no longer as easy to keep tabs on as once they were. The needs of end-users are less easy to anticipate or to provide for. Shadow IT has moved from being a rogue insurgent to being an accepted (and often intrinsic) part of the organisation’s process.

In short, like the bemused, wrench-clutching lift mechanic in the painting, IT Service Desk Leaders can all too easily find that they are attempting to tackle today’s challenge using tools designed for yesterday’s technology.

The three big Digital Workplace challenges for the ITSD

As a company that provides Service Desk capability to client organisations in a diverse range of verticals, Plan-Net believes the Digital Workplace poses three specific challenges for ITSD leaders.

The first is simply that Service Desk leaders will frequently lack the time required to review, plan and innovate on their approach or Service Desk offer. They’re simply too busy managing day to day business. Next comes the presence of Shadow IT creating significant disconnects and contributing to an overall lack of productivity. Thirdly, telephone and email support channels are self-evidently too inflexible to meet the needs of a Digital Workplace.

How ITSD Leaders can reshape for Digital Working

ITSD leaders whose remit involves supporting a Digital Workplace have no alternative but to embrace a total transformation in order to respond to the current nature of the business and provide it with effective support.

To do this, we see three key tactics which can help even the hardest pushed ITSD Leader:

1) Diversify support channels

Telephone and email support simply will not cut it in a Digital Workplace. When workers were asked where they’d be likely to turn for help with digital technology, “asking a colleague” or “looking online or using a self-help resource” were the first choice options for more than 50% of respondents.

In a Digital Workplace, users require multichannel access to support, and high-value, collaborative channels that drive satisfaction, loyalty and relevancy. To deliver these, Plan-Net’s view is that ITSD Leaders need to look at chat; self-service ticket submission; self-service request fulfilment; customer-facing knowledge management; social media; virtual face-to-face support; walk-up service support; regular, site-based ‘IT-Taxi’ visits; vending machines/kiosks for device requests; and peer to peer support, and choose appropriate tools with which to build.

2)  Embrace Shadow IT and make it work for you

Shadow IT is a fact of life, and in most organisations contributes significantly to productivity. Service Desk Leaders need to get to grips with its use in their organisation and implement strategies for both supporting it and managing and tracking the delivery of this support.

There are a number of ways in which you can go about this, and Plan-Net is always ready to talk these over with organisations that wish to implement measures of this kind.

These include establishing resolution codes and categories in your IT service support management tool to help you keep track of Shadow IT issues; exploring ways to allow your IT self-service to deal with and moderate FAQs and discussion threads related to Shadow IT and to perhaps wrap this into a single ‘support hub’ that supports all IT issues; test out some kind of ‘Shadow IT Support’ function that does actively encourage users to move Shadow IT support into your domain.

3) Reconsider your ITSD Key Performance Indicators and Metrics

We’ve found that Service Desks in Digital Workplaces need to support the business in very different ways to those deployed in traditional environments. However, very few ITSD’s measure or report user satisfaction as a metric.

It is thus a wise move to review the KPIs you are using, and to include new indicators that look at the delivery of real value in terms of increased productivity and improved end-user satisfaction. 

Getting expert help

If you’re managing Service Desk delivery in a Digital Workplace organisation, we’d be very happy to talk over how you can best bring your offer into line with the needs and expectations of your users. Get in touch.

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