As a result of the economic slowdown, many IT organizations have seen their budgets drop by as much as twenty percent, with the overused mantra of “do more with less,” continuing to ring loudly in the halls. Oftentimes the service desk gets short shrift, with excess budget dollars allocated to virtualization, security, or other priorities. The good news is that most organizations have already invested in a service management software suite, so it’s possible to add tremendous value to the service desk without a major new investment of time or money. Here are some ideas that may help improvie the value of your service desks.
(1) Begin by showing the value through ITIL simulation training. Almost no one volunteers for an ITIL Foundation class. It’s even more difficult to get participation and buy-in for a service desk optimization workshop. This is because ITIL is usually thought of as important, but boring. By beginning with a short ITIL simulation exercise—set in an airport, healthcare, or non-profit/government environment—participants quickly gain an appreciation for the value provided by a unified service desk. Getting everyone energized about that value by, for example, seeing how problem management can prevent incidents from occurring, helps guarantee a successful service desk reengineering effort.
(2) Service Catalog and Request Management. Do you ever wonder how restaurants with extremely large menus manage? Either they have very large freezers, or they have automated processes in place to create and deliver those dining options. Likewise, IT organizations are now offering service catalogs of IT services and components, such as server provisioning. A service catalog allows for speedy request fulfillment by automating the process and reducing the time it takes to get approvals.
(3) Service Asset Lifecycle Management. Without exception, every organization thinks their IT assets are better organized than they actually are. Very few service desks actually link their assets to incidents, problems, and change requests. And those that use discovery tools often do a poor job of reconciling what’s discovered with what is actually owned or licensed.
(4) Comprehensive Change and Release Management. During the recent Thanksgiving holiday rush, Spirit Airlines made national news because their Web-based check-in portals went down. It was the result of poor change planning. This outage could have been prevented if proper change policies were in place and enforced.
These are just a few examples of how IT organizations can lower the cost of service management, deliver superior quality services, and achieve process efficiency. With a service management software suite already in place, additional training or consulting may be the only investment required.