Fisher-0904By: Jeff Fisher

In Bob’s video blog post, A Vision Fulfilled, he talks about how creating the RES IT Store has been part of his greater vision for RES Software for more than a decade. And if you’ve read Klaus’s blog post, The New Standard, you can clearly see why as a company we have gone in the direction of the IT Store.

In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts about the RES IT Store and how it can play a critical role in transforming the speed of your IT service delivery and more importantly, the relationship your IT organization has with its end-users.

The Service Desk – Enterprise IT’s “Canary in the Coal Mine”
Everyone is well aware of the influence that consumerization is having on enterprise IT. Much has been written about the growing dissatisfaction of enterprise IT by end-users. But how can we tangibly measure the impact of consumerization on a typical enterprise? Sure, many point to the growth in shadow IT solutions like Dropbox, Google Apps or Skype; or the more general increase in IT spending outside the control of the IT department. However, it would be much more instructive to find a set of metrics that that really get to the heart of the problem. I would argue that we see these benchmarks when analyzing the cost and performance of the service desk at an average enterprise over the past five years.

Why the service desk? Let me emphasize that I’m not placing the blame for IT’s service delivery performance challenges on one team. That would be both unfair and inaccurate. However, I do believe that by acting as the primary interface between end-users and IT, the service desk holds a unique position within the typical organization. They are the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” for the increasing disconnect between the business needs of end-users and the service levels achievable by IT. Therefore, I think the general performance metrics of the typical service desk over the past five years warrant a closer look.030414_BlogImage3

Not convinced? Let’s look at the chart on the right which is based on research from Gartner, My takeaway…end-user support within the average enterprise costs substantially more than it did five years ago but is no more effective and increasingly overtaxed. Not a great recipe for improving IT’s relationship with the business. It’s also another reminder to thank the folks who man your service desk the next time you see them in the hall or at lunch.

What’s the real problem?
It’s clear to me that the challenges of the service desk are just symptomatic of a progressively complex IT delivery infrastructure that’s struggling to satisfy the expectations of today’s demanding business users. As we all know, these end-users (myself included) have increasing (and some would argue, unrealistic) expectations after a decade’s worth of exposure to a new generation of computing devices and cloud services, as well as the speed and ease with which they can start using these solutions.

I fundamentally believe that it’s the simplicity and speed of these consumerized solutions that are causing enterprise IT its biggest reputational challenges with end-users. Sure, no one likes being told they can’t do their work on the shiny new device they just purchased or that IT won’t support the new cloud service they just discovered can save them time processing their weekly reports. However, I think the average user understands that IT has a responsibility to keep the digital assets of the organization safe, and that’s almost impossible to do by allowing a free-for-all, bring-your-own-anything mentality.

Still, what no one appreciates or accepts, is waiting for the delivery, modification or remediation of fully vetted and supported services. For example users question:

why - Jeff blog

Sure, IT should be able to monitor what I’m doing within the infrastructure, and it certain cases, may need to approve changes that I’d like or need to make. But generally, I believe IT should do its best to get out of the way. And this is fundamentally one of the ways I feel IT has hindered end-users over the past five years.

Continue reading Part 2 for what, I believe, is an uncomplicated solution to a highly complicated problem.