Lou Donofrio

Just before the Thanksgiving Day holiday, I delivered a presentation to a group of IT professionals at the CAMP IT ITSM conference in Chicago, Illinois. Many of the attendees that I spoke to were either in the process of setting up a Service Management Office at their company or, having recently established one, were looking for lessons learned and best practices from the speakers and panelists.

I presented on the first day of the two-day event, sandwiched between some excellent presentations, including Implementing a Service Management Office, Identifying Key Metrics for an Efficient Service Desk, and How to Strengthen the Relationship between Service Management and the Business. My presentation was on using automation and self-service to reduce service desk tickets and create value for the business. With the conversations I’ve been hearing, I thought it would be a great time to share with you some highlights from my presentation.

Challenges Facing IT and the User Today

Both IT and their users see problems with the current support model. Years ago, IT’s technology was relatively easy to manage and user friendly, while consumers had difficulty dealing with technology in general. Today, IT’s technology is modern but difficult to use compared to consumer technology, while todays’ consumers are far more knowledgeable. As a result, they circumvent IT by bringing their own technology to work as it’s easier and faster.

The iPad generation in particular can’t deal with the wait. They’ve grown up accustomed to offerings from Apple and Google. As students, they expected their university’s IT department to deliver services immediately. Upon graduation, they brought those same expectations to work. Considering the complexity of IT’s infrastructure and companies’ security requirements, IT falls short of expectations and are seen as difficult to work with and the “department of no!”

According to The Future of IT, 2013-2017 Report by CEB (Corporate Executive Board), 61% of employees believe IT is ineffective at helping them be more productive. Even though IT has state-of-the art technology such as virtualization and IT Service Management, users still complain that IT is unresponsive and it takes too long to get productive.

This ends up with the business asking either IT for alternative solutions such as cloud or SaaS, or the worst case of looking for an alternative service provider on the side. This comes at a time when budgets are flat or growing at a modest 3-5% rate. With IT struggling to keep the lights on, where can they find the budget to collaborate on strategic initiatives with the business owners?

Not to mention that this /., At a cost ranging between $21 for a Tier One ticket to $170 for a Tier Three ticket, how about reducing the number of Service Desk tickets?

How Automation and Self Service Can Reduce Service Desk Tickets

rubiks cubeErno Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube in 1974. On his best of three attempts, Matts Valk from the Netherlands recently solved the puzzle in 5.55 seconds for the “human” world record. A robot made using Lego Mindstorms and a Samsung Galaxy S4 can solve it in 3.25 seconds. That’s not that big a difference, and if Matts worked for your IT department, you may not think you need to automate. But what if Matts is on holiday? What if Matts decides to leave for a more challenging position?

No one began their career in IT with the goal of doing the same thing day after day. Who really wants to reset passwords all day? With automation, IT services are repeatable and low costing, among other benefits, freeing IT to partner with the business on strategic initiatives.

Therefore, automate, automate, automate.

How IT Can Change Its Image from the “Department of No”

At Citrix Synergy 2014, Citrix Systems’ CEO, Mark Templeton, had a memorable line, “IT needs to move from Gate Keeper to Shop Keeper.”

camp itWith an automated self-service portal for all IT services, available 24/7/365, IT can become more of a shopkeeper. Imagine the convenience and cost savings of having an IT Store available to users even when your service desk is not. By qualifying for services through an IT Store, users will only receive the IT Services that are appropriate for them based on identifier criteria such as role, department, location, etc. This results in increased compliance, security, productivity and elevates IT to a service provider.

One of RES Software’s IT Store customers eliminated 50K service desk tickets within a year of implementation. With the savings realized, they chose to implement white glove service to improve employee job satisfaction.

Conclusion

IT can quickly move from manual, repetitive and risky IT tactics to automatic, secure and reliable run books. Delivery and return of IT services can happen instantly and 24/7/365 with a product like the RES IT Store.

With a reduction in Service Desk tickets, IT can use that budget and time to exceed user expectations bridging the gap between business and IT. This enables IT to speak with the business on the right terms – as a trusted partner and strategic service provider.

The CAMP IT conference was a great venue to share RES Software’s vision for IT as a service and I look forward to returning in the future.