LorenaTraditional service desk models are suffering in many organizations.  The complexity of IT environments combined with rising pressures from the workforce to be more agile often result in service desks falling short on expectations. The challenge goes beyond the service desk, though. Forrester reports that IT organizations are spending up to 75% of their budget on keeping the lights on. This is not only frustrating to IT teams that are stuck in maintenance mode, but is also a hindrance to the business that is relying on IT to deliver technology for productivity and innovation.

Because the entire IT department is often stuck in reactive mode, it’s not surprising that the service desk is often forced into continually dealing with unhappy, frustrated workers. They are often seen as a cost center and a barrier to productivity instead of an asset, accelerating adoption of the very technology intended to drive employee productivity. While it feels like the only option is to continue treading water, IT leadership should be strategizing on how to shift the perception of their service desk teams from roadblock to resource.

The Service Desk Spectrum

self service automation vs walk up help deskForward thinking IT departments are actively exploring new engagement models that shake up the classic approach to service desks – giving workers a spectrum of options for interacting with IT. While most organizations have historically focused on a reactive model of IT – email or phone – listening to the business often reveals other ways that workers want to interact with their IT departments.

While the traditional service desk model may be a midpoint of both engagement and cost, IT can move higher on the engagement side to give workers more flexibility and reposition its reputation within the organization.

The first approach leverages automated self-service. The second is a face-to-face model, where workers can walk up and interact with IT experts in person.

Automated Self-Service for Fast and Easy IT

Automated self-service empowers workers with 24/7 access to apps, data, services and known fixes to 

RES ONE Service Store

accommodate today’s diverse work styles. Automation not only offers speed of delivery, but it also frees up IT professionals from the common and repeatable tasks that often consume their workday so that they can focus on higher priority, innovation-driving, projects. As organizations mature, they can even predict many technology needs, delivering what workers need before they even ask for it.

This automated and predictive approach to technology mirrors much of what workers experience in their consumer life, and finally enables IT to be proactive. Although direct interaction between IT and workers is reduced, workers’ engagement and satisfaction with IT is maximized.

Interest in self-service is certainly on the upswing. According to Gartner, 40% of IT organizations are planning to implement self-service over the next 18 months. This isn’t surprising considering that the analyst firm also predicts that self-service can replace almost half of all service desk tickets. Imagine getting back half of the time IT spends on common requests! This drastically contributes to reducing IT’s overall spend on keeping the lights on, allocating time and resources to cutting-edge projects, and gives workers faster resolution to their requests and issues.

Walk-Up Support for a Personal IT Experience

Despite the undeniable benefits of automation and self-service, some organizations fear that there may be barriers to the self-service model within their organization. It’s not uncommon for different workers to prefer different levels of interaction with IT.

Apple Genius Bar – Wikipedia

At the other end of the spectrum, the walk-up service desk is an interactive, hands-on approach to support. Akin to the “teach a man to fish” proverb and the wildly popular Apple Genius Bar, the walk-up approach gives workers a chance to come to IT not

only to fix problems; but, more importantly, learn how to better leverage the technology that’s supplied to them.

Sometimes, more than a quick fix, a worker wants to understand what they are possibly doing that could be causing issues. Or how to use apps more effectively. Some simply don’t know where to start. This is where the knowledge and expertise of IT can have a long-term positive impact on worker’s productive use of enterprise technology.

Although 30% of enterprise today have made the investment in walk-up service desks, that number is expected to hit 50% in the next 3 years, according to Gartner. But despite the value and growing interest in walk-up services, tight budgets can make this approach a challenging sell.

Opposites Attract

Automated self-service and personal walk-up support models complement each other quite well in function and cost. By augmenting the traditional service desk model with both self-service and face-to-face approaches, IT can:

  • Drastically reduce cycles spent on routine tasks
  • Build more credibility within the business
  • Better serve a diverse mix of workers – from the least to most tech savvy
  • Balance the cost by offsetting additional costs of personal interaction with automation.

With this combined approach, workers can have their technology needs met at their convenience – whether it’s with point and click, over the phone, or in-person. They can even change how they prefer to interact with IT given the nature of their request. And the business can start seeing the service desk for what they really are – the technology experts of the enterprise.

What kind of service desk model does your organization currently use and where do you want to move towards in the future?