Why IT Support Has Outgrown Your Service Desk… and What To Do About It

October 8, 2018
Written by Ann James

IT support used to be simple.
People rang up to report things that didn’t work properly. Incidents were logged and tracked. Things got fixed.
And that was… well. That was about it.
But that was a long time ago. Since the late nineties businesses have become increasingly reliant on technology, to the point where a single systems outage can cause whole departments to grind to a halt.
IT service desks are forced to support dozens (if not hundreds) of systems and applications simultaneously, not to mention an exponentially growing number of endpoints.
At the same time, customer service expectations have shot through the roof. A typical employee is utterly reliant on technology to fulfil the demands of their role, so they expect things to be fixed in a fraction of the time that would have been acceptable even a decade ago.
Naturally, these changes have placed the typical IT service desk under enormous pressure.

Reactivity is Dead

Perhaps the most obvious result of the changes described above is a huge increase in time pressure for IT service desks.
Gone are the days when you could simply log an incident, figure out what to do, fix it, and move on. There are simply too many incidents being raised, too many interdependencies, and too much complexity for the old approach to be viable.
Service desks need to be efficient, well prepared, and thoroughly integrated with the rest of IT in order to cope with the demands of modern business. In short, they need to be able to respond faster and better than ever before.
In order for that to be possible, the reactive model of IT support needs to die. There’s simply no way an IT service can react quickly and decisively enough if it’s forced to reinvent the wheel every time something goes wrong.
But you already knew that. After all, IT services across every sector have been frantically taking on new roles and functions for over two decades now.
The real question isn’t “Do we need to be less reactive?” it’s “How do we become less reactive?”

Responsibilities of a Modern IT Service
Unfortunately, becoming less reactive as an IT service is far from easy. In order to meet the needs of modern business, an IT service must:
● Preempt common incidents, and have a response plan in place
● Understand the relationships between disparate systems and assets
● Not be reliant on individual knowledge or heroics to resolve incidents
● Own and manage IT systems and infrastructure change projects
● Measure, project, and manage IT risk and compliance
● Negotiate and agree impact-based service level agreements (SLAs)
● Track, report, and respond to key performance indicators (KPIs)
And those are just the bare essentials. In order to truly excel, IT service desks must offer a full range of functionality, including:
● A service catalogue — Controlling which IT products and services can be procured by your internal customers, and making it easy for them to do so.
Training management — Delivering and tracking completion of essential user training packages.
Knowledge management — Maintaining an up-to-date library of resources for service desk engineers to refer to when logging and resolving incidents.
Self-service — Providing users with the tools and information they need to resolve common incidents and requests themselves.
Resource Planning – Having a handle on the availability and schedules of the necessary resources that can be brought to bear.

Naturally, all this takes a long time to implement, and much longer to perfect. And, since the demands placed on IT services have grown over time, most businesses are already several years into their transition from the old-school reactive model to a more modern, integrated approach.
Which leads us to another question: ‘How do we speed up the process of becoming less reactive?”

The Right (service desk) Tool for the Job
When an IT service grows over time, as they usually do, it’s normal for processes and solutions to be implemented as and when they’re needed.
And that makes sense. A new need is identified — knowledge management, say — and a standalone solution is developed that fixes the problem as it currently stands.
Over time, though, this approach causes problems. As we’ve already seen, modern IT services have now taken on so many functions that these ad hoc solutions quickly amass into an overwhelming array of systems, processes, and procedures that’s almost impossible to maintain.
This, of course, is where ITSM solutions come in. Unlike helpdesk-specific products, powerful ITSM solutions like Sunrise encompass all of the functions necessary to build and run a modern IT service.
A powerful ITSM tool profoundly enhances business continuity, enabling IT services to make decisions and act with full knowledge of how business operations will be affected. At the same time, because the functionality is already built in, ITSM solutions can dramatically speed up the process of adding and refining new services.
So if your IT service has outgrown simple service desk solutions — and let’s be honest, it almost certainly has — Sunrise ITSM can help it become the proactive, business-centric service your organization needs.
To find out how Sunrise ITSM can empower your IT service to become more proactive and business-oriented, click here to arrange your free demonstration.