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Top-Performing IT Help Desk | @CloudExpo @Zoho #DevOps #ITSM #AI #DX

Tips to ensure help desks delivers exceptional service while maximizing productivity

Seven Essentials for a Top-Performing IT Help Desk
By Ujjwal Sood, product analyst, ManageEngine

The help desk forms the backbone of IT operations for many federal, state and local government agencies. In fact, the cross-functional nature of its operation means the help desk directly impacts productivity and is an essential part of what enables an agency to meet its stakeholder needs.

However, owing to increasingly complex IT environments, managers struggle to ensure that their help desks are operating at optimum efficiency. This seven-point guide will help IT managers ensure their help desks deliver exceptional service while maximizing productivity.

1. Create the right structure: Properly structuring an IT help desk can greatly improve its efficiency. Organize help desks into multiple levels or tiers. In a three-tier help desk, for example, tier 0 can be a self-service portal, with tiers 1, 2 and 3 made up of technicians with increasing levels of knowledge and skill. Depending on the complexity of the issue in a ticket, issues can be routed to the appropriate tier. IT managers should also set up a channel for inter-level communication and escalations.

2. Queue and assign requests: Most help desks address tickets on a priority basis, with higher priority tasks taking up most of the technicians' productive time. Other tickets can remain unaddressed until a technician responds to it, leading to higher turnaround times and violations of service-level agreements. Queue up tickets on a first-come, first-served basis and use automated assignment models like round robin and load balancing to keep on top of requests. Priority-based business rules can also be applied to ticket assignments.

3. Conduct end-user surveys: To better evaluate the help desk's performance IT managers should assess critical success factors like processes, technicians and technology. Technicians should be evaluated on their responsiveness and speed of ticket resolution; processes by the ease of submitting a ticket, reaching a technician and receiving support; and technology by the ease of communication.

To get feedback on individual tickets, send a survey to users when their tickets are closed. For higher-scale feedback, conduct annual or semi-annual surveys.

4. Empower end users with self-service: Users often encounter simple and repetitive issues that they can resolve themselves, which can take some of the burden off of the IT help desk team. To help end users solve their own problems, create a self-service portal that provides information and solutions as well as a service catalog where they can easily view and choose the services they need. Additionally, a self-service portal can be used to make organization wide announcements to keep users informed about any issues, planned maintenance, etc.

5. Better manage routine tasks: IT help desks often carry out periodical tasks like changing a printer's toner or performing system checks. These tasks can be managed in two ways:

  • Scheduling: A ticket for routine tasks is created at a set time and gets assigned to a technician.
  • Automating: Routine and simple tasks like password reset requests can be automated so that technicians can address higher priority tickets.

6. Generate reports with targeted key performance indicators: To gauge help desk performance, one tell-all report will not suffice for all stakeholders. Generate targeted reports and, for starters, measure the following:

  • First contact resolution: the percentage of tickets resolved upon first interaction with a user.
  • SLA violations: the percentage of tickets in which the response or a resolution violated the SLA.
  • Backlog tickets: the percentage of new tickets remaining unresolved.
  • Mean resolution time: the time taken on average to resolve a ticket.
  • User satisfaction: the percentage of users happy with the support provided.

Presenting those metrics as scorecards is an effective way to monitor help desk performance at a higher level and can be particularly useful for strategists and decision makers.

7. Increase collaboration and communication: On certain occasions, technicians communicate back and forth extensively with the requester. Technicians may spend considerable time switching between applications and typing out emails. This overhead can be eliminated by using a help desk tool that sends and receives emails from within the request. Canned text for routine responses and resolutions will further reduce the need to manually type emails.

Government agencies have now started looking at IT help desks as value additions rather than cost centers. To meet the needs of stakeholders, agency help desks have had to keep pace with the evolution of emerging and increasingly complex technologies. The tips above can set up an IT help desk for success and add value for agency users.

As first published in GCN.

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Ujjwal Sood is a product analyst at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp. He works in the ITSM products division for the flagship product ServiceDesk Plus. He tracks emerging IT technologies and studies their impact and application in the IT service management context. When not immersed in reading IT industry reports or writing articles, he morphs into a coach for the company's cricket team. For more information on ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, please visit www.manageengine.com; follow the company blog at http://blogs.manageengine.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and on Twitter @ManageEngine.

@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, and is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.

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The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

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Sponsors of Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

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