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How Do You Take the Service Desk Beyond IT?

essential It asset management checklist
The IT department is thought of as the customary service provider in the organization. From fixing something when it’s broken to reminding us all to update the software on our devices, they’re held to high standards based on the metrics of closed tickets and the allocation of tasks. All of this helps create an environment where employees can do their best work. But what many organizations don’t realize is that every department provides service to employees in some way -- so why aren’t we using a service management solution across the entire organization? The fact is, a lack of internal organization can rot the business from the inside out. If you can’t do your job effectively, then how can you be expected to manage your customers in a positive way? It all stems from teamwork towards a common goal and defining the services we perform for each department so no one is wondering who to ask for what they need. It’s all about taking your ITSM app from the IT service desk to the organization as a whole.

Discover the Services You Offer

So you’re probably using a service catalog right now to list all the things that your team can fix, the information that you need in an issue, and so on. There are a wide variety of things that can go into a service catalog, which is why it’s also a useful tool for other departments. If you use a service catalog in HR, they could organize the onboarding process and make it easy for someone to submit PTO and other requests. Facilities could also receive requests for new times quickly and efficiently, all organized in one space. Accounting could create a hub for expense reports. Sure, you probably have processes in place for all of these things, but the service catalog is designed to make these processes as efficient as possible. Plus, employees are already using the service catalog for everyday IT needs.

Automate the Boring Stuff

Speaking of expense reports, I’m sure that there’s a hierarchy to the approval process. It most likely goes first to the supervisor of the individual who submitted it, then to the manager of the department, and all the way up to the last person in line. Rather than relying on email reminders, it’s much easier to create an automated process that will automatically remind someone as soon as the person before them has given approval. In addition, it can be a great way to remind facilities to order more ink for the printers or to change fire extinguishers, making the completion of these mundane tasks even easier.

Start with a Suggestion Box

If you’re not quite ready to expand your service desk outside of IT, a step in the right direction is to use a suggestion box. Andrew Dickerson of Envestnet says that they created a suggestion box so that people can request things without submitting in tickets, thereby keeping your service desk focused on the tickets that matter and allowing employees to still have input on what’s in the office. Case in point: Food requests. If you’re anything like us, you have a kitchen at work that’s probably better stocked than your pantry at home. It’s one of the perks of having a great employer who realizes and appreciates that you spend the majority of your week in the office. That being said, sometimes managers need some extra help. “We have nothing odd in our service catalog,” Mark Murray, IT and Facilities Manager of LTG, told us, “but we have had a ticket to ask for different tea bags as ours didn’t taste very nice!” Such a request could easily come through a suggestion box in your service catalog, along with requests for different temperatures in the office and a whole host of other things that employees will often ask for.

Driving the Business with Solution Management

Once you realize the potential for organized service in all departments, you’ll begin to see your business thrive with better processes and a clear understanding of everyone’s tasks. All successful businesses, regardless of industry, are united under a common goal to progress forward. Shouldn’t all the departments, then, be equipped to give the most they can to their teammates? It serves no one’s best interests for us to waste our time running around trying to find the information we need when that process could be so much easier. It’s a poor use of our working hours to not have the tools that can automate mundane tasks so that our workload is freed up to tackle the important things. And, making sure that the process to render services inside the company are smooth is essential in making sure that the services you render to your external customers are just as seamless and easy. This post has been updated from its original publish on 4/4/16. 
Tim Lawes
Tim Lawes serves as Manager of Solutions Engineering, ITSM at SolarWinds. ITIL 4 certified, he brings 10+ years of training and consulting experience in the…
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