3 Ways to Streamline Service Requests

Looking to streamline your IT support? These tips will help improve resolution times and user experience.

In many organizations, IT executives spend the majority of time on service requests and incident response. In the K-12 market, IT leaders spend over 75% of their time reacting to technical problems. Effective management of support tickets helps improve IT throughput while at the same time supporting end user productivity.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) defines a service request as “a request from a user for information, advice, a standard change, or access to a service.” Incidents, on the other hand, arise when something is not working or is exhibiting decreased performance. This definition right away helps distinguish service requests as low risk and open to process improvements to streamline or automate their delivery.

To ensure that end users have easy access to IT resources to get their jobs done, we offer the following three tips to improve request fulfillment and support employees:

Support Productivity with Self-Service

Employees today are bringing consumer expectations to the workforce – they want choice (in devices, applications, and how to work), and they expect instant access to resources and instant response to service requests. Borrowing from customer service research from Forrester, leading organizations are looking to “reduce friction” and provide proactive content and engagement to help answer questions in the purchase decision. Let’s borrow these concepts as we look to reduce friction for service requests for employees or even students in a K-12 classroom.

IT departments can’t predict every application their users will need, and loading all applications on every user’s device isn’t cost-effective, feasible, or advised. These “reactive” on-demand deployments can eat up IT time and cause delays for the end user. Borrowing from Forrester research, reducing friction here would involve the provision of content and applications on-demand. This is the premise behind self-service IT, providing pre-approved content (applications, documents, resources) when and where it’s needed.

Although you may be thinking, isn’t this desire to ‘solve their own’ problems the driver of Shadow IT? While you would be correct if employees were searching the web for their own solution, the goal is to make IT the path of least resistance. IT can research best options and provide resources, vetted and pre-configured, making it easier to reference the IT self-service kiosk when a new need arises. The end user has just-in-time access to what they need, without the need for approvals or admin rights.

The net result? Everyone is more productive.

Integrated Insight to Improve Service

With self-service in place, IT time is freed up to focus on more rapid incident response and on projects that add greater value to the company. When it comes to incident response, help desk systems are key to streamlining the process for all parties involved.

Help desk and service systems can provide a valuable way to track tickets, assign appropriate individuals or teams, track communication, and provide valuable insight on resource allocation. In many cases, service issues are linked to endpoint devices, so it makes sense to choose an endpoint management solution that can go hand in hand with your service desk.

Let’s take a look how this integration improves insight and productivity. Integrating FileWave with InvGate Service Desk or ServiceNow, for example, allows you to capture asset data and integrate it with service requests. If a user is reporting a problem logging into their PC, they can tie that device (suggested for them) to the support ticket, helping streamline and optimize workflows for the IT team – no lengthy email threads required to get clarity on problem devices or applications.

Capturing asset data and integrating it with service requests saves time for all parties involved and keeps employees productive and focused on their work, rather than on extensive troubleshooting and information gathering. Readily available endpoint data such as OS, storage, and RAM can help improve resolution times and satisfaction for users and agents alike.

Rethinking the Support Model

Lengthy back and forth emails cause a significant drain on resources on both sides of the IT relationship, but in many organizations, troubleshooting takes place with an on-site technician. With the trend toward remote work and distributed organizations, this is not just impractical, it’s often impossible.

Traditional ‘touch-based’ device management (from deployment to support) can be replaced with remote solutions that allow technicians to remediate problems anytime, anywhere. Technicians can remotely navigate firewalls and NAT configurations, allowing them to view and operate remote computers to deploy configurations, files, and patches.

The immediate impact of remote support is a direct improvement to first-call resolution, user productivity, and security compliance, but remote support can also be leveraged to improve end-user training. People are visual learners; remote control allows technicians to provide just-in-time training right on an end user’s screen.

There are many new support models being explored to help users get the support when and where they need it. For example, an innovative tiered support system recently launched at a private school in Indiana where a student-led technology team provides tier 1 tech support each class period. In addition to offloading support, these students are provided with professional development training in imaging, troubleshooting and technology management. We are inspired by the potential to create more of these support teams outside of IT in both the education and business sectors.

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