Ask the Expert: Is There Hope on the Service Desk Horizon?


Let’s face it, most service desks and IT departments have so much on their plate, it’s hard to innovate.  As Uber-like experiences change employees’ service expectations, many are getting left in the dust. With the quickening pace of change in cloud, SaaS, software, social networks, and physical-to-virtual assets – the modern service desk faces an exponential onslaught of data.

You’ve heard the complaints and horror stories. It’s taking too long to resolve issues. There’s no continuity in service. The security of our technology stacks is threatened by shadow IT.

But, there’s also hope. ITSM departments across the world are adapting and engaging employees deeper using SaaS technology, new processes, and streamlined service models.

We recently discussed these challenges and new service desk options with Chad Hafterson, Director of Product Management here at BMC.  His thoughts on both the future of ITSM and service management gave us great hope and belief that our industry can overcome the many complexities we face.

Here’s what he had to say:

How can the IT service desk help enterprise organizations remain competitive in a quickly changing digital landscape?

First, IT must support the new technologies their employees are choosing to use. The consumerization of nearly every experience is driving your employees to demand better service. If they download a game on their smartphone and it doesn’t work, will they play it again? No way. Same rule goes for the service desk. Embrace new technologies, devices and trends. Get up to speed as quickly possible, because you only have one shot with most employees.

Second, as new services become available, make it easier for your customers (employees) to procure those services and adapt them as needed. Onboarding of new employees, for example, becomes difficult if your services and applications are cumbersome. Being able to offer useful tools to get employees working faster is extremely important from a service standpoint.

Finally, embrace a hybrid approach to service. It’s okay to leverage internal IT and external customer support. Service must be immediate, and if you can’t meet all of your IT needs with your internal team, there’s nothing wrong with augmenting from the outside.

How can ITSM teams become more agile, and move faster?

This is where the DevOps and agile philosophies come into play. The biggest benefit with adopting a DevOps philosophy is moving to a real-time framework. It’s all about adapting quickly, tweaking a product, and delivering upgrades to your employees and customers faster.

IT doesn’t have the luxury of sitting back, interviewing dozens of end users and prototyping something for months on end. Your employees need service today. Becoming agile by combining development and IT resources means you’re in a constant state of production quality with your software. This connects the customer to the process because they see real-time improvement.

As mobile and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends continue to transform the way we work, how can enterprise organizations keep data secure?

There are dozens of tools available that help enterprises remain secure amidst the rising tide of BYOD culture. But the key to success is putting security protocols and systems in place that your employees will actually use. Communicating why security is essential and building a culture of security appreciation are as important as any technical practices put in place.

In theory, it’s simple to implement a password protocol. In reality, policing the protocol can pose challenges. From a service desk standpoint, it’s about tracking whether your security best practices are being implemented or acted upon. Make security measures easy, transparent, and give employees a motivation to stay secure.

At the end of the day, you’re only as secure as your users. The top reason companies are getting hacked continues to be compromised usernames and passwords.

In the future, biometrics might play a big role in security and we simply won’t have to worry as much. But, as long there’s code, there will be someone who can hack the code. That’s why the strongest security measures start with enterprise culture as expressed through policies that employees actually follow.

What steps can the IT service desk take to improve employee engagement?

Make it easy. The absolute best thing you can do is make your service solutions faster, more convenient, and easier to use, than whatever else your employees would put in its place.

The second component is meeting employees on their own terms. Do they want self-service options delivered through social media? What about the mobile device experience? Find out what their preferred medium is, and meet them with appropriate service in that channel.

The third component is to embrace change. Many IT departments are seen as backward and fighting change. We must work to end that perception. Embrace BYOD, SaaS, social media and help your employees and customers use those tools efficiently, rather than putting roadblocks up.

What role will social media, predictive intelligence and self-service play in the coming years?

They are all related, really. And they all play a big role.

Self-service is now the first choice for many employees. With the proliferation of Google, social media, and apps to aid in every imaginable task, most people are used to gaining resolution on their own. Therefore, delivering knowledge in the appropriate channel is key to service desk success.

Social media is big for knowledge sharing. Your employees are used to Facebook, Yelp, and even Snapchat. The best thing you can do is give them a platform to share their thoughts, and gain knowledge from a community. But, an important aspect to socialized service is remaining responsive, even if you don’t have an immediate answer. Service desk needs to adapt fast and be available in a real-time fashion.

When the service desk becomes proactive with knowledge centers, and social communities, they can begin to turn the corner toward predictive intelligence. Getting predictive requires gathering hard data on technical requests and building models for future service based on that data.

So, let’s say 80% of IT service requests from employees in their first three months surround email sync problems. Armed with this knowledge, service desk can develop additional materials about resolving this problem, lowering the number of similar requests through predictive intelligence.

How can IT help more employees get engaged at work through mobile technology?

There’s no way to avoid the BYOD trend. Every employee is mobile, and allowing them to work on their device of choice is essential. There’s a broader mobile trend happening beyond just devices.  Many employees now want to work from home, or remotely. Which means, employees are in the office less, but many are working more. Which is why you need to make your tools and systems available anywhere, anytime.

Are you ready to modernize your service desk? Download our new e-book to get tips, tools and processes for fast tracking employee productivity through renewed ITSM strategies.


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