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5 Steps to Upgrading From a Homegrown Help Desk

01/30/2014 by: The SunView Team

Help Desk

Investing in an advanced IT help desk or service desk solution can be intimidating for businesses that have long gotten by with an internal solution built around solutions like email, SharePoint and other collaboration tools. However, companies are becoming more dependent on IT functionality all the time and many organizations find themselves in a position where the limitations of a homegrown solution are holding back value creation in both technological and business spheres of operations. As such, a strategic investment in a more advanced service management solution is becoming a priority for many businesses.

While the process of moving to a new service desk may be intimidating, IT leaders can follow these steps to get their plans off on the right foot:

1. Assess current operational needs
This is the time when IT managers should ask questions like, "What operational limitations are making this upgrade necessary?" Exploring the processes and day-to-day activities that an IT department handles is critical to understanding what it will need in a service desk solution. While it may be tempting to use whatever data is available to make this decision, chances are that your homegrown help desk does not give you access to much reporting. Furthermore, the information you have may not paint a complete picture of how your IT teams get the job done. Instead of focusing exclusively on data, IT leaders need to also work with different members of functional teams to gain a clear understanding of what service desk features are most important moving forward.

2. Look at future requirements
Businesses often change substantially over time, and IT needs can shift even faster. Looking at near- and long-term expectations can establish the knowledge base necessary to invest in the right solution. This process involves knowing not only whether a service desk setup can meet anticipated demands, but also how flexible the system is to be changed and updated over time. In many cases, a business cannot afford or manage a service management platform that greatly exceeds its current requirements. However, a solution that meets current needs, but that can scale moving forward, can prove invaluable.

3. Understand consulting costs
Consultants often play a major role in service desk deployment and can add a substantial cost to the project. They can also deliver incredible value when deployed effectively. When it comes time to make a service desk solution decision, it is important to ensure that you do not become so dependent on consultants that you cannot manage the system, at all, without them. Some service desks are so complex that consulting investments are a necessary component of the plan. In others, the architecture is simple enough that it can deliver results without consultants, but effective investments in such expertise can expand and extend the value of the solution.

4. Research
Getting referrals and deeply investigating different solution providers is vital to making the most of any investment. Research is vital because it can help you get past the marketing speak and gain clearer insight into exactly what a solution is capable of providing. Effective analysis of a service desk platform and vendor can provide the due diligence needed to set a solid foundation for effective performance.

5. Reassess the internal solution
Sometimes a homegrown help desk will provide a few unique features and functions because specific employees have developed processes that are a natural fit with an organization's requirements. The final step to making an effective upgrade is to evaluate the homegrown solution to identify these attributes and ensure efforts are made to incorporate this functionality into the new service desk.

Upgrading from a homegrown help desk is increasingly important for businesses, and following the right methods in the decision-making process can go a long way toward easing the entire transition.