Many executives outside of the IT department see that particular business unit as a cost center. That’s not the case, though – IT is actually a business enabler. Moreover, the tools it implements aren’t expenditures that simply cost the firm money; they can deliver value.
We’ll use ITSM solutions as an example. How can ITSM solutions bring value to companies? They help decision makers better understand what the service desk team does through analytics, save time through automation, resolve incidents at reduced costs, and increase user satisfaction because incidents are resolved faster.
Analytics: Helping Decision Makers Understand What Happens at the Service Desk
As mentioned earlier, decision makers outside of the IT department tend not to understand what this department does and why it’s crucial to the company’s success. By implementing a modern ITSM solution, you gain access to analytics that give decision makers greater insight into what the service desk does. Today’s ITSM tools not only enable service desks to work more efficiently – they collect information about tickets so service teams can learn how to run themselves better.
There’s a wide range of information analytics can provide, such as how many users the help desk services. That particular metric is on the lower end of the value scale, though – it’s a basic question. Other metrics look at deeper issues related to help desk performance. One helpful metric is the cost per ticket; it forces you to look at whether you’re using your resources efficiently to solve problems.
“According to Service Desk Institute research, only 16% of companies measure the cost per ticket.”
Moreover, decision makers can see how many tickets were handled relative to the number of staff present. Handling 2,000 tickets in a month is more impressive if you’ve got half the available staff due to illness or absence.
Experts predict that AI will automate these analytics so that companies will derive value from their information. This technology can identify inefficiencies so that your help desk can run better and deliver improved services.
“Whenever there’s a technician utilization rate of 60% or higher, a support organization will see high technician turnover.”
So, what’s the value in having decision makers understand what happens at the service desk? What will you achieve when decision makers better understand what’s going on at the service desk?
When decision makers know what the service desk does, they’ll understand that it’s vital to the organization. They’ll stop seeing the IT department as a cost center; rather, they’ll start viewing it as an integral department that keeps the firm running smoothly. Information technology enables the businesses of today, and the help desk ensures that information technology solutions work properly.
Saving Time through Automation
Think about your current service desk workflow – what does it look like? At many companies, it’s highly manual; someone with an issue either calls in or sends an email. A help desk employee answers the call or email and tries to solve the problem.
What if the service desk workflow was automated? The help desk would be much more efficient, which would save time (and of course, money).
“A survey conducted by the Service Desk Institute shows that 61% of companies implementing ITSM solutions are motivated by time savings.”
What does automation look like? Automated ITSM solutions can take care of processes that humans previously handled. Automation holds great promise for the field of ITSM, as previously slow processes take place much faster.
How does automation save time? One way is through a self-service portal. Instead of turning to the IT department every time they encounter a problem, users could navigate to a self-service portal, type their question in, and they receive an answer. The same principle would work with a chatbot.
“Service Desk Institute research shows that 15% of companies that implemented ITSM tools saw increased user productivity.”
What if the self-service portal doesn’t have the answer to a user’s question? The self-service portal or chatbot would then alert a human that intervention was needed.
Thanks to automation, help desk now have more time to tend to mission-critical tasks. When end-users can solve most of their own problems through self-service, help desk staff can spend more time training new team members. They also don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again (“How do I reset my password? I can’t remember from when you told me last month…”).
“After implementing an ITSM solution, Visa saw a reduction in the mean time to resolution by as much as 75%.”
The shorter resolution time has a benefit to workers, as well. It means they can get back to work faster and be more productive (more on the positive effects of productivity later in the article). Lost productivity is bad for the bottom line, so shorter resolution time benefits the entire company.
Resolve Incidents at a Reduced Cost
We’ll go back to the metric about cost per ticket. What if there was a way to reduce that cost? ITSM tools can do that.
How can implementing an ITSM solution make incident resolution less expensive? It has to do with some of the things mentioned earlier – automation and self-service.
“ITSM solutions can reduce the volume of tickets by 30 to 40%, which represents significant cost savings to organizations.”
When people can find their own solutions to their problems (especially if those problems are time-consuming, repetitive tasks such as password resets), those are fewer tickets that the help desk has to handle. Moreover, ITSM solutions don’t require the same resources as human employees – they don’t need salaries, vacation, benefits, or sick leave. Salaries (and other aspects that human employees require) all factor into the cost of a ticket, so when you take human intervention out of the equation, the cost of the ticket goes down.
The value of reducing the cost of incident resolution will be fairly clear to everyone – saving money is good for the company. Moreover, making an effort to reduce costs looks good for the help desk; it gives them an efficiency-boosting image which won’t be lost on decision makers.
Increased User Satisfaction Thanks to Shorter Resolution Time
Do you know how happy your users are with your help desk? If you’re not using an ITSM solution, there’s a good chance that answer is “not very.” Manual processes on the service desk tend to draw out resolution times rather than shorten them.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that users are less satisfied when resolution times are longer. Users can’t complete their tasks if they’re stuck waiting for the help desk to figure out what’s wrong.
“A report from the Service Desk Institute shows that 94% of organizations that outsource help desk services say improved customer service is a selling point.”
The value of ITSM solutions lies in their ability to reduce resolution times (and thus improve satisfaction). Incidents, even minor ones, negatively impact business value – people aren’t productive, which costs the company money. Thus, incident resolution increases business value, because people can get back to work faster. The faster the incident is resolved, the greater value there is.
But, is user satisfaction valuable enough to warrant improving? Will it ultimately make a difference to your organization whether your users are happy or not?
“Harvard Business Review research shows that when employees are happy, their productivity levels rise by 37%.”
There’s a relationship between job satisfaction and productivity – when workers are satisfied with their jobs, they are more productive. The ability to access IT services has a direct impact on whether someone can do his or her job. When a worker can’t do his or her job because of an IT incident, he or she gets frustrated and feels less satisfied.
Persistent low job satisfaction hurts firms. It can lead to turnover, which is expensive; it can cost 30 to 50% of an entry-level employee’s salary to replace that individual. Increasing employee satisfaction by improving incident resolution times has a positive effect, because it reduces employee frustration (a leading cause of turnover).
Why Delivering Value Matters
Why is it so important that the IT department shows it can deliver value to the rest of the organization? The ability to deliver value goes beyond reputation. It’s about the help desk’s continued existence.
Value delivery is intrinsically linked to relevance. Departments that prove value delivery have healthy budgets to show for it. They don’t fret that no one understands what they’re doing – there are no fears for survival.
“The average cost per ticket for Level 3 support and field staff is at least $80 in North America.”
You cannot afford to not deliver value as a help desk. ITSM solutions allow service desks to deliver outstanding value to the rest of the organization through time savings, cost savings, higher productivity, and increased satisfaction. An ITSM solution that’s automated and has AI functionality enables users to get the help they need, when they need it, so that the entire company can operate efficiently and effectively. Download 7 Areas to Consider Before Selecting a Service Desk to learn more.