Most people think of the IT service desk as the central point of IT service delivery, responsible for taking questions, diagnosing problems and resolving those issues. The IT service desk may also collect statistics to detect patterns that will help the IT team make smarter decisions in terms of purchasing, servicing or retiring hardware and software.
Yet often an IT service desk may not be robust enough to help a business that relies heavily on information technology. That’s where IT service management (ITSM) becomes necessary, helping businesses to improve their efficiency and profitability. Comprehensive IT service management gives businesses the tools and processes needed to carry out IT functions and address problems when they arise.
The service desk is the gateway, or face, of IT to the rest of the organization, and provides businesses with a central point of contact for requests. The IT service team marks the front lines of a company’s IT efforts, executing tactical tasks that are critical to everyday operations.
Though the IT service desk is necessary for great IT service management, it isn’t sufficient by itself. To move beyond basic break/fix firefighter mode, organizations must embrace a larger service management strategy. While the IT service desk is central to an organization, IT services can encompass more than service desk tasks, such as developing business processes and assisting other departments with efficiency.
The IT service desk is just one function of IT service management, albeit a great first step toward delivering the level of IT service that today’s businesses require to thrive and compete. To deliver true IT service management, the department needs to be supported by data, processes and intelligence that allow for the continual improvement of IT services.
A Strong IT Asset Management Program
IT teams also require an IT asset management program that can provide specs on the hardware or software, like assignee, acquired date, service history, projected retirement date and software licensing. Without IT asset management, the service team can’t do its job as well, and the company could face unnecessary risks. Lack of IT asset management can also lead to budgeting problems with superfluous purchases.
Reporting and Benchmarking
Statistics and analytics collected by the service desk can send out notifications and alert the IT team to incident trends. While a service desk can help with understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a team and assist with continuously improving on each, it’s also imperative that assets are properly measured and tracked. The benefits that will ensue include reduced risk, reduced costs and better reliability of IT infrastructure.
Processes and Procedures
What structures are in place to ensure success or even recovery after a situation? SLAs, ITIL and many more acronyms fall into this area. Frameworks and standards ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page with how to move forward, thus making the IT service team’s processes workflow-driven and less reactive when issues arise.
Many of today’s solutions for IT service management are hosted in the cloud so that deployment can be quick, and traditional implementation worries are eliminated. A flexible, customizable, scalable enterprise service desk should be a part of the system, as should IT asset management capabilities. Your IT service management solution should also have built-in data collection, analytics and reporting, allowing you to recognize trends early and easily report on your successes.
To remain competitive in today’s business environment, your business has to be able to rely on its IT infrastructure to ensure business processes remain uninterrupted. A capable service desk is necessary, but isn’t enough for outstanding IT service management. IT asset management, analytics and reporting are also imperative functions of IT service management to help your business proactively approach its IT processes.
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[Photo courtesy of You Belong In Longmont.]