Remote workforces are becoming the new normal. What could be achieved earlier with a simple visit to your colleague’s desk will now require you to communicate flawlessly across miles. ITSM tools that were earlier used only when systems had issues are now being used to make delivery of different business services easier.
Quite naturally, not all organizations are prepared for this ‘new normal’. If your traditional IT strategy is being challenged, here is a roadmap for you to focus on how you can leverage an ITSM platform to maintain and even enhance operational efficiency while your workforce gets accustomed to working from home.
These are the 3 strategies that can be employed to help the remote workforce thrive: Assisted Service, Automated Service, and Self-Service.
1. Assisted Service: Drive Efficiency with IT Service Desks’ Centralized Ticketing Systems and Mobile Apps.
In the pre-COVID19 world, research shows that internal support teams would receive an average of 492 tickets per month, and IT teams would take an average of more than 24 hours to resolve a query. Both of these numbers seem like the norm. But as most of us have noticed – the norm has shifted and those numbers are likely to increase because everything is suddenly different for the workforce.
As most of your workforce is now working from home, even the smaller tickets can turn into operational disasters causing a loss of entire workdays. In such circumstances, for the support team to have visibility into all issues and prioritize the right ones, it becomes critical to have a centralized ticketing system with the following aspects:
With the enormous increase in tickets, your team will have to instantaneously prioritize resolutions. Your unified ITSM system can help with prioritization by notifying about SLA breach and measuring SLA performance.
Remote Access System
Your IT support team can spend countless hours teaching your Accounting team how to reboot their new systems and install an update. Or, they can use the remote access feature of an ITSM platform and do it in minutes.
With a unified Service Desk, you can access comprehensive out-of-box reports that include information about various tickets, technicians, service desk performance, etc. This can increase your team’s ability to identify problems and organize, prioritize, and resolve issues.
One more factor that can dramatically bring down query-resolution times and increase your support team’s effectiveness is having a service desk that has a supporting mobile app. Mobile apps allow your IT teams to resolve queries remotely and quickly in case your team members do not have access to their laptops.
2. Automated Service: Dedicate Human Resources only to High-Level Tasks
In financial services, there is a common running theme – if you want to understand the prowess of an analyst, have a look at how many excel functions she can automate. The idea works very well for all industries because it shows that no matter how value-adding a function is, it runs on a series of redundant processes.
COVID-19 has shrunk resources temporarily, across all organizations. When there is a geographic distance between your teams and departments, your resources will spread thin. In such times, departments like HR, finance in addition to IT can benefit in the following ways by automating certain repetitive tasks:
- Resource Allocation: Resources that might be running thin are well-utilized. Teams can focus on value-adding tasks instead of menial activities.
- Enhanced User Experience: Customer/user experience is improved as employees working remotely feel needed, valued, and cared for when their queries are immediately resolved, even if they are resolved by an automated process of a service desk.
- Increased Productivity: Everyday functions can be expedited by automating redundant processes, thereby boosting company-wide productivity even in a work-from-home situation.
Specific use-cases like employee onboarding, access approvals, standard updates, and deployments showcase an astounding amount of value-creation through automation in this current pandemic scenario. Different types of automation under IT service management include:
As an organization, your operations already carry the necessary patterns that can be used as rules to take care of regular requests or issues. These requests can now be automated based on the predefined rules to help remote employees through an ITSM platform which has a workflow automation capability.
While parallel workflows can help reduce technicians’ workload, multi-level approval workflows that automate business processes can save time for any approver across any department; from a team manager and an HR personnel signing off on leave requests or a Purchasing executive approving a purchase request. Moreover, an in-built service catalog can help present these available automated services to enhance user experience.
There might be a scenario where multiple users are reporting the same issue perhaps due to an underlying systemic failure. In such a case, technicians might have to update each user with the same resolution steps before closing their tickets. If your ITSM supports scenario automation, your support technician could just create a scenario workflow with specific predefined actions and resolve all the tickets under this scenario using a bulk update.
Smart Ticket Allocation
If your ITSM platform is powered by intelligence, it should be able to automatically allocate tickets to the right technician based on priority, his level of expertise, and availability as soon as a ticket is raised.
3. Self-Service: Make Necessary Information Accessible at Fingertips for Efficient Resolutions.
The average cost per ticket for the tickets handled by an IT service desk can be close to $50, while the average cost per ticket for tickets that are self-services is about $2. Hence, it is safe to say that if there is a way to manage service requests without engaging the support staff, you should be considering it. Now more than ever, organizations can reap some very specific benefits by enabling remote employees with self-service.
- Cost Efficiencies: Users can resolve their queries themselves while working remotely without having to engage the support team. Reduced lead times help lower costs.
- 24 x 7 Accessibility: Very few organizations have support teams that can provide services round the clock. A Self-Service portal, however, can be accessed at any time of the day to find a resolution to common issues.
- Time Efficiencies: Employees can find resolutions to their issues by themselves without having to wait for the support team’s response. This enables them to continue with their activities as soon as the issue is resolved.
To help your remote workforce become truly self-reliant, your ITSM platform should support the following features:
During these unexceptional times, a self-service portal is by far the most important thing to have in the effort to support a remote workforce. Your support team can create and manage articles related to common IT issues while the HR team can use the portal to create, share, and manage articles and FAQs about Business Continuity during the pandemic to update and provide assurance to the employees working from home.
Besides, a well-designed service portal will enable users who cannot find a viable solution through the knowledge base to create incidents for the support team from the portal itself or via email.
As soon as an incident is recorded and resolved, it should be stored in the ITSM platform’s in-built knowledge base for future references. This helps in expanding not only the support team’s sphere of knowledge but also helps aid quicker resolution for users facing similar issues.
Whether it is something as complex as accessing the company VPN or as simple as changing a password – based on the most common and redundant queries coming from the remote workforce, the knowledge base should contain articles that can act as guides for their queries resolution.
When your remote employees are searching the knowledge base for issues similar to the ones they are facing, the searching itself should be fast, lucid, and user-friendly. Your ITSM system should accommodate a search box that supports dynamic filters and enables contextual search.
Now that you know about the three key ITSM strategies – Assisted, Automated, and Self-Service, you can decide the best approach for taking your organization remote based on the scale of your organization, and the readily available IT infrastructure. That said, you should also take this time to reevaluate and make the right ITSM investments now since they are proven to provide both short-term resolution and long-term value addition.
If you think your organization is lagging in this current COVID19 induced digital transformation, you might want to consider a unified ITSM platform like Motadata ServiceOps to help your remote workforce thrive. Motadata ServiceOps is a competitive ITIL compliant ITSM software that comes with in-built features like multi-channel ticket support, codeless and dynamic multi-level workflow automation, a self-service portal, centralized knowledge base, smart ticket allocation, SLA management with compliance monitoring, etc.