Service Management 

Automating for productivity: Your Service Management mandate

Expectations from the internet generation are radically affecting the role of IT service management. Can automation help the help desk?

Visiting numerous analysts globally in the first half of this year, it’s clear to me that we are indeed in a time of change for IT service management. We now have a generation that has grown up with the Internet. We are finally seeing the promise of ubiquitous connectivity and mobility which are delivering the Application Economy – putting processing power on a mobile device that supports a wonderfully rich, yet intuitive user experience.

These and other factors are changing expectations of a service management function that is contracting in many orgs.

Is failure really no longer an option?

Accelerated development processes with continual releases and a culture of Mean Time To Recover (MTTR) has replaced Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) – and it’s driving our IT enabled business.

Now let’s be honest; failure still happens. Reliability is important, but it’s really about getting the service operational and usable that’s critical. That said, do you think developers code with the intention of failure?  The fundamental evolution is that technology is reliable today and the complexity is more in how we deliver.

As service delivery professionals, we must accept a culture of never-ending new applications, technologies and partners that must scale and run anywhere, from on-premise to the cloud.

And by the way, your sophisticated user community wants to connect with you in the form that suits them; internet, email, text, chat, or even Twitter.  They may even collaborate with each other to solve their problems as I discussed in my last blog.

There is no doubt that change is accelerating as my attention was drawn to the Help Desk Institute’s 2014 Support Center Practices and Salary report.

The survey found that although phone (90%) and email (89%) are still the major vehicles used to contact the service desk, chat (32%) was more popular than autologging (22%).  The report showed that text messaging (7%) and social media (6%) are still not widely used.

When you compare this to the data point that 57% of organizations reported an increase in tickets, it’s clear that the service desk is not only still relevant, it’s being asked to do much more with less.

Sitting down with service desk analysts: an eye-opening experience

Too often service desk analysts are working without a good line of sight into the environment. They frequently find themselves working from independent queues in multiple systems, and the queues don’t always help them understand organizational criticality or even inform them of current environment circumstances.

For instance visiting a large financial organization recently where I was privileged to spend time on the desk, I noticed several notes around one analyst’s screen – these consisted of critical users, current organizational problems and even the “workaround of the day”.  All of this was to drive productivity in working through the ticket to meet the objective of customer delight and restoring service quickly.

A new era for automation

While on the desk, the team shared with me how they are overcoming the critical issues of greater demand and that was through automation. Automation was critical to ensuring that many calls are resolved before they even reach the desk, especially with the growing generation of technology self-sufficient users.

For instance the automation of employee onboarding transforms a process that took hours in the past to one that now takes seconds.  Automating the provisioning of a new development \ test environment for coders is another high-value proposition, as is being able to automate the requesting, approval and provisioning of additional system capacity when an alert warns of a shortage.

These are just a few examples of the automations being delivered to free up analyst capacity.

Right tools are key to service management success

Having the right tools play an important role in building this type of automation. CA’s latest cloud-based IT Service Management solution is delivered with a graphical designer for building process flows that provide consistent support, all in a true “codeless” configuration. Our automation is also designed to allow the solution to connect to other CA, third party or homegrown apps as well as discover and import assets from multiple environments.  You can access a trial immediately via your own cloud instance in moments.

What about your service desk? How is IT service management driving productivity for you?


Robert Stroud is VP of innovation and strategy for IT Business Management at CA Technologies.…

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