How to Level Up Your IT Service Desk With Automation


Automation offers the opportunity to maximize resources and productivity. Chrystal Taylor, head geek™ at SolarWinds, shares how taking a proactive service management approach can help enhance the user experience and help organizations continuously innovate and improve. 

Legacy IT service desk operations have long focused on reactive measures, often requiring manual checks and leading to bottlenecks. Some processes require multiple inputs or approvals from supervisors and technicians but offer limited visibility, which stifles communication and collaboration. In other instances, teams are still operating out of an email inbox, prohibiting requesters from embracing self-service. Other roadblocks to productivity may include technicians following outdated escalation paths for incident handling, leading to duplicate work.   

Though many businesses know their ticketing systems and service management practices could be improved, other priorities have taken precedence. Some organizations haven’t had the resources, and based on the volume of incoming incidents and requests, they’ve had to prioritize extinguishing those fires first. Other organizations have identified changes they’d like to implement, but their existing toolsets lack the capabilities to focus on those desired improvements. This all adds up, and the growing demand on the service desk requires intervention and innovation – especially now, with much of our workforce working from home and IT supporting hybrid systems.

IT should look to automation as employees’ expectations and needs evolve due to their geographic diversity and reliance on digital resources. IT service management (ITSM) platforms can automate many service management practices, helping improve response and resolution times and enhancing the user experience. 

Before implementing automation, start where you are and review your existing processes to help identify opportunities to maximize your human resources and boost productivity. 

Focus on Optimizing Your Processes

According to a recent McKinseyOpens a new window survey, businesses have accelerated their digitization process by three to four years. The share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has been pushed forward by seven years. Accelerated digital transformation and “digital-first” cultures aren’t a fad: McKinsey also says companies will continue to spend on modernization for the foreseeable future.

In short, there are many new systems and processes on the horizon. Defining and maintaining these initiatives demands a reinvention of how we service our employees and support the business. Much of this was brought on by COVID-19. Though the pandemic has been an ongoing tragedy, it has also forced organizations to reevaluate their technology and operations to better align with the business’s changing needs. With so many opportunities to improve service desk offerings, focus on the value these enhancements will bring to the organization, your users, and stakeholders. 

See More: 3 Essentials for Delivering Seamless IT Support in 2021

Avoid the Lift and Shift

It’s still common for organizations to perform manual intakes and processing, which means there’s a chance for human error. For example, service providers must review the ticket after a form is filled out – perhaps for a new piece of hardware or onboarding an employee – service providers must review the ticket. With multiple technicians involved, the absence of defined triage practices or a set workflow can result in bottlenecks, causing a slowed response and delayed fulfillment. 

An ITSM solution can help drive efficiencies for these processes, as it enables teams to create standardized service request intake forms via a service catalog. With predefined and even required inputs, tech pros know what information to look for and can seamlessly execute on requests. Admins can optimize incident and request handling by automating the assignment of approvals and tasks, which are then recorded in a consistent, secure, and efficient system. Implementing routing rules and automated workflows can further help ensure the queue of requests remains active, and requesters receive regular status updates. 

When adopting a new ITSM platform, avoid lifting your current processes and shifting them to the new tool. Instead, thoughtfully review your existing workflows and objectives to improve your service management strategy, design, and delivery. 

Getting Started

When kicking off your automation journey, identify what’s valuable to your organization and who you’re supporting. Uncovering your audience’s behavior, understanding their perspective, and knowing the broader goals of the business and its culture can help you understand how your service desk can contribute to your desired outputs. 

Review the processes, classifications, and routing you might already have in place. Evaluating areas for improvement or implementing automation may require testing and reconfiguration to accommodate these changes successfully. In tandem, find out if there are critical business applications you need to integrate or if other internal departments should be involved. Taking the time to contextualize current operations and the vision of where you want to expand helps IT think and work holistically.   

There’s always an opportunity to maximize resources and optimize productivity with automation. It may seem overwhelming, but looking at the bigger picture of enhancing the user experience and driving a more proactive service management approach can help you continuously innovate and improve.

How do you plan to leverage automation for more proactive IT service management? Tell us on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to know!