Why the IT service desk is the key to digital transformation

According to Ernst and Young’s report Born to be Digital: How leading CIOs are preparing for a digital transformation, 67% of CIOs think there is greater opportunity to provide more strategic engagement with the business around digital transformation.

Digital is attracting so much interest as it offers the opportunity to improve efficiency and, more importantly, the customer experience that takes place.

Moving services over to digital and online channels means companies can serve more customers as well as personalise each experience, which should result in more spend.

For private companies, digital strategies are being designed to increase revenue and reduce cost to serve opportunities. In the public sector, digital provides opportunities to use more agile methods of working as part of reducing cost and delivering services to those that require them.

>See also: Changing attitudes to university IT services will affect all

Expectations of service have matured exponentially in the last decade, and a “one size fits all” approach to service is no longer accepted. The digital age allows the consumer to set the rules on engagement.

The digital age has expanded the first point of contact into the web. Customers now want to experience their service provision via portals, and this experience must be rich, fluent and pleasing to the senses.

Whether you excel in break-fix or already offer fuller service provisioning, without a strong online footprint you will not be able to meet the true needs of your customer base.

Digital is one of the key strategies that CIOs now have to consider as they strive to make their companies more efficient and create competitive advantage.

However, the key challenge here is how to get started. Where does the drive to “go digital” come from, and how can existing IT resources – people and technology – be used to support this?

If an organisation has an IT service desk, this is a great place to start gathering information around pain points, challenges and new ideas that can feed into digital strategies for service improvement.

This team supports employees and customers with their technical needs and requirements, and it can be a fertile hunting ground for new services, feedback and cost efficiency ideas.

At the same time, the service desk will also have to step-up as these new services are launched.

For many parts of the business, IT is stereotyped as being just about handling broken email settings or failed updates, rather than possessing the resources and know-how to find solutions and innovate.

But you might be surprised at how well traditional approaches to IT quality and service delivery mesh with new thinking on customer experience.

Many CIOs do not have service backgrounds, having come up through the teams managing application development or the IT infrastructure.

For them, tapping into and leveraging the expertise of the IT service desk team may be unchartered territory, but it could turn out to be the ‘golden nugget’ to innovation and digital transformation.

This is an untapped team of skilled experts who do more than simply fix IT-related issues for end-users.

Under the overall banner of IT service management (ITSM), the service desk is responsible for ensuring IT assets, requirements and issues are all met and dealt with.

This goes beyond simply fixing things that go wrong and the quantitative approach to support; instead, there is also data to be gathered around the qualitative side.

The service desk will be responsible for supporting the organisation’s customers who increasingly demand a ‘right here, right now’ approach to all things IT and web-related.

Whether your customers are inside the organisation or external to it, their demands for service are only increasing.

Revisiting the company’s service catalogue can help show where service is being delivered at present, as opposed to what can be possible with digital in the future.

In its service catalogue, the team explains to the business what it will support, what it can’t support (and why) and what it could support with input from the business.

Based on ITSM as a starting point, this can provide a route to wider digital service delivery across the organisation.

Most companies don’t get the luxury of building things from scratch. When it comes to new initiatives, looking at what is already in place is a great starting point for the future.

This has two benefits. First, it’s possible to see where opportunities for collaboration can be supported. Second, greater use of in-house expertise is encouraged.

‘Outside IT’, as it’s known in ITSM circles, involves taking the software tool that is used to manage tickets and requests on the IT service desk and applying those same best practices effectively within the wider business environment.

Making this successful involves looking at how processes are designed. For line of business teams, processes may have grown organically, so taking the time to look at them with fresh eyes is an important skill.

Alongside this new viewpoint, ITSM teams can bring in their skills at ensuring processes are consistent and efficient.

Service desk teams work effectively by following systems they have established based on the combination of people, process and technology.

This team is well equipped to help other departments establish new processes that can make the most of new technology, or, refresh old ones that have not moved with the times.

This provides opportunities to look at what improvements can be made as well as how steps within the process can be automated.

For the service desk team, this also provides an opportunity to get more value for the business out of the service desk tool they have invested in.

Often the requirements, use and outputs for technology are the same no matter the business unit involved.

>See also: Leadership in the age of digital transformation

While teams might prefer to think that they are distinct in what they need, the differences actually tend to be around terminology, breadth and depth of process and the discrete policies and procedures used.

Business leaders are looking for IT to be the vanguard for digital adoption and transformation. This involves not only seeing the bigger picture but also interpreting, defining and shaping the landscape moving forwards.

For many companies, that bigger picture is stored within their existing customer and support data. IT departments that are able to extract key data from the business will find themselves leading digital transformations.

Using data and ‘outside IT’ thinking together in this way helps IT to play an indispensable role within organisations, regardless of the impact of digital.


Sourced from John Noctor, director of customer success, Cherwell Software

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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