How to Improve ROI from Existing IT Service Desk Tools

Sebastien Adjiman | May 10TH, 2021

Going digital is not about investing in the latest and greatest technologies. It’s about adopting transforming the people, processes and systems in place to solve business problems. Digital transformation is often seen as a logical and expected end-goal of deploying new technologies.

 

The enterprise IT segment is going through an age of digital disruption. Organizations need the right skills, processes and tooling to launch new business models and digitize interactions with their internal workforce and end-users alike. Yet, most digital transformation projects fail in terms of delivering the promised Returns on Investment (ROI). According to a recent McKinsey report, 70 percent of all transformation projects fail in this regard.

 

In this article, we will discuss how your ITSM organization can improve the ROI on your existing tooling investments, especially in the IT Service Desk applications.

1. Understanding Costs vs Calculating ROI

Digital transformation requires investments in expensive ITSM technologies. The returns on these investments are typically compared against hard cost and business performance metrics such as revenue and sales figures. Digital transformation serves as the engine that drives revenue streams in the long haul. In the short term, business performance can be driven by a complex set of internal and external factors that are difficult to measure and track in isolation. Organizations find it challenging to understand the true and accurate cost-benefit comparison for ITSM technologies.

 

Metrics such as Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR) and Mean Time to Identify (MTTI) represent the hidden opportunity cost, which must be accounted for in calculating a true ROI on ITSM technology investments. For instance, the cost of downtime can far outweigh the cost of new technologies that help expedite ticket resolutions — especially on mission-critical IT incidents and failures. Without evaluating soft cost metrics, organizations fail to understand the true ROI on advanced technology investments. In practice, these returns are hidden and materialize at every second of continuous, dependable and uninterrupted business operations realized through proactive and timely resolution of IT incidents and the problem root cause.

2. Large Volume of Tickets

A broken ticketing system is responsible for overwhelmingly large ticketing workloads, which keeps growing despite investments in advanced IT Service Desk solutions. The service desk and support pipeline is often inundated by requests that are repetitive or simply assigned incorrectly. Optimizing the ticketing workflows and systems have an immediate impact on ROI improvements in the form of high workforce productivity, fast issue resolution and insights on resolving underlying problem root-causes.

The following best practices can help achieve these goals as we aim to optimize and expedite ticket resolution:

  • Reduce the number of hops it takes to resolve a ticket.
  • Accurately categorize tickets so they immediately reach the correct resolution team.
  • Build a support staff consisting of cross-functional teams and experts.
  • Acquire, retain and share knowledge obtained during ticket resolutions.
  • Enable self-service troubleshooting and solutions for repetitive and mundane service requests.
  • Simplify ticketing workflows.
  • Identify and solve problem root causes. For instance, repetitive requests on a faulty printer may suggest the underlying product and vendor issues.

3. Manage Knowledge

IT Service desk accumulates vast information and records on IT issues that may be repetitive in nature and only a few employees can resolve. Knowledge capture, retention and sharing is a critical challenge that puts added burden on the limited workforce specializing in each problem domain. IT should have the ability to maintain a repository of knowledge that encompasses the entire historical ticketing archive and be able to conveniently access and consume the most useful knowledge when necessary.

 

In the age of digital transformation and technology-driven business processes, the ever-growing volume of ticket requests makes it impossible to manage and consume knowledge manually. An automated and intelligent system that curates knowledge and empowers every support agent with the most relevant ticket resolution information is therefore not only useful, but necessary to free up the ticket backlogs and boost ITSM technology ROI.

4. Simplify Operations and Optimize Tooling

Organizations should invest in ITSM technologies with the goal of simplifying service desk operations. Many customers of IT Service Desk solutions are sold on features designed to make their business operations lean. The layers of features and functionality not only cost more but also add to the challenges for the service desk end-users: too many technology solutions must work together in symphony, integrate across the hybrid IT infrastructure and require continuous customizations before the operations are truly lean. In practice, lean is never truly materialized.

 

In order to address this challenge, organizations need the following capabilities that truly simplify service desk operations and ultimately boost the ROI on existing technology investments:

  • Shift left resolution for the most urgent as well as repetitive ticket requests.
  • Map support staff skills to each issue category, which must be assigned accurately to every ticket.
  • Accumulate knowledge with every ticket request.
  • Identify current and emerging problems in real-time.
  • Audit bottlenecks and process inefficiencies.

5. Take it to the Next Level with Advanced AI Solutions

Finally, understand the best ticket is a ticket that never happens. The best way to ensure this behavior is to rely on advanced AI solutions that can process vast volumes of ticketing information, identify trends and contain issues before the impact reaches end-users. For IT Service Desk applications, AI presents several advantages for the following use cases:

  • Pattern recognition and real-time anomaly detection using NLP.
  • Optimal ticket assignments based on ticketing workload and agent availability.
  • Automated and accurate category cluster assignment using language correlation analysis.

 

In conclusion, it’s important for organizations to understand not only the current business performance relative to their ITSM technology investments, but also the potential productivity gains and the opportunity cost of relying on traditional IT Service Desk support systems. ROI calculations must include both the qualitative and quantitative outcomes, compared with both hard and soft costs incurred due to investing in new technologies and the lack thereof, respectively.

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