Elevating the Service Desk to Handle Business IT Initiatives

Last week, I wrote a post discussing a potential scenario where the service desk acts as the focal point of IT services provisioning, communication, and support. I went through a scenario where there were many opportunities to provide good customer experience that makes interacting with IT a solid experience all around. It may sound reasonable and easy to do, but I know that such interaction can be hard to accomplish for many IT shops for a variety of reasons. It may be hard but I am advocating there is really no excuse for a Service Desk not to do its best to deliver the best customer experience possible in its organization.

Well, those interactions with the end-user are the relatively easy stuff.  There are many IT-provided services that are much more complex, and they are also some of the most frustrated interactions to deal with. Take in-house application implementation effort for example. A business team wants to introduce an application into the corporation and is looking to IT for help. IT first asks for a requirement document to be submitted, so it can get a better understanding of what the business customer is looking for. Due to the complexity of the application, a number of considerations have to be taken into account, such as hosting arrangements, network capacity, information security, audit requirements, and integration with other systems, just to name a few. After many rounds of exchanging information, questions and answers, meetings, and working with seemingly dozens of different teams in IT, the business customer cannot help but to feel confused and dazed with the myriad of processes and paperwork to work through.

We all know corporate policies and processes many times don’t make things streamlined and easy to work with IT. That does not mean we in IT cannot do what we can to make the interactions more productive for all involved. While many Services Desks deal with only the end-user-to-IT activities, I believe the business-to-IT interaction is something where the Service Desk can also contribute to delivering great customer experience. Using the same application implementation example, I put together a potential scenario where the business team and Service Desk work together to make things much more smoothly.

Scenario: Business to IT – Application Implementation

Many Service Desks today are set up to provide assistance to individual end-users only and will need a different set of staff and skill sets to work on the business initiatives. It seems logical to have the Service Desk team lead as many of these customer interactions as they can because often business initiatives in IT have a large end-user impact. For example, rolling out a HR self-service portal will have many end-user related considerations. Even for departmental specific initiatives like sales, marketing, etc., more than likely the end-users become the final recipient of these initiatives. By elevating the Service Desk to also handle the business initiatives on behalf of IT, the Service Desk’s maturity levels up and the business gets a consistent touch point. It makes very little sense not to consider this service option.

Manager Tools recently releases a podcast on Internal Support Roles and Responsibilities [http://www.manager-tools.com/2012/02/internal-support-roles-and-responsibilities-part-1-0], and I think what they discussed is something the Service Desk can take lead on. When the Service Desk can make people feel productive when utilizing corporate-provided information technologies and the business teams feel the SD team represents the gateway to the best of what IT can do for its constituents, it is win-win for everyone.

Links to other posts in the series

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