By Antony Dutton
To effectively implement service management software and ITIL service desk, communication between IT and its customers is vital. Merely looking at the business / IT interfaces without going back through the components of the service chain (agreements with Suppliers and other departments that support the services) is not good practice. Today, as businesses evolve and more stringent needs are required, process reviews are taking place and agreements renegotiated with customers.
Defining services to be delivered is the first step to successfully implementing your ITIL service desk.
Large outsourcing managed services companies are very good at defining their services, the time and cost involved. They run it as a business. IT departments often don’t see themselves as a business, just as another part of the company. This is especially true in small to medium size companies.
Setting up IT as a cost centre often changes attitudes and brings focus to defining requirements and meet objectives. However, an IT department often has more leeway with fewer penalties involved. Outsourced managed services with fee paying clients, must get it right. Often financial penalties are a key driver.
A help desk service level agreement (SLA) between the business and the service desk software provider sets the framework by which incidents and support requests are resolved. Today, with the quality of the service management software tools available, there is a good opportunity to define and track SLAs. Due to “out of the box” tools most organisations will have some form of SLA with their customers.
Organisations that are new to measurement will begin with basic “soft” targets to develop a baseline. It is quite common that IT will not publish these targets to the business until they understand what is required to meet the SLAs. It does depend on the maturity of the reporting and processes within IT. Neither IT nor the business will know if the SLAs can be met until reports have been run over a period of time. Over the course of 6 months to a year, with good tracking data, more realistic measurements can be put in place. It does provide a basis for constructive discussion based on facts between the business and IT.
This in fact is a good strategy whether you are an IT cost centre or IT with targets to meet. To agree with the business on SLAs will be difficult if you have not measured previously. If you are a cost centre and have not been measuring your incidents and problem resolution you have no basis on what you can actually provide. This can only be proven through actual measurement results so that action can be taken. For example, it can also be an opportunity for IT to justify additional resources or up skill current resources with the right knowledge to meet the business requirements.
Negotiations between business and IT need real facts. It is of little value for the business to complain about IT not meeting SLAs if the business is not paying enough for resources. Tracking the issues that have been or are being dealt with and how long it is taking to resolve is a basic starting point.
Implementing a service management software tool, getting the facts over time will enable you to implement ITIL service desk and help desk best practice.
About the Author: Antony Dutton is CEO of Aaromba Technologies. Aaromba uses best of breed technology and methodologies to provide solutions to improve sales and marketing with CRM software, Service Management Software and customer service with ITIL Service Desk and Service Desk Software.
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