ITSM Service Desk and Site Support

This SOP depicts the typical disciplines within a service desk and site support operations. Put very simply the key ingredients are
  • a one stop shop for the user community to resolve and request all IT related matters
  • the point contact for communicating and broadcasting IT operational matters
  • a priority and urgency matrix to resolve or fulfill incidents and service requests as agreed with the business
  • an escalation notification process to ensure tickets are addressed and resolved as agreed
  • a federated knowledge-base to aid the Service Desk to go about servicing or resolving tickets
Most of what needs to be said about the best practices around Service Desk, Incident Management and Request Fulfillment are covered thoroughly in the ITIL Service Operation book so I'll just highlight some important personal insights:

On Service Desk and Self Service tools
As the processes associated with the Service Desk function are now very commodotized, there are many service desk tools to pick and choose in the market. To understand the players in this marketspace, good starting points include Gartners' Magic Quadrant (the 2-3 years old reports are normally free) or crowdsourcing opinions on From there you will get a good idea which tools will fit your ITSM requirements and budget needs. After doing the necessary online research, arrange a meeting with the vendors to understand the finer technical details of their tool's strengths and weaknesses. Do pay close attention to how easily and seamlessly the ITSM tool integrates with your existing HR, identity and access management systems. Not doing sufficient technical due diligence in this area may leave you with an incomplete and inaccurate cost benefit analysis report. The usual unexpected cost are system integration or additional hires required after implementation to perform the in-between system tasks.

On metrics:
  • If an SLA is  90%. The end state is not about meeting the 90% target but knowing why 10% didn't make it.  
  • Customer satisfaction surveys is the most important indicator so sending a survey when a ticket gets closed is not the most effective way to gauge the quality of your service desk. The best means is to complement that set of data with a more rigorous quarterly survey conducted by the Service Desk manager. During this survey process, the Service Desk manager will sieve through the tickets selecting a good representation of the customer pool. For the selected pool, response rate should be close to 90% and the Service Desk manager to follow through with any poor ratings with a face to face meeting or a phone call. 
On communication vehicles:
Think beyond mass email broadcasting. The Service Desk Manager should keep abreast with current web 2.0 and social media technologies as potential communication vehicles to effectively broadcast IT operations matters to the user community. 

Updated: July 2012

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