We often praise a particular front end as compared to another.
The world of Graphical user interfaces has transcended from PC's to Mac's to
smartphones. But quite often the IT department ignores the 'Front End' that the
modern user expects from IT. Most are fixated on the Service Desk as that all
empowering front end. Even ITIL has prescriptive definitions. One can argue
that this is not at all the case especially from an end user perspective.
We often hear the complaints of IT being slow, ineffective
or behind on support commitments. Though there may be some truth to this, there's
much to do with ignoring perceptions that have built up over time in user's
minds. So what is that 'Front end'- I would define that as a cohesive combination
of Resources, Service Desk response times, average speed of resolution, automated
Service Catalog and a comprehensive Knowledge base.
So how does an organization build up that smart IT front
end? Here are 7 steps to get going-
Handle all actionable Service Requests through a
single service catalog- Basically 100% of Service Requests should go centrally
into one service catalog. Insist that the service should not exist if it does
not exist on the Service Catalog! Obviously this requires a major change to
sunset all kinds of tools and manual services, but the effort to consolidate on
one clean interface is worth the time and effort.
Support the Service Catalog through an automated
back end - All actionable Service Requests should flow through an automated
back end working their way through approvals, procurement, provisioning and
fulfillment. Of course automating all of this is ideal and the holy grail! But
make the move towards that goal and measure progress. Again shoot for 100% of
backend processes; you will reach a high mark. E.g.-new user accounts,
requesting a development environment, licenses, adding application access etc.
Problem to Incident (P2I) conversions- Resolving a problem is not the end of
the day. Confirming that Level 1 teams understand what to do if the incident
rears up again is a must. Consistently enforcing this policy of P2I connection
and conversions will work wonders over a defined duration resulting in more
incidents resolved faster and efficiently at Level 1 itself.
service for user induced incidents- Setup a Self Service gateway to manage all
such common incidents. This will dramatically reduce time to improve speed of
response. Examples include Account Lock Out, Password changes and resets,
information /document upload, profile changes etc.
Setup and maintain a corporate Wiki- Information
discovery and ease of information consumption should play a key role in the
roadmap of the IT Front end. Too often we see lack of information on how-to's,
problems with finding the right document and obsolescence. An annual check on
all key docs, along with the user's ability to edit and update docs will foster
a sense of shared ownership within the user community. Enable access through
all devices, especially smartphones. Experts will bubble up to the top and
become allies of IT.
100% of software installs via End users- through
the self-service capability and service catalog automation, enable users to
receive a temporary download link to software that they are allowed to install.
In the long run, diminish the need for this install capability through adoption
of Software as a Service and/or internal web applications. E.g. - Office 365,
Sharepoint Online and Lync
Periodic user engagement- IT often gets flak for
not being there when it matters or simply not being around. Enabling user
feedback, technology awareness sessions and formal internal training periodically
can go to a great extent in bringing IT closer to the business community.
The organization of tomorrow requires a smart technology
front end. Transforming from now to then requires investment of time, effort
and resources. These steps can get you started. And there may be more. Do you
have a take on additional steps- then do write in.