Self-service + Automation - Increase the number of IT end users your service desk can support

According to industry benchmarks a typically supported user to help desk agent ratio is in the range of 100:1 to 200:1. Why don't you dramatically increase the number of IT end users supported by your tier one help desk? What if I tell you that you can do this?


You can ... by increasing end-user self-services enabled by a service and support catalog, and automation of first level help desk agent activities. Let me outline why I think this works.


When talking about self-service I would look at it from two perspectives: from the the IT end user perspective and from the IT, or more precise, the first level support agent perspective.


  • IT end users typically contact the help desk for two reasons; they either want to request new goods and service or something is broken. Self-services, based on a service and support catalog, reduce the number and the duration of interactions with the help desk and therefore can enable significant cost savings. A service catalog, service request management and knowledge management are areas you may want to look at to realize these savings.
  • A reality of the help desk:  85% of the cost for providing a help desk are people cost. This is why many organizations' focus is on reducing cost per call and on increasing first line resolution rates. Automation and knowledge management of the diagnostic and triage activities are elements you definitely want to look at here. They enable your tier one help desk agents to quickly find and access the information needed to isolate issues and to identify potential solutions. For known problems, automation can help by executing remediation tasks. This increases the number of tier one interactions your help desk can handle, and at the same time avoids escalation to higher support levels.

This way you have a leverage effect, something like 1+1=4; the help desk can handle more users (and their requests) while user are more self-sufficient. And with the adoption of the cloud, be it private, public or hybrid, there is no way without a service catalog/portal (self-service) and automation anyway.


Finally, you also may want to listen to David Coyle from Gartner in this short video where he talks about building self-service, why service request management is so hot and about considerations for implementing a service catalog.


What are your thoughts on this?


Michael Pott

HP Expert | ‎05-16-2011 10:05 AM

great post.

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About the Author
Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Mic...

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