Service Desk ... Consolidation? Replacement? Transformation? That's the Question!

While meeting a couple of sales people recently, the subject came to service desk consolidation. I hear you say now "I heard this before, welcome back to the 90s!". At that time called "help desk consolidation", this appears to be a rather old concept , but wait a minute ... 

 

... despite this I think that service desk consolidation is more important than ever before. Sure, the game has changed since then. New technologies but also new communication and collaboration behaviors are developing at high speed, with virtualization, cloud, multi-sourcing business models as well as the use of social media setting the pace and driving the need to change.

 

At the same time I see that most of - if not all - parts of the IT infrastructure are still siloed, non-standardized and in the worst case pretty fragile. Companies continue to struggle with high cost, long service delivery and the need to manage the growing infrastructure complexity with the same amount or even less people.

 

Another factor, which is often underestimated, is user expectation. End users do not care about the complexity in the backend. They expect a single point of contact to go to for a great service experience.

 

How do you tackle the above? Service desk consolidation is a very good starting point to realize quick wins. But from my perspective this needs to go beyond just replacing multiple disparate tools from different vendors and locations. It should go - and in all cases I know of so far, it indeed goes - hand in hand with other initiatives like driving change into the organization, standardizing on processes, and leveraging flexible sourcing options like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). In short: IT needs to transform into a service providing organization.

 

The results can vary and depend on the driving objectives of a concrete project but typically include operational cost reduction through increased efficiency, improved quality of service (like faster service delivery), lower risk and improved compliance to name a few. A manufacturing company in the US, for example, increased the number of changes processed by 40 percent, and reduced the monthly emergency change rate by 50 percent, by consolidating and standardizing core processes like change management.

 

By the way, talking about transformation, a subject-matter in itself, there is an interesting reading I came across recently. The article, actually a series of blogposts, talks about an IT transformation strategy and the experiences made.

 

When it comes down to looking for a solution to support service desk consolidation, beyond the tools, I would consider the following:

  • Breadth and integration points of the complete solution – spanning the management of the entire service lifecycle across and beyond operations. Think a about the whole application lifecycle, for example.
  • Complete solution delivery capabilities and process expertise, ranging from initial discovery workshops, over consulting services, to implementation and support.
  • A pragmatic solution approach that helps you on your IT Service Management journey, providing the starting points for immediate gains and solution growth paths that adapt to your mid- to long-term goals.

Let me iterate and close ... service desk consolidation is more important than ever before. But it has to go further than the 90's approach. Then it is an excellent opportunity to transform your IT, and to make it fit for this interesting decade we are in.

 

What are your thoughts on this?


Michael Pott

Comments
JodyRoberts | ‎02-25-2011 02:33 PM

That is a very interesting article Mike.  In my data center transformation work I agree there are similarities in the transformation processes.  Lots of aggregating and normalizing information, large reporting effort, identifying missing information...it fits.  What do you think about implementing solutions?  what are the characteristics of a systematic process for SDT?  Is that another made-up another acronym?

jpquesada | ‎03-01-2011 11:58 AM

What an interesting post in a time that I'm seeing this trend materialize in front of my own eyes.

Yes, companies are looking at that transformation, and in my opinion, just as a normal piece of a maturity process where the evolution of services takes them through different stages: they might start with a very standard "call center" environment, grow into a basic help desk that disperses their infrastructure and locations, consolidate into a SPOC and centralize and then, only then.... they evolve into that next stage of service management, where other things need to tie in the knot of a great service.

And yes, INTEGRAL is the key word about doing these transformations:  doing patches and acting on pieces of the problem won't take companies to where they want. Instead an integral, multi-area approach that transforms tools, processes, SLAs, goals, end user expectations, etc... that is the way to go to..

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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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