As a Senior Digital Strategist at Anexinet Corporation, I’ve been working with clients over the past several years to advise and assist with the creation and adoption of digital strategies enabling them to seize modern-day customer-centric and innovative business opportunities.
In recent years, companies have trimmed IT support costs by employing a “shift left” approach. Shift-left for the IT service desk is the transformation of IT support which requires changes to people, process, and technology with knowledge management, self-service, and automation playing significant roles. A shift-left strategy has realized a number of benefits for organizations over these past several years including: 1) Speedier incident and service request resolution; 2) Cost reductions and; 3) Delivering a better end-user/customer experience. The image below is a “typical” example of why it was and still is important to invest in a shift left strategy.
If you want to keep reading about the concept and benefits of “shift-left” within IT service management (ITSM), and for the IT service desk in particular, then this blog IS NOT for you.
So, what does it mean to start thinking about “shifting right” for your IT?
Our users’ needs and expectations are growing exponentially. The number of devices, applications, and data users that they require are dramatically increasing. As a result, there is an imbalance between costs and user need which has prompted a renewed focus on user satisfaction. A “Shift Right” strategy needs to focus on how best to achieve a balance between service quality and cost optimization. And, in order to compete and succeed in this dynamic environment with diverse technologies, organizations must update their support model.
It begins with defining and updating support options for each persona based upon their applications, operating system, data classification and device. Integrating all support teams under a single strategy and operational model enables an IT organization to efficiently shift call volumes to onsite and virtual support teams who can provide more innovative and personalized face-to-face support to users; in-house clients, their customers and/or 3rd parties.
To fully appreciate the “Shift Right” IT Service Management model, let’s begin by examining how we can eliminate incidents using data analytics for Self-Service and Level 1. In one company, up to seven percent of total call volumes were related to VPN access issues. Root cause analysis showed many of those VPN problems stemmed from easily resolvable but concurrent software license limitations. Using data analytics, 90 percent of VPN-related incidents were eliminated, while the productivity of on-the-road teams were improved and helped prevent negative user perception and protected the IT organization reputation.
Data analytics can also enable more proactive support and service automation. Today, we use remote monitoring technologies to detect, resolve many issues in the field which then lead to self-healing scripts to ensure routine maintenance are addressed and devices are managed to prevent failures. By leveraging data analytics, agents can proactively contact users to handle issues before they disrupt workers and improve service desk proactivity.
The next step in applying a “Shift Right” IT Service Management model is ensuring the service desk is empowered with the tools, training, and knowledge required to first-contact resolution. Agents should have ready access to solutions, automated resolution methods, authorization, and administration tools that make incidents disappear quickly.
This approach transforms the service desk from a “log and dispatch” function into a more valuable team that understands and serves employee needs. “Shift Right” encourages a cycle of continuous improvement that yields faster resolutions and greater user satisfaction. It focuses on enabling the Service Desk with the additional capabilities to perform ongoing knowledge management, root cause analysis and analytics on incidents, and quality management to reduce recurrent incidents.
Businesses should be under no illusions of the challenges they will face to modernize and appeal to the consumer and workforce. Getting the balance between personal and digital, automated service right will be fundamental to success. And by updating your support model for each persona based upon their applications, operating system, data classification and device companies can start to explore how:
- Humans and bots must co-exist in the workplace to create a seamless, end-to-end and unified experience.
- Digital and automated service will play a vital role for customers, adding convenience and simplicity.
- When implementing robotics, AI and machine learning, how to engage the service desk to highlight the ongoing importance of human interaction, knowledge and automation.
- Reduction of the day-to-day ticket load for IT can create time to focus on higher-value activities that lead to lower support costs and more value to the business.
- Users find that the flexible support options, tailored to their expressed needs, help boost their appreciation for IT, turning IT into a valued partner for the company’s long-term success.