IT-Service desk

IT-Service desk
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Attaining and maintaining the highest level of quality is of paramount importance to today’s businesses. Most organizations requires additional skill sets or encounter deadlines that require extra resources. At CARAMA, we can provide you with highly skilled and specialized consultants to your site rapidly and cost-effectively.
IT staffing services are an intrinsic part of hiring capable staff in the technologically advanced twenty-first century. Ideally, before you select an agency, do your research and you will understand all staffing companies are not created equal.. While there are a variety of perks to using our staffing service there are three definitive reasons why you should hire us:

  • Guarantees qualified job candidates: We will only recommend highly-educated, properly-trained potential employees who have passed a variety of comprehensive tests, background checks, and education and certification verifications. Our Staffing services wil take the guesswork out of hiring.
  • Saves your company time and money: It takes the work time of your current employees as well as company money to find qualified new staff members. Their salaries and hours on the job are better spent. Allow your staff’s time at work to directly benefit the company and utilize our staffing service to add to your existing employees.
  • Allows for a “trial run” of potential full-time employees: With the options of hiring for temporary positions or engaging “contract to hire” employees a staffing service allows you to ensure your potential employees are the best fit for your company’s goals, work ethic, and vision.

The service desk

The performance of a service desk is an indicator of the overall health of an organization’s IT. As well as being a key business function, the service desk enables organizations to thrive.

Cost reductions are a necessity in today’s economy and internal support groups are a frequent cost reduction target. Service desks need to ensure that their services are clearly defined and aligned with business needs.

The service desk is a single point of contact (SPOC) for end users who need assistance/help.

The service desk definition

  • Resolves 60% or more of incoming incidents and requests without any escalation
  • Improves customer satisfaction significantly, when first level resolution is at 50% or more
  • Reduces costs and time to fix incidents
  • Keeps businesses running efficiently

Ensuring service desk results

To introduce and maintain a successful service desk, it is essential that:

  • Business needs are understood
  • Customer requirements are understood
  • Investment is made in training for service desk staff
  • Service objectives, goals and deliverables are clearly defined
  • Service levels are practical, agreed, and regularly reviewed

The benefits of a service desk

  • Improved customer service perception and satisfaction
  • Increased accessibility to assistance/help through a single point of contact, communication, and information
  • Better quality and quicker turnaround of customer/user requests
  • Improved teamwork and communication
  • Enhanced focus and a proactive approach to service provision
  • Better managed infrastructure and control
  • Improved usage of IT support resources and increased productivity of business

Service Desk Objectives

The primary aim of the service desk is to restore the normal service to the users as quickly as possible. In this context restoration of service is meant in the widest possible sense. While this could involve fixing a technical fault, it could equally involve fulfilling a service request or answering a query – anything that is needed to allow the users to return to working satisfactorily.
Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Logging all relevant incident/service request details, and allocating categorization and prioritization codes
  • Providing first line investigation and diagnosis
  • Resolving those incidents/service requests that do not need escalating across IT
  • Escalating incidents/service requests that the service desk cannot resolve within agreed timescales
  • Closing all resolved incidents, service requests and other calls
  • Conducting customer/user satisfaction call backs/surveys as agreed
  • Communication with users – keeping them informed of incident progress, notifying them of impending changes or agreed outages, etc.
  • Updating the configuration management system under the direction and approval of configuration management if so agreed
  • Service desk structures

    There are many ways of structuring service desks and locating them – and the correct solution will vary for different organizations. The primary options are detailed below, but in reality an organization may need to implement a structure that combines a number of these options in order to fully meet the organization’s needs.

    A local service desk

    This is where a service desk is co-located within or physically close to the user community it serves. This often aids communication and gives a clearly visible presence, which some users like, but can often be inefficient and expensive to resource, as staff are tied up waiting to deal with incidents when the volume and arrival rate of calls may not justify this.
    There may, however, be some valid reasons for maintaining a local service desk, even where call volumes alone do not justify this.
    Reasons might include:

    • Language and cultural or political differences
    • Different time zones
    • Specialized groups of users
    • The existence of customized or specialized services that require specialist knowledge
    • VIP/criticality status of users

    Centralized Service desk

    It is possible to reduce the number of service desks by merging them into a single location (or into a smaller number of locations) by drawing the staff into one or more centralized service desk structures. This can be more efficient and cost effective, allowing fewer overall staff to deal with a higher volume of calls, and can also lead to higher skill levels through greater familiarization. It might still be necessary to maintain some form of local presence to handle physical support requirements, but such staff can be controlled and deployed from the central service desk.

    Virtual Service Desk

    Through the use of technology, particularly the internet, and the use of corporate support tools, it is possible to give the impression of a single, centralized service desk, when in fact the personnel may be spread or located in any number or type of geographical or structural locations. This brings in the option of home working, secondary support groups, offshoring or outsourcing – or any combination necessary to meet user demand. It is important to note, however, that safeguards are needed in all of these circumstances to ensure consistency and uniformity in service quality.

    Follow the Sun

    Some global or international organizations may wish to combine two or more of their geographically dispersed service desks to provide a 24 hour follow the sun service.
    This can give 24 hour coverage at relatively low cost, as no desk has to work more than a single shift. However, the same safeguards of common processes, tools, shared database of information and culture must be addressed for this approach to proceed and well controlled escalation and handover processes are needed.

    Specialized Service Desk Groups

    For some organizations it might be beneficial to create specialist groups within the overall service desk structure, so that incidents relating to a particular IT service can be routed directly (normally via telephony selection or a web based interface) to the specialist group. This can allow faster resolution of these incidents, through greater familiarity and specialist training.

    The selection would be made using a script along the lines of “If your call is about the X Service, please press 1 now, otherwise please hold for a Service Desk Analyst”. Care is needed not to over complicate the selection, so specialist groups should only be considered for a very small number of key services.

    Building a Single Point Service Desk

    Regardless of the combination of options chosen to fulfill an organization’s overall service desk structure, individual users should be in no doubt about whom to contact if they need assistance. A single telephone number (or a single number for each group if separate desks are chosen) should be provided and well publicized – as well as a single email address and a single web service desk contact page.

    Service Desk Skill Levels

    An organization must decide on the level and range of skills it requires of its service desk staff – and then ensure that these skills are available at the appropriate times.

    A range of skill options are possible, starting from a call logging service only – where staff need only very basic technical skills – right through to a technical service desk, where the organization’s most technically skilled staff are used. In the case of the call logging type of service desk, there will be a high handling rate but a low resolution rate, while in the case of the technical service desk, this will be reversed.

    The decision on the required skills’ level will often be driven by target resolution times (agreed with the business and captured in service level targets), the complexity of the systems supported and what the business is prepared to pay. There is a strong correlation between response and resolution targets and costs – generally speaking, the shorter the target times, the higher the cost because more service desk resources are required.

    This can also be achieved by locating second level staff on the service desk, effectively creating a two tier structure. This has the advantage of making second line staff available to help deal with peak call periods and to train more junior personnel, and it will often increase the first call resolution rate. However, second line staffs often have duties outside of the service desk – resulting in rosters having to be managed or second line staff positions being duplicated. In addition, having to deal with routine calls may be de-motivating for more experienced staff.
    Another factor to consider when deciding on the skill requirements for service desk staff is the level of customization or specialization of the supported services. Standardized services require less specific knowledge to provide quality customer support. The more specialized the service, the more likely specialist knowledge will be required on the first contact.

    Once the required skill levels have been identified, there is an ongoing task to ensure that the service desk is operated in such a way that the necessary staff obtain and maintain the necessary skills, and that staff with the correct balance of skills are on duty at appropriate times, so that consistency is maintained.

    Service Desk Metrics

    Metrics should be established so that the performance of the service desk can be evaluated at regular intervals. This is important to assess health, maturity, efficiency, effectiveness and any opportunities to improve service desk operations.

    Metrics for service desk performance must be realistic and carefully chosen. It is common to select those metrics that are easily available and that may seem to be a possible indication of performance; however, this can be misleading. For example, the total number of calls received by the service desk is not in itself an indication of either good or bad performance and may, in fact, be caused by events completely outside the control of the service desk – for example, a particularly busy period for the organization or the release of a new version of a major corporate system.

    Example service desk metrics:

    • First Level Fix (FLF)
    • First Contact Resolution (FCR)
    • Number of calls over a defined period (per day/per week/per month, etc.)– Trend analysis
    • Number of calls over a defined time period (0800–1000, 1000–1200, etc.) – Trend analysis
    • Call duration
    • Incident Turnaround Time (ITAT)
    • Average Speed to Answer (ASA)
    • Abandoned Call Rate (ABR)
    • Number of incorrectly assigned incidents
    • No. of calls/incidents per analyst
    • Cost per call or per incident

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