Automation Pays Off at Every Phase of an ITSM Workflow
Consumerization and a variety of related technology trends are conspiring to put more pressure on IT and support teams. Modern IT departments need to be quick, agile and responsive. Manual service desk software operations are too prone to slow downs, human error and similar problems to keep up. Automation can have a positive impact on operations at every level of an IT service desk workflow, from initially processing an incident to closing the support ticket down.
Automation during initial submission
When a support ticket is sent to the service desk it needs to be analyzed at a basic level and routed to a support worker based on technical competencies and how much work users have on their plate at the given moment. In a manual system, the support request is placed into a central queue waiting for a manager to come along, read over the ticket and make the decisions on routing. In this situation, it is easy for tickets that come in bunches or are followed by clearly high-priority issues to end up getting put on the back burner and delayed or even lost. The human error associated with manual routing is significant, but scripting the routing process based on your specific workflow requirements lets you automate this entire process, streamlining support ticket delivery and eliminating the potential for human error.
Automation in progress
There are many cases when resolving an IT incident management takes an extended period of time, requires the ticket to be sent between multiple parties or simply takes so many steps to complete that the process framework gets complex. With all of these issues in play, organizations need to empower their support workers to focus exclusively on resolving the issue at hand, not stopping to provide users with confirmation that their issue has been received, updates on what is happening and estimated times for when the situation will be resolved. Having users manually perform these updates when a support task is in progress distracts workers from the most important task - solving the issue impacting the end user experience.
Automation solutions include scripts that automatically update users on their support ticket as it moves between various workflows and the estimated time of completion changes. The result is a simpler operational climate for support workers and a more informed user base.
Automation upon resolution
A funny thing happens when a support ticket is resolved in most manual workflow models - support closes the incident while it is still out there for IT or end users to enact the solution. The result is often a confusing and time-consuming collaboration process in which IT workers or end users need to figure what the support team needs them to do, connect with the support worker all over again if the resolution doesn't work and wait around while all of these messages go back and forth without the initial issue being dealt with.
The automation tools that enable better collaboration when an incident is in progress is similarly viable when dealing with the nuances of resolution, keeping everybody informed and eliminating potential confusion and frustration.
Automation at the close
When most support incidents are closed, the results are documented and left to sit in a database somewhere in case they are ever useful. In most cases, IT and support teams leave the experience no different than they were at the start. Automation systems can collect data about the support process, including user feedback. This allows IT and support teams to take a close look at operations from an external perspective and gain key knowledge about their processes.
Manual functionality offers too many limitations and too much room for error to remain dominant in the service desk. Empowering support workers with automation can drive innovation and create a better experience for all parties involved.