Service Desk 101: Measurement and Evaluation

Building a good IT service desk requires a combination of precision and forward-thinking strategies that are often difficult to come by. Furthermore, once the solution is in place, you need to be able to gather metrics about how well users are able to leverage the technology. A failure to understand how the service desk works on a day-to-day basis can lead to significant problems as it can leave you blind to what is actually happening on the service desk.

A service desk without measurement and evaluation is kind of like a scouting department in sports without the support of analytics. Scouts can evaluate prospects and current players all they want, but the human eye and general intuition can only get you so far. Stats are needed to verify what scouts see and to provide hard data to counter misperceptions about an athlete. In the same way, service desk managers need measurement and evaluation tools to move beyond their preconceived notions about how their service desk operates and make more nuanced assessments based on data. Here are a few issues that need to be kept in mind when trying to assess your service desk effectively.

Create Insights with KPIs
Key performance indicators are the vital statistics that help you identify how well employees are getting the job done. By establishing good KPIs, you can gain immediate insight into how well IT staff operates and quickly assess service desk efficiency as a whole. Furthermore, KPIs can be created that are specific to staff and to the IT service management solution, making it easier to identify where problems lie. It is important to understand what operational metrics matter most to your organization so that your KPIs reflect your company's culture and goals.

Understand What you Need to Track
Besides KPIs, it is often helpful to have data on hand about key operational trends or how background technology systems are used to complete different tasks. These secondary metrics should be distinct from KPIs, as the performance indicators are meant to give you a quick picture of functional capabilities, while this secondary data is better used for more nuanced analysis processes. Creating a clear, cohesive strategy pertaining to what data you should be tracking and what information is less important is critical. If you are focused on responsiveness, you may want to focus on time-specific data (how long users are taking to escalate workflows, move between support modules, etc.). However, if you are focusing on empowering non-IT users, you may want to focus your data gathering on the self-service portal and similar tools.

In the end, you may want to gather as much information as you can, but if you are going to track so much data, you also need tools that can help you put that information to use.

Consider Business Intelligence
Business intelligence solutions are dedicated analytics platforms that can integrate with your service desk and gather all of the statistics that you want to be able to leverage. This goes beyond basic KPIs and simple data analysis. A good BI platform will help you identify underlying patterns in the data, provide visualization tools that make it easier to make sense of the information at your disposal and help you come to more intelligent decisions based on the stats that are available.

Implementing a BI solution within the service desk is a more advanced measurement function, but it is a practice that is growing as organizations embrace big data and strive to back observations about work operations with real information.

Using data effectively can drive efficiency throughout the IT service desk, but a strategic approach to measurement and evaluation is key to finding success in this area.

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