Questions about the possibility of recession are swirling in the news, but many chief information officers (CIOs) see opportunity ahead. Why? Historically when times get tough, IT makes advancements that are transformative or innovative in some way. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent example, and many companies made great strides by embracing cloud technology; remote and hybrid work; automation as a way to empower supply chain; and the concept of employee, customer and total experience.
Technology is Intricately Tied to Business Today
That’s a lot to manage. But tech leaders are making it happen. And perhaps because of what they’ve endured during the past few years, they have a better handle now on how to proceed. One CIO explained to The Wall Street Journal:
“I feel pressure to use technology to create more efficiency, to create more scale, to automate more,” said Brian Woodring, CIO of Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage. As the size of the mortgage industry shrinks, he said, now is the time to ramp up tech spending to create a better customer experience and gain market share.”
In a recession this year, he said, “I don’t think it’s going to be, ‘Let’s just go cut the tech budget.’ I think it’s going to be, ‘Hey, we’ve got to be more circumspect about what we spend money on, and let’s make sure that those are the things that are going to drive the business.”
Other IT leaders are echoing this sentiment, citing a greater perception of technology’s value, more unified strategy of business and technology, and the acknowledgement of technology’s role in all aspects of our business and personal lives.
Strategic Opportunity for the IT Service Desk
What does this mean for the service desk? You’re in a great spot to deliver value. What should you focus on? We’ve got a few ideas:
1. Remove Roadblocks to Initiatives
This is more of a leadership-driven approach, but it does address how you can problem solve.
It usually takes the interaction of multiple departments to get an initiative off the ground. Take lead generation, for example, which can touch sales, marketing, customer service, accounting and procurement (approvals for CRM and other software).
What improvements might IT recommend to create greater efficiency in the CRM? How could you better support lead generation from a service request or knowledge base point-of-view? As a service desk, you are in a position to remove roadblocks and support initiative execution.
2. Maximize Self-Service
One tenet of IT service management is reducing waste and improving processes. There are many ways to go about this, but empowering employees to solve easy problems themselves helps IT refocus on major problems, strategic efforts and creating solutions for the business.
Self-service usually involves a well-supported knowledge base, so that employees have a place to search for answers. But you can fast track the entire idea of waste reduction via automation. Here’s what it can look like: deflecting common, repetitive requests using AI-powered virtual agents. These agents assess requests and then:
- A ticket is created if the request is unable to be deflected
- If the ticket can be deflected, the virtual agent identifies relevant knowledge base instructions or articles to resolve the issue and serves them to the end user
- If the problem isn’t resolved, the support analyst can step in and resolve the issue
Virtual agents behave like a member of the service desk team: they read messages, interpret message intent and serve up related responses, which could be resources, articles, instructions or links for the end user.
You can create even more efficiency in the ticketing by using templates and automating the ticket life cycle.
3. Give Ownership to the People
IT manages all organizational technology. But since end users are becoming more tech savvy, it might be advantageous to give them ownership of tools they regularly use.
Would customer support be better able to engage with customers if they had a community portal to manage? Would the product team be better able to gather information from customers and communicate feature development or release plans using a roadmap site? It’s likely that IT can set up these spaces and give departments the keys to manage them. SaaS service desk software, particularly one built for Microsoft Teams, can act as a collaborative central hub for tech issues.
4. Streamline Ticketing so that You Can Act Strategically
We talked about initial steps to create efficiency in ticketing, like using automation and virtual agents. But the entire service desk team can be even more empowered with:
- Improved triaging
- Ticket routing
- Ticket types and additional data points
- No code reporting and dashboards using Power BI
Just about every process can be enhanced, and they all contribute to an improved employee, customer and total experience. What other process improvement ideas do you have?
5. Embrace Change Management
The service desk is being forced into a position beyond break-fix. It’s not that you haven’t done strategic or change-related work until now, it’s that there is more demand and opportunity for you to make an impact in these spaces, particularly tracking, review process, associations, risk management, configurations, integrations and real-time updates.
Exciting time, really.
One service desk solution that can help you operate more strategically: Tikit, a Microsoft 365 Service Desk solution. Check out a demo of Tikit to see how it works. Or better yet, explore Tikit in a free 14-day fully-functional trial with no credit card needed