Implementing an IT service management (ITSM) solution into your organization, be it a school, business, municipality, or manufacturing facility, can empower your organization’s systems, IT and service teams and help them serve others in the organization more effectively and quickly, making digital transformation easier.

Some of the most obvious signs that it’s time to make the switch include staff complaining about tedious manual tasks related to getting their internal needs addressed and questions answered, expensive and cumbersome workflows, lack of insight and the ability to run reports, and the inability to share organizational knowledge throughout the organization.

Have you not changed your environment in years because making minor changes is too cumbersome and expensive? Then it might be time to move on. The good news is some tools can better support you and your organization.

Most modern tools support your organization without overloading your resources, and they provide task automation and easy reporting to save valuable time and resources. Of course, there are other outcomes to expect, but I’d like to dig into some of the most basic examples of how an ITSM solution can help your service desk. While some of the following tasks may seem commonplace, my conversations with IT leaders and service desk managers suggest that these issues and questions often go unanswered.

Log a Service Request Ticket

Logging a ticket. Surprisingly, most people don’t know about this or how to do it. If you’re operating a customer-built solution or if you’ve provided little education or guidance for how your user base should contact your service desk, it’s no wonder. Likewise, if you go through building out a portal that people understand for how to log a ticket, are they able to navigate the ticket portal?

If you’re implementing a logging solution out of the box, are you evaluating how users plan to navigate the portal? While it may seem intuitive, service ticket logging systems should be virtually appealing. If it’s not, it won’t be used. It also should provide a customizable list of knowledge and self-help options to determine the best way forward to acquire the services they need.

Another factor to consider is that all content in the ticket logging system (the knowledge management portal) is linkable to a specific service area. So, for example, for help with computers or printers, the service links take users directly to the place where they can find the service they need. Unfortunately, legacy tools or old home-built solutions are not integrated with the knowledge items. So, if not combined, it’s going to have a hard time finding adoption of a quality useable logging system.

Information Collection Through Submitted Logs

For more advanced services, users should easily be able to click on a form for questions or advanced issue remediation. Here’s the reason for this: If you’re expecting to take knowledge from generic submitted forms, you are limited regarding what information you can collect, nor can you determine the correct amount of data. As a result, your systems admin team must conduct a great deal of triage to solve the issue. The advice here is to build out forms that collect all of the information needed to complete the ticket with the narrowest margin for error and one that is designed to reduce redundancies, errors and your team’s resources.

The ideal outcome should always be leading your users to self-solve. 

Ticket Management

Accurate data through proper use of forms and collection improves business decisions downstream. In many cases, regarding legacy solutions, this might be desired but not practical. The information that flows into the service management solution is just as important as the data you’re able to pull out. If you can reach or use the inputted data, you’re unable to take action on it, respond accordingly, nor are you likely going to be able to get to the root of the problem quickly.

Let me try to provide a bit more detail to show you what I mean. If you allow users to input the correct data to address the ticket through structured forms and submission pathways, you may automate a portion of your ticket management functions. Nevertheless, any collated data from the ticket entry forms that users submit are searchable for the lifetime of the solution; your service desk team members can view historical information tagged to a specific issue (“printer issue 990 …”), and you can place knowledge items in communication with the user who logs the ticket.

For every ticket submitted, you can see the history of that ticket and the item serviced, even when the item (a printer, for example) is serviced because of multiple tickets. All information is indexed based on the ticket type and template, and the department and user served.

Forms Creation Best Practices

When creating user forms to collect the data needed to service their needs, organizations just starting should consider coding-free drag-and-drop form creation to built templates.

Responsibilities Management

For those working in the service desk solution, several factors may help your teams improve their roles’ functionality and keep teams on task. Some of the most critical factors for these solutions are how to manage workflow within these solutions. Your teams must be able to identify where assets and processes fit into the organization.

Some of the most basic ways to gain insight into your processes are to have access to or understanding of what those processes are. So, if a server goes down, you can see who and what is affected by the down server. Any outages are notable and identifiable, and publishable in the service portal.

When outages occur, the service teams must easily communicate with others and throughout the organization through native chat, email and omnichannel.

Likewise, technicians have access to task boards to show them what they are supposed to work on, showing them the different types of activities today, coming up or coming soon. Likewise, tracking solutions, known as Kanban boards, can support your service desks’ agile way of working, including lanes associated with ticket categories and ticket assignment.

Ticket Management

In service management, ticket management is paramount. With configurable, widget-based solutions, creative reports are customizable and built on data within the solution. With the service solution, service desk teams can schedule reports for automatic submission to those who need them.

Finally, a service management suite also facilitates operations management for preventive maintenance activities, fleet or smoke detector testing, boiler room maintenance and server maintenance. All of these operations are schedulable and trackable for more efficient resolution and tracking.