SERVICE DESK 2.0 -The Service Desk is dead…long live the Service Desk!

Service Desk 2.0
Service Desk 2.0: More about services, products and capabilities, less about incidents and fixes.

We all know the world of IT is developing at a frightening pace.

Has Service Management been left in the dust?

I recently corresponded with Aale Roos,  ITSM Consultant and founder at Pohjoisviitta Oy, who argues that the old perception of the Service Desk has to be replaced with a new way of thinking.

Q. The ITSM Review: Aale, could you tell me a bit about yourself ?

In 1989 I left my job at a Computercenter to become an ITSM consultant (We called it Data Processing Management Consulting back then, the company was called DPMC Oy)

In 1992 I started Help Desk Institute in Finland. By 2002 I was completely bored with help desks but saw that ITIL was coming and went into ITIL training and consulting.

Then in 2007 I thought that ITIL V3 was a big mistake and concentrated in ISO 20,000 instead.

Today I see a renewed interest in support but I think that ITIL is way behind. People don’t want to hear the same old stuff.

Q. What led to your Service Desk 2.0 Concept?

There are three major reasons why the good old Service Desk model is fast becoming obsolete:

1. Users Got IT Savvy

The concept of a Single Point Of Contact (SPOC) was a great innovation. Instead of having several numbers like PC support, operators, telecommunications etc. to call, the IT end users were given one single number and a promise that they would get help. The model was a great success; it was a major improvement to the previous situation, both for IT and the users of IT services.

There is nothing wrong with the SPOC model itself, it works fine if there is a fairly homogenous group of customers who have the same problems. This happens when people are confronting something complicated which is new to them and the 20/80 rule works; if you can solve 20% of issues, you can solve 80% of end user calls. That was the situation with IT before year 2000. It was new and complicated and people had repeating problems that were relatively easy to solve.

Today almost everyone is used to IT and can solve simple problems themselves. People are not afraid of computers like they were in the 1980’s when this model was invented.  There is no homogenous group of users with easy problems, users are different and their problems and needs are more specific.

2. Diversity vs. Standardization

The second major change is the technology. There have been two major waves of computing and a third is emerging: first the central computing with mainframes, then the personal computing with PC’s and now the consumer computing with iPads, Apps and Cloud. One of the key concepts in ITSM is standardization. Support and maintenance is much easier if users have standard equipment. BYOD is an anathema to this but is becoming reality. People use the tools they want to use and now consumer products are overtaking corporate IT. It is hard to support something you do not know.

3. Paradigm Shift in Support

The third change is the real game breaker. The whole Service Desk / incident/ problem -thinking is based on the assumption that technology malfunctions but is easy to fix. There must be one person per x hundreds of users. This model would not work with consumer services where one person can support a million users. FaceBook has 845.000.000 users and 3.000 staff. I would be surprised if more than 845 of them would be doing support, probably less. WordPress has 20 million customers and 10 happiness Engineers to support them.

The only way to support millions of users with one person is to make products and services robust, reliable and easy to use and that is exactly what has happened.

Aale Roos

Q. What does Service Desk 2.0 mean in practice?

Do we still need a service desk then? Yes we do but it has to change. The old ITIL Service Desk is like the old Service station including as garage. Handy if your car broke down. The new service station does not fix cars but sells food. Handy if you are hungry.

The new Service Desk 2.0 is like the Applestore. It is not about incidents and fixes, it is about services and products. Or maybe it is really about capabilities, Service desk 2.0 strives to give you better tools.

The new model plays down the SPOC model. Yes, there is a number but it is ok to contact the expert direct. They key is service, not incidents. Self service and peer support are important. SD2 is the place for new solutions. Feedback is also important, SD2 listens to the customers and drives service improvements.

Q. There seems to be increased interest in Service Catalogue – in this the answer to swapping the focus from call volumes to services and perceived value?

Yes, exactly.

Q. What key steps would you recommend for embracing the requirements of the modern day service desk?

  1. Learn to use new tools and keep up with you front runner customers.
  2. Be active in sharing new solutions.
  3. Be visible in social media
  4. Understand that peer to peer support happens

Aale Roos is an ITSM Consultant and founder at Pohjoisviitta Oy.

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2 thoughts on “SERVICE DESK 2.0 -The Service Desk is dead…long live the Service Desk!”

  1. Good one. I’m absolut agree. There is a lot to do in service managment to look behind the changes in the real world. So I think there are also several points to have a focus on it and this is social media, too. For a SD2.0  it’s important to get the right service channels like Facebook and twitter open to run a face2face support for the customers. Because they want a support through that levels but it should be mixed as not all customers playing in this area an using still the old ways of phone or mail. Enterprise 2.0 will be get a important role to give a answer of those kind of requirements. Knowledgemanagement is also a big one to have look into.

  2. Nice Post Martin. Hope we will discuss about this subject more at the SITS13. Please come and join with MSR. Stall no. 721.

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