We’re nearly a month into 2017, and with any luck your new year’s fitness resolutions are still going strong. (Or maybe not; I won’t judge!) But the next time you strap on your fitness tracker and lace up those flashy athletic shoes, take a second to think about the state of your service desk. (It’s a bit of a leap, I know, but stick with me.) And if you have yet to shimmy into your moisture-wicking spandex this month, just skip the workout and jump ahead to thinking about your service desk health.
Do You Know the Health of Your Service Desk?
A healthy service desk is as crucial to your business as diet and exercise are to your personal health. Much like your body, a service desk in good health requires an annual checkup to both understand whether everything is functioning effectively and ensure no major issues are lurking beneath the surface. During a physical exam your doctor would never just take your temperature and blood pressure, then send you on your way. Likewise, relying on a few metrics to understand the state of your service desk cycle is like interpreting your overall health using two helpful but basic tests.
Standard metrics like KPIs can provide a baseline for measuring service desk health, but they only tell part of the story. Even if you think all systems are go, you won’t know for certain without thoroughly evaluating a variety of factors: metrics, service ticket workflows, incident trends, service desk bottlenecks, resource distribution, even customer perception.
Don’t take my word for it though — check out these surprising service desk metrics I came across while conducting research for our new eBook. Then discover how to help your IT organization maintain service desk health in The Case for IT Analytics: The Definitive Guide to Decoding Your Service Desk and Maximizing Performance.
1. Two-thirds of IT organizations resolve less than 80 percent of incidents at the first point of contact
Why It Matters: Your service desk’s ability (or lack thereof) to resolve incidents at the customer’s initial point of contact reveals a lot about process health. Rather than just being a hit-or-miss target, this percentage can help you identify underlying issues that may be causing bottlenecks or otherwise negatively affecting service workflows.
For instance, a consistently low first call resolution (FCR) rate might indicate an ineffective reassignment process or a gap in agent training. Even metrics that show incident resolution issues for a minor portion of all tickets can offer insight into your division’s performance in the eyes of customers.
2. 40 percent of service desk professionals don’t measure key business value metrics
Why It Matters: Not measuring key business metrics is like trying to self-diagnose your illness without prior medical knowledge. Core metrics — such as lost IT service hours, business impact, risk of missing service level agreement (SLA) targets, and costs saved through decreased fix times — provide crucial information regarding general health, akin to taking your service desk’s vital signs.
You need those vital signs in order to understand whether resources and demand correspond or are terribly misaligned. Problems such as unbalanced workloads and mismatched skillsets may only be identifiable with a certain set of metrics, yet will plague your service desk whether you know about them or not.
3. 76 percent of IT organizations frequently miss their target resolution times
Why It Matters: Occasionally missing your target resolution times points to minor, independent issues — but regularly failing to meet these numbers indicates your service desk is bogged down by systemic problems. The only way to comprehensively identify, address, and prevent reoccurrences of these issues is by drilling into every component of the resolution workflow.
Your data might lead you to discover that a certain type of request has an unexpectedly long resolution time, or that workloads distributed unequally are increasing the age of open work tickets among certain agents.
4. IT organizations detect and address only 57 percent of critical issues before they impact the business
Why It Matters: Critical issues can impact the business in much the same way a heart attack affects your body, causing a key system or process to malfunction — or worse, stop operating. Luckily, service desks can serve as a touchpoint for identifying and patching these problems before major damage occurs.
Service metrics can help you spot recurring pain points and give your team the upper hand in pinpointing how to quickly neutralize high-impact scenarios. Without the right checks and balances in place, critical problems will negatively impact the health of your service desk processes and may even cause widespread issues throughout the business.
Learn more about the value of improving your service desk health in Numerify’s exclusive new eBook.
Sources for statistics:
1. Pink Elephant IT Service Management Metrics Benchmarks: 2013 Update
2. Service Desk Institute
3. Major Incident Management Trends Survey Report by xMatters and Dimensional Research
4. Continuity Software 2015 IT Operations Analytics Survey
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