When it comes to IT, state and local governments are struggling with limited resources, retaining IT talent and low IT service desk maturity. In fact, according to a recent survey, 54 percent of participating governments say their IT service desk ranks as either not mature (meaning no standard processes or automation) or somewhat mature (some standard processes and automations, but not much).
Unsurprisingly, the top IT Service Management (ITSM) challenge, according to those surveyed, is too much ticket volume and not enough resources to address it. One solution to this challenge is investing in the right IT Service Management tool for your organization. When an organization has a low-code/no-code ITSM tool that is easy to use and administer, they are more likely to be able to reduce ticket volume and maximize resources using self-service portals, knowledge bases and workflow automations.
Self-Service Portals Improve Service Delivery, Customer Satisfaction
One of the most efficient ways to improve ITSM and service desk delivery is by removing the need for starting a ticket in the first place—by empowering users to answer their own questions and solve their own problems before an issue requires human intervention.
Self-service models that deflect calls from the helpdesk to the portal and give users access to an intuitive, timely catalog of technical knowledge not only improve customer satisfaction, they also dramatically reduce the per-incident cost incurred by IT.
For situations where you cannot self-resolve, you can automate IT.
Imagine that the end-user accesses the portal to request access to a specific software product and it routes automatically to their manager for approval. As soon as that is approved, the system then looks to see if there is licensing available or evaluates a set of rules to establish if the software can be automatically provisioned… if it can be, then it just happens – and it can even text and email the requestor to let them know that they now have access.
The IT customer portal has been a big project for the City of Madison IT team. Not only will it consolidate all of the different resource areas currently in use, but it will house two knowledge bases. The first is an internal IT knowledge base that will serve as a place for IT staff to quickly locate information and answers as needed to address tickets and requests.
The second knowledge base will be geared towards self-service for staff and citizens who want to locate answers themselves. “This will allow us to attach articles to tickets and teach people along the way how to find the answers they need. This will really empower our customers with resources and knowledge,” Abigail Ferguson, Customer Success Manager for the City of Madison’s Information Technology, said.
And ultimately, this improved self-service experience will help the city IT team lower ticket volumes.
“We are seeing the same resource constraints other cities are,” she said. “We are understaffed at times and need to focus on higher-value implementations. So, anything we can do to empower our users to find the resources they need for self-service is a must for us.”
Like many other businesses and organizations – the demand for service has gone up exponentially over the last few years as IT now has to support better digital experiences and a “service anywhere, anytime” mentality, even within the public sector.
“Demand for service is skyrocketing,” Ferguson said. “But our staff levels have stayed relatively the same.”
Ferguson said the legacy ticketing system they were using only provided people “barebones” updates on the status of their tickets, “It was a black hole. They’d get these updates just at the start of the ticket and at the end when the ticket was complete,” she said. “We had a lot of complaints about that. Our customers wanted transparency, they wanted buy-in, they wanted to have a stake in their request and to be able to provide feedback to us.”
So when it came to switching to TeamDynamix, the culture was already in place to move forward and embrace a more transparent approach to service management and delivery.
“The IT customer portal specifically has been an ongoing selling point for us to get buy-in internally,” Ferguson said of the new portal launched with TeamDynamix. “As we started to implement [TeamDynamix] we’ve had good feedback from our helpdesk on what would be better for customers to submit through the portal or resolve through self-service.”
Supercharged ITSM – What Do You Want to Automate?
By far, the top choice for automation is around onboarding and offboarding. This is a great example of where IT Service Management automation transcends the IT team and really looks across the broader organization – everyone is involved in onboarding, from HR to finance to facilities to IT. Without automation, the process can take weeks, often delaying start dates. During a time of magnificent competition for talent, delayed start dates could mean lost talent.
So – how can the onboarding process be expedited? This is often a highly manual process – everything from creating the user in the Active Directory to provisioning the software, creating user/group permissions, establishing security settings and more. What if this could be automated? Imagine you go to the service portal and click on a form to onboard an employee. From there, you enter the details of the new hire and trigger an automated workflow. Or even better, you can set it up so that an acceptance of an offer letter triggers the workflow.
In most cases, when you onboard an employee without this type of automation you are tasked with creating tickets for everyone – and that is helpful… but with automation, the system creates the user, the email, the groups, provisions software and even executes notifications by email or text all within a single workflow that executes automatically.
Automation and workflow management for IT Service Management can provide the fundamental infrastructure for IT service desk success. ITSM groups that are able to manage the flow of service requests as effective project managers—and automate away the most time-consuming tasks— are the ones that can maximize their resources in the pursuit of servicing end-users with minimal delay or frustration.
Oklahoma City IT Finds Success Using Portal, Knowledge Base to Drive Self-Service
In Oklahoma City, Business Systems Manager Dusty Borchardt credits well-defined processes and solid ITSM software for the city’s success in the modernization of its IT service desk.
With about 100 people providing IT services for more than 5,000 city employees, the IT department needs to work efficiently. TeamDynamix ITSM has allowed them to do so by streamlining the delivery of IT service through automated workflows.
“TeamDynamix has brought simplicity to our operations,” Borchardt said.
Using tools within the platform, Oklahoma City IT staff have created a self-service portal linked to an expanding knowledge base. City employees can find answers to common problems and frequently asked questions within the knowledge base, and if they can’t resolve their own issues, they can submit a service request through the portal.
Based on the nature of the problem they describe; their request is routed automatically to the appropriate IT team for a response. “Our goal is that use of the self-service portal will continue to grow, reducing our call volume and emails to the IT service desk,” Borchardt says.
Automated workflows also ensure that important tasks aren’t overlooked when IT staff are busy. For instance, when new city employees are hired there are many steps in the onboarding process. With TeamDynamix, the entire workflow can be initiated with a single service request that is routed automatically to the various departments. The same is true for requesting purchases and managing IT contracts.
“Before TeamDynamix, we had employees emailing requests directly to our administrative group within IT, and that was causing some issues,” Borchardt says. “Sometimes requests would fall through the cracks, and months would go by without anyone noticing.”
Using TeamDynamix has helped Oklahoma City’s IT support teams realize their vision for using industry best practices to improve the delivery of IT services.
“We adopted the ITIL framework more than 15 years ago. We’ve had effective processes in place for a while, but we haven’t had a decent toolset to manage them until now,” Borchardt concludes. “This is the first IT Service Management platform we’ve implemented that everyone loves to use.”