The service desk is becoming invisible – and that’s a good thing. Here’s why

By Martin Smithen, - Employee experienceFuture Workplace

In every workplace, there are certain rites of passage. For many years, one such rite of passage was ringing the service desk for help recovering a file/unlocking a device/connecting to a printer.  And as office IT processes got more complex, the expectation was that our interactions with the service desk would also increase.

However, as you also may have noticed, the opposite has happened – the service desk seems to be disappearing. It’s becoming less and less of a feature of office life. Why?

In this blog post, I’m going to explore what’s happening to the traditional service desk, and what this means for digital transformation as a whole.

The ring and respond framework

One IT issue that every newcomer experienced: connecting to your network printer for the first time.

Between figuring out your office network, what drivers you needed and if you had the right administrator privileges, it could take up to 15-20 minutes to print off one, measly document.

And if you still couldn’t, then and only then, would you contact the IT service desk.

After being routed to a call center and before receiving any advice, you would first have to provide details of your cost center, your location and a bunch of other specifics, all completely unrelated to your current, actual problem.

Your attempts to describe your problem would get you bounced around a couple more times.

And once you were finally put through to the ‘right person’, somehow, the answer was to simply restart your computer!

Frustration – the enemy of progress

The entire process of contacting a service desk could cause immense frustration and employees would often do whatever they could to prevent having to make that call again.

It may mean asking a co-worker for help or it could mean dipping into ‘shadow IT’ – technology products and services which haven’t been approved by the business – to get around the problem.

Frustration also hinders learning, which makes it hard to get employees to embrace new technology at a steady pace.

So, it wasn’t enough to make the service desk experience better – we needed to get rid of most office IT issues altogether.

In a recent report from the ISG, it commented that we are living through a time whereby “whatever can be automated is getting automated”.

However, it’s not only the mundane tasks that have been automated. Automation is also taking on the burden of solving some of the most common IT issues.

Now, when you visit a new office location, a service desk process would have detected your arrival on the network, proceeded to connect you to all the printers on that floor and installed all the drivers you need.

This would all in be done in the background – before you even knew there was a problem.

With many of these common issues no longer clogging up employee’s time, a lot of unnecessary points of stress have been removed from the work day.

And a less stressed workforce are happier, more productive and more creative people.

Automation has therefore made the old metrics for measuring service desk performance such as the percentage of issues resolved on the first call or the number of rings before a call was answered, redundant.

Now, the metrics worth measuring are:

  • Have we improved the customer experience?
  • Are we driving behavioral change?
  • Are we helping provide a seamless working experience?

And as the priorities of the service desk has transformed, as have businesses.

The evolution of the service desk

Automated tools are now capable of proactively monitoring devices and resolving issues without any user intervention.

They are aiding in everything from helping HR departments sift through seas of applications faster, to the handling and optimization of facility management matters like temperature and lighting.

Even now familiar tools like autofill can save workers significant time. And, as these tools don’t need a human to operate them, they are cheaper in the long run.

Today, most people use the service desk as a ‘how-to’ service rather than a ‘fix-this’ one. in turn, the focus of the service desk has shifted to helping workers increase productivity by improving their customer experience.

And while there are a multitude of categorizers in an office, such as age, gender and race, the truth is, everyone has their own unique, preferable way of dealing with a problem.

This is why when creating our Fujitsu Social Command Center, we took a consumerization approach as we understood that the one-size-fits-all approach couldn’t work in modern offices.

A tailored service desk experience

We gave users the ability to choose their workplace services just as easily as they would from an online store.

And, as the Command Center can connect different services together, with the inclusion of a natural learning interface, workers can interact with it however they prefer and experience a seamless journey, rather than multiple log-ins and hand offs.

By making the service desk more efficient, we’ve been able to accelerate the adoption of key technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotic process automation into our customers’ portfolios.

But it’s more than just introducing new technology, it’s also about leveraging data to ensure that the right technology is being used by the right person at the right time.

So, sure, the traditional service desk is disappearing, but it has far from gone away. Automation has simply made it a more proactive and insightful tool, integrated into the worker’s daily activity as opposed to a service to be called upon once an issue arises.

In doing this, it is helping bring advanced technologies into the workplace and enabling businesses to benefit from a connected, collaborative and innovative workplace environment.

Click here to find out more about the Fujitsu Social Command Center.


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