Is Your IT Service Desk Overwhelmed? 3 Ways to Alleviate the Pressure, Drain and Angst

If you are running an IT service desk then you are probably completely overwhelmed; you may know that your IT service management (ITSM) platform is not serving you well but you feel that you simply do not have the time or emotional bandwidth to take on the search for a new IT Service Management software?

Sound familiar?

Does this also sound familiar? You have trouble triaging tickets, building basic workflow takes a developer so not much is automated, your self-service portal is a ghost town and your techs are balancing their time between endless project work, operational work and a high volume of tickets.

You keep reading that you should “shift left,” but you can barely tread water to stay where you are, so forget shifting left. You are absolutely not alone.

First of all, there are some small changes you can make right away to alleviate some of the strain on the team, and next – despite the seemingly unsurmountable task – going out to market for new technology needs to happen. It is one of those things where it does not get better on its own, it gets worse and the worse it gets, the longer it will take for you to crawl out of the damage.

  1. Improve Your Knowledge Base: What can you do to drive more users to self-service? One thing is to really spend a bit of time on the absolutely most common issues and get these documented and into the knowledge base (KB). Next, crowdsource content – be sure that your technicians do not just answer a ticket but that they turn it into a KB if there is not one already created. Leverage your end-users to also submit content for review and publishing. There are many capable users that can help you bolster your KB so that folks want to come to the portal.
  1. Adopt No-Code Automation: It is Real and Spectacular: The reality of automation is now here and it is available on no-code platforms. Things like password resets and Active Directory updates can and should be automated. You need to think about how you will take advantage of the tech available now for the IT service desk and level it up so that you’re able to alleviate 5-10 hours per week of manual, mundane, repetitive tasks.
  1. Bring IT Service Management (ITSM) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Together: Too many projects start off as an idea in a meeting and next thing you know, your team is handed yet another project with an impossible deadline – how do you prevent this? By instituting a formal project intake process with controls, priority levels and transparency. Once this is in place, you can benefit from a single platform for ITSM and PPM that allows you to assign everything from tickets to change management requests and tasks to full-blown project work. Imagine if you could view all of your resources and their work in one place, and they could do that too? By bringing ITSM and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) together, organizations can gain a “single pane of glass” to view all work in one place.

Three Examples of IT Leaders Removing Friction and Improving IT Service Management Outcomes

NEOMED Masters ITIL with Incidents, Problems, Change and Projects All Together

Introducing any technology-related change often creates unforeseen problems for IT staff. However, this happens less often at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) thanks to TeamDynamix. When IT staff roll out new software or update existing systems, they often see a rise in the number of service tickets they get from students and employees. Perhaps the new system doesn’t mesh well with existing software, or maybe users are confused and need more training. A comprehensive and well-thought-out change management strategy can reduce the likelihood that this will happen — and that’s exactly what NEOMED has been able to establish with the help of TeamDynamix. The TeamDynamix platform helps NEOMED IT staff plan effectively when making a change, to make sure they’ve thought through every implication first.

Incorporating Change Management is Key

“We set up a special form within the system called a change form, and whenever a production change is pending, we have the technical lead fill out that form,” says Geri Hein, project manager within the university’s IT division. For larger changes, the change form is routed to a change control team that consists of Hein, a business analyst, the managers of the university’s IT infrastructure and database groups, and the IT director.

Improving Communication Around Changes

This process has increased communication within the IT division and helped with troubleshooting problems. Now, whenever a change is coming, the key people who need to be aware are automatically notified in advance, so they can weigh in if they foresee any risks or dependencies in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Changes are linked automatically to the ticket calendar feature within TeamDynamix, so IT staff can easily see which changes were made on which days. “If there’s a problem, we can go to the calendar and determine whether it was related to a particular change or not,” Hein says. “There have been a few instances where our infrastructure team made changes that we didn’t think would cause problems with our ERP system, but they did. However, we were able to track it back to the right source and easily resolve the issue.”

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No-code ITSM Helps SLU Create an Agile Service Desk with Automation

In today’s rapidly evolving IT environment, agility is key. Being able to pivot quickly in response to conditions that are constantly changing allows IT service operations to address the needs of users more effectively. Saint Louis University (SLU), a private Jesuit research university with 14,000 students and 9,700 faculty and staff, has met this requirement with the help of TeamDynamix, an easy-to-use, no-code platform for managing the service desk, projects, assets and enterprise service for HR, Facilities and more.

Easy Admin with No Code Configuration Reduces Drain on IT Resources

Prior to TeamDynamix, SLU was using another tool for IT service management (ITSM), but the product was complex and hard to manage. Configuring the system required specialized coding ability, and the university struggled to hire and retain the staff needed to administer it. As a result, when IT service leaders wanted to make changes to the system, they would contract this work out to a third-party provider. “It would take at least a month to get any changes completed,” says Cid Cardoz, director of end-user IT services for the university. “We were willing to go back to the drawing board to see if we could find a solution that worked better for our needs.” Through his research, Cardoz found TeamDynamix.

Lowering Total Cost of Ownership with Easy Admin

“What caught my eye was the no-code nature of the platform, because that meant we could have anybody administer it without programming knowledge,” he observes. Now, Cardoz and his team don’t have to wait months to make changes, “we’re able to make changes on the fly and come up with solutions very quickly,” he says. “We have been making changes ever since we started using the system, adding new services to our service catalog—and the platform’s no-code nature makes this so much easier.” What used to take a month now only takes two or three days.”

Integration and Automation Platform (iPaaS) Simplifies Integration 

Another aspect of TeamDynamix that Cardoz and his team really appreciate is its Integrated Platform as a Service (iPaaS) capability. This codeless integration platform includes out-of-the-box connectors to popular systems such as Workday, Office365, Active Directory, Amazon Web Services, and more. With iPaaS, organizations can easily build integrations and automated workflows connecting various technology systems using a codeless, drag-and-drop visual workflow builder, streamlining the delivery of services even further. 

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Covenant HealthCare: ITSM and Projects Together for a 'Single Pane of Glass'

Covenant HealthCare knew their IT department needed a better way to manage tickets and projects as the technology needs of employees, doctors, nurses and patients continue to evolve and grow, so they turned to TeamDynamix for help. Covenant has been able to support the growing digital demands of healthcare.

They are now over 90 percent fully electronic in their processes and using technology like TeamDynamix to fine-tune processes and improve the end-user experience. “I believe the IT Department has done a successful job implementing a project when we can improve the efficiencies for our end-users and anytime that we can save them clicks, save them time, give them more time with their patients at the bedside I think is a big win for us,” Tyler Lamber, Program Administrator for Community Connect at Covenant Health, said.

TeamDynamix had all of the advanced functionality the other products had but didn’t require the need for a full FTE to manage and support the product.- Frank Fear, CIO of Covenant HealthCare

Covenant HealthCare Ushers in Digital Transformation

Frank Fear, CIO at Covenant, recognized a change was needed as the tech expectations within healthcare started to shift, “Our patients expect technology. They expect certain things like virtual visits, they expect to be able to message their providers and they expect to be able to schedule an appointment online and not have to call a provider to make that appointment.”

And it’s not just the patients who expect technology. “IT moved from being something that helped the back-office employees, to something that’s involved in everyone’s job all the time,” Raymond Hall, Technology Manager at Covenant Health, said. “In healthcare, they need quick, fast access – like they’re running a kiosk or at a checkout line – but the amount of data, and the sophistication of the data, they need is the equivalent of someone sitting down to do a research paper. They’re asking to see a patient’s chart and an x-ray and all of this information, and they want to be able to get to that workstation and see it like that.”

For Fear, he needs the same level of data and sophistication but instead of patient information, he’s looking at the inner workings of the entire IT organization and all of the projects, tickets and requests that come in and out to support the network. 

TeamDynamix Dashboards Give Visibility, Transparency

Fear said he also uses the dashboards in daily huddles with his team to set priorities and see what needs to be done, “I can report on our key strategic projects and see which project requests are coming in and be able to report status on those very cleanly and clearly through dashboards. I’m able to communicate to the organization the value that all these IT dollars are delivering.” Hall said there’s been value in both the dashboards and daily scorecards Covenant uses by pulling data from TeamDynamix, “Once they saw the scorecards the team responded [by driving] the number of open tickets down. They’re paying attention to how many tickets they are closing a day and utilizing tasks and tickets to help determine their workload.”

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