Service desk: at the heart of ITIL 4’s service value chain

ITSM Service desk team wearing phone headsets and sitting at desks in office at computers

How can ITIL® methods help transform the performance of a service desk supporting a multi-national business?

Car dealerships in the Renault/Nissan Group – based in Switzerland and Austria – were generating 1,000 IT tickets per month, of which 75% were service requests and 25% incidents.

The existing approach of using local, in-country service desks proved unsatisfactory: there was no consolidated view and fees charged per incident led to high costs.

To address this, we suggested a service desk that supported both dealers and back office functions. This would give access to shared information systems and provide comprehensive information about users and their demand for applications. With the full picture, we could then improve capacity management and measure service support – and with a fixed price for incident management.

Breaking down the language barrier

Providing a service desk which could handle incidents generated in three different languages (German, French and Italian) was a challenge, particularly in creating a problem management process from tickets generated in each language.

Therefore, to solve this issue we analyzed the impact of incidents on items in the configuration management database. Based on this, we decided to translate incident tickets from each language into English and only then adopt problem management.

The service desk team leader was responsible for managing translations and – based on that – we were able to review service levels with customers on a monthly basis, identifying problems and permanent solutions.

This worked well because customers could see the immediate impact of their decision to implement solutions. That included understanding the cost of solving and preventing further incidents and the overall availability of services. It allowed them to approve solutions based on return on investment and return on value – ultimately generating value for money.

Improving service desk agents

Being involved in the analysis of incidents meant that agents could share in the design of permanent solutions, which is better for motivation rather than repeated fixes of similar problems.

Also, we ensured the agents met key users. This was important as they could explain their roles and why a particular application was important to support business processes. So, the agents could see the business impact of incident management and users could also understand any constraints in the agents’ ability to help. Improving the mutual understanding between service desk and users increased the total scope of what a service desk can do.

This approach reflects the service desk management practice in ITIL 4, in which the service desk supports people and business rather than just solving technical problems.

And it shows how the service desk can become the mirror of the IT service provider’s service quality. Therefore, if the service desk is not satisfying the users, there is a big issue.

Similar to our experience, I think that ITIL 4 will really help organizations’ service desks take a central role in the service value chain and reflect the quality expected from a service operation.

Read David Billouz' previous blog post for AXELOS, Want to make an IT service change? Here’s how to do it.

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