Re-imagining the IT Service Desk for the Future of Work | HCLTech

Re-imagining the IT Service Desk for the Future of Work

February 16, 2023
Saurabh Sharma


Saurabh Sharma
Associate Vice President & Global Head of Product Management, Digital Workplace Services
February 16, 2023

End-user expectations have grown exponentially for enterprises globally. To meet these evolved expectations, businesses need to deploy a modern that offers compact omnichannel support, similar to B2C customer support.

This is one fine change that not only transpires into meeting customer delight but reflects improved productivity and heightened business innovation.

To reach this future state, however, technology leaders must first overcome the following challenges:

  • A high volume of repetitive issues and interactions consumes time and resources
  • Technological disruption and adoption
  • Limited IT assets in remote and hybrid models of work
  • Acquiring, training, and retaining tech workers in a dynamic business environment

These challenges have a negative impact on the user experience, draining time and energy and eventually leaving your users dissatisfied. At the same time, implementing and maintaining a full-fledged 24x7 multilingual human service desk is costly and resource-intensive.

But the benefits of tools stand clear. Virtually, all the US business and IT leaders (98%) polled in PwC’s 2022 AI Business Survey said that they have accelerated their use of AI or are planning to increase automation to reduce hiring needs.

So, servicing end users in the digital age demands a more effective approach. But what is the blueprint for the service desk of the future?

Servicing end-users in the digital age demands a new and more effective approach.

Adapt IT service management for hybrid work

According to a March 2022 Gallup report, 54% of remote and 38% of hybrid workers would consider looking elsewhere if their employers forced them to return to office full-time.

Employers need to adapt their processes to accommodate hybrid workers—and the wide range of devices and platforms they use—for the long term. Previously seen as essential in-office roles, service desk jobs in the post-pandemic era are mostly operated remotely.

It is time to accelerate the adoption of the new-age enterprise service desk with enhanced technical capabilities. Modern service desks take an omnichannel approach and seamlessly integrate phone, web and text-based support, while utilizing AI to automate and simplify processes.

For instance, an AI-powered chatbot can replace many of the repetitive tasks typically handled by the traditional service desk. These chatbots are self-service portals that enable customers to get answers on their own.

Place the end-user at the center of the new service desk

Help desks are built around the needs of the IT department and handle hardware and software incidents. But a growing number of enterprise service desks have shifted their focus from products to people. These desks measure success in terms of positive user experiences. Since end user-facing services are closest to the consumer, they are more likely to affect the overall perception of a company’s user experience.

The service desk learns from the proximity to end users and the issues they face. Their interactions with different users for different problems generate insights to improve and offer personalized experiences. By collecting data about end-user facing services, smart service desks can map the customer journey with data analytics and automation and anticipate the most common types of end user requests.

Modern service desk technologies are capable of measuring, reporting, and, in turn, improving the end-user experience with applications, devices and network—any aspect of the infrastructure that affects how employees do their jobs.

Measure new key performance indicators:

The proliferation of cloud-based tools has raised expectations for always-on technology. It's entirely possible to provide low latency and a fast incident response yet miss the mark when it comes to satisfying customers. Not only do customers expect their devices to work, but they also expect to resolve issues quickly and easily.

Moving from process-based SLAs (service-level agreements) to XLAs (experience-level agreements), which gauge success through the user's lens, can help businesses better manage and meet shifting customer expectations. Service desks can then regularly measure the performance of end-user devices and applications and flag issues even before users report them.

That’s not to say that businesses should abruptly abandon SLAs. They are important metrics and should continue as service desks gradually introduce XLAs. Used in conjunction, they offer the accountability and experience that will soon become the standard for all enterprise service desks.

Foster a culture of change

As organizations transform their service desks to keep pace with modern demands, it’s only natural that they only consider the culture in which they operate. The shift to hybrid work, with a focus on the customer experience, marks an ideal time for companies to transform the service desk culture into one that helps your workplace thrive.

Engaged service desk team members are easier to retain, and they deliver more satisfactory user experiences. Businesses with healthy cultures deliver three times greater returns to shareholders than those that do not, according to a research from McKinsey & Company.

Modern service desk tools naturally translate into a positive culture. For instance, nobody wants to wait at a help desk queue to reset a password. By automating such simple, repetitive issues, users can help themselves in real time. They’re happy because they’re able to resolve the issue quickly and easily on their own. The service desk members are happy because they have time for issues that make better use of their skill sets.

Invest in user-centric digital technologies

The future is clear. The user experience and engagement of tomorrow will be built on AI, predictive analytics and automation. For customers who need to engage with a human analyst, AI can do the heavy lifting in the background, gathering data about who the user is, which products they use and how their devices are performing, so that analysts can make quick and informed decisions about how to service them the best.

Many tasks can be handled through automation, enabling the service desk to streamline and automate workflows more effectively than before. Predictive intelligent algorithms can also help managers improve service desk operations. They can anticipate staffing needs and boost employee efficiency by equipping analysts with available resources and content in real time.

While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of today’s powerful service desk technologies, the outcomes have fueled their momentum. Businesses are beginning to see the level of service their customers expect.

Given these powerful tools, service desk analysts feel empowered and know how successful they can be. C-suites have seen the gains in productivity, innovation and customer satisfaction that are emblematic of the modern service desk.

There’s no going back. The future is here.

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