Don’t let your organization take Service Request Management for granted!

The often-taken-for-granted Service Request Management Practice

by Doug Tedder

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Password reset.

Order a new laptop or smartphone.

Move a workspace to a new location.

Ask a question about the ERP solution in use within the organization.

These are all common, everyday interactions between a user and an IT organization, right?

These interactions are known within service management as “service requests”. ITIL® 4 defines[1] a service request as “a request from a user…that initiates a service action which has been agreed as a normal part of service delivery”.

The act of making a service request seems to be simple enough. It’s a call to the service desk. Or perhaps, it’s a click or two on a web portal. And soon, that service request has been registered and processed…and perhaps, depending on the nature of the request, it’s even been fulfilled within just a few minutes.

Those making a service request may not appreciate what happens behind the scenes. But that is what a well-planned, designed, and implemented service request management practice does for an organization, its service consumers, and its service providers. It makes requesting and managing service requests simple enough.

But the importance of an effective service request management (SRM) practice is often overlooked…even taken for granted.

Behind the scenes

The Service Request Management practice provides a standard way for users to make requests of a service provider to provide resources or take actions that are an agreed part of the normal delivery of a service. SRM is one of the most visible service management practices within an organization.

Service requests all follow the same basic structure. First, the requester’s identity is confirmed to ensure that only those that are permitted to make a service request can make a request. The specifics of the particular request are then analyzed. Some requests are quite simple and require minimal effort for fulfillment, while other requests may be more complex, requiring contributions from several teams or involving several systems. As part of that analysis, what the requester is entitled to request is confirmed, along with any needed authorization (from a security perspective) or approvals (from a budget perspective). Finally, the request is fulfilled.

For example, a service request involving software may have to confirm that there are sufficient unassigned licenses available for fulfilling the request, and if not, trigger procurement of additional licenses. A service request for hardware, like a laptop or smartphone, may involve third parties to fulfill the request. A request for system access requires that SRM confirm that the requester is in fact authorized to access that system, and if so, provide only the type of access to which the requester is entitled.

So, regardless of whether it’s asking for a new smartphone, resetting a password, or asking a question, the basic structure of a service request is always the same. But that’s just the basics. The fact is that not all service requests are the same.

How to make it look simple

There’s so much going on behind the scenes than what may meet the eye when it comes to service requests. Behind the scenes, even the simplest service requests often involve several steps. What is the key to making it look simple?

The answer is request models.

A request model is a pre-defined method for fulfilling a specific type of service request.   In other words, for any request, there should be a pre-defined and agreed approach, or model, for fulfillment. This means that a request model must:

  • Define the inputs and outputs of the model – What information is needed to fulfill the request? What outputs result from processing the request?
  • Define what information is needed from the requester – In addition to a name and userid, additional information may be required, such as location, manager name, or contact information.
  • Identify what individuals or teams are involved – Who takes the actions required for fulfilling the request?
  • Define the time frames for fulfilling the request – How much time is needed to fulfill the request? What should be done if it’s taking longer than defined for fulfilling the request?
  • Define and design how the request may impact other service management practices, such as supplier management, access management, change enablement, or others – No service management practice can be successful by existing in a vacuum. A service request may trigger an action to order a new laptop from a supplier or cause the execution of a standard change. Performance targets and expectations for SRM should be defined and agreed in Service Level Agreements (SLA). Recognizing how service requests interact with other service management practices prevents unanticipated delays with fulfilling requests.
  • Specifically define how the output will be delivered to the requester – Some outputs can be delivered electronically, like software. Other outputs require a physical installation. Some may require both.
  • Consider if automation can be used to fulfill the request – Many service requests can be fulfilled without direct human interaction.

     With BOSSDesk you can design forms and set up workflows to simplify and automate Service Request Management

A little planning and design goes a long way

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? The fact is that to deliver the outcomes from a SRM practice that seems simple for the user does require some planning and design. There are a number of benefits that result from planning and designing of request models.

  • Improves coordination between teams – While many requests may be fulfilled by a single technician, some requests actually involve more than one team for fulfillment.
  • Delivers a better user experience – Users have confidence that they will get what they need in a timely, friction-free way.
  • Helps further identify opportunities for self-service and automation – This is a win-win for both the end-user and the fulfillment teams. The end-user gets her requests fulfilled on a near-real time basis. The providing organization, no longer needed to manually fulfill such requests, can devote more time to fulfilling requests that are more complex.
  • Provides measurability – One of the results of defining is that fulfilling such requests becomes consistently measurable. The ability to measure then opens possibilities for continual improvement, as well as the ability to set reasonable expectations regarding fulfillment – for both the end-user and fulfillment teams.

Don’t take service request management for granted!

It can be easy to take service request management for granted. But SRM is a way to illustrate the business value of the service provider. Here are some things to do to ensure that SRM isn’t being taken for granted, while continually improving the value of SRM.

  • Regularly publish performance reports – Illustrate just how much work is being done by SRM. Capture and publish agreed key performance indicators, or KPIs, such as the number of requests and the average time for fulfillment of requests being managed through the practice. By doing so, both the user community and the IT organization will have a shared understanding of the value that SRM provides.
  • Identify top 5 requests logged by service desk agents – This will help identify further opportunities for improvement and potentially automation.
  • Periodically audit current request models – Do existing request models accurately represent the current criteria for approvals and authorizations?

 BOSSDesk offers the capability to measure the utilization of Service Catalogs and feedback on services delivered for continuous improvement

 

Service Request Management may seem simple to the user and to the organization. But having a well-designed and effective SRM practice is not only critical for service management implementations, but it is also important for the performance of the overall organization. Don’t let your organization take SRM for granted!

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[1] ITIL Foundation, ITIL 4 Edition, p 195

About Doug Tedder: Doug Tedder is the principal consultant of Tedder Consulting LLC, a service management and IT governance consultancy. He is a recognized ITSM thought leader and holds numerous industry certifications ranging from ITIL®, COBIT®, Lean IT, DevOps, KCS™, VeriSM™, and Organizational Change Management. Doug is an author, blogger, and frequent speaker at local industry meetings and national conventions.  

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How a Modern Service Desk  Dramatically Improves Efficiency and User Satisfaction

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Deerfield Beach is a city in Broward County, Florida, just south of the Palm Beach County line. With a year-round population of over 50,000 the City of Deerfield Beach provides customer-oriented services, which create a quality of life that encourages residents and employers to enjoy South Florida and prosper in an ever-growing international economy.

The City of Deerfield Beach wanted to consolidate several older products with a modern Service Desk solution. They were looking to build a powerful Service Catalog that addressed specific departmental needs, improved efficiency and was more responsive to their user community. The City was also looking for a solution with an integrated Asset Management capability and support for other ITIL processes such as Change Management.

They came upon BOSSDesk an ITSM solution on the Cloud that perfectly fit their needs with the integrated service desk capability and incorporated a powerful Service Catalog and an award winning user-friendly interface. The City was impressed with support they received from the BOSS Solutions team during the selection and implementation process and were impressed by how easily the Service Catalog could be created to meet departmental needs. The City has seen dramatically improved efficiency and faster resolution resulting in improved user satisfaction.

 “The Service Catalog and workflow capability of BOSSDesk is excellent”. Ron McKenzie – CIO at the City of Deerfield Beach 

 

Deerfield Beach Service Catalog

 

 With BOSSDesk, the City of Deerfield Beach created an integrated Service Desk that addressed the various departmental needs, improved user satisfaction, while dramatically improving efficiency in several areas:

Information Technology: New hardware, software and support requests are managed, priority can be specified and response times improved. The ability to track and monitor incidents separately from requests provides the City far better controls to improve resolution time and efficiency. The ability to close multiple tickets associated with a specific problem was considered monumental in improving efficiency.

ITIL Best Practices: Using BOSSDesk the City was able to implement ITIL processes that included creating a CMDB, achieving better inventory control, implementing a knowledge base and a change management process.

Integrated Asset Management: With BOSSDesk the City is able to track in real time all inventory on the network. The software allows all devices to be identified via bar codes, can keep track of all software contract renewals and provide all details regarding the software vendors

Human Resources (HR) Onboarding: BOSSDesk enables the City to order and track all the service and equipment needed to support new employees. Workflows create tasks and required approvals to ensure the onboarding process is timely and efficient.

Public Affairs and Marketing: Users can make requests to post announcements on social media or through press releases, propose changes and additions to the website, and request videos.

The City of Deerfield Beach was also very impressed with how open the BOSS team was to new product enhancement requests and the speed at which these requests were implemented. Ron and his team members are pleased with the capabilities of BOSSDesk and how well it meets their specific needs.

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IT Help Desk Wows End Users With Powerful Service Catalog

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Beaufort Memorial, a not-for-profit hospital founded in 1944 is an acute care
hospital, a regional referral center and the largest medical facility between
Savannah, GA and Charleston SC. The Hospital has a 200 Bed Acute Care Facility Specializing in Orthopedic Surgery, a Large, active Emergency Room seeing 54,000 visits a year and 1,400 Employees spread across the main hospital campus and 13 satellite clinics.

Earlier the hospital work force had to enter work orders into two different
applications, one for IT services and other system for plant services which
required too many clicks and was a huge cause of user dissatisfaction. The new
hospital leadership wanted to create a solution that would improve service
delivery and user satisfaction for departments across the organization.
The BOSS Support Central On Premise ITSM solution they used for IT Help Desk was upgraded to provide a Service Catalog and ticket management solution for the entire organization. In a very short period of time and to the delight of the users and management, the new BOSS Support Central could be used to provide a wide range of services for departments including Plant Services, Bio Medical, Nursing,Pharmacy, Security, and HR.

The workforce was super impressed with the ease with which they could enter and track issues."Willard Fosberry, Director of IT Infrastructure at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

View the webinar with Willard to learn more.

 

It became apparent that BOSS Support Central Service Catalog combined with
the automation provided by the routing engine could address all the service
requirements of the various departments at the hospital.

Benefits to the Hospital:
 One application, published on the Beaufort Hospital web page, provides
a “one stop shop” for all work requests.
 A new graphical interface that allows users to quickly browse and use
the interface.
 Took far fewer clicks to get a ticket submitted.
 The new Service Catalog was able to provide service solution options for
many departments including Plant Services, Bio Medical, Nursing,
Pharmacy, Security, and HR.
 Better tracking and a shared visibility into the work order life cycle.
The deployment of the new BOSS Support Central received instant positive
feedback from the management team and the workforce was super impressed
with the ease with which they could enter and track issues.

The Hospital has these future goals in mind on how to extend the use of BOSS Support Central even further.
 Take advantage of the BOSS Support Central Asset Management
capability to track assets

 Incorporate Preventative Maintenance and other scheduled services
into the system
 Take advantage of the BOSS Support Central Mobile application to be
used as a mobile work order tool.
Please visit www.boss-solutions.com to learn more about BOSSDesk ITSM on the Cloud and BOSS Support Central ITSM On Premise

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City of Boca Raton implements BOSSDesk for Efficient Onboarding and Improved Service Delivery

BOSSDesk Service CatalogThe City of Boca Raton is the southernmost city in Palm Beach County, Florida. With an estimated population of 98,150, it is one of the wealthiest communities in South Florida. There are more than 2,000 full-time and part-time employees that provide various services through seven departments. 

The City was looking to replace its ticketing system to make Employee Onboarding  and other processes for handling service requests across all departments highly efficient. The on-boarding process consisted of numerous steps requiring the creation of multiple tickets per new employee and technicians would have to create tickets for other IT staff members to perform their tasks. Many processes were manual and needed to be automated.

The City of Boca Raton replaced its ageing ticketing and asset management solution with BOSSDesk Service Management on the Cloud to get a better handle on their assets and also to improve their service delivery. They automated their complex employee Onboarding with workflows and approvals using the BOSSDesk Service Catalog. They also used the Service Catalog for handling service requests for all other departments.

Click below to view a webinar recording of the City of Boca Raton implementation

 

The implementation process started with a detailed analysis of the current On Boarding processes to understand what applications were used, who installed, supported, created user accounts and assigned permissions to these applications. The role of Human Resources and the Hiring Manager was clearly defined as well as the permissions required for requesting hardware and software for new employees. Service requests would be generated by both HR and the hiring manager and some manual steps would need to be automated to improve efficiency.

End users were initially nervous about the change. Once they attended the BOSSDesk training they started using it the same day as it was very easy to use" says Frank Santiago - IT Operations Manager, City of Boca Raton

He shares some of the crucial details of the implementation and what was involved in getting it up and running:

"I developed a list of the applications we supported, and the different locations we supported.Then I developed a list of who installed, supported, and created accounts/permissions for those applications.  Once that process was complete, I began creating the Teams. During this process, it was quite clear that the most complex process was the On Boarding process.This process involved many people, in and outside of IT. 

The one important element I needed to consider when creating these tasks was the order in which the tasks were created.  I wanted to be able to allow the technicians to “at a glance” see if the prerequisite tasks had been completed.  Therefore, you need to be cognizant of the order of your routing rules.  

I limited visibility of the New Employee Request form to the HR Division to prevent others from being able to make requests for new employees.

For other departments like the Police, the requirements are different, so I created a New Employee Request form for Police.  However, I did incorporate the software portion on that Service Catalog Item as the requester from Police Services would know what software the new employee would require.  Again, I limited visibility of this Service Catalog Item to Police by the use of Active Directory Groups" 

 

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How Integrated Service Management can Improve Client Service

The global consulting company Pink Elephant has determined that 2018 is the “Year of Integrated Service Management” and highlighted the opportunity for real synergy between best practices, well configured tools and properly organized and motivated people. BOSS Solutions agrees with this direction. Our company specializes in integrated service management solutions, incorporates best practices, and provides customers the best level of support to achieve business value.

Forward thinking IT organizations have adopted this strategy to provide their clients with an exceptional level of service and process improvements. If your IT organization is struggling with fragmented insights, silos of automation or broken processes , Integrated Service Management solutions can help address these issues across the entire organization.

 

 BOSSDesk Integrated Service Management

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One way that this can be easily accomplished is by creating service catalogs that are integrated with other system resources. Services and requests can be automated and offered selectively from a single portal and no coding skills are needed to construct workflows; be they simple or complex. Service Catalogs can be integrated with routing rules, calendars, schedulers and other available resources to provide users with improved workflows.  

Many IT organizations provide their client departments with process improvements across a wide range of applications from providing Onboarding applications for Human Resources to simplifying Equipment Return requests for Operations, and scheduling Facility Requests for Public Service departments. These enhancements have generated proven results for the client organizations by reducing the time and cost of delivering services while greatly improving the user experience.

BOSS Solutions offers such integrated service management capability with BOSSDesk an ITIL Service Desk on the cloud. 

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Employee Onboarding: Easing first day anxieties with BOSS Support Central – ITSM On Premise

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The first days on the job for new employees are critical to their ability to fit in and become as productive as possible, within a short time. Onboarding — the process to help just-hired employees acclimate to a new environment is not a stand-alone event but part of a more comprehensive process. Onboarding is not just a buzzword for orientation or something that is needed only in large companies. When incorporated it really helps small and midsize businesses streamline the process and ensure that new employees become productive and satisfied members of their staff.

BOSS Solutions Customer, Beaufort Memorial Hospital has been serving the healthcare needs of the South Carolina community for more than 70 years. Opened with 25 beds in 1944, the hospital has seen significant growth over the years and is now the largest medical facility between Savannah, GA. and Charleston, SC. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Willard Fosberry, Director of IT Infrastructure at the hospital, about how his team has been able to adapt BOSS Support Central the ITSM On Premise solution offered by BOSS Soutions for managing the On Boarding process of all new hires at the organization. Willard spoke at length on how he has benefitted by using BOSS Support Central for Employee Onboarding besides using it to track issues.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital had been using BOSS Support Central for their help desk ticketing and they recently extended its use to the on-boarding process of new employees at the hospital. Before a new member of staff is due to start at the organization, the hiring manager simply completes a new hire web form detailing the equipment and privileges that person is going to need. This information is then used to automatically create work orders that are sent to the appropriate staff members for completion.

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How one US state got much needed Elections TLC from BOSS Solutions

 Elections.jpgElections can be a busy time for the State Departments and the sheer number of requests from county precincts can be
overwhelming. The Elections Division of the GA Secretary of State’s Office organizes and oversees all election activity, including voter registration, municipal, state, county, and federal elections. They are responsible for certification of election results as well as certifying the qualification of candidates and preparation of ballots and election forms and materials. State departments have multiple zonal officers who manage various geographical areas to address incidents and requests quickly and efficiently.  It is the dream of every Secretary of State to have one efficient solution that will handle county request submissions, workflow routing based on the business process, escalations on pending requests beyond SLA, email notifications, and dashboard reporting. 

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Considerations when choosing a new IT Service Management tool

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When it comes to deciding on a new IT Service Management solution for your organization, there’s a wide array of products to choose from. Whilst certain considerations such as size, budget and specific organizational needs will be different from one company to the next, there are some essential criteria areas that will be common among most during the ITSM tool selection process. Here, we examine the eight key elements that should to be considered during the decision making process.

1) Out of the box readiness

It’s obvious that choosing a tool that most suits your needs straight out of the box will always be more convenient to get set up and functioning compared to a tool that requires lots of early stage configuration. What is often less obvious during this stage of the selection process is checking to see if the product will require any additional software packages in order to operate as required and also deliver any specific requirements that the organization has. As well as this, considerations should be given and even tested as to the specific platforms the new product will support such as Windows operating systems, browser editions and mobile compatibilities.

2) Customization and flexibility

Many tools allow the flexibility to easily customize components of the product such as forms, fields, reports, workflows and permissions. The ability to customize these items is often a very important deciding factor when choosing a new ITSM product. Not having the ability to customize such areas of the product prevents you from being able to tailor the product to your organization’s needs now and in the future. Even if the product does allow for customization, consideration should be given as to how easily these changes can be made. Will it require a third party consultant or can the customizations be carried out by internal IT resource. Similarly, it’s important to check if future software updates will have any effect on both the customizations that have been made and on any third party integrations that work with the product such as remote desktop platforms.

3) On premise or hosted

For many organizations choosing a product that has the option of being hosted or being available via the cloud makes sense. Typically a hosted product requires little or no maintenance, has no additional cost in terms of hardware and can easily be accessed from anywhere using most web browsers. However, many organizations still prefer to keep such products hosted locally so that they can easily and securely access to the information that’s contained in its databases. The other advantage of having the data readily available is in a scenario of having to migrate the information to a different product at a later stage. As the data is hosted in your environment, it’s often easier to extract and move to a new database than it would be if the data resides in the cloud.

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BOSS helps AAA Carolinas implement a Service Desk Solution

AAA Carolinas offers a wide array of services and has been a longtime customer of BOSS. With over 30 offices spread across both North and South Carolina, maintaining nearly 100% availability of all workstations and software applications plays a very critical role in ensuring business continuity and smooth operations.

The primary function of the AAA Help Desk Support team is to ensure 24×7 access to their business systems, which requires a help desk product to assist them in the process. Improving the speed, efficiency, and performance of the Help Desk Support team was a major objective.

BOSSAssist is the help desk component of BOSS Support Central an Enterprise Management solution that goes beyond just workstation inventory. It incorporates software distribution, patch management, software license management, interactive remote control, reporting, and asset tracking all of which can be accessed from a single console. BOSSAssist customers have a Web interface that can be accessed from any computer on the Internet using a secure login ID and password.They can now also access the help desk on the go using the BOSS Mobile App for Help Desk. In the words of Mark Daeth, Network Support Manager for AAA Carolinas, “The web interface helps people to keep track of their ticket status online and saves time on calling the help desk every time.” This feature increases productivity of the help desk staff since they no longer receive telephone calls asking for status updates.

Going a step ahead, BOSS also provided AAA Carolinas the ability to customize the text and content of the e-mails to be sent. This saves their technicians a lot of time as they do not have to remember to send status updates to their end-users. In fulfilling such requirements Suri Anantharama , CTO of BOSS says “The mission of BOSS is to provide solutions to customers and not just products.”

Anup Ravindranath, BOSS Support adds, “For many years, I have relied on AAA to provide me with the necessary support when I drive my car. Today, it gives me pride to be able to support them and help drive their business more efficiently.”

www.boss-solutions.com

 
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