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Enterprise Service Desk – It’s Common Sense

ITIL, and more broadly, IT Service Management, is now a 31-year-old discipline.  It was originally established in the UK under the government of Margaret Thatcher in 1985.  For those working in IT Service and Support, the implications of this are profound.  First, it means that IT support professionals have an enormous body of knowledge to draw upon for industry best practices.  Secondly, it almost always means that other corporate services, such as HR, facilities, safety, etc., are far less mature than IT Service and Support.  Savvy IT managers recognize this opportunity, and are increasingly taking up the challenge of providing enterprise leadership in corporate services.

As a 27-year veteran of this industry, I am painfully aware that IT Service and Support has long toiled behind the scenes, receiving neither the recognition nor the rewards they deserve.  This, however, is about to change.  For those in IT who have longed for a higher profile; who have wanted to participate on a bigger stage; who have dreamed of making a more strategic contribution to the enterprise; this is the opportunity you have been waiting for!  That opportunity is the Enterprise Service Desk.

Within the last month alone, I have consulted with corporate contact centers that support human resources, collections, customer service, and vendor support.  In every case I have been struck by…how primitive they are!  This is not meant as an insult.  It is simply an empirical observation, and reminds me of the early days of the IT service and support industry.  Workforce scheduling, if conducted at all, is a labor intensive process that is done on spreadsheets.  Reporting is ad-hoc, and provides no real insight into performance, let alone the actions that might bring about continual service improvement.  Process documentation is very limited, at best.  And agent morale is generally poor.

Sound familiar?  The good news is that you’re not alone.  The better news is that there’s likely to be a well-worn path, blazed by corporate IT, that can dramatically improve performance for non-IT services, and enable them to achieve a level of maturity in weeks or months that took IT 31 years of incremental, trial-and-error effort to achieve. Does an Enterprise Service Desk sound too good to be true?  Well, it’s not.  And there’s plenty of evidence, and numerous Enterprise Service Desk case studies to back this assertion.

SMaaS – Service Management as a Standard

The University of California defines Service Management as ‘a customer-focused approach to delivering information technology’. But why not apply the same customer-focused approach to delivering non-IT services? What if we modified this definition slightly to read ‘A customer-focused approach to delivering all service and support’? When you compare the requirements of service delivery in HR, facilities, logistics, and other non-IT services, they are not much different from service delivery in IT.  So why not leverage the hard won experience, know-how, and expertise of IT in an Enterprise Service Desk to benefit all corporate services (Figure 1 below)?

Figure 1: The Enterprise Service Desk Adopts and Adapts IT Best Practices

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Jeffrey Rumburg

Jeff Rumburg is a co-founder and Managing Partner of MetricNet, where he is responsible for global strategy, product development, and financial operations for the company. As a leading expert in benchmarking and re-engineering, Mr. Rumburg authored a best selling book on benchmarking, and has been retained as a benchmarking expert by such well known companies as American Express, Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, IBM, and Sony. Mr. Rumburg was honored in 2014 by receiving the Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the IT Service and Support industry. Prior to co-founding MetricNet, Mr. Rumburg was president and founder of The Verity Group, an international management consulting firm specializing in IT benchmarking. While at Verity, Mr. Rumburg launched a number of syndicated benchmarking services that provided low cost benchmarks to more than 1,000 corporations worldwide. Mr. Rumburg has also held a number of executive positions at META Group, and Gartner. As a vice president at Gartner, Mr. Rumburg led a project team that reengineered Gartner’s global benchmarking product suite. And as vice president at META Group, Mr. Rumburg’s career was focused on business and product development for IT benchmarking. Mr. Rumburg’s education includes an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, an M.S. magna cum laude in Operations Research from Stanford University, and a B.S. magna cum laude in Mechanical Engineering. He is author of A Hands-On Guide to Competitive Benchmarking: The Path to Continuous Quality and Productivity Improvement, and has taught graduate-level engineering and business courses.

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