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Service Desk Staffing Ratios

How Many Analysts Do You Need?

One of the most common questions I hear from IT support managers is “How many analysts do I need for my service desk?” It’s a great question, but one that is rarely answered adequately. The result is that many service desks are not staffed properly because they do not follow any sort of proven methodology when making headcount decisions. Instead, they rely on “gut feel” or “instinct” when it comes to service desk staffing.

In this whitepaper, MetricNet defines a methodology for determining the appropriate analyst headcount for the service desk, and provides a link to a Headcount Calculator for rightsizing the service desk. Using MetricNet’s headcount calculator, your service desk can be assured that it will be staffed to meet the needs and expectations of its customers, while simultaneously delivering services in an efficient, fiscally responsible manner.

The Service Desk Staffing Fallacy

A common misperception in the service desk is that the user population alone will define the number of analysts needed. This approach wrongly assumes that the ratio of the service desk analysts to the number of users supported is fixed. For example, 3 service desk analysts are needed for every 1,000 users. The error in this approach is that no two user populations have the same needs, and therefore no two user populations generate the same workload. As such, staffing decisions in the service desk should be based upon workload, not user population.

Consider the example of a financial services company with a corporate staff of 5,000. The device count for this user population is as follows:

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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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