With IT and technological advancements being the driving force behind company and customer interaction, IT is a serious business and an expensive one at that. According to a report by Gartner, global spending on IT is expected to be around £3.5 trillion in 2020 alone.
The ever-evolving nature, and increasing reliance on IT, mean that businesses are seeing rising costs in this area. With budgets being increasingly-stretched, Chief Technical Officers (CTO) are facing a constant battle to reduce service desk costs, balanced against the need to provide outstanding customer service to end-users.
As IT service desks act as the primary point of contact for user requests and password management, as well as incident monitoring, what are the most effective ways that costs can be saved?
Here are 5-ways that IT leaders can start to turn the tide, and cut costs, by utilising self-service portals:
Reduce the number of service desk tickets
When end-users submit a ticket for assistance, they do so wanting, if not needing, a response in record time. Handling these tickets becomes the measure by which an IT service desk is judged, and failing to manage these can all but destroy any credibility.
Businesses seek growth, and then this becomes a double-edged sword: as the expansion continues, the number of tickets increases alongside this, putting an ever-greater strain upon IT service desks.
A reduction in the number of tickets has the most profound impact on service desks: freeing up time and resources.
Surveys reveal that up to 50% of IT service desk tickets related to a single issue: password resets. So, how can password management be improved in such a way as to reduce the pressures caused by tickets relating to password resets?
Self-service password reset
Self-service password resets (SSPR) remove the need for a ticket to be raised when password issues present themselves. The usual response to requiring a password reset would be to contact the service desk via a ticket and then demand to know why the issue hasn’t been rectified immediately.
With self-service password reset software, the burden of mounting tickets is removed from the service desk. Business users are given the ability to manage password issues without the need to call upon support from a service desk.
The workings of SSPR
Companies such as LogonBox, provide software that allows end-users to bypass the need for support by resetting passwords themselves.
Using two-factor authentication, users can securely log into the self-service password software and instantly reset their own password. The benefits of this are obvious:
- No requirement to raise a ticket
- Waiting time for the end-user is eliminated
- Customer satisfaction levels go up
- IT costs are reduced
The reduction in tickets reaching a service desk has a direct effect on its resources. A growing business can fall as the number of tickets raised to correspond with the change in scale. Self-service password resets are an effective means of bringing this correlation to an end.
Reducing staff turnover
In any industry, the costs associated with recruiting and training new members of staff are significant. There will always be members of a team who move on seeking pastures new, whether that be via promotions or a complete change of direction, but taking active steps to increase employee satisfaction undoubtedly reduces staff turnover.
Employee satisfaction is inextricably linked to the workload and the pressures faced on a service desk. Yes, employees will indeed react favourably to positive leadership, but the fact is that most do not expect constant pats on the back simply for doing their job. What is more important is what that job actually is, and the monotony of dealing with issues such as password resets lacks appeal.
How a self-service portal can increase staff retention
Staff members want to feel that their work is meaningful and has purpose. Repetitive tickets relating to password resets do little for motivation or satisfaction levels. LogonBox’s self-service password reset does away with high ticket numbers and so allows staff the time to focus on issues that are more technically difficult and challenging.
As well as allowing your staff to feel a sense that they are carrying out a meaningful role and actually helping people, they are also given the opportunity to develop themselves by working on more challenging tasks.
An additional, unavoidable yet positive, consequence of the use of self-service password reset software, is that your team’s workload is also reduced. The pressures of phone calls and mounting tickets lead to a reduction in the stress and pressure felt by service desk staff members. They are able to feel more in control of their existing workload as well as being able to effectively prioritise any incoming issues.
As IT service desks seek to cut costs, it is clear that significant savings can be made simply by focusing on the well-being of staff and reducing the need to recruit and onboard. Self-service portals play a key role here: removing the requirement to carry out the same fixes, day after day.
Reduce costs by cloud migration
Businesses experiencing growth face the challenge of an increasing volume of data. Alongside this increase comes the need to acquire and install the necessary IT systems, followed by the need to maintain and repair when required. The costs involved are significant and ongoing, but by opting for cloud-based solutions, the responsibility for system and data management falls to the third-party service provider.
The cost-effectiveness of cloud-based solutions is further increased by examining the issue of upgrades and software updates. Traditionally, there would be required downtime when these updates could take place. Add to this the need for staff to work overtime in order to install, test, and run the updates, and the costs soon begin to mount. With cloud solutions, these updates are automatic and often occur with the end-user not even being aware that they have taken place.
The main benefits seen by service desks moving data and applications to the cloud are:
- Reduced cost in IT support services
- A reduction in maintenance costs
- Less downtime
- Enhanced security
When considering self-service portals, and in particular self-service password resets and password management, LogonBox is the only solution to offer an on-premise VM image as well as offering a private cloud in a data centre for MSPs and enterprise businesses.
As a CTO looking at ways to cut service desk costs, while also improving value, automating tasks can have an almost immediate impact. The initial cost of seeking to automate tasks sees a rapid return on investment.
As service desks continue to manually reset passwords and assign access rights to applications and folders, they risk reducing customer satisfaction as well as demotivating staff who grow tired of the repetitiveness of their roles.
By making automation a priority, not only can costs be cut, but it also allows the opportunity to demonstrate the value of your service desk. End-users are no longer caught in a seemingly never-ending queue of tickets for a simple issue such as a password reset. Removing these repetitive tasks means that response times to more serious issues will be improved, and that staff will be afforded the time to focus on more challenging aspects of their job.
With service desks being overwhelmed by simple issues such as password resets, permission requests, and folder creation, automation sees these mundane tasks being actioned without the need for any human intervention.
Automation of service desk tasks ultimately leads to an increase in efficiency. And with increased efficiency comes cost-effectiveness and value.
LogonBox provides effective solutions to allow your service desk to automate tasks, such as self-service password reset, password management, and user provisioning enabling users to self-register and get a user created within Active Directory in the correct group.
Automation has clear links back to the point relating to staff turnover. As well as providing an enhanced experience for the end-user, staff members are likely to feel free from the mundane and lead to increased motivation and job satisfaction. The resulting consequence is that you have a team who are able to focus on significant tasks, direct energy towards learning and development, as well as creating time to share knowledge with other team members.
Consolidating service desks
The increasing reliance on technology in almost every aspect of business has seen service desks multiplying in single organisations. Although not always planned, these additional service desks have splintered away from the core by the need to address a specific issue, or even through a business operating from multiple locations.
The issues that this creates for end-users and the service desks themselves include:
- Confusion among end-users who are unsure which service desk to call
- Longer response/resolution times as issues are passed from one desk to the next
- The creation of multiple databases making data management less efficient
- An inability to effectively manage staff spread across various locations
The cost implications and the resulting inefficiency are obvious, and so a clear option to cut service desk costs is to consolidate multiple desks into one single service desk. On the flip side of multiple desks, the benefits of consolidation include:
- A reduction in operating costs
- An increase in customer satisfaction
- The ability to effectively manage staff
- The ability to effectively utilise members of staff
Through consolidation, service desks also have the opportunity to cut software license fees, reduce the number of servers that are required for their operation, and even reduce the overall number of staff that are required. Of course, consolidation involves major change, and major change requires effective leadership for its successful implementation.
Bringing it all together
The actions that can be taken to cut IT service desk costs have an underlying principle: embracing self-service portals as a way to improve efficiency. There was once a time when an end-user would have the expectation of hearing a human voice when looking to resolve IT issues. It would be commonplace to call a service desk with any and all problems and be talked through each step to reach a resolution.
As acceptance has grown in terms of self-help solutions, the need for direct human interaction has diminished. Raising a help ticket may lead to a phone call or an email response. The means of delivery is far less important than the speed at which the issue is resolved. If this bypasses a human voice then this is now an accepted norm.
As the focus is increasingly on speed as opposed to delivery methods, self-service options are more than acceptable to an end-user. From the end-users perspective, they receive an instantaneous response and are then able to continue with minimal disruption.
With options such as self-service password reset being available from LogonBox, there is no longer a need for end-users to join raise a ticket for a simple task.
Away from the end-user, the benefits to the service desk itself are apparent. Your staff are no longer engaged in repetitive tasks that border on soul-destroying when they craving the opportunity to develop and use their skills and experience.
The willingness to automate tasks, when combined with consolidation, presents the option to actually reduce staffing numbers where this is appropriate. A balance is required here between reducing levels of stress by removing repetitive tasks and then counteracting this by reducing staffing levels.
LogonBox represents a cost-effective solution for businesses that want to realise the advantages of self-service password resets and the additional benefits that this brings.
As technology continues to develop and it sees advancements in capabilities, there are likely to be additional opportunities going forward for service desks to streamline their processes through the use of automation. This is likely to lead to additional opportunities to cut costs without negatively impacting the end-user experience.
To learn more about building a better, proactive and scalable service desk, check out, “The 5 Key Elements of a Scalable Proactive Service Desk” whitepaper and set your IT service desk on the right course for success. To see if LogonBox is the right solution for you to help reduce IT support tickets and reduce load on your helpdesk team, get a free evaluation here.