Setting Up an IT Service Desk Part 3 – Defining Your IT Service Desk Processes

Defining Your IT Service Desk Processes

IT service management (ITSM) processes aim to have standardized and repeatable ways that an IT service desk team can use to deliver high-quality IT services that support the organization’s overall goals and objectives. Choosing your IT service desk processes should be driven by your IT service desk’s purpose and objective and how you intend to provide IT services to your customers.

This article provides seven steps to follow to help you to identify and define the right processes for your IT service desk. #servicedesk #ITSM Click To Tweet

Identifying the right processes

The following steps will help you with the identification and definition of the right IT service desk processes:

  • Examine your IT service desk’s purpose and objectives
  • Examine all the IT services you want to offer to your clients
  • Outline the critical success factors (CSFs) for the delivery of high-quality IT services
  • Identify the IT service desk processes that will drive the CSFs
  • Define the IT service desk processes to uniquely reflect your IT service desk’s purpose and objectives
  • Create versioned documents for each IT service desk process
  • Continually update your IT service desk processes as needed

There are many IT service desk processes to choose from, and they take different forms. This article concentrates on what I believe are the most commonly used ones.

IT service desk processes: Incident management

An incident is any unplanned interruption to a service or a reduction in the quality of a service. The incident management process focuses on efficiently and effectively handling incidents to restore normal service operations as quickly as possible.

For the effective management of incidents, it’s always prudent to divide your incident process into two subprocesses: the major incident process and the normal incident process. This will help you better manage your incidents based on priority (urgency and impact). Both IT service desk processes should, however, include some or all of the following steps:

  • Incident identification and logging
  • Incident categorization and prioritization
  • Initial diagnosis and support
  • Incident resolution or workaround
  • Incident escalation and communication
  • Incident closure and documentation
  • Incident review and analysis.

Consider this IT service desk process if your IT service desk is mandated to fix broken IT services in your customers’ environments.

IT service desk processes: Service request management

This IT service desk process focuses on efficiently fulfilling and managing customer requests for IT services. The process is designed to handle routine service requests and ensure they are processed in a timely and standardized manner, meeting customer expectations and service level agreements (SLAs). Your request fulfillment process should be linked to your service catalog.

Below are some of the steps to consider in your service fulfillment process:

  • Service request initiation
  • Service request logging and categorization
  • Service request assessment and prioritization
  • Service execution
  • Closure and documentation.

Consider this IT service desk process if your service desk will be tasked with providing service fulfillment in your customers’ IT environments.

Which #ITSM processes should you be considering for your IT #servicedesk? This article helps you with everthing you need to know to make the best decision. Click To Tweet

IT service desk processes: Change management/enablement

The change management process (or change enablement practice in ITIL 4) aims to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used to efficiently and promptly handle all changes, minimize changes’ impact on service quality, and improve the organization’s day-to-day operations.

The primary operational objective of the change management process is to ensure all changes are recorded, evaluated, authorized, prioritized, planned, tested, and implemented such that the impact of change on the business is minimized.

There are three main types of change: standard, normal, and emergency. Most change processes, regardless of type, will include some or all of the following steps:

  • Change identification
  • Change planning and risk mitigation
  • Change logging
  • Change approval
  • Change implementation and monitoring
  • Change closure.

Your IT service desk should consider this process if customers expect you to perform changes in their IT environments that must be evaluated and authorized before execution.

IT service desk processes: Problem management

The goal of problem management is to proactively identify and resolve underlying problems to prevent incidents from happening in the future. Below are some of the key steps involved in the problem management process:

  • Problem identification
  • Problem categorization and prioritization
  • Problem investigation and diagnosis
  • Workarounds and temporary solutions
  • Root cause analysis (RCA)
  • Problem resolution
  • Change management and implementation
  • Verification and closure.

Consider this IT service desk process if your service desk is mandated to provide a structured way to find the root causes of incidents and failed changes in your customers’ IT environments.

IT service desk processes: Event management

Events refer to any detectable or significant occurrence that requires attention in a configured IT environment. Event management, called monitoring and event management in ITIL 4, is the process of monitoring, responding to, and resolving events.

Events provide essential context for understanding incidents and their causes. There are three types of events that you should consider: informational, warning, and exception events. Although most IT service desk or ITSM tools are starting to invest more in providing event management in their tools, many are still dependent on integrations with other monitoring and event management tools.

Consider the following steps when creating your event management process in your portfolio of IT service desk processes:

  • Detection and monitoring
  • Filtering and categorization
  • Response and escalation
  • Diagnosis and resolution
  • Reporting and analysis.

Consider this IT service desk process if your IT service desk needs to provide IT monitoring and alerting services to your customers.

IT service desk processes: Knowledge management

Knowledge management is the IT service desk process that focuses on creating, capturing, storing, and sharing knowledge within an organization. The knowledge management process aims to improve efficiency, productivity, and decision-making by making relevant information and expertise available to the right people at the right time.

Central to the knowledge management process is a knowledge base, which is a centralized repository or database that stores and organizes knowledge and information within an organization. The knowledge base is designed to facilitate managing and retrieving knowledge assets, such as documents, articles, procedures, best practices, troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and other relevant information.

Your knowledge management process should include some of the following steps:

  • Knowledge creation
  • Knowledge capture and organization
  • Knowledge storage
  • Knowledge retrieval and sharing
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Knowledge application and updating.

Consider this IT service desk process if you want your IT service desk to have an organized way to capture, store, and share IT service-related knowledge.

It’s important to note that the IT service desk processes shared above are simple guidelines and should not be adopted without some level of adaptation. They have to be aligned with your IT service desk goals. The rule of thumb with ITSM frameworks such as ITIL is to take what works for you and leave the rest; don’t burden yourself with trying to fit a process into an IT service desk system that does not require it.

Define your IT service desk standard operating procedure (SOPs)

After defining your IT service desk processes, you must define your IT service desk SOPs. SOPs are detailed, step-by-step instructions outlining how specific tasks or processes should be carried out. SOPs help you maintain consistency, efficiency, and compliance in and around your service desk.

SOPs and IT service desk processes are closely related but serve different purposes. A process is a series of activities or steps to achieve a defined goal. While a SOP is the instruction manual for executing a task or process.

So, within an IT service desk process, several SOPs may outline specific steps to execute it. Most organizations use versioned documents to store and share their SOPs, usually kept in a knowledge base. Below are some of the components to include in your SOPs:

  • Title and purpose – Each SOP should have a title and a clearly stated purpose and scope
  • Responsibilities – Outlines the roles and responsibilities of people involved in the process
  • Procedure steps – Provide a step-by-step breakdown of the process or task
  • Supporting information – This includes any reference documents, forms, or resources needed to complete the procedure
  • Revision history – This tracks the changes made to the SOP over time.

The rule of thumb is to only create SOP documents that your IT service desk team will actually refer to when executing their tasks without getting bogged down in minutiae.

There’s still more to come on how to set up an IT service desk; please look out for the next article in this series, which covers selecting an IT service desk tool.

Please comment below if you would add to or change any of this IT service desk processes guidance.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy some of the articles listed below.

Eusoph Simba

Eusoph Simba is a dedicated and accomplished ITSM manager, currently employed at a prominent cloud computing company in South Africa. With a rich background in information technology and management, Eusoph has established himself as a strategic and versatile professional in the field of ITSM. He has a BBA in computer and management information systems, a Post Graduate Diploma in knowledge and information systems, and over 10 IT-related trade certifications, including PMI-ACP, SDI, and ITIL. Eusoph can be reached at [email protected]. All opinions are his and may not represent those of his employer.

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