More Advice for Setting Up Your IT Service Desk Tool

Advice for Setting Up Your IT Service Desk Tool

My Setting Up an IT Service Desk Part 5 article covered setting up an IT service desk tool up to a point. The coverage included configuring IT support channels, configuring the required IT service management (ITSM) modules, defining ticket fields for IT service desk agents, adding service catalog items, onboarding IT service desk agents, creating support groups, and onboarding end-users.

This article continues my advice for setting up an IT service desk tool covering the configuration of incident priority matrices, business hours, service level agreement (SLA) policies, IT service desk software automations, relevant integrations, and dashboards.

This article covers the configuration of incident priority matrices, business hours, SLA policies, IT #servicedesk software automations, relevant integrations, & dashboards. #ITSM Share on X

Configure an IT service desk tool incident priority matrix

The incident priority matrix is important because it provides a standardized framework for evaluating and prioritizing incidents. Without it, most end-users will log everything as urgent. Author Karen Martin said, “When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”

The incident priority matrix is a key element in deriving your response and resolution SLA times and should, therefore, be considered every time you configure your IT service desk tool. Below is a commonly used incident priority matrix example.

Derived PriorityImpact

Your IT service desk tool should allow you to use the default priority matrix or edit it according to your IT service desk requirements. Some complex IT service desk tools will allow you to switch between using descriptive names and priority levels, as shown below:

  • Urgent = P1 (Priority 1)
  • High = P2
  • Medium  = P3
  • Low = P4

This activity refers to configuring the specific hours the IT service desk team, as a single point of contact, will be available to attend to incoming incidents and service requests. Business hours are tightly linked to SLAs as they define when the SLA time is applied, paused, or stopped – for example, after-hours, weekends, and holidays. There’s a possibility that different clients might have different business hours, so your IT service desk tool should allow you to set up multiple business hours rules.

Remember to import your country’s holidays into your IT service desk tool because this will affect your SLA statistics. Ideally, you would want your SLA time paused during holidays unless you’re on a 24/7 SLA.

Configure SLA policies in your IT service desk tool

An SLA policy lets you set performance standards for your IT support team. Most IT service desk tools allow you to configure at least two SLA types: response and resolution. These are measured in minutes, hours, or days. As a minimum, your IT service desk tool should be flexible enough to allow you to configure these two SLAs.

This article offers advice on configuring SLA policies in your IT service desk tool, as well as how to configure relevant automation. #ITSM #servicedesk Share on X

If more advanced, it should allow you to configure granular conditions to be applied to the SLAs – for example, ticket type, client category, etc. Because your SLAs are in multiple contract documents, it’s good practice to create a centralized place to view all your clients’ SLAs at a glance (see the example below):

ClientChannel usedSLA Response Times Incidents (Hours)SLA Resolution Times Incidents (Hours)
Client APhonePhoneEmail/PortalEmail/Portal112448482440
Client BPhonePhoneEmail/PortalEmail/Portal1248482440
Client CPhonePhoneEmail/PortalEmail/Portal0.5118482432

Configure relevant automations

Automation refers to streamlining the IT service desk workflow by automating functions or features and eliminating manual workflows. Its aim is to provide end-users with the best experience and reduce the manual effort of the IT support team. As a result, the IT support team will be more productive because there will be less administrative work and fewer human errors.

Automation is IT-service-desk-specific and depends on how configurable your IT service desk tool is. There are probably thousands of automations one can configure; below is a list of some common ones that your IT service desk tool should allow you to perform:

  • Ticket routing – automatically route incoming tickets to the correct IT support agents or teams based on predefined rules, e.g., send all tickets containing [email protected] to the hardware team.
  • Ticket categorization – put tickets into a specific category based on predefined rules.
  • Ticket replies – an automated ticket acknowledgment is sent to the requester when a new ticket is received.
  • Ticket prioritization – change ticket priority based on specific predefined rules, e.g., set all tickets coming from senior management to a higher priority.
  • Ticket escalation – escalate a ticket to a higher tier if it’s not resolved within a certain period of time.
  • SLA monitoring and alerts – set up automated alerts to notify IT support agents and managers when a ticket is approaching or has breached the SLA.
  • Canned messages – set up a template or prewritten message to repeatedly respond to common inquiries, issues, or scenarios.

Configure relevant integrations with your IT service desk tool

IT service desk integration refers to connecting an IT service desk tool or platform with other systems, applications, or tools used within an organization. Integration aims to enable seamless data exchange, automate workflows, and enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of IT service desk operations. Here are some common types of IT service desk integrations:

  • Collaboration tools
  • Assets and services
  • Time management tools
  • Monitoring and alerting tools
  • Knowledge base.

APIs play a very important role in IT service desk integrations. API stands for application programming interface. It’s a mechanism that allows two software components to communicate using a set of definitions and protocols.

APIs enable your IT service desk tool to extend its out-of-the-box functionalities by integrating additional features and capabilities using commands like post, get, put, and delete. The more API-friendly your IT service desk tool is, the more configurable it is and the more you can integrate it with other tools and applications that do not come as standard with the IT service desk tool.

Configure dashboards

An IT service desk dashboard helps you monitor the performance of your IT service desk. It’s usually a visual presentation of key metrics and performance indicators set as a module within your IT service desk tool, allowing you to pick up trends on the go.

Your dashboard metrics should auto-refresh at short intervals to show the most current data. Your chosen IT service desk tool should be customizable enough to include widgets like scorecards, donut charts, and bar charts. The widgets should be interactive enough to allow you to drill into specific data. Below are some of the key metrics and performance indicators you can configure on your dashboards:

  • Ticket volumes
  • Tickets about to violate SLAs
  • Tickets that have violated SLAs
  • Assigned tickets by agent
  • Unassigned tickets
  • Ticket statuses
  • Agents scorecard
  • Change statuses

I would advise that all the IT service desk agents create their own dashboards with their individual ticket metrics and performances but also have shared dashboards for the different teams in your IT service desk and one more for the whole IT service desk, which in most cases will be managed by the IT service desk lead or manager.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this article on setting up an IT service desk, you may also enjoy some of the related IT service desk 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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