In the service management world, a shift-left approach involves moving incidents and requests to the lowest support tier possible. It’s an initiative all IT organizations push for so they can better manage the high volume of tickets and calls received to the service desk without having to add resources.
In this article, I’ll focus on why it’s critical for support organizations to start implementing shift left and how you can get started.
Shift Left Reduces Service Desk Costs
Most Level 1 support requests include troubleshooting issues such as password resets, device problems, or printer configurations. When these issues cannot be solved at Level 1 support, they are sent to Level 2 or Level 3. Industry average ticket cost data for 2017 from MetricNet shows that Level 1 support costs can reach up to $22 for each call, followed by $104 for Level 2 IT support calls.
As stated in Metric of the Month: First Level Resolution Rate, “first Level resolution is a cost metric that strongly influences total cost of ownership for end-user support.” This means that by transferring unresolved Level 1 IT requests to Level 2—and Level 3—the overall cost of ticket resolution increases.
The shift-left approach is about moving recurring low-value requests, usually coming from Level 1 support, into lower-cost delivery channels, such as automated self-help tools. By reducing the number of repeatable IT service desk requests and shifting from Level 1 to Level 0, your organization will be able to better allocate its IT resources.
Furthermore, avoiding time-consuming ticket escalations with better first contact ticket resolution increases customer satisfaction, which is a key way for IT to demonstrate value—IT must become relevant!
Shift Left Increases End-User Satisfaction
Employees are expecting customer-like experiences when getting support in the workplace as they do in their personal lives. Being able to access information whenever they need it, and taking care of tasks from any device has become a crucial part of the employee work cycle.
Using a shift-left strategy that focuses on delivering the right experience to the end user so he/she can resolve issues on their own increases end-user satisfaction and accelerates issue resolution. Service request catalogs and access to a knowledge base that is built for self-help are some options that your organization can implement when executing a shift-left approach.
These, and other components of self-service, will be beneficial to your IT service desk because they can help automate recurring low-value requests, relieving your Level 1 support agents for higher value tasks. But how can you get the best out of your self-service portal?
An effective self-service portal should allow end users to easily find what they need. Make sure you have a universal search bar that can recommend resources that are relevant to the user, and think about providing a chatbot—but only if you have the right knowledge in place for it to be effective at Level 0 support. Look into self-help tools that deliver knowledge in a way where it provides only the information the user is actually looking for, avoiding irrelevant topics that are offered in traditional knowledge base articles that don’t pertain to the user’s issue.
And most importantly, end users should also be able to access help wherever they are, no matter what device they are on. We are living in a world where knowledge can be obtained instantly.
End users should be able to access help wherever they are, no matter what device they are on.
Shift Left Accelerates Digital Transformation
It’s more common in 2018 for companies to start adopting technology in all facets of the business, and one of the biggest challenges they face is making sure that every department is aligned with the organization’s digital goals. When it comes to IT service desks, as organizations depend more on technology, IT support desks struggle with more calls and requests.
According to HDI’s 2018 Technical Support Practices & Salary Report, IT service desk agents spend 68% of their time on Level 1 support calls, followed by 47% on Level 2 and 26% on Level 3. So how can IT staff make time available to focus more on high-value tasks?
A shift-left approach supports digital transformation and contributes to the success of employees by creating the right workflow to efficiently tackle, and automate, recurring Level 1 requests.
Digital transformation is all about aligning the IT department with your organization’s digital strategy to meet business expectations. Global IT research firm, IDC, says that “96% of organizations have digital transformation initiatives and employee experience is a key ingredient to success.” Providing the right tools to the IT service desk helps them deliver a better self-service experience to end users and gives them more time to innovate.
It’s All About Shifting in the Right Direction
As businesses shift more towards a digital strategy, the IT service desk needs to be prepared with the right tools that will make them succeed. Cost reduction, increased end-user satisfaction, and digital transformation are some of the benefits of a shift-left approach that will empower your IT department to run a more cost-effective and innovative service desk.
John Prestridge is the CMO and Senior VP of North America at EasyVista. An accomplished marketing and product strategist focused on customer needs, he helps drive product innovation and market development within the IT service management software industry to support the digital transformation of enterprise companies. He is a firm believer that ITSM 2.0 is the critical path for companies transitioning to the digital workplace. John brings broad expertise in the technologies shaping the future workplace, including service management, cloud computing, application virtualization, mobility, intelligent automation, and compliance.