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Change Management and the Service Desk

By Christopher Ciccolini and Michael Jablon Providing great technical support is tough work, and perhaps the greatest challenge lies on the front line: the Service Desk.
Mar 14, 2004
By

ITSM Watch Staff





By Christopher Ciccolini and Michael Jablon

Providing great technical support is tough work, and perhaps the greatest challenge lies on the front line: the Service Desk. Though it is the nexus of communications between business users and IT, the Service Desk is often "out of the loop" regarding changes in a company's technical environment. This can erode the Service Desk's ability to resolve incidents and create a missed opportunity to manage change requests more effectively.

In both cases, relations between IT and the business units suffer. Introducing basic Change Management principles can have a profound impact on Service Desk effectiveness, communications between IT and business units, and ultimately end-user satisfaction.

The Goal: Empower the Service Desk
Despite its role as IT ambassador to the user community, Service Desks are not always informed of pending technology changes. Today's IT operations, often strapped for resources and taking on a plethora of projects, are increasingly operating in a reactive mode. This state of constant firefighting creates a difficult environment in which to introduce and maintain processes-including controlling the introduction of change. Without some structure, communications break down within IT and between IT and business units, adding fuel to the fire.

In addition, Service Desks are often unequipped to address change requests beyond basic desktop and networking functions such as granting printer permissions. The lack of structure hinders not only the introduction of change, but IT's ability to define, prioritize and manage Change Rquests from organizational business units as well.

As a result, business users suffer from productivity declines while the perception of IT sours as end users fail to see their requests addressed in a timely fashion or with a comprehensive understanding of the needs behind the request.

    Three Signs That Your IT Organization May Need Change Management:
  • IT projects are not always aligned with business needs and priorities
  • The Service Desk and business are unaware of changes being introduced into the production environment
  • End users complain that the Service Desk can't help them and doesn't know what's going on
In all cases, the Service Desk is caught in the middle, unable to respond effectively to change, whether it is introduced by IT or by a business unit. However, introducing basic Change Management principles can make a significant impact by integrating the Service Desk with development and network management teams, and leveraging the role of the Service Desk as a front-line contact with business users.


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