For years, IT has struggled to understand how end users consume IT, which at the service desk has resulted in a set of carefully articulated questions to help identify and route issues. The problem is that the service desk isn’t a monitoring system. It simply logs incidents to be managed in line with established escalation and outage procedures. Service desk managers continually wrestle with how to solve end-user issues through accurate analysis and associate incidents with the appropriate support team and level of expertise.
There have been attempts to provide end-user visibility to the service desk to create a more intelligent, business-aware solution. These attempts include information on the devices, IT services and end-user activity leading up to an incident. Unfortunately, the service desk is a typically reactive incident management solution focused on supporting issues that have already impacted the end user.
As the end-user environment becomes more complex, it’s much harder for service managers to support the business. The ability to integrate internal data center information to provide visibility into the business will not be relevant in a world where users are using apps from cloud-based ASP’s, the internal data center, and locally on a multitude of different devices. Service managers must be able to understand what the end user is doing and how the end user consumes IT to enable the business.
Understanding end-user behavior moves the service desk from a passive incident reporting system to a solution that provides IT support with visibility into how the business uses IT. This visibility, combined with the appropriate analysis skills, transforms the service desk from a problem management organization into a solution providing business analysis one. That’s dramatically greater value.
At the basic level, this visibility enables service managers to manage incidents more effectively. At a more advanced level, these insights enable business trends to be identified and managed. Understanding how the business uses IT enables service managers to effectively plan staffing of the support organization to improve service quality. Today, the value attained through the integration between EUAM and ITSM is focused on supporting increasingly complex end-user environments for root-cause analysis. In the future, the data will be analyzed for aligning IT services and business usage – and it’s already starting to happen.
The combination of EUAM and ITSM provides two key levels of value.
- end-user experience is tracked against service levels with tickets opened proactively when an end-user (or end-user group) experiences degradation in service.
- The service desk is made aware of end-user activity and experience, no matter where the applications being used are sourced (locally, internal, or external), enabling accurate root-cause analysis and incident escalation.
- The end-user activity is available for “playback” to help IT understand and identify what was being done at the time an issue occurred, enabling effective root cause analysis.
- Service managers analyze the end-user experience, the devices being used, their location, their normal activity, and the applications being used, which provides greater visibility into how the business is using IT.
- End-user services are improved, ensuring minimal impact on the business (e.g., planned maintenance activity).
In my next post, I’ll share lessons learned on the business benefits that result from combining end user and activity monitoring with mobility.