SOLUTION WHITE PAPER. 6 Advantages of a Cloud-Based IT Service Desk By Jeff Moloughney, Principal Solution Marketing Manager, BMC Software

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1 SOLUTION WHITE PAPER 6 Advantages of a Cloud-Based IT Service Desk By Jeff Moloughney, Principal Solution Marketing Manager, BMC Software

2 INTRODUCTION More than ever, information technology has become critical to business operations and productivity. At the same time, the demands for internal IT support have multiplied with an explosion of devices used by employees and increasingly complex technologies such as virtualization employed in corporate data centers. IT service desk managers face a growing backlog of tickets, slow response and resolution times, and unhappy employees who want services delivered faster and the freedom to choose their own device. That s why IT service desk managers often need a life raft. The life raft comes in the form of an IT service desk application that provides the ability to automate service desk procedures and formalize the service delivery process for an overworked staff. The IT service desk solutions available in today s marketplace differ markedly from those of even a few years ago. Among the most dramatic technology shifts is where the IT service desk actually resides not within the company s walls, but in the cloud. The next generation of IT service management technologies will leverage cloud computing to deliver more proactive, collaborative, versatile services, faster ROI, and enterprise-class infrastructure management benefits without the associated costs. SIX ADVANTAGES OF PUTTING THE IT SERVICE DESK IN THE CLOUD What does it mean for an IT service desk to be in the cloud? A conventional service desk application resides in-house on a client or network server. As with any traditional application, the installation, care, and feeding of the application is the responsibility of the business. In contrast, a cloud-based IT service desk resides on third-party servers accessed through the Internet (the cloud ) that are professionally maintained. The application is, in fact, an online service. These cloud applications can be accessed from any connected machine, from anywhere in the world using an ordinary web browser. Typically licensed by subscription, cloud-based applications dispense with the installation and endless upgrade patches that plague most IT departments. When end users sign in, the latest version of the application is already available. That s the case for Remedyforce, which BMC Software and salesforce.com co-developed on the Force.com cloud platform. Moving the IT service desk to the cloud creates a much better experience for IT personnel and users alike one that reflects where the next generation of IT service desks is headed. A cloud-based IT service desk solution provides businesses with six key advantages: 1. More proactive IT support 2. More collaboration 3. More point-and-click configuration 4. More customer services with greater innovation 5. More value with faster ROI 6. More enterprise-class infrastructure 1

3 ADVANTAGE #1: MORE PROACTIVE IT SUPPORT The IT service desk of the future, driven by the cloud, is moving from a reactive service that responds to customer requests to a proactive service that helps customers solve problems on their own. The self-service component reflects a simple realization: Given a choice between quickly resolving a problem themselves and waiting for help to arrive, customers will inevitably opt for fast resolution. In essence, a cloud architecture helps empower the users by offering them the freedom, choice and ability to solve an issue, or a request a service themselves. For this reason, self-service desks are beginning to look like self-service portals, complete with an in-house knowledge base, FAQs, and other online information that s already a familiar part of online support. A cloud-based IT help desk also broadens this horizon by no longer assuming that the only repository for wisdom is inside the corporate firewall. When a customer does a search, he or she may look not only at a company s knowledge base, but also to a forum or other website that may be able to help. If the question is about formatting a presentation slide, for example, the best answer may reside on a third-party forum, where other users have already encountered the same problem and come up with a solution. As we all know from our online experience, the true repository of the world s answers extends worldwide. When it comes to requesting services, the self-service capability is just as easy as researching issues. Easy to follow steps to request services are published to the end user in a simple process-based format. Requesting services and searching for answers means IT support is now taken from the hands of the service desk agents and proactively provided to the users. This approach empowers the users to solve issues and request services themselves from a simple, intuitive, business-friendly application. ADVANTAGE #2: MORE COLLABORATION Cloud-based IT service desks will (and some may argue already have) become gateways for social media services, requests, discussions, and all around collaboration. Collaboration and social media can change the relationship between IT help desk personnel and their customers by providing a familiar way for people to interact the same kind of informal, fluid relationships associated with popular sites like Facebook and Twitter. Collaboration offers the users freedom and autonomy when it comes to interacting with other team members or support teams. Social media also helps foster collaboration through specialized user communities within a company. These communities can be closed, open, or both: A human resources team might want to share information on common processes like onboarding across the company, for example, while still maintaining a secure collaboration forum related to personnel reviews. Providing a platform for which all types of customers, users, agents, and teams can openly or securely discuss a range of topics is important to keep interactions fluid, keep the support process collaborative, and offer the most cost effective channel possible. ADVANTAGE #3: MORE POINT-AND-CLICK CONFIGURATIONS In today s IT service desks, all customers view the same help screen. In the IT service desk of the future, facilities department staffers will be able to filter out developer applications, and R&D developers won t have to view the status of facilities apps. Such configuration is particularly easy in a cloud environment: Simply add, subtract, and rearrange links on the intranet launch pad. As more applications reside in the cloud, the service desk portal itself a cloud-based application becomes the principal connection between customers and IT. This fast filtering capability will also encourage IT to license and build more cloud-based applications. In the same way that a cloud-based IT service desk provides business users with more power, autonomy, and collaboration, the IT team is empowered with the tool that can quickly and easily adapt to their specific business environment. 2

4 ADVANTAGE #4: MORE CUSTOMER SERVICES WITH GREATER INNOVATION An IT service desk in the cloud can open up a wide array of opportunities for end-user services. Just as web-enabled phones have attracted a storm of application development, a cloud computing development platform presents creative possibilities that IT service desk vendors and their customers have only begun to explore. More customer services mean more availability and freedom for the end user to consume a service, and more power for the service teams to create the services. Just as with the iphone and Android devices, companies can develop new applications quickly in response to customer demand and IT inspiration. Many applications can be developed on Force.com using a simple point-and-click approach. This low bar to entry means that self-service personnel with a deep understanding of employees needs can quickly develop suitable applications. Developers can then make those applications available for anyone and distribute anywhere via online marketplace. A library of cloud applications will enrich business environments by giving them productivity tools that are easily consumable. In addition, the cloud-based service management approach means more innovation for the teams managing or providing the services. In the end, service providers are offered a powerful and cost effective tool to provide more and better services to the business. ADVANTAGE #5: MORE VALUE WITH FASTER ROI A cloud-based IT service desk can deliver faster ROI through streamlined installation and management plus lower infrastructure costs. In a traditional on-premises model, the IT help desk itself often requires considerable help. Technical expertise and time is required to download and install software, configure the database, customize the application, and configure the internet server. But in the cloud, an administrator simply logs in via a browser and configures the system in a few hours. A cloud-based application also requires less hardware and software infrastructure, so it costs less. The research firm IDC studied 10 companies that used Force.com to develop custom cloud-based applications. The ROI analysis found that on average, these companies realized $1 million in annual savings due to decreased staff hours spent in application management and deployment. Cloud doesn t mean that just the service providers and help desk teams are provided value. Since the service providers and help desk teams are provided a better, more secure, and more reliable cloud solution, the business receives the value just as quickly in terms of self-service support, collaboration, and automation. Value is added to the service teams in conjunction with the business, thus providing a quicker return on value in terms of both help desk costs and business services consumed. ADVANTAGE #6: MORE ENTERPRISE-CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE Another advantage of the cloud involves a contradiction inherent in traditional applications. Management software is missioncritical. Yet applications often don t provide the expected safeguards. The cloud provides enterprise-class backup, security, and disaster recovery, but without the usual enterprise cost. Cloud applications are usually licensed on a pay-as-you go basis, with per-seat costs that are commensurate with a company s growth. With this subscription model, up-front costs are typically lower a prime concern for businesses today. By putting not just the IT service desk but the rest of IT in the cloud, companies will approach the Holy Grail of IT service desk support: identifying and resolving issues before end users ever see them. That s especially true for system failure. When a company s systems go down, so does the company. When failure happens in the cloud, system failover technology automatically moves the application to another server and customers don t even see the hiccup. The CIOs of the largest financial and network security companies require cloud computing platforms to meet the highest standards of service. After all, they re entrusting those platforms with critical corporate data. To meet these requirements and make customers of any size successful, salesforce.com has set standards that have become the best practice for every successful cloud computing platform to follow. As a result, businesses are achieving peace of mind and consistently outstanding results with high availability cloud-based applications including the IT service desk. 3

5 BUSINESS RUNS ON IT. IT RUNS ON BMC SOFTWARE. Business runs better when IT runs at its best. Tens of thousands of IT organizations around the world -- from small and mid-market businesses to the Global 100 rely on BMC Software (NASDAQ: BMC) to manage their business services and applications across distributed, mainframe, virtual and cloud environments. BMC helps customers cut costs, reduce risk and achieve business objectives with the broadest choice of IT management solutions, including industry-leading Business Service Management and Cloud Management offerings. For the four fiscal quarters ended March 31, 2013, BMC revenue was approximately $2.2 billion. *442404* BMC, BMC Software, and the BMC Software logo are the exclusive properties of BMC Software, Inc., are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and may be registered or pending registration in other countries. All other BMC trademarks, service marks, and logos may be registered or pending registration in the U.S. or in other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners BMC Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

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