9 Setting a Course: Goals for the Help Desk

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1 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, Setting a Corse: Goals for the Help Desk First say to yorself what yo wold be; and then do what yo have to do. Epictets Key Findings Majorities of respondents have docmented goals in place for help desk service availability, ser satisfaction, and call/incident resoltion. Important drivers of central IT help desk improvement inclde improving ser satisfaction, meeting the changing needs of help desk clients, and improving help desk efficiency. Important obstacles to improving the help desk inclde rapid growth in ser demand, lack of fnding, and lack of staff expertise. Only 40 percent of respondent instittions have strategic plans in place for their help desks. Adoption of formal gidelines for for IT service management (ITSM) practices is widespread; these are availability planning, change management, capacity planning, and release management. Among instittions that se service level agreements (SLAs) for help desk services, adoption of gidelines for all for ITSM practices is 1.5 times higher than in the overall srvey poplation. In general, respondents say the help desk is adeqately inclded in central IT activities related to ITSM practices. Where this is the case, the priority that central IT places pon deploying easy-tospport systems is higher, sggesting better commnication between the help desk and other parts of the IT organization. ITSM practices and SLAs are more common where a strategic plan for the help desk is in place. Relatively few of or respondents have implemented databases for asset management, configration management, or cstomer relationship management. Becase the central IT help desk can make or break the sccessfl se of camps information technologies, and becase IT is both changing and growing constantly, it is important for any help desk, no matter how good, to seek improvement. In this chapter we examine the goals that drive service improvement as well as the barriers that inhibit it. Goals are often set in the context of a strategic planning process, and so we also examine the stats of strategic planning for the help desk at or respondent instittions. Also in this chapter, we look at for formal IT service management practices in which the central IT organization and the help desk engage as partners to improve 2007 EDUCAUSE. Reprodction by permission only. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research 85

2 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 service qality. Finally, we examine the se of three databases related to these practices that can aid in help desk qality improvement efforts. Help Desk Goals According to most service qality rbrics, setting goals and monitoring the organization s progress toward meeting them plays an important part in improving service qality. 1 We asked or respondents to indicate whether they had docmented goals in place in nine representative areas: availability of spport services for sers (hors per day), percentage of total incidents resolved per nit time (service reqests, troble tickets, and so forth), nmber of incidents handled per FTE staff member per nit time, percentage of calls resolved dring initial ser contact, resoltion time for calls not resolved dring initial ser contact, telephone cstomer wait times, telephone cstomer call abandonment rate, percentage of sers indicating they are satisfied with services, and percentage of SLA commitments flfilled. Figre 9-1 shows the freqency with which respondents said they had docmented goals in place for each area. Majorities had goals in place for six of them. By far the most commonly held goal was for spport service availability. While we assmed that most respondent instittions had formal lists of goals for their help desk services, even those that didn t cold say they had a docmented goal for at least one aspect of availability if the hors of operation of their help desks were posted somewhere. Roghly two-thirds of respondents reported a clster of three docmented goals: percentage of ser satisfaction, help desk calls resolved at first contact, and the nmber of incidents the help desk resolved per nit time. Unlike service availability, these goals reqire considerable effort to docment and still more effort to track performance against. Incidents resolved per nit time and calls resolved at first contact are common featres of atomated help desk systems, which jst over two-thirds of or respondents say they have in place. On the other hand, ser satisfaction is a more sbjective goal to measre and, as we will see in Chapter 10 (Figre 10-5), respondents 90% 80% 84.2 Figre 9-1. Freqency of Docmented Goals for Help Desk Services Percentage of Instittions 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% % 10% 0% SLA Call reqirements abandonment flfilled rate (N = 415) (N = 416) Telephone wait times (N = 431) Incidents per staff member (N = 433) Complexincident resoltion time (N = 427) Help Desk Goal Incidents resolved per nit time (N = 444) Calls resolved at first contact (N = 434) Percentage ser satisfaction (N = 432) Spport service availability (N = 449) 86

3 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 have implemented nmeros nstrctred techniqes for assessing it. That so many respondents report having a docmented goal for percentage of ser satisfaction sggests this goal is in place not jst becase tilities for tracking it come bndled with help desk atomation software. Majorities of respondents also reported tracking the time it takes to resolve incidents that can t be resolved dring initial ser contact ( Complex-incident resoltion time in Figre 9-1) and the nmber of incidents handled per staff member per time nit. Near-majorities reported goals related to telephone contact specifically, telephone wait times and call abandonment rate. Atomated call management systems typically help track these variables, and sch systems expense and complexity may help explain the slightly lower freqency with which respondents report these goals. Relatively few respondents (26.9 percent) cite the flfillment of SLA reqirements as a docmented goal. Even so, this percentage is anomalosly high becase, as we noted in Chapter 8, only 20.5 percent of respondents report having SLAs in place for one or more help desk services. A majority of respondents (53.6 percent) reported having goals in place in six or more of the areas we asked abot. Nearly a qarter (24.3 percent) had docmented goals in place for all nine of or representative areas, and only 12.9 percent had no docmented goals. The mean nmber of goals cited was 5.26 (standard deviation 3.354) and the median was 6, reflecting the many reports of high nmbers. Service Improvement Drivers and Barriers The goals discssed above reinforce or assmption that higher edcation help desk administrators want to improve the qality of the services they provide. As we begin or exploration of the methods they se to achieve those improvements, it is sefl to know what forces in their environments are driving their efforts at service improvement and what forces oppose them. Drivers of Help Desk Improvement From a list of eight service improvement goals (pls other ), we asked or respondents to select p to three primary drivers for improving their help desks. More than threeqarters selected improving ser satisfaction with help desk services, sggesting that most feel their clients satisfaction is a good indicator of help desk qality (see Figre 9-2). Indeed, as we learned above, 64.4 percent of respondents had a docmented goal in place for ser satisfaction. Again acknowledging the client s importance, more than two-thirds of respondents said that meeting the changing needs of faclty, staff, and stdents was a primary driver. Trning to more internal concerns, fewer respondents bt still a majority cited improving help desk efficiency as a primary driver. Fewer than a third of respondents said a primary driver of help desk improvement was meeting the strategic goals of the instittion or of the central IT organization. As we saw in Chapter 4, 68.5 percent of or respondents said the primary goal of their central IT organizations was to provide IT infrastrctre and services that frther the instittion s strategic goals, yet here we find that fewer than half that nmber cite that goal as a primary driver of help desk improvement. This may represent a distinction between the strategic focs of the central IT organization and the more operational focs of the help desk. Relatively few respondents reported that a primary driver of improvement was staying crrent with best practices in help desk management. Only 1 in 10 respondents said that motivating greater EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research 87

4 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 Improving ser satisfaction with existing help desk services 78.0 Meeting changing needs of faclty, staff, and/or stdents 68.7 Figre 9-2. Primary Drivers of Help Desk Improvement (Up to Three Responses Allowed) (N = 454) Improving help desk efficiency Meeting instittional strategic goals Meeting central IT organization strategic goals Staying crrent with generally accepted IT best practices Motivating greater instittional spport for IT initiatives Redcing help desk costs 3.1 Other 2.0 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Percentage of Instittions instittional spport for IT initiatives was a primary driver of help desk improvement, sggesting that at most instittions the help desk s performance has not been linked with past infsions of spport. While a majority of respondents said improving help desk efficiency was important, very few cited help desk cost redction as a driver. If efficiency is calclated as effectiveness divided by cost, it wold appear that help desks concerned with efficiency are more likely to prse it by increasing effectiveness than by redcing cost. Barriers to Help Desk Improvement We also spplied respondents with a list of potential barriers to improvement of the central IT help desk. While none of them resonated with sbstantial majorities of or respondents, Figre 9-3 shows that very slim majorities did select one pair. From half of or respondents we heard that rapid growth of ser demand was an obstacle. This isse resonated for Herb Wilson, director of IT spport at the University of Colorado at Bolder: It s not so mch that nmbers of sers are increasing, he said. It s that new technologies are proliferating faster than old ones can be retired. In practical terms, the more energy we pt into expanding or services, the less is available for improving the old ones. Only 3 of the 25 respondents (12.0 percent) who anticipated decreases in the next three years in their instittions spending on the central IT help desk cited rapid growth in ser demand as a barrier to help desk improvement. By contrast, 58.1 percent of those who anticipated increases cited that barrier. This finding srprised s, becase we expected that brighter fnding prospects wold raise respondents confidence in their ability to improve help desk services in the face of increasing demand. It appears instead that respondents who 88

5 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 Rapid growth of ser demand 50.7 Lack of adeqate fnding 50.4 Lack of staff expertise 31.1 Higher IT priorities for staff 28.9 Difficlty developing IT policies and procedres Lack of engagement by sers Technology isses Difficlties in working with other camps IT service providers Lack of instittional leadership spport Figre 9-3. Primary Barriers to Help Desk Improvement (Up to Three Responses Allowed) (N = 454) Immatrity of indstry standards/best practices 8.8 Other 6.4 Lack of acceptable retrn on investment 2.4 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Percentage of Instittions anticipate fnding increases fear that the extra money will be consmed by expanded bt not necessarily improved services. Those who anticipate bdget redctions may also anticipate a redction in their clients expectations, and ths perhaps fewer of them see increasing demand as a barrier. Half of respondents also cited lack of fnding as a primary barrier to help desk improvement, not a srprisingly large response in view of or finding in Chapter 7 that 55.7 percent of respondents felt their central IT help desk fnding was less than or mch less than adeqate. Among that combined grop, almost three-qarters (74.7 percent) of respondents identified lack of fnding as a barrier. Similarly, among those who told s their central IT bdgets had been decreasing over the past three years, nearly twothirds (63.8 percent) cited lack of fnding as a primary barrier to help desk improvement. Jst nder a third of respondents cited lack of staff expertise as a barrier, and 2 in 10 cited difficlty developing IT policies and procedres. Between 10 and 15 percent of respondents cited lack of ser engagement, technology isses, difficlties in working with other camps IT service providers, and lack of instittional leadership spport as primary barriers to help desk improvement. Significantly fewer than 10 percent of respondents cited immatrity of indstry standards/best practices, and fewer than 5 percent cited lack of acceptable retrn on investment. Strategic Planning for the Central IT Help Desk Respondents to the 2006 EDUCAUSE Core Data Service srvey report that 73.4 percent of their campses have stand-alone IT strategic plans in place, and 80.1 percent report that EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research 89

6 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 their camps strategic plans inclde strategies and directions for IT. 2 Whether condcted specifically for the help desk or inclded in a broader IT context, strategic planning can give the help desk a handle on its strengths and weaknesses, on the opportnities and threats present in the environment, and on directions it may want to go in the ftre. As Figre 9-4 shows, nearly two-thirds of or respondents had taken steps in this direction. More than one-third had an IT strategic plan that inclded planning for the help desk, a few had stand-alone strategic plans for the help desk, and another qarter had strategic plans for the help desk in the works. Srprisingly, more than a third of respondents had no strategic plan for the help desk at all. IT Service Management Practices Growing ot of the PC explosion of the 1980s and the radically different IT spport paradigm it reqired, the British government s Central Compter and Telecommnications Agency (now the Office of Government Commerce) developed a framework by which IT service organizations cold strctre their efforts to improve service qality. 3 This framework, now in se worldwide, is called the IT Infrastrctre Library (ITIL). Becase ITIL is more descriptive than prescriptive, many commercial entities, inclding sch well-known corporations as IBM, HP, and Microsoft, have developed more actionoriented ITIL-based service improvement methodologies and market them nder varios names. To embrace all these service improvement practices in a single term, we will refer to them collectively as IT service management (ITSM) practices. Formal ITSM implementations in higher edcation seem relatively rare. Only one of or qalitative interviewees, New York University, has carried one ot and is incorporating ITIL practices into the fabric of its central IT service organization. NYU has shared its experiences dring this process at several EDUCAUSE conferences, 4 and the niversity s efforts are the topic of one of the case stdies 5 accompanying this report. Among the other instittions we interviewed, only the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was planning a formal ITIL implementation. Priscilla Alden, assistant vice chancellor for ITS ser spport and engagement, described it this way: We are ptting together some fnding for an ITIL project as part of the central IT organization s service Help desk plan integrated into central IT plan, 35.0% No plan, 37.0% Figre 9-4. Stats of Strategic Plan for Help Desk (N = 449) Completed stand-alone plan, 4.9% Plan being developed, 23.2% 90

7 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 desk model that we re developing. I am hoping that ITIL will drive people to recognize the importance of a service desk. ITIL s nified service desk model reqires the whole IT organization to interact more effectively as a team, so it shold benefit all of s. In or online srvey, we asked respondents if formal gidelines were in place within their central IT organizations for for basic ITSM practices related to planning and management. These, and the working definitions we provided for them in or srvey qestionnaire, were capacity planning (to ensre that systems and services are sfficiently robst to spport the organization s commitments to sers); system availability planning (to ensre that systems and services are available when, where, and to whom the organization says they will be); change management (to ensre that changes to systems and services are orderly, spport the organization s commitments, and so forth); and release management (to ensre that new systems and services are well tested, that version control is maintained, and so forth). These planning and management items are only a sbset of the dozen or so areas addressed in ITIL, bt they occr at the interface between the help desk and the rest of the central IT organization. Their adoption is diagnostic of the extent to which those two entities commnicate and collaborate key elements in the sccess of a service management initiative. As this chapter s findings sggest, the ITIL service level management area (via SLAs) is also an important component of varios ITSM frameworks, and we addressed its adoption among or respondents in some detail in Chapter 8. For completeness sake we revisit some of those findings in this chapter. While not limited to the help desk, two additional ITSM areas, incident management and problem management, are integral to it. Or srvey addressed many elements of those ITSM areas in detail withot asking general qestions abot them by name. And of corse a third additional ITSM area, service desk management, is the overarching topic of this research stdy. Use of Basic ITSM Practices As we saw in Chapter 8, only 20.5 percent of respondents had SLAs in place for help desk services. The for ITSM planning and management practices we asked abot were in mch more common sage (see Figre 9-5). More than two-thirds of respondents said they had formal gidelines in place for availability planning, and more than 60 percent of respondents had gidelines in place for change management and release management. A slim majority of respondents had capacity planning gidelines in place. The many ITSM practices fnction together to enable sbstantial improvements in IT service qality. Accordingly, we expected to find all five of the practices we asked abot in se at many instittions. In fact, only 10.8 percent of respondents were sing all five. Nearly three times that many (28.4 percent) had adopted for; of these, only 14.0 percent inclded SLAs among the for they had adopted. Respondents adopting two or three practices made p 30.8 percent of the srvey poplation. Adopting only one practice were 11.9 percent of respondents, while nearly one in five (18.1 percent) had adopted none. As Figre 9-6 shows, respondent instittions that had adopted SLAs for help desk services were more likely than others to have adopted formal gidelines for practices in each of the for ITSM planning and management areas we asked abot. The average difference between bars within a pair is abot 20 percentage points. SLA implementation was also associated with the total nmber of ITSM planning and EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research 91

8 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, % % % Figre 9-5. Use of Basic ITSM Practices (N = 454) Percentage of Instittions 40% 30% % 10% 0% Availability planning Change management Release management Capacity planning SLAs Service Management Practice 90% % Figre 9-6. Adoption of For Basic ITSM Practices, by Adoption of SLAs Percentage of Instittions 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% % 10% 0% Availability planning Change management Release management Capacity planning Service Management Practice Help desk SLAs in se (N = 89) No help desk SLAs in se (N = 337) management practices for which respondents central IT organizations had adopted formal gidelines. Among those who had SLAs in se for help desk services, more than half (52.7 percent) had adopted gidelines for all for of the ITSM planning and management practices we asked abot. This is 1.5 times the percentage of respondents in the rest of the poplation that had adopted gidelines for all for of those practices (35.2 percent). Only 11.8 percent of respondents who had SLAs in se had adopted none of or for ITSM practices, compared with 20.5 percent of the overall respondent poplation. 92

9 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 Among those who had SLAs in se, the mean nmber of ITSM planning and management practices for which formal gidelines were in place was 2.98 (standard deviation 1.367) with a median of 4, reflecting the preponderance of respondents whose instittions had adopted all for of the planning and management practices. This compares with a mean of 2.18 practices (standard deviation 1.539) and a median of 2 for respondent instittions withot SLAs in se. These findings sggest that even thogh relatively few respondent instittions had implemented SLAs, we can consider SLAs together with the for ITSM planning and management practices as a set of tools freqently sed in concert for managing the central IT help desk. ITSM and Planning Practices The total nmber of ITSM practices or respondents were sing (SLAs in se and ITSM practice gidelines adopted) was significantly associated with the nmber of goals, from or list of nine, that the help desk had in place. Help desks sing none of the five ITSM practices we asked abot had a mean of 3.56 of or goals (standard deviation 3.475), while those sing all five practices had a mean of 7.00 goals (standard deviation 2.537) almost twice as many. Mean nmber of ITSM practices (from or list of five) was also significantly associated with strategic plan stats. Respondents with no strategic plan in place or nder development reported sing a mean of 1.92 practices, those with a plan nder development reported a mean of 2.74 practices, and those with a plan in place, either stand-alone or integrated into the central IT organization s strategic plan, reported a mean of 3.06 practices. (Standard deviations ranged from to ) Neither of these associations is srprising; both strategic planning and goal-setting are important elements of most IT service management implementation methods. The Help Desk s Partnership with Central IT The ltimate goal of the ITIL framework and the service management methods that have emerged from it is to improve IT service qality and consistency. One of ITIL s tenets is the importance of the relationship between the service or help desk and the rest of the central IT organization. Commnication is important, of corse, even if it s one way, bt inclding the help desk in central IT decision making is even more important. 6 Time and again or qalitative interviewees reinforced this point. North Dakota State University s Rosi Kloberdanz, director of IT client services and help desk manager, told s, We have help desk representation on every committee in central IT. Inevitably, everything involves help desk spport. We re not there yet we re not on all the relevant committees otside central IT. Bt distribted IT spport staff and key stakeholders come to or meetings, and we haven t had to fight to get them here. Kathy Beardsley, help desk manager at the University of Delaware, pts it this way: One of the things that has really helped with or sccess is the relationship between the help center and the other IT areas. We work with them, playing the role of the ser advocate when new projects get nder way. The days are over when a new system is implemented withot s being involved. Interviewees from Berry College, Dartmoth College, and the University of St. Thomas told s mch the same things. As Table 9-1 shows, majorities of or respondents answered affirmatively when asked if their help desk personnel were adeqately inclded in central IT activities concerned with the for ITSM planning and management areas we addressed. We asked these qestions of all respondents, not jst those who had formal gidelines for ITSM practices in place. Among all respondents, most saw help desk participation in availability planning as adeqate, followed by EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research 93

10 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 Table 9-1. Help Desk Personnel Are Adeqately Inclded in ITSM Activities Percentage of ITSM Activity Percentage of All Respondents (N = 427) Respondents with Gidelines in Place (N = 224) Availability planning 71.8% 77.2% Change management 69.2% 82.6% Release management 63.1% 76.9% Capacity planning 59.2% 69.6% change management and release management. Help desk staff participation in capacity planning was least freqently seen as adeqate. These percentages track closely with those for respondents who reported having formal gidelines for these processes (see Figre 9-5). Conting only those respondents who had gidelines in place, we fond proportionately more freqent agreement that help desk participation was adeqate. The biggest differences were in the change management and release management categories, where having ITSM gidelines in place made a positive difference of more than 13 percentage points in agreement that the help desk was adeqately inclded in that central IT activity. The difference for capacity planning was 10.4 percentage points, and for availability planning it was 5.4 percent. As Figre 9-7 shows, a 41.4 percent plrality of respondents said the central IT organization adeqately involved the central IT help desk in all for of the ITSM planning and management activities we asked abot. Abot a third that many reported adeqate involvement in two or three activities, and even fewer 8.6 percent reported adeqate involvement in one. Nearly 2 respondents in 10 (17.6 percent) reported that the help desk was not adeqately inclded in any of the for central IT ITSM activities. One might expect this latter grop to be made p of respondents with no formal gidelines in place for the ITSM activities we asked abot; in fact, only 35 percent of them had no gidelines. The remaining 65 percent of this grop had implemented from one to for of them. All five grops inclded respondents with between zero and for gidelines in place. In Chapter 4 we reported on the priority the central IT organization places on deploying easy-to-spport systems. This is another area in which central IT can cooperate with the help desk to improve client service. As Figre 9-8 shows, the mean priority central IT places on easy-tospport systems was significantly associated with reported adeqacy of the help desk s inclsion in basic ITSM activities. In each ITSM activity, the reported mean priority on deployment of easy-to-spport systems was abot half a point higher, on a five-point scale, among respondents who said the level of help desk inclsion in those activities was adeqate. Ths it appears that at many instittions, inclsion of the help desk in central IT s ITSM activities is part of a set of practices that also incldes deployment of easy-to-spport systems. Use of ITSM Databases A key concept in ITIL and related frameworks is the carefl management of information abot the IT environment and those who se it. We asked abot the stats of three different databases for managing this information: asset management databases, which maintain detailed information abot capital eqipment, its natre, owner, location, and so forth; 94

11 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 For 41.4 Figre 9-7. ITSM Activities Three Two One None Nmber of Basic ITSM Activities in Which Help Desk Staff Are Adeqately Inclded (N = 454) 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 4.0 Percentage of Instittions Mean* Figre 9-8. Mean Priority of Easy-to-Spport Systems, by Inclsion of Help Desk Staff in Basic ITSM Activites 1.0 Capacity planning (N = 433) Availability planning (N = 437) Change management (N = 439) Release management (N = 437) Inclsion not adeqate Inclsion is adeqate ITSM Practice *Scale: 1 = very low, 2 = low, 3 = moderate, 4 = high, 5 = very high configration management databases, which are an extension of asset management to inclde information abot the relationships between assets of all sorts, inclding hardware, software, and docmentation; and cstomer relationship management databases, in which information abot individal clients is stored, analyzed, and sed to improve the client s IT experience. Or respondents se of these three databases varies considerably (see Figre 9-9 ). A sset management databases were the most commonly sed, with almost 4 in 10 respondents reporting fll implementation. Slightly fewer than one-qarter of respondents had implementations in progress, and abot the same nmber were planning them; 15.7 percent had no plans to implement an asset management database. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research 95

12 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 Fewer than one- qarter of respondent instittions had flly implemented configration management databases, and implementations were nder way at abot the same nmber. Another 3 in 10 were planning implementations, while abot a qarter did not plan to implement configration management databases. Cstomer relationship management databases were the least sed of these three tools, with fll implementations at fewer than 2 respondent instittions in 10. Another 14.1 percent had implementations nder way, with abot twice that nmber in the planning stages. Nearly 4 in 10 respondents said their instittions had no plans to implement a cstomer relationship management database. As of the date of or srvey, more than half of respondent instittions had flly implemented none of these service management databases (see Figre 9-10). Roghly a qarter had implemented one, and slightly more than 2 in 10 had implemented two or three. Smmary and Implications Or srvey respondents told s their help desks set a variety of goals. More than 60 percent had docmented goals in place for spport service availability, percentage of ser satisfaction, calls resolved at first contact, and incidents resolved per nit time. More than 40 percent of respondents had eight or nine of the nine goals we asked abot; the average respondent instittion had 5.26 of them. Two of the three most often cited drivers of help desk improvement were otward looking: improving ser satisfaction and meeting the changing needs of faclty, stdents, and staff. The third most often cited driver was improving help desk efficiency (althogh not necessarily by ctting costs). Likewise, two of the three most often cited barriers to improving the help desk involved external forces: rapid growth in ser demand, especially among respondents who expect increased bdgets 45% 40% Figre 9-9. Implementation Stats of ITSM Databases Percentage of Instittions 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% % 5% 0% Asset management database (N = 439) Configration management database (N = 431) Cstomer relationship management database (N = 434) Flly implemented Implementation in progress Planned for ftre Not planned 96

13 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 Three, 7.3% Two, 15.4% None, 53.5% Figre Nmber of ITSM Databases Implemented (N = 454) One, 23.8% in the next three years, and lack of fnding. An internal factor, lack of staff expertise, was the third most often cited. Almost two-thirds of or respondents have a strategic plan for the help desk in place or nder development. Most of those with a plan in place (35.0 percent of all respondents) said it was integrated into the central IT strategic plan. Only 4.9 percent of respondents reported having a stand-alone plan for the help desk. A majority of respondents are sing three or more of the five IT service management practices that we asked abot. Availability planning, change management, and release management were the most commonly implemented; capacity management implementations were reported somewhat less freqently, and service level agreements mch less freqently. Among the two-tenths minority of or respondents whose help desks had SLAs in se at the time of or srvey, jst over half had implemented all for of the ITSM planning and management practices we asked abot. That is 1.5 times the percentage of those in the overall srvey poplation who had adopted those for practices. To s, this reinforces the stats of SLAs as an important component of the ITSM framework and sggests that the five practices we stdied are part of an assemblage of best practices that many help desks are adopting. Respondents with formal gidelines for ITSM practices in place or with SLAs in se were significantly more likely to have a strategic plan for the help desk in place, either stand-alone or integrated into the central IT strategic plan. Sbstantial majorities of respondents (70 to 80 percent) agreed that the central IT help desk is inclded adeqately in activities related to ITSM practices. At respondent instittions where help desk inclsion was acknowledged to be adeqate, the priority that central IT places pon deploying easyto-spport systems was higher, reflecting a climate of cooperation. Relatively few of or respondent instittions have implemented databases for asset management, configration management, and cstomer relationship management. More than half have implemented none of them, and only 7.3 percent had implemented all three, sggesting that the vale of these components of IT service management has yet to be widely appreciated. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research 97

14 IT Help Desk in Higher Edcation ECAR Research Stdy 8, 2007 Endnotes 1. Jan van Bon, Georges Kemmerling, and Dick Pondman, ed., IT Service Management, an introdction (Zaltbommel, NL: Van Haren Pblishing, 2002), Brian L. Hawkins and Jlia A. Rdy, EDUCAUSE Core Data Service Fiscal Year 2006 Smmary Report (Bolder, CO: EDUCAUSE, 2007), IT Service Management, an introdction, R. Ben Maddox, ITIL in the Real World: NYU Leverages ITIL Best Practices to Enhance IT Organizational Processes (EDUCAUSE 2006 conference presentation), 5. Mark Sheehan and Robert Albrecht, ITIL at New York University: A Framework for Excellence (Case Stdy 10) (Bolder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2007), available from 6. United Kingdom Office of Government Commerce, Service Spport (London: The Stationery Office, 2000),

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