Technology Integration and the Service Desk

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1 Technology Integration and the Service Desk

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3 Table of Contents Introduction 1 Key Findings 2 What benefits do you associate with the integration of technologies? 3 When considering your service management tool, what technologies are currently integrated? 4 To what extent are you investigating integrating technologies currently? 5 How difficult would it be to integrate your ITSM tools with other systems? 5 Which of these technologies do you think it would be helpful to integrate with your service management tool? 6 Do you currently integrate your tool with external business technologies? 7 Do technology and service integration feature in your continual service improvement plan? 7 Do you have the ability to measure the return on investment of technology integration? 8 Do you see future technology integration affecting service desk staffing models? 9 Do you see the budget for technology integration increasing in the future? 9 Do you currently have a budget dedicated to new technologies? 10 Do you have a budget to investigate integration opportunities? 10 Conclusion 11

4 Introduction The integration of different technologies, particularly when consolidated into a service management tool, can yield significant benefits for the service desk. Increased efficiency, streamlined customer support and resource optimisation are all associated with the integration of technologies, accommodating the smooth and often automated transfer of information and initiation of actions. Whilst these benefits can be a tantalising prospect for service desks, many of which are continually driving for innovation and improvement, integration can also bring with it a series of challenges. As with all projects, funding and resources are required, however in times of economic stringency how is the service desk able to justify the expense? Return on investment calculations are complex albeit necessary to present business cases to secure the funding necessary to embark on an integration journey that optimises the way the service desk supports its customers. This report reveals the broad understanding service desk have of the plethora of technologies that can now be integrated and also the range of benefits the service desk is likely to realise upon integration. This report also reveals what stumbling blocks service desks are facing when trying to resource these projects alongside how challenging they believe it would be to integrate their current technology set. 1

5 Key Findings 60% of service desks have asset management integrated as part of their service management tool. Over 50% of those surveyed believe integrating remote control software with their service management tool would be helpful. 60 % 50 % 40 % <2 % 40% of service desks currently have remote control integrated whilst less than 20% have integrated telephony. 70 % Over 70% of respondents currently have reporting functionality integrated with their service management tool. Less than 2% have integrated gamification. 65 % The demand for multi-channel integration is high with over 65% of respondents asserting that integrating telephony and live chat with their tool would be beneficial. 27% of those surveyed believe they would be able to integrate technologies with their service management tool however they would need external help. 27 % 68 % 68% of respondents revealed that they do not integrate service desk tools with external business tools. Three quarters of those surveyed revealed they do not have the ability to calculate return on investment for technology integration. 75 % The benefits of technology integration are well known with over 90% of those surveyed believing they would see increases in efficiency and 80% believing it would streamline customer support. 90 % 50 % 79 % 70 % 45 % 79% of service desks consider technology and service integration in their continual service improvement plans. 45% of service desks are interested in integration with 43% actively working to integrate technologies. Over 70% of those surveyed believe technology integration will affect service desk staffing models in the future. Just over 50% of service desks believe they will see an increase the budget they have for future technology integration. 2

6 Q2. What benefits do you associate with the integration of technologies? Integrating technologies can bring a variety of benefits to the service desk such as streamlining customer support and saving time with 84% and 67% of respondents recognising these respectively. The largest proportion of respondents, 93%, believes increasing efficiency will be a considerable benefit of integrating technologies. A much reduced proportion of those surveyed recognised a higher return on investment for the systems already integrated with only 33% of respondents believing this would be the case. It would be reasonable to suggest that this smaller proportion represents the wider inability to calculate return on investment more generally let alone the complex calculations that would be required to effectively analyse specific technology integrations. Return on investment and how the industry believes it can handle this will be discussed later in the report. Interestingly, 0% of those surveyed believe there would be no benefit at all. Some of the verbatim responses to this question include better communication, slicker processes, improved data quality and compliance and improved customer experience. It would be reasonable to infer that the benefits of integrating technologies are well known across the industry to the extent that none of those surveyed were unable to recall an improvement or efficiency. Streamline customer... Save time Increase efficiency Higher return on investment benefit 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 84 % 3

7 Q3. When considering your service management tool, what technologies are currently integrated? The value of integrating technologies is well known across the service desk industry. As a result it is not surprising to see some older technologies already integrated, to some extent, with service management tools. Integrated reporting functionality is widespread across the industry with over 80% of those surveyed advising they have reporting integrated with their tool. 60% of respondents have also advised they have integrated asset management with their tool which is most likely through a configuration management database. With remote connection software now widely adopted across the landscape it is encouraging to see it is already being integrated with service management tools by 40% of those surveyed. Other innovations such as gamification are much less prevalent with only 2% of those surveyed advising they have integrated this with their tool. The survey also reveals the wide range of communication channels that can be seen integrated with the service management tool. It is not surprising to see at the top of this list with over 60% of respondents advising they have this integrated. Other somewhat newer entrants to the industry such as live chat and social media have a smaller share of the current integration levels with just 23% and 12% respectively. 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Reporting Gamification Remote connection Asset Business applications Social media tools Project Active directory Identity System/ Desktop... Mobility HR systems Cloud services Telephony Live chat Messaging Security Other (please specify) 4

8 Q4. To what extent are you investigating integrating technologies currently? The extent to which service desks are investigating potential routes for technology integration provide an interesting picture of the industry landscape and the maturity of service desks strategic plans. An inference which can be drawn is that service desks are easily able to recognise the benefits of technology integration but are unable to actively engage in the process. The responses to this question provide a valuable insight into the value service desks are placing on integration when it comes to the planning and process stage. The results show that 45% of service desks are interested in integration with another 43% actively working on integrating technologies. Interestingly, the remaining 12% are not currently investigating any further integration of technologies. What makes this so surprising is the ability of those surveyed to recall the many benefits associated with technology integration, however in practice they are less willing to commit to any further investigation. Q4 Q4 12% Always looking to integrate 12% Interested Always in looking integration to integrate 45% t currently Interested in looking integration t currently looking 43% 43% 45% Q5. How difficult would it be to integrate your ITSM tools with other systems? There are a wide range of difficulties that are associated with the integration of technologies. Logistics, incompatibility and application downtime are all widely 25% recognised as potential pitfalls 27% Easy would need for any project. With this in mind, the responses to this question show an encouraging optimism with some help 7% of respondents believing further integration would be easy, followed 25% by 27% who believe it would be easy with some help. Easy would need some help 75% The challenges have been perceived as too difficult for of respondents and impossible for 2%. Interestingly, of respondents have advised 75% they are not sure of how difficult further integration would be. Arguably, given the wide range of applications and technologies modern service desks Difficult have access to; it can be a challenge in itself to effectively gauge how difficult a future integration programme would be. 2% Difficult Impossible Arguably the real challenge for service desks is not only finding the funding and resources to carry out 2% a technology integration project but also to get the time and knowledge necessary for the project to Impossible be successful. It is likely that there is a large role for integration consultants and specialists to assist service desks further in their drive for technology integration, particularly when resources are limited, making specialist Q7 knowledge essential to pin point the integration that will be of most value to the service desk. I m not sure Q7 I m not sure 5 Q5 Q5 7% Easy 27% 7% Easy

9 Q6. Which of these technologies do you think it would be helpful to integrate with your service management tool? Arguably, the responses to this question are the most significant. With the wide range of technologies and tools available to service desks, recognising where the most value lies when integrating with a service management tool is essential. Respondents selected the technologies that they believed would be of the most use to them when integration with their tool was concerned. Multi-channel communications led the way with over 65% of those surveyed identifying live chat and telephony integration as being beneficial for their service desk. Alongside this, over 50% believe that remote connection will be of significant benefit alongside 64% revealing they would find integrated identity management helpful. Very few other technologies received less than 50% of respondents championing their benefits when integrated. The three lowest scoring technologies were security management (33%), cloud services (31%) and by a significant margin; gamification (9%). Significantly, a relatively small proportion of respondents recognised the value provided by integrating the processes and technologies of other non-it departments such as HR systems which received only 31%. Other similar areas received an equally weak response with project management and business applications each receiving just 36%. Certain inferences can be drawn from this data, primarily, service desks are recognising the key strategic priorities in technology integration to help them achieve their long term goals. The high volume of respondents focused on multichannel support integration suggests this is a strategic pathway that many service desks are eager to embark on. The lower turnout for security management and cloud services integration reveals the reduced priority service desks have allocated to these technologies, some of which are still in the early developmental stages. 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Reporting Gamification Remote connection Asset Business applications Social media tools Project Active directory Identify System/ Desktop... Mobility HR systems Cloud services Telephony Live chat Messaging Security Other (please specify) 6

10 Easy Q7. Do you currently integrate your tool with 25% external business technologies? 27% Easy would need some help When the results of the previous graph are taken into consideration, it is not surprising to see a considerable proportion of respondents advising they do not currently 75% integrate service desk tools with external business tools. With 68% of respondents advising they do not have any integration with external business tools it is clear inter departmental collaboration is not particularly widespread when tools and technologies are taken into consideration. Nevertheless, of respondents have revealed that there is a level of integration in place, a solid foundation to move forward Difficult with. 2% The benefits of integrating service desk tools with external business technologies are becoming better known and it is factoring in heavily with the shared service management operational model. Research into shared service Impossible management has revealed a dramatic increase in the adoption of the model which makes integration between different organisation technologies likely to increase in the future. Q7 I m not sure 68% Q8. Do technology and service integration feature in your continual service improvement plan? Reporting Gamification Remote connection Asset Business applications Social media tools Project Active directory Identify System/ Desktop... Mobility HR systems Cloud services Telephony Live chat Continual service improvement has become a mainstay of service desk strategy and planning which makes the response to this question all the more compelling. Just short of 80% of respondents have advised they feature technology integration in their continual service improvement plans, a striking majority. This result gives a strong indication of the value service desks place on technology integration and matches the wider recognition of benefits revealed earlier in this report. The value integration of systems brings to an organisation is well recognised, including in best practice standards such as the Service Desk Certification programme which categorises integration of systems as a sign of a high maturity level. It is important to recognise that whilst the results to this question are encouraging, it may be considerably easier to plan for technology integration as part of a continual service improvement plan however this may not directly translate into any action due potentially to struggles justifying the expense or time to carry out the project. 80 % 20 % 7

11 Q9. Do you have the ability to measure the return on investment of technology integration? A crucial question when investigating this subject area centres on the service desks ability to justify the time and expense taken to integrate technologies and tools. Whilst the responses prior to this question revealed a high level of recognition of both the levels of integration possible and the benefits of doing so, without the justification to make steps to amalgamate and consolidate systems it is unlikely a service desk will be able to secure the budget or resources to do so. It is therefore of concern that 75% of respondents do not believe they have the ability to calculate return Q4 on investment and as a result may struggle to build a business case to justify any integration projects. Calculating return on investment can be a complex task, and in the case of technology integration a series of additional factors such as a wide range of legacy technologies or estimations of the wider impact of integration can make this all the more complicated. 12% Always looking It is possible, therefore, that service to integrate desks may recognise the benefits of integration but will be unable to articulate this at a higher level to get the budget and resources needed to drive the project forward. Often, the only way to accurately gauge return on Interested investment is through comparing performance data after the measure 45% has been put into place. This process assumes integration that funding has already been given to carry out the project, however, given the size of integration projects it is reasonable to suggest business 43% cases would need to be presented before the t currently project funding is allocated. looking It would be reasonable to deduce that the inability to calculate return on investment for projects such as technology integration can be the biggest stumbling block for service desks and the likely cause there is such a disparity between the data collected on what the service desk currently has integrated compared to what they believe would be of the most use. Q5 7% Easy 27% 25% Easy would need some help 75% Difficult 2% Impossible Q7 I m not sure 8 68%

12 Q10. Do you see future technology integration affecting service desk staffing models? The efficiencies rendered from technology integration in the past have often been found to significantly change the way service desks allocate resources through their staffing models. A prime example is through the integration of reporting functionality in service management tools. The integration and subsequent automation of many of the reporting functions removed the need for large management information teams who could then, as a result, be reallocated to other areas of the service desk. With this in mind, respondents to the survey were asked if they believed wider integration would lead to a further change in staffing models. With over 70% of respondents believing changes would take place in the future due to technology integration it would be reasonable to argue that service desks are well aware of a potential shift in resource allocation should wider integration take place. This prospect can seem daunting at first however often the technologies that are integrated remove the mundane, time consuming and repetitive tasks that are manually completed such as copying text into call logs. Through integration this can be removed and individuals can focus time and effort on other areas of customer support that are of more benefit to the individual, the customer and the wider business. The service management strategy shift left is perhaps the greatest example of how technology integration can reduce costs. Imagine the prospect of a fully integrated system that removes much of the administrative tasks from first level support, freeing these analysts to do what they do best; support customers. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Q11. Do you see the budget for technology integration increasing in the future? Arguably, a challenging question to answer given the swift pace of change that can be seen in the service desk industry. As the speed of technology improvement and integration increases it is often impossible to predict whether the funding and resources to implement new innovations will be reduced, increased or even available to begin with. 46% 46% 54% It is, therefore, not surprising to see a mixed response from survey participants with 54% believing the allocated budget for technology integration will increase and the remaining 46% arguing it would not. 54% 9

13 Q12. Do you currently have a budget dedicated to new technologies? 30% An important consideration when embarking on any project is to ensure the appropriate budget is in place to fund the work until completion. Projects involving technologies can often be the most unpredictable and challenging to plan which makes a wider allocated budget for new technologies a valuable resource to utilise when investigating projects such as system integration. A large proportion of respondents to this question, 60%, advised they do not have a budget dedicated to new technologies with only 40% revealing they have this resource available. Whilst this may seem like a somewhat discouraging result for technology integration, it is possible service desks use a wider pool of funding to secure new technology projects as opposed to a dedicated budget that may not provide the fiscal flexibility needed to fuel a large project like technology integration. 70% Q13. Do you have a budget to investigate integration opportunities? With the previous response in mind, respondents were asked to shed more light on funding options, specifically how they would secure funding for technology integration. The largest proportion of respondents, 40%, advised they did not currently have any budget allocated although they would be looking to secure funding in the future. A further 22% revealed they had no budget currently, nor did they have any intention to secure funding in the future. These two results combined reveal that over 60% of respondents do not have any funding currently in place to investigate technology integration opportunities in the future. 7% of the respondents advised they have a dedicated budget in place to fund the investigation of technology integration accompanied by 21% who advised they could secure funding either from a non-dedicated source or through ad hoc funding requests., there is a dedicated..., we can get funding..., we can secure ad hoc..., although we would look..., we do not have a buget... 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 10

14 Conclusion The rate at which different technologies can be integrated has accelerated in recent years with many service management tools now including comprehensive technology integration that had previously not been thought possible. Ten years prior to this report, technology integration for service management tools rested with reporting and . w service desks can expect multi-channel support, auto-discovery led asset management and other innovations such as gamification already integrated, with the potential to integrate other technologies as they develop. This has fostered an environment where integration is now the source of innovation within the service desk industry. Through the development of integration, manual, mundane and time consuming tasks are now built into system operations freeing analysts to embark on more productive endeavours. This report reveals that these benefits are widely recognised by the industry and there is enthusiasm to see these developed further. However, the most striking insight from this report is the difficulty service desks may have in justifying the resource allocation to develop technology integration further. Calculating return on investment is a particular sticking point which in turn has led to the surprising lack of dedicated funding service desks have available to allow them to pursue the benefits of new technology integration further. planning however they are unable to translate this into the budget and resources they truly need to move forward. This may be partly due to the wider acceptance of the challenges integration can bring with a significant amount of respondents arguing it would be too difficult or even impossible to work on integrating their current technology set. Even more striking is the proportion of respondents who simply do not know how challenging an integration project would be with others advising they would need external help to move forward. A compelling insight into the uncertainty surrounding developing integration opportunities across the service desk industry. Efficiencies that can be achieved through integrating with the wider business may not be recognised as the data shows this aspect of technology integration is significantly behind the trend of integration the service desk aspires to achieve. Arguably, a case could be made that it is now the place of software developers and vendors to approach the service desk marketplace and guide them through integrating technologies as there is a clear foundation of demand within the industry. The report reveals that above all the service desk will need assistance with translating an understanding of the benefits of integration into the tangible resources needed to continue the journey. Indeed, the data from this report reveals a significant disconnect between the wider understanding of the benefits of integration and the tangible resources available to meet these. It would be reasonable to suggest service desks are able to plan for integration, which can be seen through its inclusion in continual service improvement 11

15 About LANDESK The heart of IT is about empowering people and being able to serve and secure all types of users, on all the devices they use, wherever they are. With an end-to-end Service solution, only LANDESK unifies and automates the delivery of all the assets and services users need across mobile, cloud, and personal computing environments. By making users happy, we make IT more strategic and business more productive. Contact Information For more information, us at or speak with a LANDESK product representative: In the U.S. call: In Europe call: +44 (0) In APAC call: For specific country offices and contact information, visit About SDI The SDI company mission is to inspire service desks to be brilliant. To achieve this mission SDI has developed a set of goals by which it aims to inspire service desks to: Embrace: To raise the quality of service delivery by valuing best practice Engage: To create an inspiring and engaging customer experience Invest: To empower their teams to be inspired, take action and be better Shine: To demonstrate and deliver exceptional business value SDI sets the globally recognised best practice service desk standards that provide clear and measurable benchmarks for service desk operations and professionals. The standards are designed to encourage service desks to embrace best practice to in order to raise the quality of service delivery. For more information please contact Emma Spear at SDI at or by calling

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