Productivity is the be-all and end-all of business. It's the key driver of profitability and efficient management. Ensuring continuous productivity improvement is both a current and future business need, so you need the right solutions to ensure this.
From an IT service management (ITSM) perspective, multi-channel technical solutions, improved service desk efficiency and automation are key drivers of productivity. But what are the common service management factors affecting employee productivity in an organisation? We’ll highlight a few of them in this article:
- Lack of Effective Technology
- Low Levels of First-Time Fix Rate
- Prioritising the Right Work
- Wasting Time in Routine Calls
- Limited Automation
Lack of Effective Technology
In your ITSM network, infrastructure and operations are shared between departments. The service desk doesn’t have sole ownership of these solutions. This makes finding and agreeing on the right tech to solve problems difficult. We can think of this as a ‘technology gap’ - the gap between what businesses already have and what they need (but might not know about).
Now, businesses might not provide enough time or resources to implement new systems. There might also not be enough of a budget to implement a solution in the first place.
In other circumstances, there could be a reluctance to spend money on something that isn’t immediately beneficial in the eyes of executive management.
Businesses need to find an effective ITSM solution that makes the most of human potential, automates manual tasks and drives project improvements. Here’s a simple breakdown of what that process looks like:
- Determine what you need: Your current and future requirements need to be taken into account. What are the features you’ll need tomorrow?
- Find a budget: To secure a budget, you need to build a persuasive business case for your CFO or other executive management.
- Select a vendor: Research what’s on offer in the marketplace and what provides for your needs.
- Incentivise adoption: A new technological solution can sometimes come up against staff resistance who may not be familiar with its processes. While ITSM solutions can be introduced overnight, adoption takes time. You’ll need to incentivise staff and provide a strategic training plan to ensure its use.
Low Levels of First-Time Fix Rates
Reduced tickets and fast fixes, that’s what we’re aiming for.
It’s up to the service desk to fix issues. And for better efficiency, these issues need to be solved fast. Businesses have to work towards having their service desk fix issues done within the first attempt.
Unresolved tickets represent a cycle of unproductivity, where issues can be passed around, taking up multiple parties’ time. By responding with the solution on the first attempt, it’s quicker, reduces bottlenecks in the future and is also cheaper.
The solution rests on the kind of system you’re utilising. Using a system that provides visibility with reporting tools lets you identify the issues being resolved and which aren’t. With that knowledge, you can look into new technology that increases first-time fix rates, alongside better aligning issues with those who can resolve them.
For example, issues can be categorised into:
- End-user self-service: Where an issue is easily solved by the end-user themselves. The better access staff have to IT platforms, data and training, the more likely these smaller issues can be resolved there and then.
- The service desk: The service desk helps resolve more complex issues that end-users can’t solve.
- 2nd line support: When you find issues like these, they can be assigned by the service desk to the appropriate team for resolution. If you keep track of these assignments, it means the right people can easily resolve similar issues in the future.
With the right service desk technology in place, you can even make use of AI-driven resolutions. When end-users raise queries, AI works to provide the answer.
Prioritising the Right Work
As we’ve learned, employee productivity rests on the efficiency of the technology they’re using. According to Smartsheet’s survey on automation, 40% of workers spend more than 25% of their workweek on manual, repetitive tasks. That’s a big chunk of time that could be spent on more important work.
As time is finite, service management professionals need to quickly identify the most critical issues from a business perspective.
Priorities differ within each department. Service desks prioritise work based on what impacts productivity the most. For example, this might be resolving lost revenue caused by a problem in the system which is then multiplied by the lost time it takes to resolve. These deeper business insights are critical but often remain unseen by the average employee.
Prioritising via a metric is a good way of showing what issue should be focused on, as it’s a universally recognisable and understandable measure of impact. However, to provide this metric, you need visibility across your IT infrastructure to discover what impact a component failure might have.
These improvements are cyclical - more visibility means a better case for new systems and new systems means better visibility. It’s these little improvements that continually build upon each other, meaning success doesn’t plateau.
To put it plainly, the right tech provides the right visibility. Imagine being able to directly see the business cost of downtime? Or how much a bottleneck delays a project by? Data informs decisions. When we’re more enabled to make the right decisions, our bottom line gets a whole lot healthier.
Wasting Time in Routine Calls
Service management professionals have to answer routine queries, which isn’t an effective use of time. In fact, according to a report by Zendesk, it takes an average of 24.2 hours for a first response to be given from a service desk. This is a decrease in productivity. Imagine unlocking that time with AI and self-servicing?
Self-service helps us when we’re time-poor, as your employees prefer getting instant solutions rather than waiting for them to be given.
The onboarding of cloud-based or AI-driven service desk software encourages self-service and allows employees and end-users to discover the solution to routine problems themselves. In some cases, these solutions can even be preemptive or automated into the system, solving the issue before a person notices it.
Workplace expert Josh Bersin said it best: “As you think about the ‘employee experience,’ you have to think about how to stop interrupting people and think about how to make their work easier, more productive and more meaningful.”
Imagine your service desk is hit with requests to manually reset passwords, unlock accounts, provide folder access or assign incident and service requests. These manual processes are archaic - it’s time for an upgrade. The need to automate operational and end-user functions has increased exponentially as well as the adoption rate globally.
In terms of productivity, automation can help in the following ways:
- By automating workflows: Easy, repetitive tasks are completed by software, freeing up staff to focus on more complex issues and training. Low-level automation opens the door to newer automated processes that aid higher-level tasks.
- Easier ticketing for help desks: A common ITSM function that’s automated is incident ticketing. Automation helps to provide the proper escalation process and categorises tickets appropriately.
- Improved IT infrastructure: As businesses and their tech stacks grow, the scale of automation demanded increases by both internal and external stakeholders. Automation helps grow itself.
- Provide accessibility: Automation grants people and processes access to more tools and data capturing methods than are available with legacy systems.
- Streamlining enterprises: Automated connections between internal teams and partners can be run at scale, consistently.
If you view automation in ITSM contextually, past what it is and does at its base level, you see it for what it truly is - a competitive differentiator, something that improves your working environment.
We believe our digital ecosystems are at the heart of productivity and also employee experience. To discover just how these concepts are linked and find insights on how you can provide genuine value and more fulfilment to your workforce, check out another of our helpful blogs.
How Can ITSM Automation Increase Employee Productivity?
To find out more about ITSM automation and its positive effects on employee productivity, check out our blog post. In it, you’ll discover why automation is one of the best solutions for increasing productivity.
Through automation, AI-driven workflows carry out the time-consuming, repetitive manual tasks to save time and allow employees to focus on more important responsibilities.