What-if? modelling on the HelpDesk

IT help desks – opportunities for specialization

Your IT help desk needs to meet all its SLAs, and excel in user feedback surveys, at the lowest possible staffing level. In the small to medium size organization, that probably means recruiting great quality support staff, all capable of dealing with any problems that the user community can find or create. As an organization increases in size, and the number of issues handled annually on the help desk grows into the thousands, the opportunities grow to optimize the specializations among your support team. You may therefore want to review the overall performance of the help desk based on differing concentrations of those specializations.

IT help desk reporting

The starting point is probably an analysis of closed issues by issue type – for example logon problems, problems with Excel, and problems with a bespoke in-house application. For each category of issue, we can see the number of issues and the average time taken to resolve. We can then observe the relative performance per analyst and guage the impact of specialist knowledge on the resolution times. From this we can project the possible improvement that would accrue from having all issues of a particular type dealt with by an analyst with specialist knowlege in that area. For the mid-size support team – say 15 staff – the route to the best mix of skills may simply be to provide more training in selected classes of issue to some of your team.
Reporting is always a tick-list requirement when we respond to help desk RFPs, but we often find that managers operate with too little time to put the reporting to best use in planning and optimizing resources. SLA performance reports have to be produced at regular times, and it should be possible to cut the associated workload by scheduling these reports for automated production, leaving managers with more time to be pro-active.
It pays to take a good look at the reporting of any help desk tool you are thinking of installing.