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How automation can help decrease IT service desk calls and improve user experience


Presented by TOPdesk

How do you future-proof your IT service desk when business growth is uncertain? Join this VB Spotlight to identify the tasks you should be automating to improve customer experience, decrease IT service desk calls, reduce end-user down-time and more.

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IT service desks today face a bigger array of challenges than ever as companies go digital and employees have access to more sophisticated tech. Service desks are seeing a large volume of requests, which are often rote, repetitive and tedious, requiring longer call durations. It not only takes time away from more complex questions, but it can also turn IT into firefighters, responding to urgent issues as they happen, rather than allowing staff to be more proactive and innovative in their approach to a company’s overall IT strategy.

Automation and self-service are key to transforming how an IT service desk operates, freeing up experts to tackle bigger business problems, says Jeffrey Jacoby, U.S. services team lead at TOPdesk.

“By automating the standard workflows that contribute to the high number of tasks assigned to the service desk, you alleviate the time required from a service desk technician’s input, which makes the process more efficient and the service desk technicians more productive,” Jacoby explains. “Another way could be using knowledge base for end users to self-solve, instead of relying on the service desk for answers, or using AI-powered automation to predict issues before they start.”

Where automation shines

Types of requests vary by organization of course, as do organizational processes for responding to them, but they could be anything from software requests like assigning licenses and verifying approvals, to incidents like a broken laptop, or the inability to find a folder or an inbox going haywire. And the size of the teams varies as well, from a couple of people as front responders and the escalation team, to entire security, network or development teams.

Whatever the size of a company, however, automation can help companies realize real-world ROI, Jacobs says, and TOPdesk has worked with a number of very different organizations to help them implement automation into their standard processes.

For instance, the notification for a network monitoring outage can be brought into the automation platform as a mail import, and from there, it can auto-assign the affected asset from the network monitoring tool into a ticket, prioritized based on the affected asset, categorized, and then delivered to the correct team.

“Categorizing and prioritizing the incident increases the efficiency of the process by slashing the time it takes for the network team to dig into what the asset was, what its dependencies are and how the system is being impacted,” he says. “Technicians can go straight to troubleshooting the issue at hand without having to play detective.”

He points to offboarding as another repetitive but crucial IT task that benefits greatly from automation. Organizations often need to do a lot of manual work when an employee separates from the company, such as review the former employee’s roles, system access and software. Automation can successfully streamline that process by breaking it down by the role of the employee. For instance, if a sales rep is being offboarded, tasks like revoking the active directory (AD) account and access to the CRM software should be invoked, as well as alerts to collect assets like phones and laptops, schedule an HR offboarding interview, and having security retrieve key cards.

“By automating the tasks assigned, based on the role of the employee, this means that the service desk has a less hands-on approach in deciding which tasks need to be assigned, versus just doing the work,” he explains. “Using automation in scenarios like these increases the efficiency of the service desk, allowing the technicians to focus on more challenging work, and improving the end-user experience.”

Implementing an automation strategy

Documentation comes first, even before choosing technology, tools and partners, Jacobs says. Don’t try to account for the exceptions and once-in-a-blue-moon scenarios. Focus on documenting which workflows are standard, and which of those are repetitive, and thus can be easily automated.

“It’s knowing what your goal is, what you’re trying to achieve and what the road map to adoption should look like,” Jacobs explains. “Once you identify areas that can be automated, you’re looking at where wins can be made, and opportunities to be more productive.”

While you should be thinking big during the goal-setting stage, you need to start small, he cautions. Tackle the simple, easy wins for your teams — for instance, if you’re aiming to reduce the number of service desk requests the IT team gets, go for the simplest ones that will make the most impressive dent. From there, it’s designing, implementing, testing and iterating to optimize it continuously, not only to find more efficiencies, but make it more robust wherever possible.

Measuring KPIs for service desk excellence

From optimizing automations to improving the customer experience and identifying new opportunities, it’s essential to measure service desk performance KPIs. They’re based on a variety of factions. An especially central one is the quality of the calls, which can be judged by user feedback on their experiences vs. their expectations, and whether their issues have been resolved in a satisfactory way. While it’s a subjective measure, it is still necessary to keep track of the tenor of user responses, whether they’re solicited specifically in surveys or collected as they come in.

In terms of hard cold numbers, average time to resolve is another important factor in measuring call and service quality. IT service desks should put a service level agreement (SLA) in place, to put a standard of delivery in place — a promise to employees or customers in terms of how quickly their issues will be resolved.

Keeping track of the volume of incidents is also vital. Those reports help you continue to improve your automation strategy, identifying emerging tasks that can or should be automated, to improve performance overall.

To learn more about the ways automation can transform your IT department strategy, how to evaluate your organization’s automation needs and come away with actionable advice, don’t miss this VB Spotlight event!

Watch free on-demand!


  • Core factors to evaluate the current state of your business and service desk
  • Transform and simplify your IT processes with automation
  • Accelerate delivery of internal processes and services


  • Barclay Rae, Consultant; Author; Co-host of the Enterprise Digital Podcast
  • Jeffrey Jacoby, US Services Team Lead, TOPdesk
  • Art Cole, Moderator, VentureBeat


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