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Four Ways Automated Remediation Drives up Service Desk KPIs

Mike Marks
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An important KPI for End User Services teams is Desktop Support cost per ticket, automated remediationWhether part of an enterprise or a service provider, Service Desk teams’ jobs have never been harder. Companies deploy complex technologies as part of their digital transformation efforts. Mobile apps, apps running in the cloud, third party SaaS offerings, and apps running in virtual environments. Users work whenever and wherever, so they must access these apps on a variety of devices. Not just PCs, laptops, and virtual devices in the office, but tablets and smart phones when they’re away from it. Senior IT staff focus relentlessly on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track the health of the business. Automated remediation enables Service Desk teams to hit their KPI targets by proactively identifying and resolving device issues that affect end user experience. Check it out:

How SteelCentral enables automated remediation

Most IT organizations in enterprises and service providers have runbook processes that specify the actions for IT to take in response to commonly expected problems. These processes clarify how to analyze the problem conditions, diagnose the issue, then fix it, based on a set of recovery actions. The recovery action is comprised of either manual steps or running scripts to clear the condition and verify proper operation.

SteelCentral enables you to build a library of remediation actions, which can be executed either automatically or manually by IT, in response to recurring problems like hard drive failures, app or system crashes, low disk space, etc. When these problems occur several times on the same device within a certain time, IT can specify the remediation action to be performed. They can also specify the notification to the user.

automated remediation, service desk, help desk, trouble ticket, MTTR, end user services

Tailoring automated remediation is a two-step process. First tailor the action based on the recovery script. Then build a custom notification to the user for the action to take.

Once you configure the remediation actions, you have flexibility in how you implement them. For simple problems, you may decide to enable the system to initiate corrective actions automatically, so users don’t have to call the Service Desk. More complicated problems will require IT involvement. Either way, automated remediation produces immediate impact on your most important Service Desk KPIs. Here’s how:

1. Improve customer satisfaction

Whether you automate the recovery actions, or your IT team gets involved, resolving problems faster improves customer satisfaction. Both for your end users and for your Service Desk team. Take the scenario in which a low disk space condition on a user’s device slows things down. SteelCentral automated remediation proactively notifies the user with the recommended corrective action. The event triggers the previously configured notification. It looks something like this:

automated remediation, service desk, help desk, trouble ticket, MTTR, end user services

The user is notified of the issue and must initiate the automated remediation action.

No action is taken unless the user agrees. Automated remediation empties large files from the Recycle Bin, and corrects the condition. The result? Better user satisfaction. The system resolves common problems automatically, minimizing disruption to employees and to the Service Desk.

2. Reduce trouble ticket volume

As discussed in previous blogs, SteelCentral enables IT to reduce Service Desk cost per ticket and Desktop Support cost per ticket. HDI, the association of technical support professionals industry, provides a detailed analysis of the drivers of these ticket costs. As seen in the table below, Desktop Support ticket costs vary by more than a factor of ten across North America.

Benchmarking data for the KPI of Desktop Support cost per ticket, desktop services, automated remediation, help desk, MTTR

The range of Desktop Support cost per ticket is driven by the huge variation in cost per service request (planned work items).

Source: Metric of the Month: Desktop Support Cost per Ticket, Jeff Rumberg, HDI, October 2017

Ticket handle time and IT staff utilization are the key operational factors that affect the cost per ticket, for both Service Desk and Desktop Support teams. And IT staff salary and benefits make up the majority of operational costs for both types of tickets. Clearly, the more work the IT staff has to do to resolve the ticket, the higher the cost. The fewer the number of tickets the engineer can work on, the lower the utilization, and the higher the cost.

With that background, it’s easy to see the impact of eliminating calls to the Service Desk or Desktop Support teams. Fewer tickets means fewer staff required to handle cases of trouble. Lower staff numbers mean lower costs.

3. Reduce trouble ticket duration

When users call to complain about an issue, automated remediation speeds up the recovery actions necessary to get the user back into action. First, your IT staff uses SteelCentral to validate the user’s complaint by analyzing actual end user experience. Note that SteelCentral troubleshoot end user issues quickly, remotely and non-invasively, without taking over the user’s machine.

automated remediation, service desk, help desk, trouble ticket, MTTR, end user services

View recent events on the user’s machine. This user is experiencing excessively long boot times.

Next, they analyze the particular event that is causing the problem. They check their runbook, identify the appropriate recovery action to run, and execute that action, with a single click. SteelCentral maintains a complete log of the remediation actions taken, their success or failure, and who implemented them.

automated remediation, service desk, help desk, trouble ticket, MTTR, end user services

The Service Desk agent selects the appropriate action specified by the runbook to correct the condition.

With fewer manual steps to execute, your staff spends less time on each ticket. This lowers costs by lowering ticket handle time. It also lowers costs by raising utilization, since automated remediation enables each staff member can handle more tickets at the same time.

4. Improve First Level Resolution rate

First Level Resolution (FLR) rate is the next KPI which automated remediation helps you improve. FLR measures the ability of your team to resolve tickets at Level 1, without having to escalate to more expensive Level 2 or 3 teams. FLR drives ticket costs, since labor rates rise with higher levels of expertise, as Jeff Rumberg explains in an article in HDI.

This table from Jeff’s article shows average total cost per ticket for North American organizations at various levels of support. Note that the costs are cumulative. So, a ticket resolved at Level 2 costs $91, the total of $69 and $22, to account for the staff time of both Desktop Support and the Service Desk.

FLR, first level resolution rate, Cost per ticket increases with level showing the importance of First Contact Resolution as a benchmarking KPI

Costs per ticket increase with the level of team involved. Costs shown include salary and benefits.

Source: Metric of the Month: First Level Resolution Rate, Jeff Rumberg, HDI, November 2017.

Automated remediation enables level 1 Service Desk staff to resolve issues on their own. First, they consult the runbook. Then they execute the specified remediation action, verify success, and send the user on their way. Costs go down since fewer tickets need to be escalated to more expensive resources in Level 2 or 3.

Automated remediation is just one of the ways SteelCentral helps you raise FLR. Learn more by reading the blog on benchmarking First Contact Resolution and FLR.

Improving KPIs with SteelCentral and ServiceNow

SteelCentral further helps you improve your service desk KPIs with a bi-directional integration with ServiceNow, for a closed-loop system of proactive notification and incident investigation. The integration enables your IT teams to receive SteelCentral alerts in ServiceNow, and to drill down from an individual incident directly to the relevant dashboard for further trouble shooting. Read about the Aternity and ServiceNow integration.

Get started today

Atrernity, Instant Access, EUEM, End User Experience MonitoringYour Service Desk team may be part of the enterprise IT staff. Or, it may be part of a service offered by an MSP like Blue Ally, or by IT outsourcers, like DXC, or Unisys. No matter the case, SteelCentral automated remediation can give you a head start on improving your Service Desk KPIs. You can get started today by registering for instant access to Aternity running in our cloud environment to explore all of its use cases.

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