Hear the latest on the Service Desk Renewal Program from the person leading the project
We first announced our Service Desk Renewal Program (SDRP) in July 2022 with the goal of taking a comprehensive look at the Service Desk. The SD has been successful for the last 25 years and the SDRP will help us focus on what we need to do to continue to be successful for the next 25 years. We are a little over six months into our endeavors and wanted to provide an update on where we stand, the wins we have achieved so far, and what to expect in the coming months.
We have completed our initial review of the current state of the SD as well as the overall vision statement that will guide our decision-making. Our overall goal is that SDRP, “will drive the modernization of our service desk support, setting the framework for continual service improvement as networks and technologies evolve.” Our SDRP Steering Committee included several guiding principles focused on advanced operations, event correlation, human engagement, professional development, scalability and growth, self-service and enhanced communications, and unified support. More details can be found on our SDRP community page.
Automating tasks is a major part of our guiding principles as we look to have our staff focus on activities that benefit from human engagement within the SD. The following projects have been implemented, or are in the process of being implemented, to help support our automation efforts.
- Auto-incident creation: For a defined set of alarms, we have added an option to automatically identify and create incidents in our task-tracking system. Where applicable, those incidents are routed to the appropriate resolution team for review. This reduces the overall alarm set that requires human review, improves our overall triage process for those alarms, and more quickly gets the incident in front of the resolution team.
- Automation-assisted engagement: Not every incident requires immediate engagement from the Service Desk. The current process for identifying when to engage on these incidents is manual based on process and procedure. Using a combination of features within our task tracking and alert monitoring systems, we are now able to automate the portions of the workflow that identify when the SD should engage. This effort reduces the errors and ensures the SD can prioritize our workload more effectively.
- Network Troubleshooter: Although not born out of SDRP, our software team recently released the Network Troubleshooter. We have been working with the Network Troubleshooter team to expand its use to automate initial triage actions, including collecting start and end times.
- Automated Inquiries: We are in the process of developing the option to automate our inquiry process. Inquiries are emails that are sent in the early stages of an incident to reach out to the affected entities. They contain standardized language and data points that are manually completed today. The automated inquiry process would compile the emails and present them for SD review ahead of sending the email.
In addition to the automation efforts mentioned above, we are focusing on overall improvements to our workflow and engagement with end users. The following projects have been implemented, or are in the process of being implemented, to support the improvements to SD workflows.
- Unified workflows: While the SD has a standard set of process, procedures, and workflows that we recommend for our users, we are also open to customizations to meet the needs of their community. Those customizations have diverged over time and our workflows have become less standard as a result. We have begun looking at the current state of our workflows, how we might be able create a framework for understanding the differences, and documenting the standard workflow alongside the custom components.
- Email transition to ServiceNow: In combination with our Freeing Up Time team, we are working to transition our email from individual inboxes that we manage to a more formalized workflow inside of our task tracking system, ServiceNow. The initial pilot has allowed us to better process the email we receive, identify areas where we can reduce unnecessary emails, and better understand our email processing metrics. The transition should be seamless as we work with each network to make that change.
- Communication record improvements: Communication records are the primary way for SD staff to track our engagement. This includes communication through email, phone, Slack, and in-person engagements. We were able to adjust our internal process to make tracking these efforts more seamless while also improving our metrics. In addition, we have included features that allow all engagements to start from the same point, regardless of the follow-up action.
- Service Desk structure: Throughout the SDRP, we are going to be looking at our current structure and evaluating how to adapt to our modernization efforts. This could include new roles, adjustments to existing roles, or a complete restructure. As of now, we have completed the following changes:
- Empowering our supervisors: The SD has updated our reporting structure to include staff reporting directly to their supervisor (instead of the manager). Supervisors have been empowered to make staffing decisions and work directly with staff on professional development, alongside leading initiatives and driving our continual service improvement efforts.
- Additional General Support Technician (GST) classifications: In previous years, our entry-level position was a flat role with everyone, regardless of experience or education, compensated at the same rate. As technicians spent more time with the GlobalNOC, we did not have any options to compensate for the additional knowledge and support they provide. We were able to add additional compensation levels within our GST classification to help support the varying degrees of experience our technicians have.
- ServiceNow implementer: An area where the SD could find significant benefit is in our adoption and implementation of ServiceNow features. We are piloting a new role that focuses on bridging the gap between what ServiceNow is technically capable of doing and how the SD will implement those features. We are a few weeks into a six-month pilot.
We will continue to provide updates on initiatives and changes that are occurring through your regular operations calls, business reviews, and in collaboration with CRMs. Feedback on the Service Desk and our SDRP efforts is always appreciated. Please reach out to your CRM or reach out directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback you would like to provide.