Research Brief

Pearls of Wisdom: HDI Research Brief Compilation 2013-2014

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Desktop Support Metrics Written by Mike Hanson Data analysis by Jenny Rains SEPTEMBER 2013 A t the beginning of my career as a desktop support manager, I searched everywhere for examples of industry-standard measurements for second-level support organi- zations. At that time, my search was in vain because desktop support was in its infancy. There were plenty of metrics for help desks, but nothing concrete for desktop support teams or individuals. DESKTOP SUPPORT EDITION Today, I'm happy to report that's no longer the case. The support profession has matured and is now recognized as an integral part of IT and the business. There are even organizations that specialize in measuring support teams, and there are now a number of common metrics used across a variety of industries. In this brief, we will focus on the metrics commonly used by desktop support. This data is based on the 2013 HDI Desktop Support Practices & Salary Report. From November 2012 through January 2013, HDI surveyed a cross- section of more than thirty industries, with the 978 respondents representing multinational organizations that are either based in or provide support to end users around the world. THE FOUNDATION Depending on the size of an organization or the type of business, desktop support can mean different things, have different scopes, or even have different names (e.g., second-level support, field services). For the purposes of this paper, desktop support refers to the IT organization that's responsible for responding to incidents, questions, and service requests that involve desktop hardware, software, and operating systems. They're also usually responsible for fulfilling service requests related to desktop hardware and deploying or updating software on a client's local workstation. Desktop support tickets are categorized as desktop support based on the type of issue (64%), the individual assigned to handle the issue (45%), and the manner of resolution (17%). Incident refers to a problem the customer is having with hardware or software (i.e., there's something broken that needs to be fixed). Conversely, service requests are scheduled events. If a customer needs a new computer or peripheral, or new or upgraded software, then the service desk would open a service request and desktop support would schedule the work. Forty-one percent of organizations track these two ticket types separately. In these organizations, on average, 56 percent of tickets are incidents and 42 percent are service requests. Thirty-five percent of organizations don't differentiate, while the remaining 25 percent distinguish between them but don't track them separately. Desktop support organizations operate in almost every industry, serving a variety of business types and supporting a range of client bases, from very small to very large. Thus, desktop support presents a unique challenge. Over the years, certain metrics have bubbled to the top as standards, but the interpretation of those metrics may not be as consistent as you might find in a more structured environment, like the service desk. Nonetheless, a good baseline of organizational metrics can help us manage our operations properly and respond more effectively to the business's needs. THE METRICS Desktop support gets its work from a variety of sources. Depending on how large the organization is or how mature the support teams are, there may be multiple avenues for work to make its way into the support queue. The support center is the primary channel, with 46 percent of tickets assigned to desktop support from there. In some organizations, customers are able to contact desktop support directly via phone (22% of tickets) or email (14% of tickets). Web requests and walk-ups/drive-bys constitute the remaining 17 percent of tickets. Regardless of intake channel, there are some metrics that are common across industries. 56% of organizations saw an increase in the number of tickets received by desktop support. 11

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