Service Desk: The single point of contact between users and IT Service Management. Tasks include handling incidents and requests, and providing an interface for other ITIL processes. The primary functions of the Service Desk are incident control, life cycle management of all service requests, and communicating with the customer
– ITILv3: Service Operation
Majorly, aforesaid definition of service desk is being fulfilled in every organization with an assistance of IT Service Management Tool. Service desk is a mediator between end user and IT support teams. Service desk process comprises of ticket logging procedure, incident management and request fulfillment. Most of us might have a thought that ITSM tool just acts as a ticketing tool in service desk operation. We would say it’s ironic to admit that theory as ITSM tool is now capable to deliver every single process of service desk management with minimum or no human intervention. This may sound impractical! But yes, we would confess that not all ITSM tools do have that ability, but we believe, the facts on how ServiceNow (an effective ITSM tool) facilitates Service desk operation will justify our perception.
ServiceNow in Service Desk Operations:
We see ServiceNow as a Service Relationship Management (SRM) tool rather than just an IT Service Management tool, because it has the potential to bridge the gap between Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning in an organization.
ServiceNow is incorporated with key principles of ITSM – Governance, People, Process, and Technology. It plays an extensive role in each phase of service desk operation and not only limited to ticket logging procedure. In the initial phase, ServiceNow enhances communication between user and first line of IT support by providing compatibility of accepting different mode of communication – voice, chat, mail and transforms into ticket pertaining to the nature of an issue or a request. This compatibility is achieved by CTI (computer telephony integration) for voice, SNOW-inbuilt module for chat and inbound E-mail processing.
Another important feature of ServiceNow is Self Service portal. It is a collection of service catalogs for defined requests handling procedures, a hold up for knowledge base and generic organizational process driven – information. Catalog as a service offering to end user. Self Service portal can be customized according to the service desk requirement which includes user specific interface, categorization of issues/ requests, knowledge base etc…
ServiceNow offers a good amount of space to integrate its functionalities with applications developed from different technologies and platforms, this blend facilitates IT support team to deliver its services effectively. We can perform ServiceNow – LDAP integration that allows support personnel to carry out user management tasks through ServiceNow rather than active directory console. Simple tasks of user management such as Account unlock / Password reset can be easily automated. It is possible to automate any service desk support tasks pertains to IT infrastructure, provided with relevant integration.
ServiceNow functionality extends its scope further to enhance customer support options by providing Remote Assistance feature. This feature is included in ‘Eureka’, (an updated version of ServiceNow) which is expected to be released in six months of time for upgrading customer instances. This feature enables support person to access customer’s computer remotely and also eliminates complexity in supporting customers discretely with any other third party remote assistance tool. The process of remote-troubleshooting is consolidated in ServiceNow as process and support technology combined together ensuing single system of record and more flexibility.
ServiceNow insists support team to have more agility on priority tasks by sending alerts to their mobile through SMS and voice mail; this is achieved by Notify plug-in, which is an integral process that mingles mobile device with ServiceNow framework. This feature also facilitates to organize conference call between customers and support personnel, for speedy closure of the incident and requests. Incident / Request SLA can be defined or customized with ease in ServiceNow. Reports can be generated based on SLA and it could be communicated automatically to the Management / Support team.
ServiceNow classifies request from incidents (issues) and handles requests in a separate module named ‘service request’. ServiceNow provides a wide scope to fit organization’s compliance requirement in this module. As stated earlier any service desk support tasks can be automated and, it is even recommended to automate some critical IT request fulfillment because there would be type of requests which should not be fulfilled without completing organizations compliance procedure (E.g. request for access to finance share drive of an organization or access to critical application server), in such instances, we can create workflows (using graphical work flow editor) to fulfill request, only after meeting compliance requirement. This process of customization involves automating approval workflow as per the nature of the request underlined by the business. The aforesaid methodology of creating user defined workflows to automate IT tasks on remote servers refers to the concept called Service Orchestration (so-called “Runbook Automation”) in ServiceNow.
I believe this outline of ServiceNow features and functionalities will persuade you to conclude that it is not mere a ticketing tool but an absolute service desk process suite.