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SysAid Support is About to Get Even More Supercalifragilisticexpiali-Help-You!

Posted by on July 7, 2014 in SysAid
SysAid Support is About to Get Even More Supercalifragilisticexpiali-Help-You! We're very excited – because SysAid has further upped its commitment to exceptional customer service. We've made some structural changes to enhance the way in which we deliver support – splitting general customer support away from technical support – and, as a result, our personal service to you will improve. It's not because our service wasn't great before, but because you – our amazing customers – deserve better than just "great" service. You deserve exceptional service that's simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! We want to ensure that you get maximum value from your investment in SysAid and we firmly believe that part of this is receiving the greatest customer experience possible. We value your loyalty, and we understand that without you we wouldn’t exist.

What will change?

We're introducing a new team dedicated to “Business Services,” where every customer will have a dedicated Account Manager for non-technical inquiries. Your Account Manager will be responsible for:
  • Managing your relationship with SysAid
  • General queries and questions about the product and/or service
  • Assisting with implementations and upgrades
  • Handling complaints
  • Facilitating any training/advisory requirements
  • Providing information, such as changes to service, new releases, etc.
Ultimately your Account Manager will be responsible for ensuring that all your needs are fulfilled. By providing you with ONE point of contact we hope to build a superior relationship that helps us to better understand and anticipate your needs. By splitting customer support (“Business Services”) out from the Technical Support team, Technical Support will be able to focus 100% of their efforts on fixing technical issues, resulting in a quicker response time and a quicker recovery time for any technical issues encountered. Overall, we’re dividing support responsibilities to improve our services and our service.

Is this change for everyone?

The only customers unaffected by this change are “Gold customers” and customers of SysAid FREE.
  • Gold customers will continue to be served by their current Account Manager
  • SysAid FREE customers will continue to receive support via the SysAid Online Community
If you're unsure as to whether or not this change affects you, just give us a shout. We’re only too happy to help clarify if the change will impact your organization.

So who is my new Account Manager?

In the next few days you’ll receive an email detailing all the changes specific to YOUR account. If you currently already have an Account Manager this email will be sent from them. This will then be followed by an introductory email from your new Account Manager.

Our ongoing commitment to you

We're here for YOU and we’re 100% committed to delivering first-class technical support and a service experience personalized to your business requirements. This is exactly why we’ve made this minor, but significant change, to improve the way in which we interact with you to deliver a more valuable service.

In a nutshell

  • Look out for two emails highlighting changes to your account and introducing you to your new Account Manager
  • For Technical Support contact support@sysaid.com or helpdesk@sysaid.com
  • Whilst you wait for your new Account Manager’s details feel free to contact care@sysaid.com with any queries

And don’t forget

SysAid is still very much ON THE ROAD, travelling to your offices to help ensure that you are getting maximum value from your investment in SysAid. With a focus on developing a deeper understanding of, and resolution to, any open issues that you may have, gathering feedback for future feature requests, and listening to your implementation stories, we’ll come to you wherever you are in the world. All you have to do is ASK. Email your request to us at ontheroad@sysaid.com or liaise with your Account Manager to schedule a visit.

Let your voice be heard

You’re only ever one click away from helping us make your experience with us even better. Why not share your thoughts on these new support changes in the SysAid Online Community, or give us your recommendations for improvements to the product? Perhaps there’s an IT Service Management (ITSM) process that you are struggling with? Why not let us know so that we can write a best practice blog just for you? Whether in the community, or by contacting care@sysaid.com, we want to hear from you! The future developments of the SysAid solution and related activities are in your hands! It’s your voice that matters.
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High Touch, Transparency, and Good Customer Service

Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Service Desk
High Touch, Transparency, and Good Customer Service Quick word association. I say “Customer Service” and you say....
  • No wait time
  • High 1st call resolution
  • Rapid issue resolution and service delivery
  • Friendly, knowledgeable support staff
All good stuff, to be sure. But these days, it's just expected. I mean, no one's writing home about good, basic customer service when you call for support.
Richard Nugent wrote an excellent piece on Do What You Say and Say What You Do. The article is about leadership, and he makes an excellent point about the relationship damage caused by a disconnect between what you say and what you do. It's no different in IT Service Management. If customers are expecting one thing, and get another, or if IT says they will deliver a service at an agreed level, and do not – the relationship will be damaged. The sad truth is, it takes a lot of time and effort to build the relationship, but very little time to damage it. Not new news, you say? Perhaps not, but things are changing rapidly in technology. Your users have unprecedented options for enterprise-grade IT services on the open market. They experience incredible levels of delivery in the services they consume outside their jobs. They're also increasingly social online, and have instant access to global opinions on technology and service. Like it or not, you're in competition with both the services and the perceptions to which your users have access. The bar's been raised. Long gone are the days when their only experience with technology is what they get from corporate IT.

High Touch Service

Not to worry. IT also has new options to radically change the face of customer service. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Customer service is still about people and relationships. From your own experience with providers, for example from the phone company or appliance repair technicians – what is most annoying to you? I think I know. Think communication, or more accurately – the lack thereof. Relationships are built on open, honest communication. Same thing mother taught you. Tell the truth. Treat people with respect. Call if you're going to be home late. That sort of thing. Amazing, then, that so many service desks still leave their customers in the dark. Nothing says 'you don't matter' more than leaving them wondering what's happening with their request, or missing commitments, or not calling back when promised. We've all experienced good and bad customer service. Ask yourself, “what would I want?” Call back when you said you would? Maybe an email when there's progress or status change on my ticket? How about a scheduled commitment for a technician visit, and a text message confirming the technician is en route? And don't underestimate the value of a follow up call after an issue is closed. If there are any remaining issues, you'll be able to correct. If the customer is satisfied, they'll appreciate the call. Either way, the message is very clear – “you really are important to us”. So, what kinds and how much communication is right? It all depends, of course; but one thing is certain - it's a relationship, so ask your customers. A surprising (well, maybe not so surprising) comment I once heard: “How about not sending me a ‘we're happy to report your issue has been resolved and we're closing your case' email when no one's called and I still have the same problem?”

Transparency

This is where transparency comes in. I've talked before about how an SLA is needed for good customer service. But that's only half the equation. The other half is openness in how well you're meeting that SLA. Transparency. Open Kimono. The good, the bad, and the ugly of how well IT is delivering services. It's how you build healthy relationships with your customers. Don't wait for monthly or quarterly reviews to give them a rehearsed song and dance about how well you're doing, skillfully dodging the uncomfortable bad news. Dare to make service level performance information readily available on a customer portal, available for all to see at any time.

Dude, Where's My Package?

Tracking packages is a great example of high touch transparency enabled by high tech. Technology allows customers to have 24/7 access to the exact whereabouts of their shipment from anywhere in the world. This just wasn't possible a few short years ago. Now it's expected. High-tech enabling high touch. We like to know what's happening with our stuff. Knowing my package is on a truck for delivery this morning allows me to make the best use of my time and manage my business. It transforms me from a helpless victim of The Shipping System to an empowered, respected customer. IT customers are no different. They are busy professionals who have a business to run.

Good Customer Service

Your customers have never had more options for technology providers. Smart IT organizations are working hard to differentiate themselves as the highest value-adding provider. Effective use of technology for high touch transparency makes all the difference. Thankfully there are some really great service management tools out there. And you don't need to spend a ton of money for bells and whistles. Get a solid tool that covers the basics well, and use it for all its worth. It's not the technology that builds relationships. People do. Put yourself in your customers' shoes. What do they need, and how can technology help deliver that? Don't make it complex. Focus on your customers, and find ways to improve high touch and transparency. That's the bridge that connects what you say to what you do.
Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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A Guide to Problem Management Metrics

Posted by on June 24, 2014 in ITIL
Defining Metrics for Problem Management Many people define KPIs for their IT service management processes by looking in books (such as ITIL Service Operation) or by copying metrics that other organizations use. This is rarely going to give good results, because KPIs need to INDICATE the PERFORMANCE of the KEY things you care about (that’s why they’re called Key Performance Indicators). In the worst cases I have seen ITSM processes with huge numbers of so-called KPIs that are measured and reported even though nobody uses the values to drive any changes in behaviour or improvements in business outcomes.
I recently wrote a blog titled Defining Metrics for Change Management in which I explained how you can create KPIs that support what you are trying to achieve. A number of people contacted me after reading that blog to ask for examples of how to derive KPIs for other ITSM processes. I decided to write this blog about problem management KPIs because this is one process where many organizations I have worked with had very poor KPIs. Remember you shouldn’t just copy the outcomes, critical success factors (CSFs) and KPIs that I am describing here, you should use them to understand the approach and methodology I have used, and then think about what is important to you and derive metrics that measure the things you care about. The first step to defining good KPIs is to identify the objectives of problem management, what outcomes does problem management help us to achieve? For me there are two key outcomes of a good problem management process:
  • Reducing the number of incidents that occur
  • Reducing the business impact of incidents that can’t be avoided
We could just measure the number of incidents and the overall business impact of incidents. These would certainly be valuable things to know, but I’m not sure they’d show how well problem management has been working, because so many other factors could have contributed. So I will break these down a bit and identify some problem management CSFs that could contribute to these outcomes:
  • Identify problems that have caused multiple incidents
  • Implement workarounds that reduce the impact of incidents
  • Initiate changes that reduce the number of incidents
It’s worth noting that I didn’t mention root cause analysis (RCA). I see many problem management people who only think about RCA, but this doesn’t actually deliver any benefit, it’s just a technique that we use in problem management. The worst problem management KPIs that I see are “Average time to root cause”, “Percentage of problems with RCA complete in 3 days”, or similar. These KPIs drive behaviours that we really don’t want, by encouraging problem management people to declare that they have found “the” root cause of a complex situation rather than continuing to analyse and understand it even after they have identified one significant contributory factor. One of my customers has a process for prioritising problems that takes account of the frequency and business impact of the problem, including the mitigation provided by any workarounds that are in place. They then have a KPI of “Average time to reduce problems to P3 priority.” This reduction can be achieved by resolving the problem, or by implementing a good workaround. The point is that they are measuring problem management based on how well they are reducing pain to the business. I’m not going to suggest that KPI here because it requires a fairly sophisticated approach to problem prioritisation, which not many IT organizations can achieve, but if you can measure this then it’s certainly something you could think about. Here are some suggested KPIs that might help to demonstrate the CSFs I have listed above. Remember you shouldn’t just copy these – use a similar process to identify KPIs that will measure what you care about. CSF1 - Identify problems that have caused multiple incidents
  • Increased percentage of incidents associated with a problem record or known error
  • Top 5 problem report created every month
CSF2 - Implement workarounds that reduce the impact of incidents
  • Increased percentage of incidents for which a knowledge base article provided the solution
  • Increased percentage of incidents closed by users using self-service incident management
  • Reduced impact of incidents associated with previous months’ top 5 problems
CSF3 - Initiate changes that reduce the number of incidents
  • Reduced number of incidents associated with previous months’ top 5 problems
  • Reduced backlog of outstanding problems
I have worded these KPIs as “Increased…” or “Reduced…” because I don’t have the data needed to set explicit targets. As you make use of metrics like these you can put in place numerical targets, based on the baseline that you create when you first start measuring and reporting. How well do your problem management metrics measure what your customers care about? Is it time to review your problem management KPIs and align them with your CSFs and objectives?

Learn how easy it is to configure SysAid's out-of-the-box problem management process to meet your exact needs.

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We’re Challenging IT Pros Across the Globe to Let the World Know What It Is They REALLY Do

Posted by on June 16, 2014 in General IT
The IT Log We're celebrating our successes of 2014 with the initiative "The IT Log," a video collaboration challenging IT professionals to show the world what they really do. The IT Log invites all IT pros (or appreciators) to submit 90-second ‘day-in-the-life-of’ videos through our iOS or Android app. The videos will be compiled into a crowd-sourced documentary in time for the New Year on January 1st, 2015, and $4,000 in cash prizes will go out to the top five submissions.
At SysAid we feel that outside the industry no one seems to really know what IT professionals do. The IT Log is an opportunity for everyone in IT to get creative, challenge the stereotypes, and win respect for the entire industry. Whether you keep a datacenter up and running or take on hilarious help desk requests, it's time to show the world who you are and what you do. To participate in The IT Log, you need to download The IT Log app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Using the app, you can record a 90-second (or shorter) video and submit it directly to The IT Log. Videos will be posted on The IT Log website and Twitter (#TheITLog). At the end of every week, our IT Log team will announce the "Best Video of the Week." From this selection, we will be inviting the IT community to vote on a "Fan Favorite of the Month." When submissions close in November, a vote will be held to determine the top five videos, and the following cash prizes will be awarded:
  • 1st Place: $1500
  • 2nd: $1000
  • 3rd: $750
  • 4th: $400
  • 5th: $350
We know that IT pros work incredibly hard and are often responsible for a lot more than people think. IT Administrators maintain network security, update websites, manage enterprise computer systems, back up data, serve on the help desk, and juggle many other roles. Ultimately, our goal with The IT Log is to showcase this work and to create something that the entire IT community can be proud of. Over the years, movies, TV shows like The IT Crowd, and office culture have perpetuated the stereotype that IT professionals are “nerdy”, “socially inept” and somehow separate from the rest of the business. While the IT industry generally has a good sense of humor about the jokes and stereotypes, The IT Log has been created in the belief that IT professionals deserve more respect and appreciation. With The IT Log we hope to change attitudes towards the IT community and show the business world what people working in IT really do. We also believe that it's important to push this initiative as far as possible in the IT community, and for that reason we are welcoming other IT vendors to join in to be part of this initiative (at no cost). If you are a vendor and you are interested in being part of The IT Log, please contact us directly. Learn more about the The IT Log here. To download the IT Log App, visit iTunes or the Google Play. Join the conversation on Twitter: #TheITLog
Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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What To Do When the CFO Says, “You Need to Reduce Costs”

Posted by on June 14, 2014 in Service Desk
What do you do when the boss yells at you that you need to cut IT costs? Your Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is responsible for the financial health and prosperity of the company. In very simple terms, the future of the company depends on more income and outgoings. These days IT is a major cost center, underpinning many aspects of the business. So if the CFO comes to visit, thumping the table to reduce our IT costs – what can we do?

What Options Do We Have and What Should We Do?

In an ideal world, all of our IT costs would be closely aligned and paired with the IT services they enable. Each of our services would be quantified in terms of value, and the components parts required to deliver the service (partners, services, people, assets, and so on) would be measured and quantified against the value they deliver. In this case, when the CFO says cut costs, we can reply and say “what services do you want cut or reduced?” Reducing the number or quality of services would theoretically reduce costs.

So Much for IT Management Theory…

Back down here on earth, IT management is not usually that closely aligned or organized, and many organizations lack the maturity and management controls to manage value closely. If your IT Value and IT Services are not yet aligned, the best target to aim for - to reduce IT costs in this short term - is to identify WASTE. Here are three tactical projects to eliminate waste and save money. These projects are ‘low hanging fruit’; they can be acted upon even when your company is not spending big money on new projects and growth. They just need a bit of planning, perseverance, and people power!
  • Focus on renewals, maintenance, subscriptions, and lease agreements. Even when an organization has a financial lock down on new projects – it still has many on-going financial commitments in terms of maintenance agreements, service contract renewals, and other on-going subscriptions. A quick win is to assess all renewals and agreements and analyse which of them can be reduced or removed. Maybe the project is no longer active, the service was retired, or people have moved on. It takes some investigative work but is worth the effort.
  • Avoid new software purchases. If you receive a new software request, try to fulfil it by removing an unused copy from another user. This cost avoidance technique can save millions. It does not necessarily mean deployment of tools – it just takes investigative work and perseverance.
  • Avoid new hardware purchases. Hunt for all the hardware you can to hold as stock. Hold an amnesty at the office to bring out old hardware that’s sitting in dusty cupboards. As staff leave or move roles, don’t allow managers to hold desktops and laptops in their drawers, claw them back to be used to fulfil new hardware requests. This is another cost avoidance technique to freeing up budget for other projects or to demonstrate savings.
By working on these tactical projects IT staff can free up IT budget and demonstrate savings. This can build momentum for longer term IT Asset Management initiatives and efficient IT spending.
Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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If We Could Just Talk to Our Customers

Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Service Desk
Service and service catalog There is currently a lot of good industry guidance and advice around how IT organizations need to get out and engage with their customers. This is essential in order to develop a positive and effective customer/supplier relationship, to also identify customer needs, and to set practical service-level expectations for delivery. All of this is a vital although often missed area of service management and service delivery, as part of service strategy and design, service level management, service catalog, business relationship management, and service portfolio management. One difficult challenge with this is around how to actually get customers to engage and participate in this process. This can be used as an excuse sometimes, but it is a difficult topic – i.e. who do we engage with and how do we get them interested and involved? The cry of ‘we tried this before and no one was interested’ is a familiar challenge to any project trying to get moving and do the right thing by engaging and listening to customers. It’s not of course acceptable to use this as an excuse (although granted in some rare situations it can be very difficult), particularly if this only then serves to prolong an IT-centric set of service level targets that don’t add any value to either the service provider or the customer – so here are a few tips to make this work.

1. Who to Talk to

There are no absolute rules for this, however it’s important to try and get a cross-section of customers (senior, bill payers) and end-users (daily recipients of the service), in order to get strategic and operational perspectives. Some key requirements and points of view can be missed if only one set of views is heard. There is also a need to cover different departments, customer groups, locations etc., as well as recipients of different technology services.

2. How to Overcome Apathy and Cynicism

There’s no magic bullet here and if these feelings exist, this may be due to poor or failed communications in the past, so, at the very least, a new communications approach will be needed. The best advice is simply to be as open and positive as possible, making it clear that this is not the same old IT ‘take it or leave it’ approach, but a genuine and constructive initiative to improve the relationship and quality of service. Any reasonable person should respond to that, particularly if the content and approach to the meeting (and the subsequent planned actions) is also clear in advance.

3. Engaging with Customers and Arranging Meetings

Business people can often see IT projects and meetings as long-winded, jargon-filled talking shops and of little relevance to them – they also can feel that they are talked over and given choices that don’t mean anything to them (i.e. response times, system availability targets, etc.). Most of all they often feel that they are not listened to – perhaps by an over-keen IT organization that goes into solution-mode too quickly. So, meetings should be short (15-30 minutes), with a clear summary agenda (provide simple questions in advance), plus the IT representatives should try to avoid jumping into defensive or solution mode completely, avoid all jargon (including ITSM jargon) and focus on listening – let the customers have their say, it’s important to them.

4. Ask Some Simple Questions of the Customer from Their Point of View

What services do you use? What technology is important to you/ when? Who uses this, are there some specific times or business functions that we would know about? What would you like to see improved? How could we help you by delivering this service better? What could we measure (e.g. moments of truth) to identify the success or otherwise of the service? You can provide these in advance of the meeting – sometimes customers will use this as a guide for the meeting, or they may provide some written answers. Do still insist on having the meeting even if they send you their answers in advance – it’s an important stage in the development of the relationship, not simply a fact-finding exercise. Don’t put customers off by telling them the meeting will be about ‘ITIL’ or SLAs’ or ‘Service Catalog’ etc. Frame the meeting simply as part of your improvement process, which will give your customers the opportunity to discuss their feedback and views on your service – outside of day-to-day issues, incidents, or problems, and also not part of projects. The meeting is simply about service quality and service improvement.

5. Be Prepared to Follow Up

Finally – this is just stage 1 of this process, so it’s important to set out clear plans and actions from the meeting and any follow-up documentation or other meetings – that will start to build trust and belief in the relationship and get your customers on-side. Promises need to be kept and consistent communications delivered as part of this (re)-building process. Of course it may also be difficult to hear negative criticism and the desire to defend or solve all ills at the meeting must be tempered with the needs of the customer to have their say. In fact, if the meetings are difficult, then you are doing the right stuff - the customer feels able to give you their views and you are listening!

Like this article? You may also like: Top 5 Tips on How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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Do You Have Paraskavedekatriaphobia?

Posted by on June 5, 2014 in General IT
Turn the scary into rewarding this Friday the 13th! Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the scientific term for a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. Chances are you’re not afflicted with this particular phobia, but with next Friday being June 13th, you may just have a teeny tiny bit of the jitters. So we want to do something for you to change the scary into the rewarding.

A Reward for Your Scariest IT Disaster

Share with us your worst or scariest (I guess which one depends on your personal outlook on life ;)) IT issue that you’ve had to deal with in your career. Post your story by any means you see fit – written words, video, cartoon, etc. – on our Facebook page, or if you’re really shy, you may email us at community@sysaid.com. Make sure to get your entries in by Tuesday, the 17th of June. Our panel of judges (aka our marvelous marketing team) will sit together on Wednesday, June 18th and declare a winner based on the true depth of catastrophic disaster and misfortune that you describe to us. So give it your best shot. Multiple entries – if you are unfortunate to have so many misadventures – are absolutely acceptable and welcome. Tip: A video entry, perhaps a re-enactment – yikes! – has high score potential. The winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and we promise to have some cool consolation prizes as well. So please get going – disclose those stories that you probably only really want to forget. Imagine yourself on a psychiatrist’s couch – you talk, we listen, and instead of you paying big bucks when the session is over, we pay you!
Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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Five Reasons Why You Need to Embrace Virtualization

Posted by on June 2, 2014 in General IT
Companies across all verticals are tightening their belts in IT spending Though many leading economists across the globe agree that the economy is indeed recovering, albeit slowly, many business owners may still feel otherwise. In fact, companies across all verticals are tightening their belts as they navigate today’s still reeling economic climate. In addition to smart spending, many IT decision makers are implementing technology solutions designed to increase operational efficiencies while reducing costs.
One such solution is virtualization, the process in which virtual versions of infrastructure and hardware, operating systems, computer networks and more are used in data centers instead of physical equipment. Virtualization allows companies to realize substantial operational efficiencies that simply aren’t possible when using only physical equipment. It provides companies a variety of benefits, including the following five:
  • Lowered energy consumption: Virtualization allows companies to consolidate their physical servers by migrating them to virtual versions. Whereas physical servers, generally speaking, never run at maximum capacity, virtual machines can be fully optimized, allowing companies to only use the resources they need. Anyone who has been inside a data center knows how loud and cool such environments can be. Virtualization frees companies from having to spend lots of money on the costs associated with energy and keeping equipment that cool—something especially attractive in an era of rising utility bills.
  • Reduced expenditures: In addition to the aforementioned cost savings, businesses that choose to virtualize their data centers are able to operate in the same capacity with far less equipment, such as network gear, servers and numbers of racks needed. Less equipment means businesses can get by with less physical space in the data center. That means more room is freed up at offices that have data centers on-premises, and for those businesses that collocate, less room is required to be rented.
  • Quicker server provisioning: In today’s fast-paced business world, the needs of a company can change on a dime. In the past, when new servers were required, businesses had to fill out orders and subsequently wait for equipment to be shipped before provisioning it. Thanks to virtualization, however, new servers can be provisioned in a matter of minutes, granting companies the ability to deploy resources in an elastic fashion when demand dictates.
  • Increased uptime: While not uncommon—recent research indicates that 73% of businesses have experienced unplanned outages over the last five years—unexpected downtime can be crippling for any business. In fact, downtime can cost small- to medium-sized businesses an average of $12,500 per hour. When factoring in organizations of all sizes, that number balloons to $212,100 per hour. Some of the features of virtualization include fault tolerance, high availability and storage migration, which allow virtual machines to quickly recover from downtime or avoid getting knocked offline altogether. Additionally, virtual machines can be shifted from one physical server to another in minutes, liberating businesses from worrying about enduring extended unplanned downtime. And that’s of the utmost importance, as 87% of businesses that can’t access their data for more than a week close their doors within a year.
  • Fortified disaster recovery: With the cost of downtime fresh in your mind, it’s important to realize that when disaster does occur, virtualization allow companies to get back online faster. Businesses that virtualize free themselves from hardware lock-in, meaning less-expensive hardware can be installed at the disaster recovery site as it’s rarely used. Additionally, because less space is required to store equipment, companies are able to create a smaller backup location than in the case of a business relying solely on physical machines. Lastly, most virtualization solutions are equipped with failover software that is automatically triggered in the event systems go down. Many of them are testable solutions that allow owners to see beforehand if their disaster recovery solutions are indeed working rather than having to hope for the best should they face such a situation.
The benefits of virtualization don’t end there. Companies that leverage the technology are also putting themselves in the best position to prepare for a migration to the cloud as they become increasingly familiar with running networks that no one is able to physically touch in the office. As more businesses realize the power the cloud provides and migrate computing resources there, moving forward with virtualization becomes that much more sensible. Image credit
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Smart Ways to Dispatch Your Service Records

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Service Desk
Smart Ways to Dispatch Your Service Records If you’ve ever attended one of our courses, then you must have heard the term Let SysAid Work For You. This might sound like a slogan we use in order to sell SysAid, but I promise you, it is just a description of the reality. SysAid can help reduce your response time dramatically if you implement the automation features it contains. Let’s start from the beginning. The foundation for providing a customer with good service starts with receiving the service request or incident (service record) and dispatching it to the right group of people in the shortest amount of time. SysAid can help with this goal.

Know Your Service Desk

The first thing you need to do is research and understand your organization’s IT needs, and construct your service desk processes accordingly. This can take some time to do, but it’s worth investing the time in the long run. Start by taking two sheets of paper. On the first one write everything you are doing today, for example: what stages does a service record go through from the minute it appears in your list until someone starts working on it, what categories do you have in your service desk today and who normally handles them, etc. Look at your list and see what you would want to change. Then write down the new and improved process on the other sheet of paper. Sometimes we do things not in the most efficient way, just because we are used to it. Be brave, and remove all your obsolete processes. Once you finish your homework, it will be clear how to proceed and start implementing some smart and automatic dispatching processes in SysAid.

Manual Can Be Semi-Automatic

If your organization has a dedicated person in the role of dispatcher for your service desk, it does not mean he/she has to go through each and every service record in order to assign it to the right person. If your service records are categorised properly (you can make sure they are, by using the End-User Portal, or the Email Rules feature), the dispatcher can simply look at the category and description, and use the check boxes to select a batch of service records. Then, simply select the status, assigned to, and priority of the service record, and click the Set button. Incident Management screenshot

If You Know It In Advance, Route… Route… Route…

If you have used routing rules before in SysAid, a question comes to mind - if we know it in advance, why not automate it? Well…you’re absolutely right, but... it is crucial you do it in a smart way. Depending on the way you run your service desk, you can choose the way you automatically route your service records. For example, if you are running a tier-based service desk, you can create a rule that will route a service record from a specific set of categories to a designated admin group called Tier 1. Routing Rules in SysAid Service Desk Routing rules can also be determined by SLA. If you get a little creative with SysAid’s customization capabilities, you will be able to set it up so that the service record is routed differently based on the SLA and the operating hours. This way you can handle urgent service records that come in after your working hours; they can be routed automatically to your on-call team, for example. If you would like to learn how to set that up, make sure to watch the routing rules topic in the webinar recording below.

Holding Both Ends of the Stick

Most of the time in life we are forced to make choices, but don’t you just love to “hold both ends of the stick”? With our new Email Business Rules feature you can actually do that. You can set up keywords that SysAid is going to look for in an incoming email message and then route the new service record accordingly. This basically gives you a full automatic dispatching ability. For example, say you have departments that handle specific issues. You can set up a rule that will look for specific error numbers, and automatically route the service record to the right group of admins. All you need to do is go to Settings > Service Desk > Email Rules. You will find more information on how to create a rule in the Email Business Rules topic in the webinar recording below. Email Rules in the Help Desk

Webinar Recording

In February, I hosted one of our Professional Services engineer, Gil Blinov (@GilBlinov), to discuss smart ways to dispatch your service records. Check out the 20-minute recording below. [embed=videolink]{"video":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJMiTFqBkJA","width":"400","height":"225"}[/embed] If you have any questions, please comment below or find me on Twitter at @SysAidAcademy.
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What Does The Word Service Mean To You?

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Service Desk
The word service means a lot of different things to different people Service. For such a simple word it sure can mean a lot of different things to different people. For sports fans a good service is a critical part of tennis success. For the religious, a service is a ceremony of worship. For the military, it’s their employment, i.e. military service. And in other vocations it’s the length of time that they have stayed with that particular employer. For lawyers, it’s the formal delivery of legal documents such as a summons. For homeowners, it can be a utility such as gas, electricity, or water. For car owners, it’s the annual maintenance of their vehicle. And (you can tell I’m running out of steam here), it could even be a set of matching crockery of all things. So service can mean different things to different people. And service in the context of the corporate IT organization is no different.

So What Should the Word "Service" Mean to IT?

For those that work in the IT organization, service can mean multiple things. For some, service relates to technology domains like network or storage services. For others, particularly those schooled in IT service management (ITSM) and ITIL, it relates to an IT service, i.e. something that is consumed by an end user. Or some might view service as the S in SOA. But for me, even in my role as SysAid CEO, it relates to service as in service delivery and customer service. And while we deliver a set of products and services to our customers:
  • Technology
  • Professional services, although most customers don’t need much of this, if any, at all
  • Support services
We do all this with a focus on great service - that’s customer service and the service experience. But where do internal IT organizations stand when it comes to customer service or the service experience?

Customer Service and the Service Experience

English isn't my first language so I'll avoid the use of terms such as verbs and nouns, and other stuff that will get me into trouble with the social grammar police. Instead I prefer to think of this in terms of the what and the how. The internal IT organization needs to consider more than just the what when delivering its IT services, the how is just as, if not more, important. Sometimes I think that it's easier to look at this through a personal life lens than a workplace one, so think about your personal mobile phone if you have one. You might have a competitive price, a sexy handset, and a great service in terms of voice and mobile data. But you still might be unhappy with the service. In fact you might have recently changed service provider or refused to go with a particular provider because of service. And by this I mean poor customer service, for example:
  • The in-store staff might have been rude or disconnected from your customer needs as you tried to buy a new service or required post-sales support. Maybe they were too focused on the merits of the technology or their sales revenue numbers. In fact you might have felt like a number rather than a customer.
  • You might have called the service provider's helpline to find them less than helpful – 40 minutes in a queue before speaking to someone reading from a script that didn't match your issue. We’ve probably all been there. And doesn’t it sound familiar to the corporate IT experience?

So Consider How You Deliver Your IT Services In Terms of the What AND the How

Your customers' needs probably go way beyond the technology itself. In fact their expectations of you might be driven by their consumer experiences - the great ones rather than the ones I referred to above. Scarily, they might also rate the quality of your IT services based more on the service experience than on the IT services themselves. Just think back to the two examples I provided above. So how is your customer service or service experience? Do you even think of your end users as your customers or care about their service experience? And would you dance for them? OK that last question probably took it a little too far but this might make you smile. It might also make you think more about service. It's time for internal IT organizations to think beyond the technology, and even to think beyond the IT services they deliver, it's time to think about the service experience.
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