Time for Work

Caroline Hackman, Service Desk Manager, IT Services

When Emma from UCD Agile approached us about Time for Work, she asked us to share something specific in relation to our recent experience. In 2021 we migrated our support service towards a proactive Service Desk model with a centralised IT Support Hub that offers IT related support and guidance to our community, while providing incident response and service request fulfillment.

Why did we do this?

As with every function in the university we are constantly evolving and transforming often at an ever-increasing pace.  As a unit that supports the entire UCD community, we understand that when IT isn’t working the way we expect it should, it can slow down productivity, impact your day and hinder the ability to get things done.

In 2019, with a number of major new services coming on stream that would have a significant impact on the IT landscape of the university and these would all require long term operational IT support. (And that was before Covid!). Our support model was, on the surface, robust and running well but behind the scenes, our resources were stretched and at capacity. We had to examine our processes and begin identifying the pain points for both ourselves and the people looking to access our services. The largest bottleneck by far was our email contact channel. We were taking 65% of our annual support calls through a single mailbox. These were being individually transcribed into our ITSM platform. Would you believe that this simple repetitive task was taking the equivalent of one person 47 working days a year? We never thought it would be possible to remove email as a contact channel as it had been core to our service for almost 30 years, but we did it! The removal of the mailbox has reduced equivalent incident processing time down to about 8 days a year.

Another area looked at was how we were getting support information out to people who wanted to find the answer themselves. Our website held good quality support content, but it wasn’t easy to navigate. One of the cornerstones of any Service Desk is its Knowledge Base, the purpose of which is to allow individuals to easily identify and solve their own support queries. Taking our top queries, we started building a Knowledge Base that could be searched by keyword, with content sorted into specific categories and easily maintainable by the subject experts themselves. In 2023, our Knowledge Base content was viewed over 180,000 times!

What did we do with all this new found time?

If people can easily find the answers to simple queries themselves, it is a win/win for both them and us. Ultimately the goal is to give our support service the space it needs to help people with complex queries, to create capacity to support all the new services coming on stream and to provide a richer customer experience by enabling a self service model. Response times on reported incidents are now much quicker, meaning people can get back to their day sooner. These major process changes highlighted to us the importance of regular examination, and where possible, continuously identifying ways to remove the pain points to give back time. Technology only supports the process, people define it.

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