This is article 7 in a series of 8. Read article 1 in the series here.
In many cases, the service desk is not the first source for technical assistance. People frequently ask their colleagues for help before they call the service desk. Maybe they don’t want to look silly to people they don’t really know. Maybe they don’t trust the service desk to fix their problem in time. Maybe it’s just human instinct. In response, colleagues will try to help—even if they don’t really know what they’re doing. Sometimes the end user’s peer group can come up with a solution, but Google often plays a part. Clearly, there is value in peer-to-peer support, but also great risk, especially when downloading uncertified and unlicensed software from the open Internet.
Generation X and Y are replacing baby boomers in the workplace, so the people in the workforce are generally becoming more computer literate and more prepared to tackle technical issues on their own; at least initially. The end user body of knowledge is growing and the tide-mark that defines which types of issues which are referred to the service desk is being pushed upwards. But how can you capitalize on this shift—and do it in a safe, controlled manner? Pockets of technical knowledge are shared locally, but how can you capture and scale end user knowledge at a global level, while mitigating the risks of “dangerous knowledge”?
The opportunity is to bring “out of band” (offline) peer support into your ITSM system of record – making it trackable, curatable, and reusable at scale.In essence, to digitalize previously offline and analogue peer support transactions.
With an ITSM solution that supports online collaboration you can begin to capture, filter and share knowledge gleaned from peer support transactions, diverting a large volume of low-level issues and information requests while retaining service desk visibility of the scale of these simple issues. That means you can leverage peer support knowledge—while assuring the quality of peer support.
Harnessing and scaling peer support can help lift a big burden from your service desk and give your agents time to fight back against growing volumes of incidents, requests, queries, and problems. By doing so, you can break the firefighting deadlock and divert resources to improving services and the IT customer experience.
Modern ITSM tools like assyst have a collaboration layerthat empowers both end users and IT people to communicate directly across geographical, departmental and hierarchic boundaries—melting away the usual silo walls. By facilitating peer-to-peer communication with your ITSM system of record, it becomes a system of engagement; one that is not just about process workflows and automation but also supports unstructured collaboration—like crowdsourcing creative solutions to problems. By providing a platform for collaboration, end users can reach out to their broader peer group to ask questions and share solutions—leveraging knowledge on a global, rather than local, scale.
From the service desk’s perspective, facilitating peer-to-peer support from within the service desk tool gives you visibility of activity that previously happened offline—making it visible, manageable and scalable. The service desk can search, see and curate the knowledge being shared and intervene if necessary,to prevent risky behaviours from spreading. Peer support cases can be recorded and filtered for re-use, building a more effective end user knowledge base and taking a significant strain off the service desk. This reduces the stress on service desk agents, increasing staff retention and freeing up time to participate in improvement projects.