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Measurable Partnerships in ITOC and Service Desk

IT directives and responsibilities are more profound than in years past. The simple days of having a technician physically sit and work on an issue at your desk or seeing them in the hall and asking for advice are fading. Businesses require remedies immediately, thoroughly, with minimal interruptions, and within budget. Solutions for issues with downtime, infrastructure, and security have increased in complexity. Gathering metrics that prove efficiencies and effectiveness are standard practice. Assuring that your business has the additional resources it needs to support its IT alignment is critical. 

The time, resources, and finances absorbed into the realm of business technology are prompting review of departmental alignment, diligence in tracking performance metrics and return on investment, and overall practicality and usability. 

IT Operating Centers that work in tandem with Service Desks are rising in popularity due to their functionality and resourcefulness. The relationship is transitioning previous approaches into new and improved alignments, and managed services providers are offering extended services and intricate monitoring to provide businesses with an overarching approach to IT. 

One Framework, Two Entities 

The framework of today’s business technology encompasses two essential components: IT Operating Centers (ITOCs) and Service Desks. While both are integral to sustaining IT operations, they serve distinct functions in contributing to the overall success of a company. 

Service Desk: The primary point of contact between end-users and IT staff, the focus of a service desk is to provide timely support and solutions for technical issues or queries related to IT functionality. Restoring normal service operations, maneuvering roadblocks, troubleshooting technical issues, installations and updates, and guiding end users through solutions are the primary initiatives of the service desk entity. 

IT Operating Center: An ITOC, on the other hand, serves as the centralized hub for an organization’s IT infrastructure. Responsible for monitoring, managing, and maintaining the tech environment, the focus of an ITOC includes servers, networks, applications, and other components that keep operations running smoothly and efficiently. ITOCs proactively monitor, get to the root causes of issues or failures, optimize performance, and plan for configuration and capacity.  

Service desks and ITOCs interconnect to maintain an efficient and effective IT environment. The insight from one elicits a collaborative effort from both. For example, through monitoring, the ITOC may identify potential issues that can be communicated to the Service Desk before the problem affects end users or operations. Conversely, the insight of the Service Desk guides the ITOC toward proactive measures and aligns the present functionality with future-driven initiatives. 

It is also important that other vital functions such as licensure updates, equipment maintenance, and metrics are included in the process. Service Desk techs have their hands full addressing the day-to-day tasks required by end-users. Maintaining these additional responsibilities often goes to the wayside in order to address the immediate needs. A full-court IT approach that encompasses Service Desk personnel and ITOC Management provides the perfect game plan for efficient, effective, well-rounded business technology. 

The Remote Approach

Partnering with a managed services provider to incorporate an IT Operating Center (ITOC) in alignment with service desk functionality is a powerful approach to augmented IT services. Both play crucial roles in maintaining operations, and both are vital in contributing to the overall success of a company. Technology has positioned itself in a manner where remote functionality is proving more effective than an in-house presence, gaining an advantage in providing high-quality service while conserving resources. 

Working alongside a managed services IT provider adds to the daily experience of your business by offering:   

  1. Access to professionals – Engaging in a managed services partnership makes their experts your experts. Whether there is a network malfunction or a software glitch, such providers have the proficiency to quickly identify and resolve issues which equates to minimal disruption to your operations. 
  2. Constant monitoring – Availability that is accessible 24/7/365 is a proactive approach that helps to detect and address problems before they escalate. This provides a seamless experience for your team and your customers. 
  3. Core focus – By augmenting ITOC and service desk support, your internal team can shift focus to strategic initiatives and core business objectives. Being lifted of the day-to-day IT burden, they can contribute in other, more effective ways that lead to company growth. 
  4. Purposeful budgeting – Managed services providers offer subscription-based services that provide the resources you need within the budget you have. Avoid unexpected expenses associated with equipment maintenance, software upgrades, licensure, recruitment, and training, and turn your IT budget into a predictable entity. 
  5. Agility – Hosting your IT presence through a managed services provider allows you to shift your needs as your business dictates. Adjustments can be made to match your requirements, whether they involve expanding operations, streamlining processes, or enlisting additional personnel due to influxes at key times during the year. 
  6. Cutting-edge access - Managed services providers invest in the latest tools, technologies, and best practices to deliver optimal services to their clients. The resources available to them far outstretch those that most businesses can access.  
  7. Increased satisfaction – Managed services providers employ tools to gauge the efficiency and reception of both ITOC and service desk methods and personnel. As a result, the forefront of their delivery initiatives is marked by smoother operations, heightened productivity, and enhanced morale. 

The Importance of Evaluation

The discussion of IT measurement is worth expanding upon as companies can benefit or suffer from the performance of their IT department. Evaluation is vital in revealing important aspects ranging from a weak support technician, to needed upgrades, to review of equipment and resources, to implementations that will make a great impact. Dysfunction and malfunction can lead to issues with time, personnel, productivity, and expense.  

Enlisting sources of cadence within the IT infrastructure will help you and your team make a positive impact on your business and on each other. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Return on Investment (ROI), and metrics provide discovery for businesses, and managed services partners consistently supply this information for your review and planning.  

1. KPIs 

KPIs identify how effectively and efficiently business objectives are being met. They look toward the future, focusing on potential needs and successes. The following are important KPIs related to Information Technology: 

Continuity KPIs 
  • Business hours lost to IT downtime 
  • The stability of the infrastructure as it relates to outages and disruptions 
  • Average resolution rate
  • Average first response time
  • Number of repeat calls for the same issue
  • Cost of the service desk ticket as it relates to the total monthly IT operating expense
  • Number of new tickets vs. closed tickets in a day
  • Software and licensure expense vs. utilization
  • Percentage of successful change implementations and interruptions
Production KPIs
  • Volume of tickets handled and resolved in a given time frame
  • The ability of the service desk to resolve calls via the first level of support/first call 
  • Delivery of assistance within the planned budget 
2. ROI 
ROI measures the probability of financial gain in productivity in order to justify initiatives, predict project outcomes, and evaluate performance. ROI, which equates to ‘net gain divided by cost’ is an important measure when evaluating your IT department and is used to: 
  • Ascertain the effectiveness of IT systems and the potential of increasing productivity via new solutions 
  • Justify projects which can extend the reach of your business or services
  • Measure team performance and give ideas for efficiencies
  • Save money by reducing redundancies
  • Help to strategize in an upward direction 
3. Metrics  
Metrics assess, compare, and track the performance of a business. They help in strategic planning by focusing on the day to day and immediate, rather than a goal or desired end result. Metrics evolve as the company evolves. They provide and outline focuses, goals, and expectations. Working together with KPIs and ROI, metrics help:
  • Reduce costs
  • Reduce overtime
  • Identify areas of improvement
  • Support and increase ROI
  • Drive the direction of the company 

Regular review of the information that matters most to your business allows you to update your strategy and fine-tune your processes. Integration of measurements gives concrete information that can guide toward positive impacts. For example, if you are hearing from end-users that your help desk is slow to respond to issues, make a point to track metrics that pertain to response and resolution timing.  

A simple fix accomplished through quantification can produce significant results. Consistent review of these measurements with your provider team will better your outcomes and keep you fully and efficiently functional and ahead of others in your industry. 

In With the New

Managing the IT infrastructure and staffing a service desk 24/7/365 while measuring the effectiveness and impact of both might seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Downtime, security breaches, expired licenses, outdated equipment, and an under-staffed department are just a few of the hurdles that your company has to maneuver, and often without advanced notice. With its multiple facets, IT impacts the functionality of daily business in a myriad of ways.  

Methodologies of the past, although effective at one time, are proving inadequate in meeting the needs and goals of today’s professionals and businesses. ITOCs and Service Desks provided through a managed services partnership offer skilled resources that are consistently available and measured, helping businesses to maintain and evolve.  

Managed Services are driving a transition away from conventional in-house IT practices, instead going towards a comprehensive approach that covers the entire spectrum of Information Technology support. From end-user features to infrastructure management, this is a remote approach that maintains a strong sense of proximity. 




Learn more about how a partnership with Cayuse can help align your IT presence.

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