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Build a Service Desk Consolidation Strategy

Manage the dark side of growth.

  • Incompatible technologies. Organizations with more than one service desk are likely to have many legacy IT service management (ITSM) solutions. These come with a higher support cost, costly skill-set maintenance, and the inability to negotiate volume licensing discounts.
  • Inconsistent processes. Organizations with more than one service desk often have incompatible processes, which can lead to inconsistent service support across departments, less staffing flexibility, and higher support costs.
  • Lack of data integration. Without a single system and consistent processes, IT leaders often have only a partial view of service support activities. This can lead to rigid IT silos, limit the ability to troubleshoot problems, and streamline process workflows.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Every step should put people first. It’s tempting to focus the strategy on designing processes and technologies for the target architecture. However, the most common barrier to success is workforce resistance to change.
  • A consolidated service desk is an investment, not a cost-reduction program. Focus on efficiency, customer service, and end-user satisfaction. There will be many cost savings, but viewing them as an indirect consequence of the pursuit of efficiency and customer service is the best approach.

Impact and Result

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of existing service desk people, processes, and technology.
  • Identify and retire resources and processes that are no longer meeting business needs, and consolidate and modernize resources and processes that are worth keeping.
  • Identify logistic and cost considerations and create a roadmap of consolidation initiatives.
  • Communicate the change and garner support for the consolidation initiative.

Build a Service Desk Consolidation Strategy Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should build a service desk consolidation strategy, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.


Workshop: Build a Service Desk Consolidation Strategy

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Engage Stakeholders to Develop a Vision for the Service Desk

The Purpose

  • Identify and engage key stakeholders.
  • Conduct an executive visioning session to define the scope and goals of the consolidation.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A list of key stakeholders and an engagement plan to identify needs and garner support for the change.
  • A common vision for the consolidation initiative with clearly defined goals and objectives.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Identify key stakeholders and develop an engagement plan.

  • Stakeholder Engagement Workbook
1.2

Brainstorm desired service desk attributes.

1.3

Conduct an executive visioning session to craft a vision for the consolidated service desk.

1.4

Define project goals, principles, and KPIs.

  • Executive Presentation

Module 2: Conduct a Full Assessment of Each Service Desk

The Purpose

  • Assess the overall maturity, structure, organizational design, and performance of each service desk.
  • Assess current ITSM tools and how well they are meeting needs.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A robust current state assessment of each service desk.
  • An understanding of agent skills, satisfaction, roles, and responsibilities.
  • An evaluation of existing ITSM tools and technology.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Review the results of diagnostics programs.

2.2

Map organizational structure and roles for each service desk.

2.3

Assess overall maturity and environment of each service desk.

  • Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool
2.4

Assess current information system environment.

Module 3: Design Target Consolidated Service Desk

The Purpose

  • Define the target state for consolidated service desk.
  • Identify requirements for the service desk and a supporting solution.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Detailed requirements and vision for the consolidated service desk.
  • Gap analysis of current vs. target state.
  • Documented standardized processes and procedures.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Identify requirements for target consolidated service desk.

3.2

Build requirements document and shortlist for ITSM tool.

3.3

Use the scorecard comparison tool to assess the gap between existing service desks and target state.

  • Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool
3.4

Document standardized processes for new service desk.

  • Consolidated Service Desk SOP

Module 4: Plan for the Transition

The Purpose

  • Break down the consolidation project into specific initiatives with a detailed timeline and assigned responsibilities.
  • Plan the logistics and cost of the consolidation for process, technology, and facilities.
  • Develop a communications plan.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Initial analysis of the logistics and cost considerations to achieve the target.
  • A detailed project roadmap to migrate to a consolidated service desk.
  • A communications plan with responses to anticipated questions and objections.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Plan the logistics of the transition.

4.2

Assess the cost and savings of consolidation to refine business case.

  • Consolidation TCO Tool
4.3

Identify initiatives and develop a project roadmap.

  • Consolidation Roadmap
4.4

Plan communications for each stakeholder group.

  • Executive Presentation
  • Communications Plan
  • News Bulletin & FAQ Template

Build a Service Desk Consolidation Strategy

Manage the dark side of growth.

ANALYST PERSPECTIVE

A successful service desk consolidation begins and ends with people.

"It’s tempting to focus strategic planning on the processes and technology that will underpin the consolidated service desk. Consistent processes and a reliable tool will cement the consolidation, but they are not what will hold you back.

The most common barrier to a successful consolidation is workforce resistance to change. Cultural difference, perceived risks, and organizational inertia can hinder data gathering, deter collaboration, and impede progress from the start.

Building a consolidated service desk is first and foremost an exercise in organizational change. Garner executive support for the project, enlist a team of volunteers to lead the change, and communicate with key stakeholders early and often. The key is to create a shared vision for the project and engage those who will be most affected."

Sandi Conrad

Senior Director, Infrastructure Practice

Info-Tech Research Group

Our understanding of the problem

This Research is Designed For:

  • CIOs who need to reduce support costs and improve customer service.
  • IT leaders tasked with the merger of two or more IT organizations.
  • Service managers implementing a shared service desk tool.
  • Organizations rationalizing IT service management (ITSM) processes.

This Research Will Help You:

  • Develop a shared vision for the consolidated service desk.
  • Assess key metrics and report on existing service desk architecture.
  • Design a target service desk architecture and assess how to meet the new requirements.
  • Deploy a strategic roadmap to build the consolidated service desk architecture.

Executive summary

Situation

Every organization must grow to survive. Good growth makes an organization more agile, responsive, and competitive, which leads to further growth.

The proliferation of service desks is a hallmark of good growth when it empowers the service of diverse end users, geographies, or technologies.

Complication

Growth has its dark side. Bad growth within a business can hinder agility, responsiveness, and competitiveness, leading to stagnation.

Supporting a large number of service desks can be costly and inefficient, and produce poor or inconsistent customer service, especially when each service desk uses different ITSM processes and technologies.

Resolution

Manage the dark side of growth. Consolidating service desks can help standardize ITSM processes, improve customer service, improve service desk efficiency, and reduce total support costs. A consolidation is a highly visible and mission critical project, and one that will change the public face of IT. Organizations need to get it right.

Building a consolidated service desk is an exercise in organizational change. The success of the project will hinge on how well the organization engages those who will be most affected by the change. Build a guiding coalition for the project, create a shared vision, enlist a team of volunteers to lead the change, and communicate with key stakeholders early and often.

Use a structured approach to facilitate the development of a shared strategic vision, design a detailed consolidated architecture, and anticipate resistance to change to ensure the organization reaps project benefits.

Info-Tech Insight

  1. Every step should put people first. It’s tempting to focus the strategy on designing processes and technologies for the target architecture. However, the most common barrier to success is workforce resistance to change.
  2. A consolidated service desk is an investment, not a cost-reduction program. Focus on efficiency, customer service, and end-user satisfaction. Cost savings, and there will be many, should be seen as an indirect consequence of the pursuit of efficiency and customer service.

Focus the service desk consolidation project on improving customer service to overcome resistance to change

Emphasizing cost reduction as the most important motivation for the consolidation project is risky.

End-user satisfaction is a more reliable measure of a successful consolidation.

  • Too many variables affect the impact of the consolidation on the operating costs of the service desk to predict the outcome reliably.
  • Potential reductions in costs are unlikely to overcome organizational resistance to change.
  • Successful service desk consolidations can increase ticket volume as agents capture tickets more consistently and increase customer service.

The project will generate many cost savings, but they will take time to manifest, and are best seen as an indirect consequence of the pursuit of customer service.

Info-Tech Insight

Business units facing a service desk consolidation are often concerned that the project will lead to a loss of access to IT resources. Focus on building a customer-focused consolidated service desk to assuage those fears and earn their support.

End users, IT leaders, and process owners recognize the importance of the service desk.

2nd out of 45

On average, IT leaders and process owners rank the service desk 2nd in terms of importance out of 45 core IT processes. Source: Info-Tech Research Group, Management and Governance Diagnostic (2015, n = 486)

42.1%

On average, end users who were satisfied with service desk effectiveness rated all other IT services 42.1% higher than dissatisfied end users. Source: Info-Tech Research Group, End-User Satisfaction Survey 2015, n = 133)

38.0%

On average, end users who were satisfied with service desk timeliness rated all other IT services 38.0% higher than dissatisfied end users. Source: Info-Tech Research Group, End-User Satisfaction Survey (2015, n = 133)

Overcome the perceived barriers from differing service unit cultures to pursue a consolidated service desk (CSD)

In most organizations, the greatest hurdles that consolidation projects face are related to people rather than process or technology.

In a survey of 168 service delivery organizations without a consolidated service desk, the Service Desk Institute found that the largest internal barrier to putting in place a consolidated service desk was organizational resistance to change.

Specifically, more than 56% of respondents reported that the different cultures of each service unit would hinder the level of collaboration such an initiative would require.

The image is a graph titled Island cultures are the largest barrier to consolidation. The graph lists Perceived Internal Barriers to CSD by percentage. The greatest % barrier is Island cultures, with executive resistance the next highest.

Service Desk Institute (n = 168, 2007)

Info-Tech Insight

Use a phased approach to overcome resistance to change. Focus on quick-win implementations that bring two or three service desks together in a short time frame and add additional service desks over time.

Avoid the costly proliferation of service desks that can come with organizational growth

Good and bad growth

Every organization must grow to survive, and relies heavily on its IT infrastructure to do that. Good growth makes an organization more agile, responsive, and competitive, and leads to further growth.

However, growth has its dark side. Bad growth hobbles agility, responsiveness, and competitiveness, and leads to stagnation.

As organizations grow organically and through mergers, their IT functions create multiple service desks across the enterprise to support:

  • Large, diverse user constituencies.
  • Rapidly increasing call volumes.
  • Broader geographic coverage.
  • A growing range of products and services.

A hallmark of bad growth is the proliferation of redundant and often incompatible ITSM services and processes.

Project triggers:

  • Organizational mergers
  • ITSM tool purchase
  • Service quality or cost-reduction initiatives
Challenges arising from service desk proliferation:
Challenge Impact
Incompatible Technologies
  • Inability to negotiate volume discounts.
  • Costly skill set maintenance.
  • Increased support costs.
  • Increased shadow IT.
Inconsistent Processes
  • Low efficiency.
  • High support costs.
  • Inconsistent support quality.
  • Less staffing flexibility.
Lack of Data Integration
  • Only partial view of IT.
  • Inefficient workflows.
  • Limited troubleshooting ability.
Low Customer Satisfaction
  • Fewer IT supporters.
  • Lack of organizational support.

Consolidate service desks to integrate the resources, processes, and technology of your support ecosystem

What project benefits can you anticipate?

  • Consolidated Service Desk
    • End-user group #1
    • End-user group #2
    • End-user group #3
    • End-user group #4

A successful consolidation can significantly reduce cost per transaction, speed up service delivery, and improve the customer experience through:

  • Single point of contact for end users.
  • Integrated ITSM solution where it makes sense.
  • Standardized processes.
  • Staffing integration.
Project Outcome

Expected Benefit

Integrated information The capacity to produce quick, accurate, and segmented reports of service levels across the organization.
Integrated staffing Flexible management of resources that better responds to organizational needs.
Integrated technology Reduced tool procurement costs, improved data integration, and increased information security.
Standardized processes Efficient and timely customer service and a more consistent customer experience.

Standardized and consolidated service desks will optimize infrastructure, services, and resources benefits

  • To set up a functioning service desk, the organization will need to invest resources to build and integrate tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 capabilities to manage incidents and requests.
  • The typical service desk (Figure 1) can address a certain number of tickets from all three tiers. If your tickets in a given tier are less than that number, you are paying for 100% of service costs but consuming only a portion of it.
  • The consolidated model (Figure 2) reduces the service cost by reducing unused capacity.
  • Benefits of consolidation include a single service desk solution, a single point of contact for the business, data integration, process standardization, and consolidated administration, reporting, and management.

The image is a graphic showing 2 figures. The first shows ring graphs labelled Service Desk 1 and Service Desk 2, with the caption Service provisioning with distinct service desks. Figure 2 shows one graphic, captioned Service provisioning with Consolidated service providers. At the bottom of the image, there is a legend.

Info-Tech’s approach to service desk consolidation draws on key metrics to establish a baseline and a target state

The foundation of a successful service desk consolidation initiative is a robust current state assessment. Given the project’s complexity, however, determining the right level of detail to include in the evaluation of existing service desks can be challenging.

The Info-Tech approach to service desk consolidation includes:

  • Envisioning exercises to set project scope and garner executive support.
  • Surveys and interviews to identify the current state of people, processes, technologies, and service level agreements (SLAs) in each service desk, and to establish a baseline for the consolidated service desk.
  • Service desk comparison tools to gather the results of the current state assessment for analysis and identify current best practices for migration to the consolidated service desk.
  • Case studies to illustrate the full scope of the project and identify how different organizations deal with key challenges.

The project blueprint walks through a method that helps identify which processes and technologies from each service desk work best, and it draws on them to build a target state for the consolidated service desk.

Inspiring your target state from internal tools and best practices is much more efficient than developing new tools and processes from scratch.

Info-Tech Insight

The two key hurdles that a successful service desk consolidation must overcome are organizational complexity and resistance to change.

Effective planning during the current state assessment can overcome these challenges.

Identify existing best practices for migration to the consolidated service desk to foster agent engagement and get the consolidated service desk up quickly.

A consolidation project should include the following steps and may involve multiple transition phases to complete

Phase 1: Develop a Shared Vision

  • Identify stakeholders
  • Develop vision
  • Measure baseline

Phase 2: Design the Consolidation

  • Design target state
  • Assess gaps to reach target
  • Assess logistics and cost

Phase 3: Plan the Transition

  • Develop project plan and roadmap
  • Communicate changes
  • Make the transition
    • Evaluate and prepare for next transition phase (if applicable)
    • Evaluate and stabilize
      • CSI

Whether or not your project requires multiple transition waves to complete the consolidation depends on the complexity of the environment.

For a more detailed breakdown of this project’s steps and deliverables, see the next section.

Follow Info-Tech’s methodology to develop a service desk consolidation strategy

Phases Phase 1: Develop a Shared Vision Phase 2: Design the Consolidated Service Desk Phase 3: Plan the Transition
Steps 1.1 - Identify and engage key stakeholders 2.1 - Design target consolidated service desk 3.1 - Build the project roadmap
1.2 - Develop a vision to give the project direction
1.3 - Conduct a full assessment of each service desk 2.2 - Assess logistics and cost of consolidation 3.2 - Communicate the change
Tools & Templates Executive Presentation Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool Service Desk Consolidation Roadmap
Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool Consolidated Service Desk SOP Communications and Training Plan Template
Service Desk Efficiency Calculator News Bulletin & FAQ Template
Service Desk Consolidation TCO Comparison Tool

Service desk consolidation is the first of several optimization projects focused on building essential best practices

Info-Tech’s Service Desk Methodology aligns with the ITIL framework

Extend

Facilitate the extension of service management best practices to other business functions to improve productivity and position IT as a strategic partner.

Standardize

Build essential incident, service request, and knowledge management processes to create a sustainable service desk that meets business needs.

Improve

Build a continual improvement plan for the service desk to review and evaluate key processes and services, and manage the progress of improvement initiatives.

Adopt Lean

Build essential incident, service request, and knowledge management processes to create a sustainable service desk that boosts business value.

Select and Implement

Review mid-market and enterprise service desk tools, select an ITSM solution, and build an implementation plan to ensure your investment meets your needs.

Consolidate

Build a strategic roadmap to consolidate service desks to reduce end-user support costs and sustain end-user satisfaction.

Our Approach to the Service Desk

Service desk optimization goes beyond the blind adoption of best practices.

Info-Tech’s approach focuses on controlling support costs and making the most of IT’s service management expertise to improve productivity.

Complete the projects sequentially or in any order.

Info-Tech draws on the COBIT framework, which focuses on consistent delivery of IT services across the organization

The image shows Info-Tech's IT Management & Governance Framework. It is a grid of boxes, which are colour-coded by category. The framework includes multiple connected categories of research, including Infrastructure & Operations, where Service Desk is highlighted.

Oxford University IT Service Desk successfully undertook a consolidation project to merge five help desks into one

CASE STUDY

Industry: Higher Education

Source: Oxford University, IT Services

Background

Until 2011, three disparate information technology organizations offered IT services, while each college had local IT officers responsible for purchasing and IT management.

ITS Service Desk Consolidation Project

Oxford merged the administration of these three IT organizations into IT Services (ITS) in 2012, and began planning for the consolidation of five independent help desks into a single robust service desk.

Complication

The relative autonomy of the five service desks had led to the proliferation of different tools and processes, licensing headaches, and confusion from end users about where to acquire IT service.

Oxford University IT at a Glance

  • One of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities.
  • 36 colleges with 100+ departments.
  • Over 40,000 IT end users.
  • Roughly 350 ITS staff in 40 teams.
  • 300 more distributed IT staff.
  • Offers more than 80 services.

Help Desks:

  • Processes → Business Services & Projects
  • Processes → Computing Services
  • Processes → ICT Support Team

"IT Services are aiming to provide a consolidated service which provides a unified and coherent experience for users. The aim is to deliver a ‘joined-up’ customer experience when users are asking for any form of help from IT Services. It will be easier for users to obtain support for their IT – whatever the need, service or system." – Oxford University, IT Services

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation

“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”

Workshop

“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”

Consulting

“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Build a Service Desk Consolidation Strategy – project overview

1. Develop shared vision 2. Design consolidation 3. Plan transition
Best-Practice Toolkit

1.1 Identify and engage key stakeholders

1.2 Develop a vision to give the project direction

1.3 Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

2.1 Design target consolidated service desk

2.2 Assess logistics and cost of consolidation

3.1 Build project roadmap

3.2 Communicate the change

Guided Implementations
  • Build the project team and define their roles and responsibilities, then identify key stakeholders and formulate an engagement plan
  • Develop an executive visioning session plan to formulate and get buy-in for the goals and vision of the consolidation
  • Use diagnostics results and the service desk assessment tool to evaluate the maturity and environment of each service desk
  • Define the target state of the consolidated service desk in detail
  • Identify requirements for the consolidation, broken down by people, process, technology and by short- vs. long-term needs
  • Plan the logistics of the consolidation for process, technology, and facilities, and evaluate the cost and cost savings of consolidation with a TCO tool
  • Identify specific initiatives for the consolidation project and evaluate the risks and dependencies for each, then plot initiatives on a detailed project roadmap
  • Brainstorm potential objections and questions and develop a communications plan with targeted messaging for each stakeholder group
Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Engage stakeholders to develop a vision for the service desk

Module 2: Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

Module 3: Design target consolidated service desk Module 4: Plan for the transition

Phase 1 Outcomes:

  • Stakeholder engagement and executive buy-in
  • Vision for the consolidation
  • Comprehensive assessment of each service desk’s performance

Phase 2 Outcomes:

  • Defined requirements, logistics plan, and target state for the consolidated service desk
  • TCO comparison

Phase 3 Outcomes:

  • Detailed consolidation project roadmap
  • Communications plan and FAQs

Info-Tech delivers: Use our tools and templates to accelerate your project to completion

  • Service Desk Assessment Tool (Excel)
  • Executive Presentation (PowerPoint)
  • Service Desk Scorecard Comparison Tool (Excel)
  • Service Desk Efficiency Calculator (Excel)
  • Service Desk Consolidation Roadmap (Excel)
  • Service Desk Consolidation TCO Tool (Excel)
  • Communications and Training Plan (Word)
  • Consolidation News Bulletin & FAQ Template (PowerPoint)

Measured value for Guided Implementations (GIs)

Engaging in GIs doesn’t just offer valuable project advice, it also results in significant cost savings.

GI Measured Value
Phase 1:
  • Time, value, and resources saved by using Info-Tech’s methodology to engage stakeholders, develop a project vision, and assess your current state.
  • For example, 2 FTEs * 10 days * $80,000/year = $6,200
Phase 2:
  • Time, value, and resources saved by using Info-Tech’s tools and templates to design the consolidated service desk and evaluate cost and logistics.
  • For example, 2 FTEs * 5 days * $80,000/year = $3,100
Phase 3:
  • Time, value, and resources saved by following Info-Tech’s tools and methodology to build a project roadmap and communications plan.
  • For example, 1 FTE * 5 days * $80,000/year = $1,500
Total savings $10,800

Workshop overview

Contact your account representative or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

Pre-Workshop Workshop Day 1 Workshop Day 2 Workshop Day 3 Workshop Day 4
Activities

Module 0: Gather relevant data

0.1 Conduct CIO Business Vision Survey

0.2 Conduct End-User Satisfaction Survey

0.3 Measure Agent Satisfaction

Module 1: Engage stakeholders to develop a vision for the service desk

1.1 Identify key stakeholders and develop an engagement plan

1.2 Brainstorm desired service desk attributes

1.3 Conduct an executive visioning session to craft a vision for the consolidated service desk

1.4 Define project goals, principles, and KPIs

Module 2: Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

2.1 Review the results of diagnostic programs

2.2 Map organizational structure and roles for each service desk

2.3 Assess overall maturity and environment of each service desk

2.4 Assess current information system environment

Module 3: Design target consolidated service desk

3.1 Identify requirements for target consolidated service desk

3.2 Build requirements document and shortlist for ITSM tool

3.3 Use the scorecard comparison tool to assess the gap between existing service desks and target state

3.4 Document standardized processes for new service desk

Module 4: Plan for the transition

4.1 Plan the logistics of the transition

4.2 Assess the cost and savings of consolidation to refine business case

4.3 Identify initiatives and develop a project roadmap

4.4 Plan communications for each stakeholder group

Deliverables
  1. CIO Business Vision Survey Diagnostic Results
  2. End-User Satisfaction Survey Diagnostic Results
  1. Stakeholder Engagement Workbook
  2. Executive Presentation
  1. Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool
  1. Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool
  2. Consolidated Service Desk SOP
  1. Consolidation TCO Tool
  2. Executive Presentation
  3. Consolidation Roadmap
  4. Communications Plan
  5. News Bulletin & FAQ Template

Insight breakdown

Phase 1 Insight

Don’t get bogged down in the details. A detailed current state assessment is a necessary first step for a consolidation project, but determining the right level of detail to include in the evaluation can be challenging. Gather enough data to establish a baseline and make an informed decision about how to consolidate, but don’t waste time collecting and evaluating unnecessary information that will only distract and slow down the project, losing management interest and buy-in.

How we can help

Leverage the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool to gather the data you need to evaluate your existing service desks.

Phase 2 Insight

Select the target state that is right for your organization. Don’t feel pressured to move to a complete consolidation with a single point of contact if it wouldn’t be compatible with your organization’s needs and abilities, or if it wouldn’t be adopted by your end users. Design an appropriate level of standardization and centralization for the service desk and reinforce and improve processes moving forward.

How we can help

Leverage the Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool to analyze the gap between your existing processes and your target state.

Phase 3 Insight

Getting people on board is key to the success of the consolidation, and a communication plan is essential to do so. Develop targeted messaging for each stakeholder group, keeping in mind that your end users are just as critical to success as your staff. Know your audience, communicate to them often and openly, and ensure that every communication has a purpose.

How we can help

Leverage the Communications Plan and Consolidation News Bulletin & FAQ Template to plan your communications.

Phase 1

Develop a Shared Vision

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 1: Develop shared vision

Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 4-8

Step 1.1: Identify and engage key stakeholders

Discuss with an analyst:

  • Build the project team and define their roles and responsibilities
  • Identify key stakeholders and formulate an engagement plan

Then complete these activities…

  • Assign project roles and responsibilities
  • Identify key stakeholders
  • Formalize an engagement plan and conduct interviews

With these tools & templates:

Stakeholder Engagement Workbook

Step 1.2: Develop a vision to give the project direction

Discuss with an analyst:

  • Develop an executive visioning session plan to formulate and get buy-in for the goals and vision of the consolidation

Then complete these activities…

  • Host an executive visioning exercise to define the scope and goals of the consolidation

With these tools & templates:

Consolidate Service Desk Executive Presentation

Step 1.3: Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

Discuss with an analyst:

  • Use diagnostics results and the service desk assessment tool to evaluate the maturity and environment of each service desk
  • Assess agent skills, satisfaction, roles and responsibilities

Then complete these activities…

  • Analyze organizational structure
  • Assess maturity and environment of each service desk
  • Assess agent skills and satisfaction

With these tools & templates:

Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool

IT Skills Inventory and Gap Assessment Tool

Phase 1 Outcome:

  • A common vision for the consolidation initiative, an analysis of existing service desk architectures, and an inventory of existing best practices.

Step 1.1: Get buy-in from key stakeholders

Phase 1

Develop a shared vision

1.1 Identify and engage key stakeholders

1.2 Develop a vision to give the project direction

1.3 Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

This step will walk you through the following activities:
  • 1.1.1 Assign roles and responsibilities
  • 1.1.2 Identify key stakeholders for the consolidation
  • 1.1.3 Conduct stakeholder interviews to understand needs in more depth, if necessary
This step involves the following participants:
  • Project Sponsor
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
Step Outcomes:
  • A project team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • A list of key stakeholders and an engagement plan to identify needs and garner support for the change

Oxford consulted with people at all levels to ensure continuous improvement and new insights

CASE STUDY

Industry: Higher Education

Source: Oxford University, IT Services

Motivation

The merging of Oxford’s disparate IT organizations was motivated primarily to improve end-user service and efficiency.

Similarly, ITS positioned the SDCP as an “operational change,” not to save costs, but to provide better service to their customers.

"The University is quite unique in the current climate in that reduction in costs was not one of the key drivers behind the project. The goal was to deliver improved efficiencies and offer a single point of contact for their user base." – Peter Hubbard, ITSM Consultant Pink Elephant

Development

Oxford recognized early that they needed an open and collaborative environment to succeed.

Key IT and business personnel participated in a “vision workshop” to determine long- and short-term objectives, and to decide priorities for the consolidated service desk.

"Without key support at this stage many projects fail to deliver the expected outcomes. The workshop involved the key stakeholders of the project and was deemed a successful and positive exercise, delivering value to this stage of the project by clarifying the future desired state of the Service Desk." – John Ireland, Director of Customer Service & Project Sponsor

Deployment

IT Services introduced a Service Desk Consolidation Project Blog very early into the project, to keep everyone up-to-date and maintain key stakeholder buy-in.

Constant consultation with people at all levels led to continuous improvement and new insights.

"We also became aware that staff are facing different changes depending on the nature of their work and which toolset they use (i.e. RT, Altiris, ITSM). Everyone will have to change the way they do things at least a little – but the changes depend on where you are starting from!" – Jonathan Marks, Project Manager

Understand and validate the consolidation before embarking on the project

Define what consolidation would mean in the context of your organization to help validate and frame the scope of the project before proceeding.

What is service desk consolidation?

Service desk consolidation means combining multiple service desks into one centralized, single point of contact.

  • Physical consolidation = personnel and assets are combined into a single location
  • Virtual consolidation = service desks are combined electronically

Consolidation must include people, process, and technology:

  1. Consolidation of some or all staff into one location
  2. Consolidation of processes into a single set of standardized processes
  3. One consolidated technology platform or ITSM tool

Consolidation can take the form of:

  1. Merging multiple desks into one
  2. Collapsing multiple desks into one
  3. Connecting multiple desks into a virtual desk
  4. Moving all desks to one connected platform

Service Desk 1 - Service Desk 2 - Service Desk 3

Consolidated Service Desk

Info-Tech Insight

Consolidation isn’t for everyone.

Before you embark on the project, think about unique requirements for your organization that may necessitate more than one service desk, such as location-specific language. Ask yourself if consolidation makes sense for your organization and would achieve a benefit for the organization, before proceeding.

1.1 Organize and build the project team to launch the project

Solidify strong support for the consolidation and get the right individuals involved from the beginning to give the project the commitment and direction it requires.

Project Sponsor
  • Has direct accountability to the executive team and provides leadership to the project team.
  • Legitimatizes the consolidation and provides necessary resources to implement the project.
  • Is credible, enthusiastic, and understands the organization’s culture and values.
Steering Committee
  • Oversees the effort.
  • Ensures there is proper support from the organization and provides resources where required.
  • Resolves any conflicts.
Core Project Team
  • Full-time employees drawn from roles that are critical to the service desk, and who would have a strong understanding of the consolidation goals and requirements.
  • Ideal size: 6-10 full-time employees.
  • May include roles defined in the next section.

Involve the right people to drive and facilitate the consolidation

Service desk consolidations require broad support and capabilities beyond only those affected in order to deal with unforeseen risks and barriers.

  • Project manager: Has primary accountability for the success of the consolidation project.
  • Senior executive project sponsor: Needed to “open doors” and signal organization’s commitment to the consolidation.
  • Technology SMEs and architects: Responsible for determining and communicating requirements and risks of the technology being implemented or changed, especially the ITSM tool.
  • Business unit leads: Responsible for identifying and communicating impact on business functions, approving changes, and helping champion change.
  • Product/process owners: Responsible for identifying and communicating impact on business functions, approving changes, and helping champion change.
  • HR specialists: Most valuable when roles and organizational design are affected, i.e. the consolidation requires staff redeployment or substantial training (not just using a new system or tool but acquiring new skills and responsibilities) or termination.
  • Training specialists: If you have full-time training staff in the organization, you will eventually need them to develop training courses and material. Consulting them early will help with scoping, scheduling, and identifying the best resources and channels to deliver the training.
  • Communications specialists (internal): Valuable in crafting communications plan, required if communications function owns internal communications.

Use a RACI table (e.g. in the following section) to clarify who is to be accountable, responsible, consulted, and informed.

Info-Tech Insight

The more transformational the change, the more it will affect the organizational chart – not just after the implementation but through the transition.

Take time early in the project to define the reporting structure for the project/transition team, as well as any teams and roles supporting the transition.

Assign roles and responsibilities

1.1.1 Use a RACI chart to assign overarching project responsibilities

Participants
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • Project Manager
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • RACI chart

RACI = Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed

The RACI chart will provide clarity for overarching roles and responsibilities during the consolidation.

  1. Confirm and modify the columns to match the stakeholders in your organization.
  2. Confirm and modify the roles listed as rows if there are obvious gaps or opportunities to consolidate rows.
  3. Carefully analyze and document the roles as a group.
Task Project Sponsor Project Manager Sr. Executives SMEs Business Lead Service Desk Managers HR Trainers Communications
Meeting project objectives A R A R R
Identifying risks and opportunities R A A C C C C I I
Assessing current state I A I R C R
Defining target state I A I C C R
Planning logistics I A I R R C R
Building the action plan I A C R R R R R R
Planning and delivering communications I A C C C C R R A
Planning and delivering training I A C C C C R R C
Gathering and analyzing feedback and KPIs I A C C C C C R R

Identify key stakeholders to gather input from the business, get buy-in for the project, and plan communications

Identify the key stakeholders for the consolidation to identify the impact consolidation will have on them and ensure their concerns don’t get lost.

  1. Use a stakeholder analysis to identify the people that can help ensure the success of your project.
  2. Identify an Executive Sponsor
    • A senior-level project sponsor is someone who will champion the consolidation project and help sell the concept to other stakeholders. They can also ensure that necessary financial and human resources will be made available to help secure the success of the project. This leader should be someone who is credible, tactful, and accessible, and one who will not only confirm the project direction but also advocate for the project.

Why is a stakeholder analysis essential?

  • Ignoring key stakeholders is an important cause of failed consolidations.
  • You can use the opinions of the most influential stakeholders to shape the project at an early stage.
  • Their support will secure resources for the project and improve the quality of the consolidation.
  • Communicating with key stakeholders early and often will ensure they fully understand the benefits of your project.
  • You can anticipate the reaction of key stakeholders to your project and plan steps to win their support.

Info-Tech Insight

Be diverse and aware. When identifying key stakeholders for the project, make sure to include a rich diversity of stakeholder expertise, geography, and tactics. Also, step back and add silent members to your list. The loudest voices and heaviest campaigners are not necessarily your key stakeholders.

Identify key stakeholders for the consolidation

1.1.2 Identify project stakeholders, particularly project champions

Participants
  • CIO/IT Director
  • Project Sponsor
  • Project Manager
  • IT Managers
What You’ll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers

Goal: Create a prioritized list of people who are affected or can affect your project so you can plan stakeholder engagement and communication.

  • Use an influence/commitment matrix to determine where your stakeholders lie.
  • High influence, high commitment individuals should be used in conjunction with your efforts to help bring others on board. Identify these individuals and engage with them immediately.
  • Beware of the high influence, low commitment individuals. They should be the first priority for engagement.
  • High commitment, low influence individuals can be used to help influence the low influence, low commitment individuals. Designate a few of these individuals as “champions” to help drive engagement on the front lines.

Outcome: A list of key stakeholders to include on your steering committee and your project team, and to communicate with throughout the project.

The image is a matrix, with Influence on the Y-axis and Commitment to change on the X-axis. It is a blank template.

Overcome the value gap by gathering stakeholder concerns

Simply identifying and engaging your stakeholders is not enough. There needs to be feedback: talk to your end users to ensure their concerns are heard and determine the impact that consolidation will have on them. Otherwise, you risk leaving value on the table.

  • Talk to the business end users who will be supported by the consolidated service desk.
  • What are their concerns about consolidation?
  • Which functions and services are most important to them? You need to make sure these won't get lost.
  • Try to determine what impact consolidation will have on them.

According to the Project Management Institute, only 25% of individuals fully commit to change. The remaining 75% either resist or simply accept the change. Gathering stakeholder concerns is a powerful way to gain buy-in.

The image is a graph with Business Value on the Y-Axis and Time on the X-Axis. Inside the graph, there is a line moving horizontally, separated into segments: Installation, Implementation, and Target Value. The line inclines during the first two segments, and is flat during the last. Emerging from the space between Installation and Implementation is a second line marked Actual realized value. The space between the target value line and the actual realized value line is labelled: Value gap.

Collect relevant quantitative and qualitative data to assess key stakeholders’ perceptions of IT across the organization

Don’t base your consolidation on a hunch. Gather reliable data to assess the current state of IT.

Solicit direct feedback from the organization to gain critical insights into their perceptions of IT.

  • CIO Business Vision: Understanding the needs of your stakeholders is the first and most important step in building a consolidation strategy. Use the results of this survey to assess the satisfaction and importance of different IT services.
  • End-User Satisfaction: Solicit targeted department feedback on core IT service capabilities, IT communications, and business enablement. Use the results to assess the satisfaction of end users with each service broken down by department and seniority level.

We recommend completing at least the End-User Satisfaction survey as part of your service desk consolidation assessment and planning. An analyst will help you set up the diagnostic and walk through the report with you.

To book a diagnostic, or get a copy of our questions to inform your own survey, visit Info-Tech’s Benchmarking Tools, contact your account manager, or call toll-free 1-888-670-8889 (US) or 1-844-618-3192 (CAN).

Data-Driven Diagnostics:

End-User Satisfaction Survey

CIO Business Vision

Review the results of your diagnostics in step 1.3

Formalize an engagement plan to cultivate support for the change from key stakeholders

Use Info-Tech’s Stakeholder Engagement Workbook to formalize an engagement strategy

If a more formal engagement plan is required for this project, use Info-Tech’s Stakeholder Engagement Workbook to document an engagement strategy to ensure buy-in for the consolidation.

The engagement plan is a structured and documented approach for gathering requirements by eliciting input and validating plans for change and cultivating sponsorship and support from key stakeholders early in the project lifecycle.

The Stakeholder Engagement Workbook situates stakeholders on a grid that identifies which ones have the most interest in and influence on your project, to assist you in developing a tailored engagement strategy.

You can also use this analysis to help develop a communications plan for each type of stakeholder in step 3.2.

Conduct stakeholder interviews to understand needs in more depth, if necessary

1.1.3 Interview key stakeholders to identify needs

  • If the consolidation will be a large and complex project and there is a need to understand requirements in more depth, conduct stakeholder interviews with “high-value targets” who can help generate requirements and promote communication around requirements at a later point.
  • Choose the interview method that is most appropriate based on available resources.
Method Description Assessment and Best Practices Stakeholder Effort Business Analyst Effort
Structured One-on-One Interview In a structured one-on-one interview, the business analyst has a fixed list of questions to ask the stakeholder and follows up where necessary. Structured interviews provide the opportunity to quickly hone in on areas of concern that were identified during process mapping or group elicitation techniques. They should be employed with purpose – to receive specific stakeholder feedback on proposed requirements or help identify systemic constraints. Generally speaking, they should be 30 minutes or less. Low

Medium

Unstructured One-on-One Interview In an unstructured one-on-one interview, the business analyst allows the conversation to flow freely. The BA may have broad themes to touch on, but does not run down a specific question list. Unstructured interviews are most useful for initial elicitation, when brainstorming a draft list of potential requirements is paramount. Unstructured interviews work best with senior stakeholders (sponsors or power users), since they can be time consuming if they’re applied to a large sample size. It’s important for BAs not to stifle open dialog and allow the participants to speak openly. They should be 60 minutes or less. Medium Low

Step 1.2: Develop a vision to give the project direction

Phase 1

Develop a shared vision

1.1 Get buy-in from key stakeholders

1.2 Develop a vision to give the project direction

1.3 Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

This step will walk you through the following activities:
  • 1.2.1 Brainstorm desired attributes for the consolidated service desk to start formulating a vision
  • 1.2.2 Develop a compelling vision and story of change
  • 1.2.3 Create a vision for the consolidated service desk
  • 1.2.4 Identify the purpose, goals, and guiding principles of the consolidation project
  • 1.2.5 Identify anticipated benefits and associated KPIs
  • 1.2.6 Conduct a SWOT analysis on the business
This step involves the following participants:
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Business Executives
Step outcomes

A shared vision for the consolidated service desk that:

  • Defines the scope of the consolidation
  • Encompasses the goals and guiding principles of the project
  • Identifies key attributes of the consolidated service desk and anticipated benefits it will bring
  • Is documented in an executive presentation

Hold an executive visioning session to kick off the project

A major change such as service desk consolidation requires a compelling vision to engage staff and motivate them to comprehend and support the change.

After identifying key stakeholders, gather them in a visioning session or workshop to establish a clear direction for the project.

An executive visioning session can take up to two days of focused effort and activities with the purpose of defining the short and long-term view, objectives, and priorities for the new consolidated service desk.

The session should include the following participants:

  • Key stakeholders identified in step 1.1, including:
    • IT management and CIO
    • Project sponsor
    • Business executives interested in the project

The session should include the following tasks:

  • Identify and prioritize the desired outcome for the project
  • Detail the scope and definition of the consolidation
  • Identify and assess key problems and opportunities
  • Surface and challenge project assumptions
  • Clarify the future desired state of the service desk
  • Determine how processes, functions, and systems are to be included in a consolidation analysis
  • Establish a degree of ownership by senior management

The activities throughout this step are designed to be included as part of the visioning session

Choose the attributes of your desired consolidated service desk

Understand what a model consolidated service desk should look like before envisioning your target consolidated service desk.

A consolidated service desk should include the following aspects:

  • Handles all customer contacts – including internal and external users – across all locations and business units
  • Provides a single point of contact for end users to submit requests for help
  • Handles both incidents and service requests, as well as any additional relevant ITIL modules such as problem, change, or asset management
  • Consistent, standardized processes and workflows
  • Single ITSM tool with workflows for ticket handling, prioritization, and escalations
  • Central data repository so that staff have access to all information needed to resolve issues quickly and deliver high-quality service, including:
    • IT infrastructure information (such as assets and support contracts)
    • End-user information (including central AD, assets and products owned, and prior interactions)
    • Knowledgebase containing known resolutions and workarounds

Consolidated Service Desk

  • Service Desk 1
  • Service Desk 2
  • Service Desk 3
  • Consolidated staff
  • Consolidated ITSM tool
  • Consolidated data repository

Brainstorm desired attributes for the consolidated service desk to start formulating a vision

1.2.1 Identify the type of consolidation and desired service desk attributes

Participants
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Other interested business executives
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
Document

Document in the Consolidate Service Desk Executive Presentation, slide 6.

Brainstorm the model and attributes of the target consolidated service desk. You will use this to formulate a vision and define more specific requirements later on.
  1. Identify the type of consolidation: virtual, physical, or hybrid (both)
  2. Identify the level of consolidation: partial (some service desks consolidated) or complete (all service desks consolidated)
Consolidated Service Desk Model Level of Consolidation
Partial Complete
Type of Consolidation Virtual
Physical
Hybrid

3. As a group, brainstorm and document a list of attributes that the consolidated service desk should have.

Examples:

  • Single point of contact for all users
  • One ITSM tool with consistent built-in automated workflows
  • Well-developed knowledgebase
  • Self-serve portal for end users with ability to submit and track tickets
  • Service catalog

Develop a compelling vision and story of change

1.2.2 Use a vision table to begin crafting the consolidation vision

Participants
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Other interested business executives
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
Document

Document in the Consolidate Service Desk Executive Presentation, slide 7.

Build desire for change.

In addition to standard high-level scope elements, consolidation projects that require organizational change also need a compelling story or vision to influence groups of stakeholders.

Use the vision table below to begin developing a compelling vision and story of change.

Why is there a need to consolidate service desks?
How will consolidation benefit the organization? The stakeholders?
How did we determine this is the right change?
What would happen if we didn’t consolidate?
How will we measure success?

Develop a vision to inspire and sustain leadership and commitment

Vision can be powerful but is difficult to craft. As a result, vision statements often end up being ineffective (but harmless) platitudes.

A service desk consolidation project requires a compelling vision to energize staff and stakeholders toward a unified goal over a sustained period of time.

Great visions:

  • Tell a story. They describe a journey with a beginning (who we are and how we got here) and a destination (our goals and expected success in the future).
  • Convey an intuitive sense of direction (or “spirit of change”) that helps people act appropriately without being explicitly told what to do.
  • Appeal to both emotion and reason to make people want to be part of the change.
  • Balance abstract ideas with concrete facts. Without concrete images and facts, the vision will be meaninglessly vague. Without abstract ideas and principles, the vision will lack power to unite people and inspire broad support.
  • Are concise enough to be easy to communicate and remember in any situation.

Info-Tech Insight

Tell a story. Stories pack a lot of information into few words. They are easy to write, remember, and most importantly – share. It’s worth spending a little extra time to get the details right.

Create a vision for the consolidated service desk

1.2.3 Tell a story to describe the consolidated service desk vision

Participants
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
  • Document in the Executive Presentation, slide 8.

Craft a vision of the future state of the service desk.

Tell a story.

Stories serve to give the consolidation real-world context by describing what the future state will mean for both staff and users of the service desk. The story should sum up the core of the experience of using the consolidated service desk and reflect how the service desk will fit into the life of the user.

Stories should include:

  • Action describing the way things happen.
  • Contextual detail that helps readers relate to the person in the story.
  • Challenging ideas that contradict common belief and may be disruptive, but help suggest new directions.
Example:

Imagine if…

… users could access one single online service that allows them to submit a ticket through a self-service portal and service catalog, view the status of their ticket, and receive updates about organization-wide outages and announcements. They never have to guess who to contact for help with a particular type of issue or how to contact them as there is only one point of contact for all types of incidents and service requests.

… all users receive consistent service delivery regardless of their location, and never try to circumvent the help desk or go straight to a particular technician for help as there is only one way to get help by submitting a ticket through a single service desk.

… tickets from any location could be easily tracked, prioritized, and escalated using standardized definitions and workflows to ensure consistent service delivery and allow for one set of SLAs to be defined and met across the organization.

Discuss the drivers of the consolidation to identify the goals the project must achieve

Identifying the reasons behind the consolidation will help formulate the vision for the consolidated service desk and the goals it should achieve.

The image is a graph, titled Deployment Drivers for Those Planning a Consolidated Service Desk. From highest to lowest, they are: Improved Service Delivery/Increased Productivity; Drive on Operational Costs; and Perceived Best Practice.

Service Desk Institute (n = 20, 2007)

A survey of 233 service desks considering consolidation found that of the 20 organizations that were in the planning stages of consolidation, the biggest driver was to improve service delivery and/or increase productivity.

This is in line with the recommendation that improved service quality should be the main consolidation driver over reducing costs.

This image is a graph titled Drivers Among Those Who Have Implemented a Consolidated Service Desk. From highest to lowest, they are: Improved Service Delivery/Increased Productivity; Best Practice; Drive on Operational Costs; Internal vs Outsourcing; and Legacy.

Service Desk Institute (n = 43, 2007)

The drivers were similar among the 43 organizations that had already implemented a consolidated service desk, with improved service delivery and increased productivity again the primary driver.

Aligning with best practice was the second most cited driver.

Identify the purpose, goals, and guiding principles of the consolidation project

1.2.4 Document goals of the project

Participants
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
  • Document in the Executive Presentation, slide 9.

Use the results of your stakeholder analysis and interviews to facilitate a discussion among recommended participants and document the purpose of the consolidation project, the goals the project aims to achieve, and the guiding principles that must be followed.

Use the following example to guide your discussion:

Purpose The purpose of consolidating service desks is to improve service delivery to end users and free up more time and resources to achieve the organization’s core mission.
Goals
  • Align IT resources with business strategies and priorities
  • Provide uniform quality and consistent levels of service across all locations
  • Improve the end-user experience by reducing confusion about where to get help
  • Standardize service desk processes to create efficiencies
  • Identify and eliminate redundant functions or processes
  • Combine existing resources to create economies of scale
  • Improve organizational structure, realign staff with appropriate job duties, and improve career paths
Guiding Principles

The consolidated service desk must:

  1. Provide benefit to the organization without interfering with the core mission of the business
  2. Balance cost savings with service quality
  3. Increase service efficiency without sacrificing service quality
  4. Not interfere with service delivery or the experience of end users
  5. Be designed with input from key stakeholders

Identify the anticipated benefits of the consolidation to weigh them against risks and plan future communications

The primary driver for consolidation of service desks is improved service delivery and increased productivity. This should relate to the primary benefits delivered by the consolidation, most importantly, improved end-user satisfaction.

A survey of 43 organizations that have implemented a consolidated service desk identified the key benefits delivered by the consolidation (see chart at right).

The image is a bar graph titled Benefits Delivered by Consolidated Service Desk. The benefits, from highest to lowest are: Increased Customer Satisfaction; Optimised Resourcing; Cost Reduction; Increased Productivity/Revenue; Team Visibility/Ownership; Reporting/Accountability.

Source: Service Desk Institute (n = 43, 2007)

Info-Tech Insight

Cost reduction may be an important benefit delivered by the consolidation effort, but it should not be the most valuable benefit delivered. Focus communications on anticipated benefits for improved service delivery and end-user satisfaction to gain buy-in for the project.

Identify anticipated outcomes and benefits of consolidation

1.2.5 Use a “stop, start, continue” exercise to identify KPIs

What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
Participants
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
Document

Document in the Executive Presentation, slide 10

  1. Divide the whiteboard into 3 columns: stop, start, and continue
  2. Identify components of your service desk that:
    • Are problematic and should be phased out (stop)
    • Provide value but are not in place yet (start)
    • Are effective and should be sustained, if not improved (continue)
  3. For each category, identify initiatives or outcomes that will support the desired goals and anticipated benefits of consolidation.
Stop Start Continue
  • Escalating incidents without following proper protocol
  • Allowing shoulder taps
  • Focusing solely on FCR as a measure of success
  • Producing monthly ticket trend reports
  • Creating a self-serve portal
  • Communicating performance to the business
  • Writing knowledgebase articles
  • Improving average TTR
  • Holding weekly meetings with team members

Use a SWOT analysis to assess the service desk

  • A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method that organizations can use to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or business venture.
  • Use a SWOT analysis to identify the organization’s current IT capabilities and classify potential disruptive technologies as the first step toward preparing for them.
Review these questions...
Strengths (Internal) Weaknesses (Internal)
  • What Service Desk processes provide value?
  • How does the Service Desk align with corporate/IT strategy?
  • How does your Service Desk benefit end users?
  • Does the Service Desk produce reports or data that benefit the business?
  • Does your Service Desk culture offer an advantage?
  • What areas of your service desk require improvement?
  • Are there gaps in capabilities?
  • Do you have budgetary limitations?
  • Are there leadership gaps (succession, poor management, etc.)?
  • Are there reputational issues with the business?
Opportunities (External) Threats (External)
  • Are end users adopting hardware or software that requires training and education for either themselves or the Service Desk staff?
  • Can efficiencies be gained by consolidating our Service Desks?
  • What is the most cost-effective way to solve the user's technology problems and get them back to work?
  • How can we automate Service Desk processes?
  • Are there obstacles that the Service Desk must face?
  • Are there issues with respect to sourcing of staff or technologies?
  • Could the existing Service Desk metrics be affected?
  • Will the management team need changes to their reporting?
  • Will SLAs need to be adjusted?

…to help you conduct your SWOT analysis on the service desk.

Strengths (Internal) Weaknesses (Internal)
  • End user satisfaction >80%
  • Comprehensive knowledgebase
  • Clearly defined tiers
  • TTR on tickets is <1 day
  • No defined critical incident workflow
  • High cost to solve issues
  • Separate toolsets create disjointed data
  • No root cause analysis
  • Ineffective demand planning
  • No clear ticket categories
Opportunities (External) Threats (External)
  • Service catalog
  • Ticket Templates
  • Ticket trend analysis
  • Single POC through the use of one tool
  • Low stakeholder buy-in
  • Fear over potential job loss
  • Logistics of the move
  • End user alienation over process change

Conduct a SWOT analysis on the business

1.2.6 Conduct SWOT analysis

Participants
  • Project Sponsor
  • IT Director, CIO
  • IT Managers and Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
Document
  • Document in the Executive Presentation, slide 11
  1. Break the group into two teams:
    • Assign team A strengths and weaknesses.
    • Assign team B opportunities and threats.
  2. Have the teams brainstorm items that fit in their assigned areas.
    • Refer to the questions on the previous slide to help guide discussion
  1. Choose someone from each group to fill in the grid on the whiteboard.
  2. Conduct a group discussion about the items on the list.
Helpful to achieving the objective Harmful to achieving the objective
Internal origin attributes of the organization Strengths Weaknesses

External Origin attributes of the environment

Opportunities Threats

Frame your project in terms of people, process, technology

A framework should be used to guide the consolidation effort and provide a standardized basis of comparison between the current and target state.

Frame the project in terms of the change and impact it will have on:

  • People
  • Process
  • Technology

Service desk consolidation will likely have a significant impact in all three categories by standardizing processes, implementing a single service management tool, and reallocating resources. Framing the project in this way will ensure that no aspect goes forgotten.

For each of the three categories, you will identify:

  • Current state
  • Target state
  • Gap and actions required
  • Impact, risks, and benefits
  • Communication and training requirements
  • How to measure progress/success

People

  • Tier 1 support
  • Tier 2 support
  • Tier 3 support
  • Vendors

Process

  • Incident management
  • Service request management
  • SLAs

Technology

  • ITSM tools
  • Knowledgebase
  • CMDB and other databases
  • Technology supported

Complete the Consolidate Service Desk Executive Presentation

Complete an executive presentation using the decisions made throughout this step

Use the Consolidate Service Desk Executive Presentation to deliver the outputs of your project planning to the business and gain buy-in for the project.

  1. Use the results of the activities throughout step 1.2 to produce the key takeaways for your executive presentation.
  2. At the end of the presentation, include 1-2 slides summarizing any additional information specific to your organization.
  3. Once complete, pitch the consolidation project to the project sponsor and executive stakeholders.
    • This presentation needs to cement buy-in for the project before any other progress is made.

Step 1.3: Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

Phase 1

Develop a shared vision

1.1 Get buy-in from key stakeholders

1.2 Develop a vision to give the project direction

1.3 Conduct a full assessment of each service desk

This step will walk you through the following activities:
  • 1.3.1 Review the results of your diagnostic programs
  • 1.3.2 Analyze the organizational structure of each service desk
  • 1.3.3 Assess the overall maturity of each service desk
  • 1.3.4 Map out roles and responsibilities of each service desk using organizational charts
  • 1.3.5 Assess and document current information system environment
This step involves the following participants:
  • CIO
  • IT Directors
  • Service Desk Managers
  • Service Desk Technicians
Step outcomes
  • A robust current state assessment of each service desk, including overall maturity, processes, organizational structure, agent skills, roles and responsibilities, agent satisfaction, technology and ITSM tools.

Oxford saved time and effort by sticking with a tested process that works

CASE STUDY

Industry: Higher Education

Source: Oxford University, IT Services

Oxford ITS instigated the service desk consolidation project in the fall of 2012.

A new ITSM solution was formally acquired in the spring 2014, and amalgamated workflows designed.

Throughout this period, at least 3 detailed process analyses occurred in close consultation with the affected IT units.

Responsibility for understanding each existing process (incident, services, change management, etc.) were assigned to members of the project team.

They determined which of the existing processes were most effective, and these served as the baseline – saving time and effort in the long run by sticking with tested processes that work.

Reach out early and often.

Almost from day one, the Oxford consolidation team made sure to consult closely with each relevant ITS team about their processes and the tools they used to manage their workflows.

This was done both in structured interviews during the visioning stage and informally at periodic points throughout the project.

The result was the discovery of many underlying similarities. This information was then instrumental to determining a realistic baseline from which to design the new consolidated service desk.

"We may give our activities different names or use different tools to manage our work but in all cases common sense has prevailed and it’s perhaps not so surprising that we have common challenges that we choose to tackle in similar ways." – Andrew Goff, Change Management at Oxford ITS

Review the results of your diagnostic programs to inform your current state assessment

1.3.1 Understand satisfaction with the service desk

Participants
  • CIO/IT Director
  • IT Manager
  • Service Manager(s)
Document
  1. Set up an analyst call through your account manager to review the results of your diagnostic.
    • Whatever survey you choose, ask the analyst to review the data and comments concerning:
      • Assessments of service desk timeliness/effectiveness
      • IT business enablement
      • IT innovation leadership
  2. Book a meeting with recommended participants. Go over the results of your diagnostic survey.
  3. Facilitate a discussion of the results. Focus on the first few summary slides and the overall department results slide.
    • What is the level of IT support?
    • What are stakeholders’ perceptions of IT performance?
    • How satisfied are stakeholders with IT?
    • Does the department understand and act on business needs?
    • What are the business priorities and how well are you doing in meeting these priorities?
    • How can the consolidation project assist the business in achieving goals?
    • How could the consolidation improve end-user satisfaction and business satisfaction?

A robust current state assessment is the foundation of a successful consolidation

You can’t determine where you’re going without a clear idea of where you are now.

Before you begin planning for the consolidation, make sure you have a clear picture of the magnitude of what you plan on consolidating.

Evaluate the current state of each help desk being considered for consolidation. This should include an inventory of:

  • Process:
    • Processes and workflows
    • Metrics and SLAs
  • People:
    • Organizational structure
    • Agent workload and skills
    • Facility layout and design
  • Technology:
    • Technologies and end users supported
    • Technologies and tools used by the service desk

Info-Tech Insight

A detailed current state assessment is a necessary first step for a consolidation project, but determining the right level of detail to include in the evaluation can be challenging. Gather enough data to establish a baseline and make an informed decision about how to consolidate, but don’t waste time collecting unnecessary information that will only distract and slow down the project.

Review ticket handling processes for each service desk to identify best practices

Use documentation, reports, and metrics to evaluate existing processes followed by each service desk before working toward standardized processes.

Poor Processes vs. Optimized Processes

Inconsistent or poor processes affect the business through:

  • Low business satisfaction
  • Low end-user satisfaction
  • High cost to resolve
  • Delayed progress on project work
  • Lack of data for reporting due to ineffective ticket categorization, tools, and logged tickets
  • No root cause analysis leads to a reactive vs. proactive service desk
  • Lack of cross-training and knowledge sharing result in time wasted troubleshooting recurring issues
  • Lack of trend analysis limits the effectiveness of demand planning

Standardized service desk processes increase user and technician satisfaction and lower costs to support through:

  • Improved business satisfaction Improved end-user satisfaction Incidents prioritized and escalated accurately and efficiently
  • Decreased recurring issues due to root cause analysis and trends
  • Increased self-sufficiency of end users
  • Strengthened team and consistent delivery through cross-training and knowledge sharing
  • Enhanced demand planning through trend analysis and reporting

The image is a graphic of a pyramid, with categories as follows (from bottom): FAQ/Knowledgebase; Users; Tier 1-75-80%; Tier 2-15%; Tier 3 - 5%. On the right side of the pyramid is written Resolution, with arrows extending from each of the higher sections down to Users. On the left is written Escalation, with arrows from each lower category up to the next highest. Inside the pyramid are arrows extending from the bottom to each level and vice versa.

Analyze the organizational structure of each service desk

1.3.2 Discuss the structure of each service desk

Participants
  • CIO
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You'll Need
  • Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool

1. Facilitate a discussion among recommended participants to discuss the structure of each service desk. Decide which model best describes each service desk:

  • The Gatekeeper Model: All calls are routed through a central call group whose sole responsibility is to link the customer to the right individual or group.
  • The Call Sorting Model: All calls are sorted into categories using technology and forwarded to the right 2nd level specialist group.
  • Tiered Structure (Specialist Model): All calls are sorted through a single specialist group, such as desktop support. Their job is to log the interaction, attempt resolution, and escalate when the problem is beyond their ability to resolve.
  • Tiered Structure (Generalist Model): All calls are sorted through a single generalist group, whose responsibility is to log the interaction, attempt a first resolution, and escalate when the problem is beyond their ability to resolve.

2. Use a flip chart or whiteboard to draw the architecture of each service desk, using the example on the right as a guide.

The image is a graphic depicting the organizational structure of a service desk, from Users to Vendor. The graphic shows how a user request can move through tiers of service, and the ways that Tiers 2 and 3 of the service desk are broken down into areas of specialization.

Assess the current state of each service desk using the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool

Assess the current state of each service desk

The Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool will provide insight into the overall health of each existing service desk along two vectors:

  1. Process Maturity (calculated on the basis of a comprehensive survey)
  2. Metrics (calculated on the basis of entered ticket and demographic data)

Together these answers offer a snapshot of the health, efficiency, performance, and perceived value of each service desk under evaluation.

This tool will assist you through the current state assessment process, which should follow these steps:

  1. Send a copy of this tool to the Service Desk Manager (or other designated party) of each service desk that may be considered as part of the consolidation effort.
    • This will collect key metrics and landscape data and assess process maturity
  2. Analyze the data and discuss as a group
  3. Ask follow-up questions
  4. Use the information to compare the health of each service desk using the scorecard tool

These activities will be described in more detail throughout this step of the project.

Gather relevant data to assess the environment of each service desk

Assess each service desk’s environment using the assessment tool

Send a copy of the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool to the Service Desk Manager (or other designated party) of each service desk that will be considered as part of the consolidation.

Instruct them to complete tab 2 of the tool, the Environment Survey:

  • Enter Profile, Demographic, Satisfaction, Technology, and Ticket data into the appropriate fields as accurately as possible. Satisfaction data should be entered as percentages.
  • Notes can be entered next to each field to indicate the source of the data, to note missing or inaccurate data, or to explain odd or otherwise confusing data.

This assessment will provide an overview of key metrics to assess the performance of each service desk, including:

  • Service desk staffing for each tier
  • Average ticket volume and distribution per month
  • # staff in IT
  • # service desk staff
  • # supported devices (PC, laptops, mobiles, etc.)
  • # desktop images

Assess the overall maturity of each service desk

1.3.3 Use the assessment tool to measure the maturity of each service desk

Participants
  • CIO
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You'll Need
  • Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool
  1. Assemble the relevant team for each service desk: process owners, functional managers, service desk manager, and relevant staff and technicians who work with the processes to be assessed. Each service desk team should meet to complete the maturity assessment together as a group.
  2. Go to tab 3 (Service Desk Maturity Survey) of the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool and respond to the questions in the following categories:
    • Prerequisites (general questions)
    • People
    • Process
    • Technology
    • SLAs
  3. Rate each element. Be honest. The goal is to end up with as close a representation as possible to what really exists. Only then can you identify realistic improvement opportunities. Use the maturity definitions as guides.

Evaluate resource utilization and satisfaction to allocate resources effectively

Include people as part of your current state assessment to evaluate whether your resources are appropriately allocated to maximize effectiveness and agent satisfaction.

Skills Inventory

Use the IT Skills Inventory and Gap Assessment Tool to assess agent skills and identify gaps or overlaps.

Agent Satisfaction

Measure employee satisfaction and engagement to identify strong teams.

Roles and Responsibilities

Gather a clear picture of each service desk’s organizational hierarchy, roles, and responsibilities.

Agent Utilization

Obtain a snapshot of service desk productivity by calculating the average amount of time an agent is handling calls, divided by the average amount of time an agent is at work.

Conduct a skills inventory for each service desk

Evaluate agent skills across service desks

After evaluating processes, evaluate the skill sets of the agents tasked with following these processes to identify gaps or overlap.

Send the Skills Coverage Tool tab to each Service Desk Manager, who will either send it to the individuals who make up their service desk with instructions to rate themselves, or complete the assessment together with individuals as part of one-on-one meetings for discussing development plans.

IT Skills Inventory and Gap Assessment Tool will enable you to:

  • List skills required to support the organization.
  • Document and rate the skills of the existing IT staffing contingent.
  • Assess the gaps to help determine hiring or training needs, or even where to pare back.
  • Build a strategy for knowledge sharing, transfer, and training through the consolidation project.

Map out roles and responsibilities of each service desk using organizational charts

1.3.4 Obtain or draw organizational charts for each location

Clearly document service desk roles and responsibilities to rationalize service desk architecture.
Participants
  • CIO, IT Director
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Tier/Specialist Manager(s)
What You’ll Need
  • Org. charts
  • Flip chart or whiteboard and markers
  1. Obtain or draw (on a whiteboard or flip chart) the organizational chart for each service desk to get a clear picture of the roles that fulfill each service desk. If there is any uncertainty or disagreement, discuss as a group to come to a resolution.
  2. Discuss the roles and reporting relationships within the service desk and across the organization to establish if/where inefficiencies exist and how these might be addressed through consolidation.
  3. If an up-to-date organizational chart is not in place, use this time to define the organizational structure as-is and consider future state.
IT Director
Service Desk Manager
Tier 1 Help Desk Lead Tier 2 Help Desk Lead Tier 2 Apps Support Lead Tier 3 Specialist Support Lead
Tier 1 Specialist Name Title Name Title Name Title
Tier 1 Specialist Name Title Name Title Name Title
Name Title Name Title Name Title
Name Title Name Title

Conduct an agent satisfaction survey to compare employee engagement across locations

Evaluate agent satisfaction

End-user satisfaction isn’t the only important satisfaction metric.

Agent satisfaction forms a key metric within the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool, and it can be evaluated in a variety of ways. Choose the approach that best suits your organization and time restraints for the project.

Determine agent satisfaction on the basis of a robust (and anonymous) survey of service desk agents. Like the end-user satisfaction score, this measure is ideally computed as a percentage.

There are several ways to measure agent satisfaction:

  1. If your organization runs an employee engagement survey, use the most recent survey results, separating them by location and converting them to a percentage.
  2. If your organization does not currently measure employee engagement or satisfaction, consider one of Info-Tech and McLean & Company’s two engagement diagnostics:
    • Full Engagement Diagnostic – 81 questions that provide a comprehensive view into your organization's engagement levels
    • McLean & Company’s Pulse Survey – 15 questions designed to give a high-level view of employee engagement
  3. For smaller organizations, a survey may not be feasible or make sense. In this case, consider gathering informal engagement data through one-on-one meetings.
  4. Be sure to discuss and document any reasons for dissatisfaction, including pain points with the current tools or processes.
Document
  • Document on tab 2 of the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool

Assess the service management tools supporting your service desks

Identify the different tools being used to support each service desk in order to assess whether and how they can be consolidated into one service management tool.

Ideally, your service desks are already on the same ITSM platform, but if not, a comprehensive assessment of current tools is the first step toward a single, consolidated solution.

Include the following in your tools assessment:

  • All automated ITSM solutions being used to log and track incidents and service requests
  • Any manual or other methods of tracking tickets (e.g. Excel spreadsheets)
  • Configurations and any customizations that have been made to the tools
  • How configuration items are maintained and how mature the configuration management databases (CMDB) are
  • Pricing and licensing agreements for tools
  • Any unique functions or limitations of the tools

Info-Tech Insight

Document not only the service management tools that are used but also any of their unique and necessary functions and configurations that users may have come to rely upon, such as remote support, self-serve, or chat support, in order to inform requirements in the next phase.

Assess the IT environment your service desks support

Even if you don’t do any formal asset management, take this opportunity for discovery and inventory to gain a complete understanding of your IT environment and the range of devices your service desks support.

Inventory your IT environment, including:

User Devices

  • Device counts by category Equipment/resources by user

Servers

  • Server hardware, CPU, memory
  • Applications residing on servers

Data centers

  • Including location and setup

In addition to identifying the range of devices you currently support, assess:

  • Any future devices, hardware, or software that the service desk will need to support (e.g. BYOD, mobile)
  • How well each service desk is currently able to support these devices
  • Any unique or location-specific technology or devices that could limit a consolidation

Info-Tech Insight

The capabilities and configuration of your existing infrastructure and applications could limit your consolidation plans. A comprehensive technology assessment of not only the service desk tools but also the range of devices and applications your service desks supports will help you to prepare for any potential limitations or obstacles a consolidated service desk may present.

Assess and document current information system environment

1.3.5 Identify specific technology and tool requirements

Participants
  • CIO
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You'll Need
  • Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool, tab 2.
Document

Document information on number of devices supported and number of desktop images associated with each service desk in the section on “Technology Data” of the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool.

  1. Identify and document the service management tools that are used by each service desk.
  2. For each tool, identify and document any of the following that apply:
    • Integrations
    • Configurations that were made during implementation
    • Customizations that were made during implementation
    • Version, licenses, cost
  3. For each service desk, document any location-specific or unique technology requirements or differences that could impact consolidation, including:
    • Devices and technology supported
    • Databases and configuration items
    • Differing applications or hardware needs

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

1.1.1 Assign roles and responsibilities

Use a RACI chart to assign overarching responsibilities for the consolidation project.

1.3.2 Analyze the organizational structure of each service desk

Map out the organizational structure and flow of each service desk and discuss the model that best describes each.

Phase 2

Design the Consolidated Service Desk

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 2: Design consolidated service desk

Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 2-4

Step 2.1: Model target consolidated service desk

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Define the target state of the consolidated service desk in detail
  • Identify requirements for the consolidation, broken down by people, process, technology and by short- vs. long-term needs

Then complete these activities…

  • Set project metrics to measure success of the consolidation
  • Brainstorm people, process, technology requirements for the service desk
  • Build requirements documents and RFP for a new tool
  • Review results of the scorecard comparison tool

With these tools & templates:

Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool

Step 2.2: Assess logistics and cost of consolidation

Review findings with analyst:

  • Plan the logistics of the consolidation for process, technology, and facilities
  • Evaluate the cost and cost savings of consolidation using a TCO tool

Then complete these activities…

  • Plan logistics for process, technology, facilities, and resource allocation
  • Review the results of the Service Desk Efficiency Calculator to refine the business case for the consolidation project

With these tools & templates:

Service Desk Efficiency Calculator

Service Desk Consolidation TCO Comparison Tool

Phase 2 Results:

  • Detailed requirements and vision for the consolidated service desk, gap analysis of current vs. target state, and an initial analysis of the logistical considerations to achieve target.

Step 2.1: Model target consolidated state

Phase 2

Design consolidation

2.1 Design target consolidated service desk

2.2 Assess logistics and cost of consolidation

This step will walk you through the following activities:
  • 2.1.1 Determine metrics to measure the value of the project
  • 2.1.2 Set targets for each metric to measure progress and success of the consolidation
  • 2.1.3 Brainstorm process requirements for consolidated service desk
  • 2.1.4 Brainstorm people requirements for consolidated service desk
  • 2.1.5 Brainstorm technology requirements for consolidated service desk
  • 2.1.6 Build a requirements document for the service desk tool
  • 2.1.7 Evaluate alternative tools, build a shortlist for RFPs, and arrange web demonstrations or evaluation copies
  • 2.1.8 Set targets for key metrics to identify high performing service desks
  • 2.1.9 Review the results of the scorecard to identify best practices
This step involves the following participants:
  • CIO
  • IT Director
  • Service Desk Managers
  • Service Desk Technicians
Step Outcomes
  • A list of people, process, and technology requirements for the new consolidated service desk
  • A clear vision of the target state
  • An analysis of the gaps between existing and target service desks

Ensure the right people and methods are in place to anticipate implementation hurdles

CASE STUDY

Industry: Higher Education

Source: Oxford University, IT Services

"Since our last update, a review and re-planning exercise has reassessed the project approach, milestones, and time scales. This has highlighted some significant hurdles to transition which needed to be addressed, resulting primarily from the size of the project and the importance to the department of a smooth and well-planned transition to the new processes and toolset." – John Ireland, Director of Customer Service & Project Sponsor

Initial hurdles led to a partial reorganization of the project in Fall 2014

Despite careful planning and its ultimate success, Oxford’s consolidation effort still encountered some significant hurdles along the way – deadlines were sometimes missed and important processes overlooked.

These bumps can be mitigated by building flexibility into your plan:

  • Adopt an Agile methodology – review and revise groups of tasks as the project progresses, rather than waiting until near the end of the project to get approval for the complete implementation.
  • Your Tiger Team or Project Steering Group must include the right people – the project team should not just include senior or high-level management; members of each affected IT group should be consulted, and junior-level employees can provide valuable insight into existing and potential processes and workflows.

Info-Tech Insight

Ensure that the project lead is someone conversant in ITSM, so that they are equipped to understand and react to the unique challenges and expectations of a consolidation and can easily communicate with process owners.

Use the consolidation vision to define the target service desk in more detail

Use your baseline assessment and your consolidation vision as a guide to figure out exactly where you’re going before planning how to get there.

With approval for the project established and a clear idea of the current state of each service desk, narrow down the vision for the consolidated service desk into a specific picture of the target state.

The target state should provide answers to the following types of questions:

Process:

  • Will there be one set of SLAs across the organization?
  • What are the target SLAs?
  • How will ticket categories be defined?
  • How will users submit and track their tickets?
  • How will tickets be prioritized and escalated?
  • Will a knowledgebase be maintained and accessible by both service desk and end users?

People:

  • How will staff be reorganized?
  • What will the roles and responsibilities look like?
  • How will tiers be structured?
  • What will the career path look like within the service desk?

Technology:

  • Will there be one single ITSM tool to support the service desk?
  • Will an existing tool be used or will a new tool be selected?
  • If a new tool is needed, what are the requirements?

Info-Tech Insight

Select the target state that is right for your organization. Don’t feel pressured to select the highest target state or a complete consolidation. Instead select the target state that is most compatible with your organization’s current needs and capabilities.

Determine metrics to measure the value of the project

2.1.1 Identify KPIs to measure the success of the consolidation

Participants
  • CIO
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You’ll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers

Identify three primary categories where the consolidation project is expected to yield benefits to the business. Use the example on the right to guide your discussion.

Efficiency and effectiveness are standard benefits for this project, but the third category may depend on your organization.

  • Examples include: improved resourcing, security, asset management, strategic alignment, end-user experience, employee experience

Identify 1-3 key performance indicators (KPIs) associated with each benefit category, which will be used to measure the success of the consolidation project. Ensure that each has a baseline measure that can be reassessed after the consolidation.

Efficiency

Streamlined processes to reduce duplication of efforts

  • Reduced IT spend and cost of delivery
  • One ITSM tool Improved reliability of service
  • Improved response time

Resourcing

Improved allocation of human and financial resources

  • Improved resource sharing
  • Improved organizational structure of service desk

Effectiveness

Service delivery will be more accessible and standardized

  • Improved responsive-ness to incidents and service requests
  • Improved resolution time
  • Single point of contact for end users
  • Improved reporting

Set targets for each metric to measure progress and success of the consolidation

2.1.2 Identify specific metrics for each KPI and targets for each

Participants
  • IT Director
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You’ll Need
  • KPIs from previous step
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
  1. Select one core KPI for each critical success factor, which will be used to measure progress and success of the consolidation effort down the road.
  2. For each KPI, document the average baseline metric the organization is achieving (averaged across all service desks).
  3. Discuss and document a target metric that the project will aim to reach through the single consolidated service desk.
  4. Set a short and long-term target for each metric to encourage continuous improvement. Examples:
Efficiency
Business Value KPI Current Metric Short-Term (6 month) Target Long-Term (1 year) Target
Streamlined processes to reduce duplication of efforts Improved response time 2 hours 1 hour 30 minutes
Effectiveness
Business Value KPI Current Metric Short-Term (6 month) Target Long-Term (1 year) Target
Service delivery will be more accessible and standardized Improved first call resolution (% resolved at Tier 1) 50% 60% 70%

If poor processes were in place, take the opportunity to start fresh with the consolidation

If each service desk’s existing processes were subpar, it may be easier to build a new service desk from the basics rather than trying to adapt existing processes.

You should have these service management essentials in place:

Service Requests:

  • Standardize process to verify, approve, and fulfill service requests.
  • Assign priority according to business criticality and service agreements.
  • Think about ways to manage service requests to better serve the business long term.

Incident Management:

  • Set standards to define and record incidents.
  • Define incident response actions and communications.

Knowledgebase:

  • Define standards for knowledgebase.
  • Introduce creation of knowledgebase articles.
  • Create a knowledge-sharing and cross-training culture.

Reporting:

  • Select appropriate metrics.
  • Generate relevant insights that shed light on the value that IT creates for the organization.

The image is a circle comprised of 3 concentric circles. At the centre is a circle labelled Standardized Service Desk. The ring outside of it is split into 4 sections: Incident Management; Service Requests; Structure and Reporting; and Knowledgebase. The outer circle is split into 3 sections: People, Process, Technologies.

Evaluate how your processes compare with the best practices defined here. If you need further guidance on how to standardize these processes after planning the consolidation, follow Info-Tech’s blueprint, Standardize the Service Desk.

Even optimized processes will need to be redefined for the target consolidated state

Your target state doesn’t have to be perfect. Model a short-term, achievable target state that can demonstrate immediate value.

Consider the following elements when designing service desk processes:
  • Ticket input (i.e. how can tickets be submitted?)
  • Ticket classification (i.e. how will tickets be categorized?)
  • Ticket prioritization (i.e. how will critical incidents be defined?)
  • Ticket escalation (i.e. how and at what point will tickets be assigned to a more specialized resource?)
  • Ticket resolution (i.e. how will resolution be defined and how will users be notified?)
  • Communication with end users (i.e. how and how often will users be notified about the status of their ticket or of other incidents and outages?)

Consider the following unique process considerations for consolidation:

  • How will knowledge sharing be enabled in order for all technicians to quickly access known errors and resolve problems?
  • How can first contact resolution levels be maintained through the transition?
  • How will procedures be clearly documented so that tickets are escalated properly?
  • Will ticket classification and prioritization schemes need to change?
  • Will new services such as self-serve be introduced to end users and how will this be communicated?

Info-Tech Insight

Don’t do it all at once. Consolidation will lead to some level of standardization. It will be reinforced and improved later through ongoing reengineering and process improvement efforts (continual improvement management).

Brainstorm process requirements for consolidated service desk

2.1.3 Identify process-related requirements for short and long term

Participants
  • CIO
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard, sticky notes, markers
  • Vision and goals for the consolidation from step 1.2
Document
  • Document internally, or leave on a whiteboard for workshop participants to return to when documenting tasks in the roadmap tool.
  1. Review the questions in the previous section to frame a discussion on process considerations and best practices for the target consolidated service desk.
  2. Use your responses to the questions to brainstorm a list of process requirements or desired characteristics for the target state, particularly around incident management and service request management.
  3. Write each requirement onto a sticky note and categorize it as one of the following:
    1. Immediate requirement for consolidated service desk
    2. Implement within 6 months
    3. Implement within 1 year

Example:

Whiteboard:

  • Immediate
    • Clearly defined ticket prioritization scheme
    • Critical incident process workflow
  • 6 months
    • Clearly defined SOP, policies, and procedures
    • Transactional end-user satisfaction surveys
  • 1 year
    • Change mgmt.
    • Problem mgmt.

Define the target resource distribution and utilization for the consolidated service desk

Consolidation can sound scary to staff wondering if there will be layoffs. Reduce that by repurposing local staff and maximizing resource utilization in your organizational design.

Consider the following people-related elements when designing your target state:

  • How will roles and responsibilities be defined for service desk staff?
  • How many agents will be required to deal with ticket demand?
  • What is the target agent utilization rate?
  • How will staff be distributed among tiers?
  • What will responsibilities be at each tier?
  • Will performance goals and rewards be established or standardized?

Consider the following unique people considerations for consolidation:

  • Will staffing levels change?
  • Will job titles or roles change for certain individuals?
  • How will staff be reorganized?
  • Will staff need to be relocated to one location?
  • Will reporting relationships change?
  • How will this be managed?
  • How will performance measurements be consolidated across teams and departments to focus on the business goals?
  • Will there be a change to career paths?
  • What will consolidation do to morale, job interest, job opportunities?

Info-Tech Insight

Identify SMEs and individuals who are knowledgeable about a particular location, end-user base, technology, or service offering. They may be able to take on a different, greater role due to the reorganization that would make better use of their skills and capabilities and improve morale.

Brainstorm people requirements for consolidated service desk

2.1.4 Identify people-related requirements for short and long term

Participants
  • CIO
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard, sticky notes, markers
  • Vision and goals for the consolidation from step 1.2
Document

Document internally, or leave on a whiteboard for workshop participants to return to when documenting tasks in the roadmap tool.

  1. Review the questions in the previous section to frame a discussion on people considerations and best practices for the target consolidated service desk.
  2. Use your responses to the questions to brainstorm a list of requirements for the allocation and distribution of resources, including roles, responsibilities, and organizational structure.
  3. When thinking about people, consider requirements for both your staff and your end users.
  4. Write each requirement onto a sticky note and categorize it as one of the following:
    1. Immediate requirement for consolidated service desk
    2. Implement within 6 months
    3. Implement within 1 year

Example:

Whiteboard:

  • Immediate
    • Three tier structure with SMEs at Tier 2 and 3
    • All staff working together in one visible location
  • 6 months
    • Roles and responsibilities well defined and documented
    • Appropriate training and certifications available to staff
  • 1 year
    • Agent satisfaction above 80%
    • End-user satisfaction above 75%

Identify the tools that will support the service desk and those the service desk will support

One of the biggest technology-related decisions you need to make is whether you need a new ITSM tool. Consider how it will be used by a single service desk to support the entire organization.

Consider the following technology elements when designing your target state:
  • What tool will be used to support the service desk?
  • What processes or ITIL modules can the tool support?
  • How will reports be produced? What types of reports will be needed for particular audiences?
  • Will a self-service tool be in place for end users to allow for password resets or searches for solutions?
  • Will the tool integrate with tools for change, configuration, problem, and asset management?
  • Will the majority of manual processes be automated?
Consider the following unique technology considerations for consolidation:
  • Is an existing service management tool extensible?
  • If so, can it integrate with essential non-IT systems?
  • Can the tool support a wider user base?
  • Can the tool support all areas, departments, and technologies it will need to after consolidation?
  • How will data from existing tools be migrated to the new tool?
  • What implementation or configuration needs and costs must be considered?
  • What training will be required for the tool?
  • What other new tools and technologies will be required to support the consolidated service desk?

Info-Tech Insight

Talk to staff at each service desk to ask about their tool needs and requirements to support their work. Invite them to demonstrate how they use their tools to learn about customization, configuration, and functionality in place and to help inform requirements. Engaging staff in the process will ensure that the new consolidated tool will be supported and adopted by staff.

Brainstorm technology requirements for consolidated service desk

2.1.5 Identify technology-related requirements for short and long term

Participants
  • CIO
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You’ll Need
  • Whiteboard, sticky notes, markers
  • Vision and goals for the consolidation from step 1.2
Document

Document internally, or leave on a whiteboard for workshop participants to return to when documenting tasks in the roadmap tool.

  1. Review the questions in the previous section to frame a discussion on technology considerations and best practices for the target consolidated service desk.
  2. Use your responses to the questions to brainstorm a list of requirements for the tools to support the consolidated service desk, along with any other technology requirements for the target state.
  3. Write each requirement onto a sticky note and categorize it as one of the following:
    1. Immediate requirement for consolidated service desk
    2. Implement within 6 months
    3. Implement within 1 year

Example:

Whiteboard:

  • Immediate
    • Single ITSM tool
    • Remote desktop support
  • 6 months
    • Self-service portal
    • Regular reports are produced accurately
  • 1 year
    • Mobile portal
    • Chat integration

Identify specific requirements for a tool if you will be selecting a new ITSM solution

Service desk software needs to address both business and technological needs. Assess these needs to identify core capabilities required from the solution.

Features Description
Modules
  • Do workflows integrate seamlessly between functions such as incident management, change management, asset management, desktop and network management?

Self-Serve

  • Does the existing tool support self-serve in the form of web forms for incident reporting, forms for service requests, as well as FAQs for self-solve?
  • Is a service catalog available or can one be integrated painlessly?
Enterprise Service Management Needs
  • Integration of solution to all of IT, Human Resources, Finance, and Facilities for workflows and financial data can yield great benefits but comes at a higher cost and greater complexity. Weigh the costs and benefits.
Workflow Automation
  • If IT has advanced beyond simple workflows, or if extending these workflows beyond the department, more power may be necessary.
  • Full business process management (BPM) is part of a number of more advanced service desk/service management solutions.
License Maintenance Costs
  • Are license and maintenance costs still reasonable and appropriate for the value of the tool?
  • Will the vendor renegotiate?
  • Are there better tools out there for the same or better price?
Configuration Costs
  • Templates, forms, workflows, and reports all take time and skills but bring big benefits. Can these changes be done in-house? How much does it cost to maintain and improve?
Speed / Performance
  • Data growth and volume may have reached levels beyond the current solution’s ability to cope, despite database tuning.
Vendor Support
  • Is the vendor still supporting the solution and developing the roadmap? Has it been acquired? Is the level of support still meeting your needs?

Build a requirements document for the service desk tool

2.1.6 Create a requirements list and demo script for an ITSM tool (optional)

Participants
  • CIO/IT Director
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Technicians
What You'll Need
  • Flip charts and markers
  • Templates:
    • IT Service Management Demo Script Template
    • Service Desk Software and RFP Evaluation Tool

Create a requirements list for the service desk tool.

  1. Break the group into smaller functional groups.
  2. Brainstorm features that would be important to improving efficiencies, services to users, and visibility to data.
  3. Document on flip chart paper, labelling each page with the functional group name.
  4. Prioritize into must-have and nice-to-have items.
  5. Reconvene and discuss each list with the group.
  6. Info-Tech’s Service Desk Software and RFP Evaluation Tool can also be used to document requirements for an RFI.

Create a demo script:

Using information from the requirements list, determine which features will be important for the team to see during a demo. Focus on areas where usability is a concern, for example:

  • End-user experience
  • Workflow creation and modification
  • Creating templates
  • Creating service catalog items
  • Knowledgebase

Evaluate alternative tools, build a shortlist for RFPs, and arrange web demonstrations or evaluation copies

2.1.7 Identify an alternative tool and build an RFP (optional)

Participants
  • CIO (optional)
  • Service Desk Manager
  • Service Desk Technician(s)
  • Service Desk Tool Administrator
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
  • Service Desk RFP Template

Evaluate current tool:

  • Investigate to determine if these features are present and just not in use.
  • Contact the vendor if necessary.
  • If enough features are present, determine if additional training is required.
  • If tool is proven to be inadequate, investigate options.

Consider alternatives:

Use Info-Tech’s blueprints for further guidance on selecting and implementing an ITSM tool

1. Select a tool

Info-Tech regularly evaluates ITSM solution providers and ranks each in terms of functionality and affordability. The results are published in the Enterprise and Mid-Market Service Desk Software Vendor Landscapes.

2. Implement the tool

After selecting a solution, follow the Build an ITSM Tool Implementation Plan project to develop an implementation plan to ensure the tool is appropriately designed, installed, and tested and that technicians are sufficiently trained to ensure successful deployment and adoption of the tool.

Compare your existing service desks with the Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool

Complete the scorecard tool along with the activities of the next step

The Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool will allow you to compare metrics and maturity results across your service desks to identify weak and poor performers and processes.

The purpose of this tool is to organize the data from up to six service desks that are part of a service desk consolidation initiative. Displaying this data in an organized fashion, while offering a robust comparative analysis, should facilitate the process of establishing a new baseline for the consolidated service desk.

Use the results on tab 4 of the Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool. Enter the data from each service desk into tab “2. InfoCards” of the Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool.

Data from up to six service desks (up to six copies of the assessment tool) can be entered into this tool for comparison.

Set targets for key metrics to identify high performing service desks

2.1.8 Use the scorecard tool to set target metrics against which to compare service desks

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You’ll Need
  • Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool
  1. Review the explanations of the six core metrics identified from the service desk assessment tool. These are detailed on tab 3 of the Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool.
    1. End-user satisfaction
    2. Agent satisfaction
    3. Cost per ticket
    4. Agent utilization rate
    5. First contact resolution rate
    6. First tier resolution rate
  2. For each metric (except agent utilization), define a “worst” and “best” target number. These numbers should be realistic and determined only after some consideration.
    • Service desks scoring at or above the “best” threshold for a particular metric will receive 100% on that metric; while service desks scoring at or below the “worst” threshold for a particular metric will receive 0% on that metric.
    • For agent utilization, only a “best” target number is entered. Service desks hitting this target number exactly will receive 100%, with scores decreasing as a service desk’s agent utilization gets further away from this target.
  3. Identify the importance of each metric and vary the values in the “weighting” column accordingly.

The values entered on this tab will be used in calculating the overall metric score for each service desk, allowing you to compare the performance of existing service desks against each other and against your target state.

Review the results of the scorecard to identify best practices

2.1.9 Discuss the results of the scorecard tool

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director (optional)
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool
  1. Facilitate a discussion on the results of the scorecard tool on tabs 4 (Overall Results), 5 (Maturity Results), and 6 (Metrics Results).
  2. Identify the top performing service desks(s) (SD Champions) as identified by the average of their metric and maturity scores.
  3. Identify the top performing service desk by maturity level (tab 5; Level 3 – Integrated or Optimized), paying particular attention to high scorers on process maturity and maturity in incident & service request management.
  4. Identify the top performing service desk by metric score (tab 6), paying particular attention to the metrics that tie into your KPIs.
  5. For those service desks, review their processes and identify what they are doing well to glean best practices.
    1. Incorporate best practices from existing high performing service desks into your target state.
    2. If one service desk is already performing well in all areas, you may choose to model your consolidated service desk after it.

Document processes and procedures in an SOP

Define the standard operating procedures for the consolidated service desk

Develop one set of standard operating procedures to ensure consistent service delivery across locations.

One set of standard operating procedures for the new service desk is essential for a successful consolidation.

Info-Tech’s Consolidated Service Desk SOP Template provides a detailed example of documenting procedures for service delivery, roles and responsibilities, escalation and prioritization rules, workflows for incidents and service requests, and resolution targets to help ensure consistent service expectations across locations.

Use this template as a guide to develop or refine your SOP and define the processes for the consolidated service desk.

Step 2.2: Assess logistics and cost of consolidation

Phase 2

Design consolidation

2.1 Design target consolidated state

2.2 Assess logistics and cost

This step will walk you through the following activities:
  • 2.2.1 Plan logistics for process, technology, and facilities
  • 2.2.2 Plan logistics around resource allocation
  • 2.2.3 Review the results of the Service Desk Efficiency Calculator to refine the business case for the consolidation project
This step involves the following participants:
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
Step outcomes
  • An understanding and list of tasks to accomplish to ensure all logistical considerations for the consolidation are accounted for
  • An analysis of the impact on staffing and service levels using the Service Desk Efficiency Calculator
  • An assessment of the cost of consolidation and the cost savings of a consolidated service desk using a TCO tool

The United States Coast Guard’s consolidation saved $20 million in infrastructure and support costs

CASE STUDY

Industry: US Coast Guard

Source: CIO Rear Adm. Robert E. Day, Jr. (retired)

Challenges

The US Coast Guard was providing internal IT support for 42,000 members on active duty from 11 distinct regional IT service centers around the US.

Pain Points

  1. Maintaining 11 disparate IT architectures was costly and time consuming.
  2. Staffing inefficiencies limited the USCG’s global IT service operations to providing IT support from 8am to 4pm.
  3. Individual sites were unable to offload peak volume during heavier call loads to other facilities.
  4. Enforcing adherence to standard delivery processes, procedures, and methods was nearly impossible.
  5. Personnel didn’t have a single point of contact for IT support.
  6. Leadership has limited access to consolidated analytics.

Outcomes

  • Significant reduction in infrastructure, maintenance, and support costs.
  • Reduced risk through comprehensive disaster recovery.
  • Streamlined processes and procedures improved speed of incident resolution.
  • Increased staffing efficiencies.
  • Deeper analytical insight into service desk performance.

Admiral Day was the CIO from 2009 to 2014. In 2011, he lead an initiative to consolidate USCG service desks.

Selecting a new location communicated the national mandate of the consolidated service desk

Site Selection - Decision Procedures

  • Determine location criteria, including:
    • Access to airports, trains, and highways
    • Workforce availability and education
    • Cost of land, real estate, taxes
    • Building availability Financial incentives
  • Review space requirements (i.e. amount and type of space).
  • Identify potential locations and analyze with defined criteria.
  • Develop cost models for various alternatives.
  • Narrow selection to 2-3 sites. Analyze for fit and costs.
  • Conduct site visits to evaluate each option.
  • Make a choice and arrange for securing the site.
  • Remember to compare the cost to retrofit existing space with the cost of creating a space for the consolidated service desk.

Key Decision

Relocating to a new location involved potentially higher implementation costs, which was a significant disadvantage.

Ultimately, the relocation reinforced the national mandate of the consolidated service desk. The new organization would act as a single point of contact for the support of all 42,000 members of the US Coast Guard.

"Before our regional desks tended to take on different flavors and processes. Today, users get the same experience whether they’re in Alaska or Maryland by calling one number: (855) CG-FIX IT." – Rear Adm. Robert E. Day, Jr. (retired)

Plan the logistics of the consolidation to inform the project roadmap and cost assessment

Before proceeding, validate that the target state is achievable by evaluating the logistics of the consolidation itself.

A detailed project roadmap will help break down the project into manageable tasks to reach the target state, but there is no value to this if the target state is not achievable or realistic.

Don’t forget to assess the logistics of the consolidation that can be overlooked during the planning phase:

  • Service desk size
  • Location of the service desk
  • Proximity to company management and facilities
  • Unique applications, platforms, or configurations in each location/region
  • Distribution of end-user population and varying end-user needs
  • Load balancing
  • Call routing across locations
  • Special ergonomic or accessibility requirements by location
  • Language requirements

Info-Tech Insight

Language barriers can form significant hurdles or even roadblocks for the consolidation project. Don’t overlook the importance of unique language requirements and ensure the consolidated service desk will be able to support end-user needs.

Plan logistics for process, technology, and facilities

2.2.1 Assess logistical and cost considerations around processes, technology, and facilities

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
  • Consolidate roadmap
Document

Identify tasks that should form part of the roadmap and document in the roadmap tool.

Identify costs that should be included in the TCO assessment and document in the TCO tool.

Discuss and identify any logistic and cost considerations that will need to form part of the consolidation plan and roadmap. Examples are highlighted below.

Logistic considerations

  • Impact of ticket intake process changes on end users
  • Process change impact on SLAs and productivity standards
  • Call routing changes and improvements
  • Workstations and workspace – is there enough and what will it look like for each agent?
  • Physical access to the service desk – will walk-ups be permitted? Is it accessible?
  • Security or authorization requirements for specific agents that may be impacted by relocation
  • Layout and design of new location, if applicable
  • Hardware, platform, network, and server implications
  • Licensing and contract limitations of the service desk tool

Cost considerations

  • Cost savings from ITSM tool consolidation
  • Cost of new ITSM tool purchase, if applicable
  • Efficiencies gained from process simplification
  • New hardware or software purchases
  • Cost per square foot of new physical location, if applicable

Develop a staffing plan that leverages the strengths you currently have and supplement where your needs require

Your staff are your greatest assets; be sensitive to their concerns as you plan the consolidation.

Keep in mind that if your target state involves reorganization of resources and the creation of resources, there will be additional staffing tasks that should form part of the consolidation plan. These include:

  • Develop job descriptions and reporting relationships
  • Evaluate current competencies Identify training and hiring needs
  • Develop migration strategy (including severance and migration packages)

If new positions will be created, follow these steps to mitigate risks:

  1. Conduct skills assessments (a skills inventory should have been completed in phase 1)
  2. Re-interview existing staff for open positions before considering hiring outside staff
  3. Hire staff from outside if necessary

For more guidance on hiring help desk staff, see Info-Tech’s blueprint, Manage Help Desk Staffing.

Be sensitive to employee concerns.

Develop guiding principles for the consolidation to ensure that employee satisfaction remains a priority throughout the consolidation.

Examples include:

  1. Reconcile existing silos and avoid creating new silos
  2. Keep current systems where it makes sense to avoid staff having to learn multiple new systems to do their jobs and to reduce costs
  3. Repurpose staff and allocate according to their knowledge and expertise as much as possible
  4. Remain open and transparent about all changes and communicate change regularly

Info-Tech Insight

The most talented employees can be lost in the migration to a consolidated service desk, resulting in organizational loss of core knowledge. Mitigate this risk using measurement strategies, competency modeling, and knowledge sharing to reduce ambiguity and discomfort of affected employees.

Plan logistics around resource allocation

2.2.2 Assess logistical and cost considerations around people

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You’ll Need
  • Whiteboard or flip chart and markers
  • Consolidate roadmap
Document

Identify tasks that should form part of the roadmap and document in the roadmap tool.

Identify costs that should be included in the TCO assessment and document in the TCO tool.

Discuss and identify any logistic and cost considerations surrounding resources and staffing that will need to form part of the consolidation plan and roadmap. Examples are highlighted below.

Logistic considerations

  • Specialized training requirements for staff moving to new roles
  • Enablement of knowledge sharing across agents
  • Potential attrition of staff who do not wish to relocate or be reallocated
  • Relocation of staff – will staff have to move and will there be incentives for moving?
  • Skills requirements, recruitment needs, job descriptions, and postings for hiring

Cost considerations

  • Existing and future salaries for employees
  • Potential attrition of employees
  • Retention costs and salary increases to keep employees
  • Hiring costs
  • Training needs and costs

Assess impact on staffing with the Service Desk Efficiency Calculator

How do organizations calculate the staffing implications of a service desk consolidation?

The Service Desk Efficiency Calculator uses the ITIL Gross Staffing Model to think through the impact of consolidating service desk processes.

To estimate the impact of the consolidation on staffing levels, estimate what will happen to three variables:

  • Ticket volume
  • Average call resolution
  • Spare capacity

All things being equal, a reduction in ticket volume (through outsourcing or the implementation of self-serve options, for example), will reduce your staffing requirements (all things being equal). The same goes for a reduction in the average call resolution rate.

Constraints:

Spare capacity: Many organizations are motivated to consolidate service desks by potential reductions in staffing costs. However, this is only true if your service desk agents have spare capacity to take on the consolidated ticket volume. If they don’t, you will still need the same number of agents to do the work at the consolidated service desk.

Agent capabilities: If your agents have specialised skills that you need to maintain the same level of service, you won’t be able to reduce staffing until agents are cross-trained.

Review the results of the Service Desk Efficiency Calculator to refine the business case for the consolidation project

2.2.3 Discuss the results of the efficiency calculator in the context of consolidation

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You’ll Need
  • Completed Service Desk Efficiency Calculator

The third tab of the Service Desk Efficiency Calculator will quantify:

  • Service Desk Staffing: The impact of different ticket distribution on service desk staffing levels.
  • Service Desk Ticket Resolution Cost: The impact of different ticket distributions on ticket resolution costs.
  • Service Management Efficiency: The business impact of service management initiatives, specifically, the time lost or captured in service management processes relative to an average full-time employee equivalent.

Facilitate a discussion around the results.

Evaluate where you are now and where you hope to be. Focus on the efficiency gains expected from the outsourcing project. Review the expected gains in average resolution time, the expected impact on service desk ticket volume, and the associated productivity gains.

Use this information to refine the business case and project plan for the consolidation, if needed.

Assess consolidation costs and cost savings to refine the business case

While cost savings should not be the primary driver of consolidation, they should be a key outcome of the project in order to deliver value.

Typical cost savings for a service desk consolidation are highlighted below:

People 10-20% savings (through resource pooling and reallocation)

Process 5-10% savings (through process simplification and efficiencies gained)

Technology 10-15% savings (through improved call routing and ITSM tool consolidation)

Facilities 5-10% savings (through site selection and redesign)

Cost savings should be balanced against the costs of the consolidation itself (including hiring for consolidation project managers or consultants, moving expenses, legal fees, etc.)

Evaluate consolidation costs using the TCO Comparison Tool described in the next section.

Analyze resourcing and budgeting to create a realistic TCO and evaluate the benefits of consolidation

Use the TCO tool to assess the cost and cost savings of consolidation

  • The tool compares the cost of operating two service desks vs. one consolidated service desk, along with the cost of consolidation.
  • If your consolidation effort involves more than two facilities, then use multiple copies of the tool.
    • E.g. If you are consolidating four service desks (A, B, C, and D) into one service desk (X), then use two copies of the tool. We encourage you to book an analyst call to help you get the most out of this tool and process.

Service Desk Consolidation TCO Comparison Tool

Refine the business case and update the executive presentation

Check in with executives and project sponsor before moving forward with the transition

Since completing the executive visioning session in step 1.2, you should have completed the following activities:

  • Current state assessment
  • Detailed target state and metrics
  • Gap analysis between current and target state
  • Assessment of logistics and cost of consolidation

The next step will be to develop a project roadmap to achieve the consolidation vision.

Before doing this, check back in with the project sponsor and business executives to refine the business case, obtain necessary approvals, and secure buy-in.

If necessary, add to the executive presentation you completed in step 1.2, copying results of the deliverables you have completed since:

  • Consolidate Service Desk Assessment Tool (current state assessment)
  • Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool
  • Service Desk Consolidation TCO Comparison Tool

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

2.1.3 Brainstorm process requirements for consolidated service desk

Identify process requirements and desired characteristics for the target consolidated service desk.

2.1.9 Review the results of the scorecard to identify best practices

Review the results of the Consolidate Service Desk Scorecard Tool to identify top performing service desks and glean best practices.

Phase 3

Plan the Transition

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 3: Plan the transition

Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 2-4

Step 3.1: Build project roadmap

Discuss with an analyst:

  • Identify specific initiatives for the consolidation project and evaluate the risks and dependencies for each
  • Plot initiatives on a detailed project roadmap with assigned responsibilities

Then complete these activities…

  • Break the consolidation project down into specific initiatives
  • Identify and document risks and dependencies
  • Plot your initiatives onto a detailed project roadmap
  • Select transition date for consolidation

With these tools & templates:

Service Desk Consolidation Roadmap

Step 3.2: Communicate the change

Discuss with an analyst:

  • Identify the goals of communication, then develop a communications plan with targeted messaging for each stakeholder group to achieve those goals
  • Brainstorm potential objections and questions as well as responses to each

Then complete these activities…

  • Build the communications delivery plan
  • Brainstorm potential objections and questions and prepare responses
  • Complete the news bulletin to distribute to your end users

With these tools & templates:

Service Desk Consolidation Communications and Training Plan Template

Service Desk Consolidation News Bulletin & FAQ Template

Phase 3 Results:
  • A detailed project roadmap toward consolidation and a communications plan to ensure stakeholders are on board

Step 3.1: Build the project roadmap

Phase 3

Plan the consolidation

3.1 Build the project roadmap

3.2 Communicate the change

This step will walk you through the following activities:
  • 3.1.1 Break the consolidation project down into a series of specific initiatives
  • 3.1.2 Identify and document risks and dependencies
  • 3.1.3 Plot your initiatives onto a detailed project roadmap
  • 3.1.4 Select transition date based on business cycles
This step involves the following participants:
  • CIO
  • IT Directors
  • Service Desk Managers
  • Consolidation Project Manager
  • Service Desk Technicians
Step outcomes

A detailed roadmap to migrate to a single, consolidated service desk, including:

  • A breakdown of specific tasks groups by people, process, and technology
  • Identified risks and dependencies for each task
  • A timeline for completion of each task and the overall consolidation
  • Assigned responsibility for task completion

Failure to engage stakeholders led to the failure of a large healthcare organization’s consolidation

CASE STUDY

Industry: Healthcare

Source: Organizational insider

A large US healthcare facilities organization implemented a service desk consolidation initiative in early 2013. Only 18 months later, they reluctantly decided to return to their previous service desk model.

Why did this consolidation effort fail?

  1. Management failed to communicate the changes to service-level staff, leading to agent confusion and pushback. Initially, each desk became part of the other’s overflow queue with no mention of the consolidation effort. Next, the independent desks began to share a basic request queue. Finally, there was a complete virtual consolidation – which came as a shock to service agents.
  2. The processes and workflows of the original service desks were not integrated, requiring service agents to consult different processes and use different workflows when engaging with end users from different facilities, even though all calls were part of the same queue.
  3. Staff at the different service centers did not have a consistent level of expertise or technical ability, even though they all became part of the same queue. This led to a perceived drop in end-user satisfaction – end users were used to getting a certain level of service and were suddenly confronted with less experienced agents.

Before Consolidation

Two disparate service desks:

  • With distinct geographic locations.
  • Servicing several healthcare facilities in their respective regions.
  • With distinct staff, end users, processes, and workflows.

After Consolidation

One virtually-consolidated service desk servicing many facilities spread geographically over two distinct locations.

The main feature of the new virtual service desk was a single, pooled ticket queue drawn from all the end users and facilities in the new geographic regions.

Break the consolidation project down into a series of specific initiatives

3.1.1 Create a list of specific tasks that will form the consolidation project

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You’ll Need
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • List of prioritized target state requirements
  • Consolidation roadmap
Document

Document the list of initiatives in the Service Desk Consolidation Roadmap.

In order to translate your newly made decisions regarding the target state and logistical considerations into a successful consolidation strategy, create an exhaustive list of all the steps and sub-steps that will lead you from your current state to your target state.

Use the next few steps to finish brainstorming the initiative list, identify risks and dependencies, and construct a detailed timeline populated with specific project steps.

Instructions

Start with the list you have been curating throughout the current and future state assessments. If you are completing this project as a workshop, add to the initiative list you have been developing on the whiteboard.

Try to organize your initiatives into groups of related tasks. Begin arranging your initiatives into people, process, technology, or other categories.

Whiteboard People Process Technology Other

Evaluate the impact of potential risks and develop a backup plan for high risk initiatives

A service desk consolidation has a high potential for risks. Have a backup plan prepared for when events don’t go as planned.

  • A consolidation project requires careful planning as it is high risk and not performed often.
  • Apply the same due diligence to the consolidation plan as you do in preparing your disaster recovery plan. Establish predetermined resolutions to realistic risks so that the team can think of solutions quickly during the consolidation.

Potential Sources of Risk

  • Service desk tool or phone line downtime prevents ability to submit tickets
  • Unable to meet SLAs through the transition
  • Equipment failure or damage through the physical move
  • Lost data through tool migration
  • Lost knowledge from employee attrition
Risk - degree of impact if activities do not go as planned High

A – High Risk, Low Frequency

Tasks that are rarely done and are high risk. Focus attention here with careful planning (e.g. consolidation)

B – High Risk, High Frequency

Tasks that are performed regularly and must be watched closely each time (e.g. security authorizations)

C – Low Risk, Low Frequency

Tasks that are performed regularly with limited impact or risk (e.g. server upgrades)

D – Low Risk, High Frequency

Tasks that are done all the time and are not risky (e.g. password resets)

Low High
Frequency - how often the activity has been performed

Service desk consolidations fit in category A

Identify risks for people, processes, tools, or data to ensure the project plan will include appropriate mitigations

Each element of the consolidation has an inherent risk associated with it as the daily service flow is interrupted. Prepare in advance by anticipating these risks.

The project manager, service desk managers, and subject matter experts (SMEs) of different areas, departments, or locations should identify risks for each of the processes, tools, resource groups (people), and any data exchanges and moves that will be part of the project or impacted by the project.

Process - For each process, validate that workflows can remain intact throughout the consolidation project. If any gaps may occur in the process flows, develop a plan to be implemented in parallel with the consolidation to ensure service isn’t interrupted.

Technology - For a tool consolidation, upgrade, or replacement, verify that there is a plan in place to ensure continuation of service delivery processes throughout the change.

Make a plan for if and how data from the old tool(s) will be migrated to the new tool, and how the new tool will be installed and configured.

People - For movement of staff, particularly with termination, identify any risks that may occur and involve your HR and legal departments to ensure all movement is compliant with larger processes within the organization.

Info-Tech Insight

Don’t overlook the little things. Sometimes the most minor-seeming components of the consolidation can cause the greatest difficulty. For example, don’t assume that the service desk phone number can simply roll over to a new location and support the call load of a combined service desk. Verify it.

Identify and document risks and dependencies

3.1.2 Risks, challenges, and dependencies exercise - Estimated Time: 60 minutes

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • SMEs
What You'll Need
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • List of initiatives identified in previous activities
  • Consolidation roadmap
Document

Use the outcome of this activity to complete your consolidation roadmap.

Instructions
  • Document risks and challenges, as well as dependencies associated with the initiatives identified earlier, using a different color sticky note from your initiatives.
  • See example below.
Combine Related Initiatives
  • Look for initiatives that are highly similar, dependent on each other, or occurring at the same time. Consolidate these initiatives into a single initiative with several sub-steps in order to better organize your roadmap and reduce redundancy.
  • Create hierarchies for dependent initiatives that could affect the scheduling of initiatives on a roadmap, and reorganize the whiteboard where necessary.
Optional:
  • Use a scoring method to categorize risks. E.g.:
    • High: will stop or delay operations, radically increase cost, or significantly reduce consolidation benefits
    • Medium: would cause some delay, cost increase, or performance shortfall, but would not threaten project viability
    • Low: could impact the project to a limited extent, causing minor delays or cost increases
  • Develop contingency plans for high risks or adjust to avoid the problem entirely
Implement new ISTM tool:
  • Need to transition from existing tools
  • Users must be trained
  • Data and open tickets must be migrated

Plot your initiatives onto a detailed project roadmap

3.1.3 Estimated Time: 45 minutes

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
Document

Document your initiatives on tab 2 of the Service Desk Consolidation Roadmap or map it out on a whiteboard.

Determine the sequence of initiatives, identify milestones, and assign dates.
  • The purpose of this exercise is to define a timeline and commit to initiatives to reach your goals.
  • Determine the order in which previously identified consolidation initiatives will be implemented, document previously identified risks and dependencies, assign ownership for each task, and assign dates for pilots and launch.

Select transition date based on business cycles

3.1.4

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • Consolidation roadmap
Document

Adjust initiatives in the consolidation roadmap if necessary.

The transition date will be used in communications in the next step.

  1. Review the initiatives in the roadmap and the resulting sunshine diagram on tab 3.
  2. Verify that the initiatives will be possible within the determined time frame and adjust if necessary.
  3. Based on the results of the roadmap, select a target transition date for the consolidation by determining:
    1. Whether there are dates when a major effort of this kind should not be scheduled.
    2. Whether there are merger and acquisition requirements that dictate a specific date for the service desk merger.
  4. Select multiple measurable checkpoints to alert the team that something is awry and mitigate risks.
  5. Verify that stakeholders are aware of the risks and the proposed steps necessary to mitigate them, and assign the necessary resources to them.
  6. Document or adjust the target transition date in the roadmap.

Info-Tech Insight

Consolidating service desks doesn’t have to be done in one shot, replacing all your help desks, tools, and moving staff all at the same time. You can take a phased approach to consolidating, moving one location, department, or tool at a time to ease the transition.

Step 3.2: Communicate the change

Phase 3

Design consolidation

3.1 Build the project roadmap

3.2 Communicate the change

This step will walk you through the following activities:
  • 3.2.1 Build the communications delivery plan
  • 3.2.2 Brainstorm potential objections and questions and prepare responses
This step involves the following participants:
  • IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Agents
Step outcomes
  • A detailed communications plan with key messages, delivery timeline, and spokesperson responsibility for each key stakeholder audience
  • A set of agreed-upon responses to anticipated objections and questions to ensure consistent message delivery
  • A news bulletin and list of FAQs to distribute to end users to prepare them for the change

Create your communication plan with everyone in mind, from the CIO to end users

CASE STUDY

Industry: Higher Education

Source: Oxford University, IT Services

Oxford implemented extremely innovative initiatives as part of its robust communications plan.

ITS ran a one-day ITSM “business simulation” for the CIO and direct reports, increasing executive buy-in.

The business simulation was incredibly effective as a way of getting management buy-in – it really showed what we are driving at. It’s a way of making it real, bringing people on board. ” – John Ireland, Director of Customer Service

Detailed use cases were envisioned referencing particular ITIL processes as the backbone of the process framework.

The use cases were very helpful, they were used […] in getting a broad engagement from teams across our department and getting buy-in from the distributed IT staff who we work with across the wider University. ” – John Ireland, Director of Customer Service

The Oxford ITS SDCP blog was accessible to everyone.

  • Oxford’s SDCP blog acted as a project touchstone not only to communicate updates quickly, but also to collect feedback, enable collaboration, and set a project tone.
  • An informal tone and accessible format facilitated the difficult cultural shifts required of the consolidation effort.

We in the project team would love to hear your view on this project and service management in general, so please feel free to comment on this blog post, contact us using the project email address […] or, for further information visit the project SharePoint site […] ” – Oxford ITS SDCP blog post

Plan for targeted and timely communications to all stakeholders

Develop a plan to keep all affected stakeholders informed about the changes consolidation will bring, and more importantly, how they will affect them.

All stakeholders must be kept informed of the project plan and status as the consolidation progresses.
  • Management requires frequent communication with the core project group to evaluate the success of the project in meeting its goals.
  • End users should be informed about changes that are happening and how these changes will affect them.

A communications plan should address three elements:

  1. The audience and their communication needs
  2. The most effective means of communicating with this audience
  3. Who should deliver the message

Goals of communication:

  1. Create awareness and understanding of the consolidation and what it means for each role, department, or user group
  2. Gain commitment to the change from all stakeholders
  3. Reduce and address any concerns about the consolidation and be transparent in responding to any questions
  4. Communicate potential risks and mitigation plan
  5. Set expectations for service levels throughout and after the consolidation

Plan the method of delivery for your communications carefully

Plan the message, test it with a small audience, then deliver to your employees and stakeholders in person to avoid message avoidance or confusion.

Message Format

Email and Newsletters

Email and newsletters are convenient and can be transmitted to large audiences easily, but most users are inundated with email already and may not notice or read the message.

  • Use email to make large announcements or invite people to meetings but not as the sole medium of communication.

Face-to-Face Communication

Face-to-face communication helps to ensure that users are receiving and understanding a clear message, and allows them to voice their concerns and clarify any confusion or questions.

  • Use one-on-ones for key stakeholders and team meetings for groups.

Internal Website/Drive

Internal sites help sustain change by making knowledge available after the consolidation, but won’t be retained beforehand.

  • Use for storing policies, how-to-guides, and SOPs.
Message Delivery
  1. Plan your message
    1. Emphasize what the audience really needs to know, that is, how the change will impact them.
  2. Test your message
    1. Run focus groups or test your communications with a small audience (2-3 people) first to get feedback and adjust messages before delivering them more broadly.
  3. Deliver and repeat your message
    1. “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.”
  4. Gather feedback and evaluate communications
    1. Evaluate the effectiveness of the communications (through surveys, focus groups, stakeholder interviews, or metrics) to ensure the message was delivered and received successfully and communication goals were met.

Address the specific concerns of the business vs. employees

Focus on alleviating concerns from both sides of the communication equation: the business units and employees.

Business units:

Be attentive to the concerns of business unit management about loss of power. Appease worries about the potential risk of reduced service quality and support responsiveness that may have been experienced in prior corporate consolidation efforts.

Make the value of the consolidation clear, and involve business unit management in the organizational change process.

Focus on producing a customer-focused consolidated service desk. It will assuage fears over the loss of control and influence. Business units may be relinquishing control of their service desk, but they should retain the same level of influence.

Employees:

Employees are often fearful of the impact of a consolidation on their jobs. These fears should be addressed and alleviated as soon as possible.

Design a communication plan outlining the changes and the reasons motivating it.

Put support programs in place for displaced and surviving employees.

Motivate employees during the transition and increase employee involvement in the change.

Educate and train employees who make the transition to the new structure and new job demands.

Info-Tech Insight

Know your audience. Be wary of using technical jargon or acronyms that may seem like common knowledge within your department but would not be part of the vocabulary of non-technical audiences. Ensure your communications are suitable for the audience. If you need to use jargon or acronyms, explain what you mean.

Build the communications delivery plan

3.2.1 Develop a plan to deliver targeted messages to key stakeholder groups

Participants
  • CIO or IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
What You'll Need
  • Communications plan template
  • Whiteboard and markers
Document

Document your decisions in the communications plan template

  1. Define the goals of the communications in section 1 of the Service Desk Consolidation Communications and Training Plan Template.
  2. Determine when communication milestones/activities need to be delivered by completing the Communications Schedule in section 2.
  3. Determine the key stakeholder groups or audiences to whom you will need to deliver communications.
  4. Identify the content of the key messages that need to be delivered and select the most appropriate delivery method for each (i.e. email, team meeting, individual meetings). Designate who will be responsible for delivering the messages.
  5. Document a plan for gathering feedback and evaluating the effectiveness of the communications in section 5 (i.e. stakeholder interviews and surveys).

Section 4 of the communications plan on objections and question handling will be completed in activity 3.2.2.

Optional Activity

If you completed the Stakeholder Engagement Workbook in step 1.1, you may also complete the Communications tab in that workbook to further develop your plan to engage stakeholders.

Effectively manage the consolidation by implementing change management processes

Implement change management processes to ensure that the consolidation runs smoothly with limited impact on IT infrastructure.

Communicate and track changes: Identify and communicate changes to all stakeholders affected by the change to ensure they are aware of any downtime and can plan their own activities accordingly.

Isolate testing: Test changes within a safe non-production environment to eliminate the risk of system outages that result from defects discovered during testing.

Document back-out plans: Documented back-out/backup plans enable quick recovery in the event that the change fails.

The image is a horizontal bar graph, titled Unplanned downtime due to change versus change management maturity. The graph shows that for a Change Management Maturity that is Informal, the % Experiencing Unplanned Downtime due to Failed Change is 41%; for Defined, it is 25%; and for Optimized, it is 19%.

Organizations that have more mature and defined change management processes experience less unplanned downtime when implementing change across the organization.

Sustain changes by adapting people, processes, and technologies to accept the transition

Verify that people, process, and technologies are prepared for the consolidation before going live with the transition.

What?

1. Adapt people to the change

  • Add/change roles and responsibilities.
  • Move people to different roles/teams.
  • Change compensation and incentive structures to reinforce new goals, if applicable.

2. Adapt processes to the change

  • Add/change supporting processes.
  • Eliminate or consolidate legacy processes.
  • Add/change standard operating procedures.

3. Adapt technologies to the change

  • Add/change/update supporting technologies.
  • Eliminate or consolidate legacy technologies
How? Work with HR on any changes involving job design, personnel changes, or compensation. Work with enterprise architects or business analysts to manage significant changes to processes that may impact the business and service levels.

See Info-Tech’s Optimize the Change Management Processblueprint to use a disciplined change control process for technology changes.

Info-Tech Insight

Organizational change management (OCM) is widely recognized as a key component of project success, yet many organizations struggle to get adoption for new tools, policies, and procedures. Use Info-Tech’s blueprint on driving organizational change to develop a strategy and toolkit to achieve project success.

Manage people by addressing their specific concerns based on their attitude toward change

Avoid high turnover and resistance to change by engaging both the enthusiasts and the skeptics with targeted messaging.

  • Clearly articulate and strongly champion the changes that will result from the consolidation for those willing to adapt to the change.
  • Make change management practices integral to the entire project.
  • Provide training workshops on new processes, new goals or metrics, new technologies and tools, and teamwork as early as possible after consolidation.
  1. Enthusiasts - Empower them to stay motivated and promote the change
  2. Fence-Sitters/Indifferent - Continually motivate them by example but give them time to adapt to the change
  3. Skeptics - Engage them early and address their concerns and doubts to convert them to enthusiasts
  4. Saboteurs - Prevent them from spreading dissent and rumors, thus undermining the project, by counteracting negative claims early

Leverage the Stakeholder Engagement Workbook from step 1.1 as well as Info-Tech’s blueprint on driving organizational change for more tactics on change management, particularly managing and engaging various personas.

Prepare ahead of time for questions that various stakeholder groups may have

Anticipate questions that will arise about the consolidation so you can prepare and distribute responses to frequently asked questions. Sample questions from various stakeholders are provided below.

General
  1. Why is the organization moving to a consolidated service desk?
  2. Where is the consolidated service desk going to be located?
  3. Are all or only some service desks consolidating?
  4. When is the consolidation happening?
  5. What are the anticipated benefits of consolidation?

Business

  1. What is the budget for the project?
  2. What are the anticipated cost savings and return on investment?
  3. When will the proposed savings be realized?
  4. Will there be job losses from the consolidation and when will these occur?
  5. Will the organization subsidize moving costs?

Employees

  1. Will my job function be changing?
  2. Will my job location be changing?
  3. What will happen if I can’t relocate?
  4. Will my pay and benefits be the same?
  5. Will reporting relationships change?
  6. Will performance expectations and metrics change?

End Users

  1. How do I get help with IT issues?
  2. How do I submit a ticket?
  3. How will I be notified of ticket status, outages?
  4. Where will the physical service desk be located?
  5. Will I be able to get help in my language?
  6. Will there be changes for levels of service?

Brainstorm likely objections/questions to prepare responses

3.2.2 Prepare responses to likely questions to ensure consistent messaging

Participants
  • IT Director
  • Project Manager
  • Service Desk Manager(s)
  • Service Desk Agents
Document

Document your questions and responses in section 4 of the communications plan template. This should be continually updated.

  1. Brainstorm anticipated objections and questions you may hear from various stakeholder groups: service desk employees, end users, and management or executives.
  2. For each objection or question, prepare a response that will be delivered to ensure consistent messaging. Use a table like the example below.
Group Objection/Question Response
Service desk staff I’m comfortable with the service desk tool we’ve been using here and won’t know how to use the new one. We carefully evaluated the new solution against our requirements and selected it as the one that will provide the best service to our users and be user friendly. We tested the solution through user-acceptance testing to ensure staff will be comfortable using it, and we will provide comprehensive training to all users of the tool before launching it.
End user I’m used to going to my favorite technician for help. How will I get service now? We are initiating a single point of contact so that you will know exactly where to go to get help quickly and easily, so that we can more quickly escalate your issue to the appropriate technician, and so that we can resolve it and notify you as soon as possible. This will make our service more effective and efficient than you having to find one individual who may be tied up with other work or unavailable.

Keep the following in mind when formulating your responses:

  • Lead with the benefits
  • Be transparent and honest
  • Avoid acronyms, jargon, and technical terms
  • Appeal to both emotion and reason
  • Be concise and straightforward
  • Don’t be afraid to be repetitive; people need repetition to remember the message
  • Use concrete facts and images wherever possible

Complete the Service Desk Consolidation News Bulletin & FAQ Template to distribute to your end users

Customize the template or use as a guide to develop your own

The Service Desk Consolidation News Bulletin & FAQ Template is intended to be an example that you can follow or modify for your own organization. It provides a summary of how the consolidation project will change how end users interact with the service desk.

  1. What the change means to end users
  2. When they should contact the service desk (examples)
  3. How to contact the service desk (include all means of contact and ticket submission)
  4. Answers to questions they may have
  5. Links to more information

The bulletin is targeted for mass distribution to end users. A similar letter may be developed for service desk staff, though face-to-face communication is recommended.

Instructions:

  1. Use the template as a guide to develop your own FAQ news bulletin and adjust any sections or wording as you see fit.
  2. You may wish to develop separate letters for each location, referring more specifically to their location and where the new service desk will be located.
  3. Save the file as a PDF for print or email distribution at the time determined in your communications plan.

Keeping people a priority throughout the project ensured success

CASE STUDY

Industry: Higher Education

Source: Oxford University, IT Services

Oxford’s new consolidated service desk went live April 20, 2015.

They moved from 3 distinct tools and 5 disparate help desks to a single service desk with one robust ITSM solution, all grounded by a unified set of processes and an integrated workflow.

The success of this project hinged upon:

  • A bold vision, formulated early and in collaboration with all stakeholders.
  • Willingness to take time to understand the unique perspective of each role and help desk, then carefully studying existing processes and workflows to build upon what works.
  • Constant collaboration, communication, and the desire to listen to feedback from all interested parties.

"We have had a few teething issues to deal with, but overall this has been a very smooth transition given the scale of it." – ICTF Trinity Term 2015 IT Services Report

Beyond the initial consolidation.
  • Over the summer of 2015, ITS moved to full 24/7 support coverage.
  • Oxford’s ongoing proposition with regard to support services is to extend the new consolidated service desk beyond its current IT role:
    • Academic Admissions
    • Case Management
    • IT Purchasing
  • To gradually integrate those IT departments/colleges/faculties that remain independent at the present time.
  • Info-Tech can facilitate these goals in your organization with our research blueprint, Extend the Service Desk to Enterprise.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

3.1.1 Break the consolidation project down into a series of specific initiatives

Create a list of specific tasks that will form the consolidation project on sticky notes and organize into people, process, technology, and other categories to inform the roadmap.

3.2.2 Brainstorm likely objections/questions to prepare responses

Brainstorm anticipated questions and objections that will arise from various stakeholder groups and prepare consistent responses to each.

Related Info-Tech research

Standardize the Service Desk - Provide timely and effective responses to user requests and resolutions of all incidents.

Extend the Service Desk to the Enterprise - Position IT as an innovator.

Build a Continual Improvement Plan for the Service Desk - Teach your old service desk new tricks.

Adopt Lean IT to Streamline the Service Desk - Turn your service desk into a Lean, keen, value-creating machine.

Vendor Landscape: Enterprise Service Desk Software - Move past tickets to proactive, integrated service.

Vendor Landscape: Mid-Market Service Desk Software - Ensure the productivity of the help desk with the right platform.

Build an ITSM Tool Implementation Plan - Nail your ITSM tool implementation from the outset.

Drive Organizational Change from the PMO - Don’t let bad change happen to good projects.

Research contributors and experts

Stacey Keener - IT Manager for the Human Health and Performance Directorate, Johnson Space Center, NASA

Umar Reed - Director of IT Support Services US Denton US LLP

Maurice Pryce - IT Manager City of Roswell, Georgia

Ian Goodhart - Senior Business Analyst Allegis Group

Gerry Veugelaers - Service Delivery Manager New Zealand Defence Force

Alisa Salley Rogers - Senior Service Desk Analyst HCA IT&S Central/West Texas Division

Eddie Vidal - IS Service Desk Managers University of Miami

John Conklin - Chief Information Officer Helen of Troy LP

Russ Coles - Senior Manager, Computer Applications York Region District Schoolboard

John Seddon - Principal Vanguard Consulting

Ryan van Biljon - Director, Technical Services Samanage

Rear Admiral Robert E. Day Jr. (ret.) - Chief Information Officer United States Coast Guard

George Bartha - Manager of Information Technology Unifrax

Peter Hubbard - IT Service Management Consultant Pink Elephant

Andre Gaudreau - Manager of School Technology Operations York Region District School Board

Craig Nekola - Manager, Information Technology Anoka County

Bibliography and Further Reading

Hoen, Jim. “The Single Point of Contact: Driving Support Process Improvements with a Consolidated IT Help-Desk Approach.” TechTeam Global Inc. September 2005.

Hubbard, Peter. “Leading University embarks on IT transformation programme to deliver improved levels of service excellence.” Pink Elephant. http://pinkelephant.co.uk/about/case-studies/service-management-case-study/

IBM Global Services. “Service Desk: Consolidation, Relocation, Status Quo.” IBM. June 2005.

Keener, Stacey. “Help Desks: a Problem of Astronomical Proportions.” Government CIO Magazine. 1 February 2015.

McKaughan, Jeff. “Efficiency Driver.” U.S. Coast Guard Forum Jul. 2013. Web. http://www.intergraphgovsolutions.com/documents/CoastGuardForumJuly2013.pdf

Numara Footprints. “The Top 10 Reasons for Implementing a Consolidated Service Desk.” Numara Software.

Roy, Gerry, and Frederieke Winkler Prins. “How to Improve Service Quality through Service Desk Consolidation.” BMC Software.

Smith, Andrew. “The Consolidated Service Desk – An Achievable Goal?” The Service Desk Institute.

Wolfe, Brandon. “Is it Time for IT Service Desk Consolidation?” Samanage. 4 August 2015.

About Info-Tech

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We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Guided Implementation #1 - Develop shared vision
  • Call #1 - Build the project team and define their roles and responsibilities, then identify key stakeholders and formulate an engagement plan.
  • Call #2 - Develop an executive visioning session plan to formulate and get buy-in for the goals and vision of the consolidation.
  • Call #3 - Use diagnostics results and the service desk assessment tool to evaluate the maturity and environment of each service desk.

Guided Implementation #2 - Design consolidation
  • Call #1 - Define the target state of the consolidated service desk in detail.
  • Call #2 - Identify requirements for the consolidation, broken down by people, process, technology and by short- vs. long-term needs.
  • Call #3 - Plan the logistics of the consolidation for process, technology, and facilities, and evaluate the cost and cost savings of consolidation with a TCO tool.

Guided Implementation #3 - Plan transition
  • Call #1 - Identify specific initiatives for the consolidation project and evaluate the risks and dependencies for each, then plot initiatives on a detailed project roadmap.
  • Call #2 - Brainstorm potential objections and questions and develop a communications plan with targeted messaging for each stakeholder group.

Authors

Michel Hebert

Natalie Sansone

Contributors

  • Stacey Keener, IT Manager for the Human Health and Performance Directorate, Johnson Space Center, NASA
  • Umar Reed, Director of IT Support Services US, Denton US LLP
  • Maurice Pryce, IT Manager, City of Roswell, Georgia
  • Ian Goodhart, Senior Business Analyst, Allegis Group
  • Gerry Veugelaers, Service Delivery Manager, New Zealand Defence Force
  • Alisa Salley Rogers, Senior Service Desk Analyst, HCA IT&S Central/West Texas Division
  • Eddie Vidal, IS Service Desk Managers, University of Miami
  • John Conklin, Chief Information Officer, Helen of Troy LP
  • Russ Coles, Senior Manager, Computer Applications, York Region District Schoolboard
  • John Seddon, Principal, Vanguard Consulting
  • Ryan van Biljon, Director, Technical Services, Samanage
  • Rear Admiral Robert E. Day Jr. (ret.), Chief Information Officer, United States Coast Guard
  • George Bartha, Manager of Information Technology, Unifrax
  • Peter Hubbard, IT Service Management Consultant, Pink Elephant
  • Andre Gaudreau, Manager of School Technology Operations, York Region District School Board
  • Craig Nekola, Manager, Information Technology, Anoka County
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