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Optimize the Service Desk With a Shift-Left Strategy

The best type of service desk ticket is the one that doesn’t exist.

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15 Anonymous Interviews

  • Tier 2 and 3 specialists lose time and resources working on tickets instead of more complex projects.
  • The service desk finds themselves resolving the same incidents over and over, wasting manual work on tasks that could be automated.
  • Employees expect modern, consumer-like experiences when they need help; they want to access information and resources from wherever they are and have the tools to solve their problems themselves without waiting for help.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • It can be difficult to overcome the mindset that difficult functions need to be escalated. Shift left involves a cultural change to the way the service desk works, and overcoming objections and getting buy-in up front is critical.
  • Many organizations have built a great knowledgebase but fail to see the value of it over time as it becomes overburdened with overlapping and out-of-date information. Knowledge capture, updating, and review must be embedded into your processes if you want to keep the knowledgebase useful.
  • Similarly, the self-service portal is often deployed out of the box with little input from end users and fails to deliver its intended benefits. The portal needs to be designed from the end user’s point of view with the goal of self-resolution if it will serve its purpose of deflecting tickets.

Impact and Result

  • Embrace a shift-left strategy by moving repeatable service desk tasks and requests into lower-cost delivery channels such as self-help tools and automation.
  • Shift work from Tier 2 and 3 support to Tier 1 through good knowledge management practices that empower the first level of support with documented solutions to recurring issues and free up more specialized resources for project work and higher value tasks.
  • Shift knowledge from the service desk to the end user by enabling them to find their own solutions. A well-designed and implemented self-service portal will result in fewer logged tickets to the service desk and empowered, satisfied end users.
  • Shift away manual repetitive work through the use of AI and automation.
  • Successfully shifting this work left can reduce time to resolve, decrease support costs, and increase end-user satisfaction.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to understand why a shift-left strategy can help to optimize your service desk, review Info-Tech's methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Prepare to shift left

Assess whether you’re ready to optimize the service desk with a shift-left strategy, get buy-in for the initiative, and define metrics to measure success.

2. Design shift-left model

Build strategy and identify specific opportunities to shift service support left to Level 1 through knowledge sharing and other methods, to the end-user through self-service, and to automation and AI.

3. Implement and communicate

Identify, track, and implement specific shift-left opportunities and document a communications plan to increase adoption.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Prepare

Call #1 - Discuss shift left and determine readiness
Call #2 - Complete buy-in presentation and define metrics

Guided Implementation #2 - Shift to Level 1

Call #1 - Identify opportunities to shift resolution to Level 1 and optimize knowledge sharing

Guided Implementation #3 - Shift to end user

Call #1 - Identify opportunities to shift resolution to the end user and optimize self-service portal

Guided Implementation #4 - Shift to automation

Call #1 - Identify opportunities to shift resolution to automation and AI

Guided Implementation #5 - Implement

Call #1 - Build implementation and communication plan

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite 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 onsite 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: Prepare to Shift Left

The Purpose

  • Define how shift left would apply in your organization, get buy-in for the initiative, and define metrics to measure success.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Defined scope and objectives for the shift-left initiative
  • Buy-in for the program
  • Metrics to keep the project on track and evaluate success




Review current service desk structure


Discuss challenges


Review shift-left model and discuss how it would apply in your organization

  • Shift-left scope

Complete the Shift-Left Prerequisites Assessment

  • Completed shift-left prerequisites assessment

Complete a RACI chart for the project

  • RACI chart

Define and document objectives

  • Defined objectives

Review the stakeholder buy-in presentation

  • Stakeholder buy-in presentation

Document critical success factors

  • Critical success factors

Define KPIs and metrics

  • Metrics to measure success

Module 2: Plan to Shift to Level 1

The Purpose

  • Build strategy and identify specific opportunities to shift service support left to Level 1 through knowledge sharing and other methods.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identified initiatives to shift work to Level 1
  • Documented knowledge management process workflows and strategy




Identify barriers to Level 1 resolution


Discuss knowledgebase challenges and areas for improvement


Optimize KB input process

  • KB input workflow

Optimize KB usage process

  • KB usage workflow

Optimize KB review process

  • KB review workflow

Discuss and document KCS strategy and roles

  • KCS strategy and roles

Document knowledge success metrics

  • Knowledge management metrics

Brainstorm additional methods of increasing FLR

  • Identified opportunities to shift to Level 1

Module 3: Plan to Shift to End User and Automation

The Purpose

  • Build strategy and identify specific opportunities to shift service support left to the end user through self-service and to automation and AI.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identified initiatives to shift work to self-service and automation
  • Evaluation of self-service portal and identified opportunities for improvement




Review existing self-service portal and discuss vision


Identify opportunities to improve portal accessibility, UI, and features

  • Identified opportunities to improve portal

Evaluate the user-facing knowledgebase

  • Improvements to knowledgebase

Optimize the ticket intake form

  • Improved ticket intake form

Document plan to improve, communicate, and evaluate portal

  • Strategy to communicate and measure success of portal

Map the user experience with a workflow

  • Self-service resolution workflow

Document your AI strategy

  • Strategy to apply AI and automation

Identify candidates for automation

  • Identified opportunities to shift tasks to automation

Module 4: Build Implementation and Communication Plan

The Purpose

  • Build an action plan to implement shift left, including a communications strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Action plan to track and implement shift-left opportunities
  • Communications plan to increase adoption




Examine process workflows for shift-left opportunities

  • Incident management workflow with shift-left opportunities

Document shift-left-specific responsibilities for each role

  • Shift left responsibilities for key roles

Identify and track shift-left opportunities in the action plan

  • Shift-left action plan

Brainstorm objections and responses

  • Objection handling responses

Document communications plan

  • Communications plan

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