A greater proportion of businesses’ IT issues could be solved through a self-service model, according to analysts.

IT self-service allows end users to deal with low-level tech support queries themselves without having to contact their service desk directly.

As much as 40 per cent of service desk contact requests could be addressed through IT self-service, according to Gartner. However, the analyst house estimates that just five per cent of support requests are currently handled through self-service.

Gartner VP, David Coyle, said in a statement: “If properly implemented, self-service can improve customer satisfaction, provide incident trend analysis, identify training opportunities, and consolidate the knowledge that currently exists in silos across the support organisation.”

Gartner has identified four areas that businesses need to be aware of to successfully implement IT self-service.

The first is to realise that IT self-service won’t cut the cost of all service desk requests. Instead, it will only lead to reduced costs for certain types of low-level requests – such as users asking how to access a particular IT resource, or for passwords to be reset. More complex tasks will still need the help of a support technician.

Business people working together on a laptop - IT self-service could help reduce helpdesk requests

If more end users are able to solve tech issues themselves, IT helpdesks will be able to operate much more efficiently
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

On-going maintenance
The next area is that IT self-service requires constant investment for users to get the most out of it: businesses must be prepared to constantly maintain the knowledge base used by the self-service system.

IT departments also need to make users aware that IT self-service is available and encourage those that would automatically call the service desk to look at self-service options to solve their query instead.

End-user acceptance
Understanding that user acceptance of IT self-service may vary is another important area to consider if organisations are to develop a successful strategy with take up of self-service in the first year of implementation typically very low.

The analyst advises IT departments to look at the demographics of their staff to identify the groups who are most, and least, likely to use IT self-service. Young, computer-savvy workers are more likely to use it compared to workers that are more stuck in their ways and less familiar with technology, for example.

Providing the right tools
The final area highlighted by Gartner for organisations to be aware of is making sure the self-service portal is easy to use and is able to give users the information they want.

The IT department should also make sure all the typical tools that users need are available through the self-service portal – with 20 per cent of self-service requests involving password resets, for example, techies should automate the reset process via the portal.