More and more opportunities have become available for automation of servicedesk tasks. A lot of effort has been put into self service solutions and in creating ways for the user to solve IT problems themselves. A well-known example is the fully automated service for the user that has lost his or her password. In the past password-resets were daily tasks for the servicedesk operator. Now that is all in the past. And projects can inform users on their progress, warning them for potential downtime or slowdown in service, through project pages and twitter accounts. No need for the servicedesk to be the central point in communication for all kinds of changes.
You might wonder if there is any need for a servicedesk at all? The new generation, the Millenials, are supposed to be so IT savvy that they can solve all tech-related problems themselves. It is a matter of time and than we can say goodbye to the old servicedesk. Or is it?
With the automation of routine and mostly tedious tasks not all work of the servicedesk will be gone. There are still the not-so routine and much more complicated problems to be resolved. It might be that 80% of the servicedesk work can now be done by the users, but do they really want to? And, it is true that most Millenials have grown up with technology that doesn’t mean that they know what they are doing. Surveys show that only 30-40% can be considered savvy enough to deal with the complexity that is IT.
There is still enough reason to keep a servicedesk in operations. And, since most of the boring and low-level work is automated, the servicedesk will no longer be a place for IT rookies. For the past 20 years I’ve seen a lot of servicedesks being a starting position for new IT staff. You can learn the trade answering the phone and logging calls. And when you have learned a bit of what is going on in an office network, than you can move on to become a system administrator or network engineer. Now, I do not think that servicedesks will get a lot of work for untrained IT staff. Servicedesks will not be a good trainingground anymore. That work is all automated and transferred to the users. Now you need well trained and smart professionals. Professionals who are capable to deal with the unique and challenging problems and user requests that are left for them to deal with. It is time to smarten the servicedesk.