Learn about defining processes, and how they impact the service desk for success.
- [Instructor] So now that we've discussed our people component, it's time to move onto our next component, processes. Ugh, processes, it sounds so boring, right? Like those things we just have to do so we can get through the day. I've had managers and technicians tell me over the years, "Oh yeah, we do processes at our center. We don't need to learn this." And then I'll say, "Well, show me your processes." And the response I get is, "Well, uh, we don't have 'em documented." Or "We have it documented, but it's old and no one follows it." Well, my mantra is: if a process is not documented, it doesn't exist.
If it is not followed, it doesn't exist. If it is not measured and improved, it doesn't exist. I have students tell me, "Wow, that's harsh." My response is, "Do you want to be a service desk with formalized processes? Or an ad hawk service desk constantly reacting, because we aren't for sure how to run our business? It's really up to you." Organizations have many policies. Some that are mandated by the organization itself, and many that are mandated by legislation, laws, or even the Federal Government.
Examples of government policies that impact processes and procedures, and work instructions, are like the Privacy Act, FERPA, HIPAA, and PCI compliance. Compliance to a policy is the goal. As organizations can be audited and fined if these policies aren't followed. So a policy is a set of principles or guidelines that are set by a governing body, within an organization that directs actions taken in the business.
Understanding what policies exist, what legal requirements are in place, and what the compliance guidelines are, are vital to creating efficient and effective processes. So let's now look at processes. We discussed in an earlier video, that a process is a collection of activities that are designed to produce a specific result. For example, incident management is a process that has defined steps designed to resolve, recover, or restore an incident. Processes take the inputs, like an event, I.E. an outage, and convert it to an output, like achieving a specific result, I.E. restoring service.
Along with achieving a specific result, processes are designed to respond to an initiated specific event, or multiple events. For example, a printer has malfunctioned or an outage has occurred across multiple sites. These are events that would initiate a process. Processes also have customers, who are the beneficiary of the result or outcome. This can be defined for each organization. It can be one person, or a business unit, or an entire organization.
Processes exist to provide a value to and achieve outcomes specifically to meet the needs of the business, stake holder, and customers. That's the main reason processes exist. Processes also have elements that include: steps, flow, and resources. The steps outline and describe how the process work should be completed, including the flow, what steps should happen, and in what order. This also includes allocation of resources, which could be people and tools.
Who completes tasks and in what time frame? So as a manager, you'll want to ensure that key processes are defined and mapped back to strategic outcomes and objectives. Also, process owners for each process, will need to be identified, as well as determining how processes will be monitored, and improved, and by whom. We've now learned that processes have many characteristics and elements. The goal of formalizing our processes is so that we can deliver quality outputs to our customers, as efficiently and effectively as possible.
We must understand applicable policies, which we discussed earlier, and create quality procedures and work instructions. Procedures get down to more details than a process. This is where we start to describe: what needs to be done, the task or tasks, who needs to do what, and by when. The work instructions are the most detailed element, showing step by step how to perform a task. Let's look at an example, of how to put all of this together.
An organization has a policy called Customer Privacy Guidelines. These guidelines have a compliant statement requiring the validation of all customers, before providing information or support. A customer must validate their identity by providing specific information such as a password or ID number. Suppose a customer of the service desk has an issue with their password, and they are locked out. The customer calls the service desk. The contact to the service desk, via the phone, initiates the incident management process.
There are 9 overall activities that must be performed in this process. In this process, the procedure of validating the customer, must be performed, and the work instructions with details, step by step, the procedure for how to greet and validate the customer. So that the service desk will be in compliance with the Customer Privacy Guidelines. Wow, that's a lot to think about, right? Well it is, but these definitions and examples serve to highlight why this structure is so important to implementing a successful service desk.
Now that we have the basic process structure in place, let's detail specific processes and their value to the service desk. In our next video, we are going to dive even deeper into different processes, and the role they play for the service desk. So, stay tuned for even more processes.
- What is a service desk?
- Understanding the different service desk models
- Staffing the service desk
- Training staff
- Mentoring and coaching
- Defining processes
- Reviewing technology, including telephony and management systems
- Measuring quality
- Building relationships