City governments aren’t typically known for their speed of service – but that’s changing. There’s a growing interest amongst the public sector in IT self-service and the benefits it can provide, especially as more and more state and local governments invest in modernizing their service management and delivery.

In IT, self-service is transforming the way organizations handle IT Service Management (ITSM) issues.

Using a self-service model, users can access information, tools and resources to resolve their own IT issues without the need for intervention from the IT help desk. This can take many forms, including knowledge bases, FAQs, troubleshooting guides and self-service portals. By providing users with the tools they need to solve their own IT issues, self-service can help reduce ticket volume and resource drain on the IT help desk.

One of the main benefits of self-service is that it allows users to resolve their own issues quickly and efficiently. Instead of having to wait for assistance from the IT help desk, users can access the information and resources they need to fix the problem themselves. This can save time and reduce frustration, as users are able to resolve their issues more quickly and get back to work.

“Creating an employee self-service portal was a pivotal step in streamlining IT service for the city,” said Nathan Ignatz, system support analyst for the city of Buffalo, NY.

The city of Buffalo, N.Y.’s Department of Management Information Systems is streamlining the delivery of IT service for 2,100 city employees and 250,000-plus residents using TeamDynamix for IT Service Management.

The TeamDynamix platform enhances the delivery of IT services in many ways. For instance:

  • Automated workflows ensure that no service request falls through the cracks and results in frustrating delays.
  • Managers can track the status of all service requests from start to finish, and they can analyze key metrics to identify potential bottlenecks and drive continuous improvement.
  • A knowledge base and self-service portal reduce the amount of time that IT staff must spend fielding calls, answering questions, and routing requests—enabling them to focus on more strategic work.

The city of Buffalo service portal allows city employees to find answers to their IT questions online. This provides instant gratification for employees and eliminates the need for further assistance in many cases.

If employees can’t resolve their own IT issues, they can submit a service request through the portal by choosing from an online service catalog. Their request is then routed automatically to an appropriate IT staff member for a response, based on the nature of the problem or request.

Aided by the dynamic workflows built into the TeamDynamix platform, a small team of IT staff members create and maintain knowledge base articles for the city, ensuring that this information always remains relevant and up to date.

“Before the service portal existed, employees would call or email the help desk to ask questions or request service,” Ignatz says. This tied up IT staff time in fielding questions, creating service tickets and getting them into the hands of the correct team members. Having employees enter service requests directly through the portal ensures a faster resolution to their issue and frees up IT staff to work on other tasks instead.

“It allows us to provide service quicker,” Ignatz observes.

Getting Self-Service Buy-in

Of course, having a service portal means nothing if employees aren’t using it. Building awareness of the portal and encouraging employees to use it requires continual effort. Buffalo’s IT team has implemented creative approaches to tackling this challenge.

For instance, Ignatz and his colleagues meet quarterly with all of the employees who’ve called or emailed the help desk for service during that quarter in order to promote the service portal and explain how it can help them get a faster resolution to their problem or question in the future.

“The quarterly meetings have definitely helped with the adoption of the portal,” Ignatz says. “Discovering who needs a little nudge helps.”

Since implementing these quarterly meetings, the city’s IT department has reduced the number of phone calls to its help desk by at least 20 percent.

“We’d love to have 100-percent adoption of self-service, but I recognize that likely won’t happen,” Ignatz says. “There will always be people who just like the human interaction of a phone call.”

Self-Service Best Practices

Implementing self-service IT can be a great way to improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the overall user experience. However, it’s important to follow best practices to ensure that your self-service implementation is effective and successful.

Here are some IT self-service best practices to consider:

  1. Keep it simple: The self-service portal should be easy to navigate and use. Avoid creating a cluttered interface with too many options, which can overwhelm users.
  2. Provide clear instructions: Provide clear and concise instructions on how to use the self-service portal, how to submit tickets and how to access other resources. Make sure the instructions are easily accessible and user-friendly.
  3. Leverage automation: Automate as many processes as possible, such as ticket creation and routing, to reduce manual work and errors. This will also help to speed up the resolution process.
  4. Create a comprehensive knowledge base: A knowledge base should contain articles, FAQs, troubleshooting guides and other resources that can help users solve their own issues. Make sure the knowledge base is updated regularly and covers a wide range of topics.
  5. Integrate self-service with other IT systems: Integrate self-service with other IT systems, such as ticketing systems and inventory management tools, to ensure a seamless user experience.
  6. Encourage user adoption: Encourage users to use self-service by promoting it through email campaigns, training and other communications. Highlight the benefits of self-service, such as faster issue resolution and increased control over the IT experience.
  7. Monitor and measure success: Regularly monitor and measure the success of the self-service portal. Use metrics such as ticket volume, resolution times and user satisfaction to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes.

By following these best practices, organizations can create a successful self-service IT model that enhances user experience, reduces the workload on IT help desks, and improves efficiency. Looking for examples of stellar self-service portals? Check these out.

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