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The real benefits of self-help


David Howell looks at the rise in smartphone use and flexible working and explains how giving business users control of simple self-service tasks can keep them up and running away from the office while easing the burden on the service desk


Managing rapid growth


In a fast-paced service desk environment, the knowledge-base is a go-to repository for easy answers to common and specific challenges. 

In recent years, IT technicians have accessed these quick fixes via service desk apps which enable them to work away from a fixed location. However, with more end users now working out of hours using mobile devices, providing this support on a 24-hour basis can be both difficult and expensive.

Rather than keeping an open-all-hours service desk or seeing IT staff bogged down with mundane, easy-to-manage tasks, web-based self-service portals combining self-help iOS and Android service desk apps can enable users to fix basic challenges at any time. 

In addition to supporting professionals who already use IT mobility tools for on-the-move and flexible working, these facilities also saves time and budget by reducing the requirement for round-the-clock support and cut the volume of calls that must otherwise by managed by the service desk.


Pocket portal to the web – and the workplace


According to Ofcom, Britain has officially become a ‘smartphone society’. Two-thirds of the population now own a smartphone and they have overtaken laptops as the UK’s preferred device for accessing the internet. 

As well as highlighting the need for businesses to adapt their strategies for mobiles, Ofcom’s latest research found that one in three people say a smartphone is their most important device for going online, compared with 30 per cent who cited laptops. 

For enterprises, one of the major challenges of the continued popularity of handheld devices is security. Having grown accustomed to texting, emailing and browsing the web on their own choice of mobile or tablet, many professionals began using them to send, receive, store and work on corporate documents, giving rise to what became known as a ‘bring your own device’ trend. 

While some enterprises are yet to respond to this security challenge, many businesses have either sought to secure private devices on the corporate network or issue a choice of company-owned alternatives – a policy known as ‘choose your own device.’

In parallel with the continued rise in mobile working and the popularity of mobile tools, last year the UK Government introduced the legal right to request flexible working. Combined with the rise in companies actively using flexible working policies to attract and retain talent, and those seeking to reduce physical overheads by swapping allocated desks for hot-desking, these converging factors continue to contribute to an increase in the number of people working from home, on the train or from their local coffee shop. 


Self-management for flexible and remote working


To keep remote and flexible workers up and running – whatever time zone or schedule they are working to – the modern service desk must not only accommodate 9-to-5 business-as-usual queries but also offer support provision out of hours.

When offered and properly communicated to the business, this is another reason why self-service has become a must-have for end users. For technicians, it also helps reduce time spent handling tickets that could be solved by end users. 

Designed with the ordinary professional in mind, a good self-service portal makes it easy for end users to create and track tickets online, as well as self-solve common issues by reading the solutions – rather than picking up the phone or sending emails to the service desk. In the same way that technicians and IT support users and each other with knowledge-based technical articles, this gives users access to a range of solutions to straightforward and common challenges.

Responding to the rise in professionals using smartphones and tablets for work, intelligent self-service apps can also help all professionals to manage their own security settings via a secure, web-based end-user password reset management app. 

With any-time support available from any web browser and secure apps helping users carry out simple tasks, service desk teams avoid repetitive jobs and can instead focus on more challenging activities that help avoid the boredom and dissatisfaction they might otherwise feel. Meanwhile, as well as reducing the time and expense of out-of-hours service calls, the ability to carry out their own quick-fixes helps keep employees mobile, working and productive. 



David Howell is European Director at ManageEngine

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