Go back

Making IT Operations More Scalable and Responsive through Self-Service

by Mark Harris Aug 30, 2022

Self-Service Improves IT

The typical large enterprise will see 5,000 or more help-desk network service tickets per month. According to the analysts that follow the IT operations industry, most of these kinds of service tickets take at least 4 hours of a technician’s time to complete, once they get started. But that is the often-overlooked detail, since network issues are prioritized based upon severity and those that affect fewer users or less critical services may be assigned a lower priority, they often take a day or more to be started…. essentially raising the mean time to repair dramatically!

Bringing all IT services back online quickly is critical in today’s connected businesses, so anything that gets in the way of doing so must be addressed for long-term operational success. Extended service times will result in constituents becoming frustrated and less productive, and in many cases will directly impact revenue streams, customer satisfaction, and other longer-term effects.

As digital infrastructures become more complex, and the number of interconnected services continues to grow fueled by advanced architectures, cloud migrations, and hundreds of new applications, it is imperative to change the paradigm of how network operations function to allow wider access to the operational knowledge and diagnostics, empowering these additional resources and operational groups (service desk personnel, Security Operations, DevOps, etc) to become more ‘self-service’ with instant results.

The “Instant Gratification” Culture

In a world of streaming music and video, one-hour delivery, social media, and 24/7 news coverage, we have gotten used to getting what we want as soon as we want it. If you want to hear a song, you can hear it right now. If you want to communicate with a brand, it’s as simple as sending a Tweet. In business, the same holds true, but with a much bigger fiscal effect because when IT services are impacted and restoration delays occur, business takes a hit… always.

With all of the operational technology and problem-solving expertise available today, a lengthy delay to resolve any IT issue is unacceptable. As it turns out even the largest global infrastructures experience the same few dozen network performance problems over and over again within and across their networks. And perhaps surprisingly to many, these same problems are common across all industries and companies. It’s true. Aerospace customers have the same network problems as retail customers who have the same kinds of network problems as education. And even the financial service companies experience much the same kinds of issues, albeit perhaps adding a few more time-based performance challenges to the mix. Sure the hardware and software may be vastly different, but OSPF and BGP problems exist everywhere, as do line throughput and quality of service levels.

Self service solution brief

Self-Service and Instant Access

The solution is to combine scalable IT automation that anyone can utilize with the established problem-solving knowledge to speed up the resolution of IT service tickets. And since most IT issues are relatively like one another, this means that a solution that works once for an issue can be automated, then used, again and again, to resolve future problems by anyone that wishes to be involved. No longer is the service restoration function constrained by a finite and limited number of network subject matter experts. Those precious network resources can solve problems once, encode their efforts, and then make that knowledge available to a broader audience who (when combined with automation) can begin solving network service problems long before available network operations technicians have been assigned.

When self-service options are incorporated into the IT operations process, users can access the most common IT services whenever they want, without opening a ticket and waiting a day or two for someone to get back to them. This is possible when an organization has a library of resolutions and diagnostic capabilities related to the common problems that have already been solved.

For instance, if a user is having an issue with an application, they (or their help desk) can access the stored solutions associated with this application and request that the automation engine conducts all of the best practice diagnostics in real-time, while the problem exists. Service desk operators can access the automation engine and its resolution library via program-to-program connections, other DevOps or SecOps users may prefer to make inquiries to the engine via EMAIL conversation with an intelligent bot, and still, other users (perhaps ServerOps or DatabaseOps) may prefer to interact using tools such as Microsoft Teams. Three very different access mechanisms, but all three tap into the same intelligence of network problem solving and the automation of those diagnostics by anyone that wishes to do so… anytime!

Accessing Network Operations Anytime

Employees are more empowered when self-service options are available. In addition to increased productivity, these self-service capabilities also help IT operations departments run more efficiently at scale. Stored knowledge coupled with diagnostic automation not only reduces the number of service tickets filed, but will also reduce the duration of those tickets being open. Operational staff from many groups will be able to focus on solving their constituent’s application issues right away since they all have access to the same stored knowledge and diagnostic automation they need.

By leveraging a self-service, instant access approach to network problem solving, hours (or in some cases days) can be saved on each and every service ticket, collectively savings thousands of hours every month. No longer having to wait for a network expert to become available or a network leader to invite auxiliary team members into the resolution process. Self-service can align the right resources more quickly and get work done faster.