5 Signs You Need New Ticketing Software

You’ve experienced the warning signs: You’ve just come back from a conference where everyone was talking about the awesome things they’ve done, how great support and customer satisfaction are now, but you can’t do any of it.  That’s the first sign that your ITSM tool has become a limitation in your search for excellence. This can include tools:

  • That can take calls, log them, follow up on them 
  • Have a service request catalog that so old it’s difficult to build requests and there’s no reason to keep improving it because no one uses it anyway
  • Use an archaic tree-based knowledge management approach that doesn’t allow easy searching

Most service management tools provide the basics: the ability to log calls and open tickets from an email system automatically. In larger organizations with more robust tools, they likely offer a suite of features that integrate the work done by the Service Desk with other service management practices like problem management, change and configuration management. Often an organization will invest in a tool and build their processes around the tool’s capabilities and make small changes as they grow, continuing to grow with the product for years. It might work well, but as newer tools begin to offer capabilities that enable more modern styles of support, it can be time for a change.

Today, it’s very likely that an organization is feeling limited by their tool it’s for one of two reasons:

  • While the product is relatively new and has some good functionality, it was designed for a smaller, less mature organization than they’ve become
  • They’re on an older tool they’ve been using for years, have customized to do everything they need, but it doesn’t have all the features of an upgraded version or a newer platform

In the first case, it’s likely time to move to a more robust product, while in the second there may be a choice to back out the customizations then upgrade or to move. Often organizations who have highly customized their products can no longer upgrade easily and find that the cost and effort associated with upgrading to be about the same as changing to a new product. In either case, it’s important to know when it’s time for a new tool and if so, be able to build the business case for it.

Five Signs it May be Time…

OK, every tool vendor will try to convince you to buy a new tool, so how do you know when it’s time? Let’s go back to the warning signs that tell you that it’s time for your organization to consider a new tool. When one or more of the following symptoms are occurring in your support organization, it’s time:

Providing Great Service

The first three combined will prevent a provider from growing service and support approaches and result in two common problems: lack of ability to scale in a cost-effective manner and customer satisfaction. Both of these can cause the death of a support organization. When the volume has increased beyond the ability to provide timely support, customer satisfaction dips. When customers don’t receive the same type of support at work as they now do in their daily lives, customer satisfaction dips. When customer satisfaction dips, executives begin to feel that if their support organization cannot get the job done well, they can go elsewhere for support, leading to outsourcing support (or changing vendors).

There are some critical features, commonly available today that smaller and older ITSM platforms may not offer. These may be the very features that are keeping the support organization from growing to a higher level of maturity or scaling the operation:

  • Automation: Modern tools use automation to a much larger degree than smaller or older tools do. This automation can help at the service desk level, but also for provisioning and managing system information needed to scale IT support:
    • For the service desk: automated assignments, management of on-call rotations, ability to engage a tech closest to the location with an issue, automated functional or hierarchical escalations based on rules and the ability to automate fixes for common incidents helps ensure an efficient and consistent level of support.
    • For technical teams: automated discovery and maintenance of configuration information, combined with the ability to automate code deployments through integrations between an onboard service request catalog and virtual technologies, along with predictive analytics make it easier to manage and modernize change and release practices.
  • Self-service: capabilities that go beyond the ability to log a free-form ticket. They want the ability to find simple answers and automated fixes, request software and have it fulfilled via automation (like when they buy it at home or for their phone) and the ability to go to a single place to onboard new hires, move employees or perform other daily tasks.
  • Walk-up centre applications that support this new “genius desk” concept of support, enabling people to add their name to the list of waiting customers, see where they are and even reserve a spot from their desk and walk over when it’s time.
  • Predictive analytics that can be used to alert technicians before a problem becomes critical, that a known error has occurred (and even take steps to correct it), that a change they’ve just logged has only a 30% chance of success and more.
  • Chat and chatbots: enabling chatbots to leverage a knowledge base and use predictive analytics to answer basic questions then seamlessly pass more difficult ones to a live person staffing a chat line is a great way to scale support and provide near-immediate answers to employees.

These are often wrapped together into a great user interface that merges the full self-service environment with the support organization, offering people to select their preferred channel and easily engage providers. 

Tool Availability and Stability

The last two items on the list refer to tool stability and supportability. When an older tool has been customized to the point where staying on the latest release is impossible or when a vendor drops support on a product, the organization ends up keeping things exactly as they are. Server patches and upgrades need to be fully tested as operating systems and utilities change to ensure they don’t break the tool. Eventually, this leads to the inability to keep the server properly configured and after enough time has passed, the organization can’t even replace the ageing hardware. This cycle will lead to instability and it will become time to replace the product in order to operate effectively. Hopefully, replacement comes before this level of instability does!

To summarize, it’s time to think seriously about a new tool if:

  • Your product and the hardware upon which it operates can no longer be maintained
  • You can’t modernize and offer services that have become standard in today’s support world
  • You can’t scale your support organization through automation
  • Your customer satisfaction scores are dropping due to the lack of growth in your support organization.

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Blog cover design by Banu Priya