11 Capabilities to Consider for IT Self-Service

This is the second post in our five-part Self-Service blog series. The first post on 5 key benefits of Self-Service for IT was published on the HDI blog site.  You might be an expert in self-service, with a long track record of success. If so, then this blog definitely isn’t for you. However, if your organization is still to introduce self-service for employees, or has either a very limited self-service capability or limited end user adoption, then it might be worth a read.

“Results from a survey conducted at the Service desk and IT support show (SITS) 2016  shows that an ideal service desk would certainly include a self-service portal and that 26% of IT departments do not have a self-service functionality in their current service desk solution.”

You might also be wondering why I am saying “self-service capability” rather than self-service technology.” Hopefully, the next section will help you to understand why.

Think Employee Self-Service Capability not Self-Service Technology

Yes, it might seem an odd thing to say but consider my point of view…

In my opinion, as with the growth in smartphone and mobile app use, consumer-world self-service technology is becoming less obvious and less important to end users. What is instead more important are the offered capabilities and the ease of access and use. For example, and continuing with the smartphone analogy, a mobile app providing train times and real-time status updates isn’t considered software or technology by its users.

Instead, it’s just a “capability” – it merely provides the information that’s needed, when it’s needed. And corporate self-service is similar. While the corporate IT organization might see self-service as a mix of self-service applications, compute, storage, and networking, those who use it see it as a capability. A capability through which they can access help, information, or services. So it’s wiser to think of employee self-service as a capability, or even a set of capabilities, than a mix of technologies. With a need to rise above the technology and what it can do to see end user use cases and how end users want to engage with self-service capabilities.

The Key Self-Service Capabilities to Consider for your Employees: 

Self-service can be so much more than an IT storefront, a service request catalog, and a shopping basket function. Click To Tweet  Self-service can be so much more than an IT storefront, a service request catalog of available IT services, and an associated shopping basket function. Self-service for your employees could possibly include some or all of the following:

1. Self-help via access to FAQs and other helpful information

It might be “how-to” guides, common fixes, workarounds for known problems, and even the use of YouTube videos for those that prefer visual rather than written assistance. HDI research* shows that 54% of organizations currently offer an IT self-help capability to end users. Longer term, as with the majority of self-service capabilities, self-help can be extended outside of IT to support other corporate service providers such as HR, facilities, and legal.

2. The ability to quickly log issues and service requests for resolution by IT personnel

Rather than one person talking while other types, the need is instead logged by the affected end user. Ideally saving both the end user and service desk, but ultimately the business, time – especially if the telephone channel involves queuing. 81% of organizations currently offer some form of “online form” for end users to submit support issues and service requests to the service desk (HDI).

3. Status checking

The ability for end users to self-check the status of an incident or service request – saving both the end user and service desk time. 61% of organizations currently offer this capability (HDI).

4. Broadcast alerts and individual notifications

This could be a global self-service portal notice stating that a certain business application is going to be unavailable overnight. Or notifications to end users when the status of their ticket changes.

Know how M&C Saatchi saw 300% increase in self-service with their service desk software

5. A password reset capability

Where the end user can reset their forgotten password or unblock a locked account. 54% of organizations currently offer this capability (HDI).

6. Chat

Access to service desk agents as needed – as sometimes human-to-human interactions are needed to help understanding or to expedite matters. For the end user, it can be a lot quicker than waiting in a telephone queue or for an email to be responded to. And the service desk agent can realize efficiencies by handling multiple chats simultaneously.

employee-self-service-portal-technology-facts 7. Collaboration with other end users

Access to communal collaboration spaces such as communities, forums, wikis, and other peer-support mechanisms. 54% of organizations currently offer this capability (HDI).

8. Access to IT-asset information

Allowing end users to understand what IT kit they have, potentially against a checklist of what their role should have. It also offers organizations the ability to get end users to remotely participate in asset audits.


The ability for end users to download pre-approved software and patches as needed. 30% of organizations currently offer this capability (HDI).

10. Links to handy external sites

Self-help doesn’t have to be limited to corporate knowledge articles.

11. Automated delivery

The use of as much automation as possible for service fulfilment, incident resolution, and update notification. It’s where much of the efficiency and cost benefits lie.

You might be able to think of even more possibilities but, for me, this list covers the most commonly adopted options. And I deliberately used the word “options” – as I’m not saying that your organization will need all these capabilities. Instead, they are a portfolio of employee self-service capabilities to be considered against your business’ pain points and opportunities. A future blog will dive deeper into how a phased approach to self-service initiatives can help to maximise adoption and the associated benefits.

* The HDI statistics are from its August 2015 report “Technology for Empowering End Users.”