The modernization of IT is prompting companies to move to the cloud. Slow adopters haven’t made the switch, but many have near-term plans to do so. Companies migrating to the cloud expect to immediately see positive results, like reduced operating costs, better connection of users across locations, and transferring administrative IT responsibilities. In reality, moving to the cloud will become exceptionally more challenging if companies don’t first address IT demand. We recommend companies establish reliable procedures, like the following, to manage IT demand and lower risk before moving to the cloud.
1. Clearly define the difference between request types
Before a plan is established to address IT demand, categories for issues and request types must be defined. Keep this simple. Companies often get caught up defining a complex hierarchy of issue categories that only end up being used incorrectly. The more options users have, the more likely they are to select the wrong one.
Eliminate categories for defects, bugs, improvements, new features, etc., and consider using a simplified version. Ask the following questions to determine the issue or request type:
Was it working before? (i.e. unable to connect to printer) – Break Fix
If it wasn’t working before, is it a simple update? (i.e. add a new vendor type) – Quick Fix
Is the request for new functionality? (i.e. feed financial data to reporting tool) – Enhancement
Keeping request categories simple helps users and IT support better understand how requests should be tagged for resolution. It also provides a more accurate foundation for trend analysis and reporting.
2. Establish a process to prioritize and manage planned IT demand
Enhancement requests are considered planned IT demand. Companies can evaluate the scope of the enhancement, assign necessary resources for support, and schedule releases as far as six months down the road. Simple, right? But what happens when help desk support mis-categorizes the enhancement request? The ticket gets lost in the system, and the requester feels ignored.
The first step to managing planned IT demand is to answer the questions, “Why is the improvement necessary?” and, “How much time will it save?” to build a business case for allocating time and resources to address the request.
The IT department should form a small committee and conduct weekly stand-up meetings to prioritize approved business cases and plan for upcoming enhancements. Managing planned IT demand works best with an agile methodology, and utilizing a waffle board can keep release schedules organized.
Don’t send enhancement requests through a ticketing system to vanish. Invest in a development tracking tool to help align upcoming releases with available resources.
3. Explore alternatives to manage unplanned IT demand
Unplanned demand comes in two forms categorized in the previous sections as “break fix” or “quick fix.” The most common approach for managing these unplanned needs is routing them through an internal help desk system, which results in a variety of problems:
- Tickets are assigned to multiple people before the right expert is found
- IT support can’t reach the ticket submitter for clarification and testing
- A backlog of tickets pile up and there aren’t enough experts to help
Using an on-demand IT platform to address break fix and quick fix items is a great alternative to the traditional help desk model. The EVAN platform is designed to replace help desk tools and lower costs of in-house IT support.
EVAN can solve the common, unplanned IT demand problems. Instead of waiting for help desk support to assign a ticket, EVAN allows users to receive help immediately. Users are connected with a qualified expert the first time, eliminating time lost from incorrect ticket assignment. Most importantly, the platform provides insight into who is available to help and who needs help.
The EVAN platform reduces the risk of ticketing backlog and is a quick, simple transition for users. Companies using traditional models to manage unplanned IT demand will only find these issues exacerbated when moving to the cloud. Establishing a sound plan to address IT demand before moving to the cloud will ultimately allow IT leaders to focus attention on more strategic matters.
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