Business benefits of peer-to-peer support

In my last post, I discussed how peer-to-peer support, like self-service, fits in with the expectations and preferences that carry over from our lives as consumers to our lives at work. In this one, I’d like to summarize the benefits from the perspective of the ITSM team, and that of the wider IT function.

With peer-to-peer support, ITSM can:

1. Relieve pressure on the service desk, drive efficiency and reduce costs. When users help themselves and colleagues, many issues are resolved without even reaching the service desk. End-users work together to solve problems and, through collaboration with IT, generate reusable information. This lowers the cost of issue resolution and frees the service desk to deliver real value where it’s needed.

2. Improve the customer experience. Faster resolutions are facilitated by the ability to capture tribal knowledge, augment it, and share it. Customers can get near-instant solutions expressed in language they understand by someone who shares their perspective. They contact the service desk only as a last resort.

3. Utilize informal engagement strategies and get closer to the user community. Service desk teams participate in conversations, identify common issues, endorse solutions, and move useful content to knowledge repositories made available for others. If the community can’t solve an issue, it can be raised to the service desk using established processes. IT is seen to be more proactive in supporting business needs.

4. Devote more ITSM resources to growing the business. By enabling users to identify solutions and get access to the knowledge of co-workers, the service delivery team can focus more on value-adding projects.

5. Embrace the BYOD culture. ‘Bring your own device’ strategies can be adopted without a descent into anarchy. The service desk can record and track the devices that are used while support is provided on a peer-to-peer basis.

These are five strong reasons for ITSM to encourage peer-to-peer support. Having addressed the question of why we should do it, I’ll turn to the question of how best to tackle it in my next blog post in this series.

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