It is vital that all Service Desk staff are adequately trained before they are called upon to staff the Service Desk. A formal induction programme should be undertaken by all new staff, the exact content of which will vary depending upon the existing skill levels and experience of the new recruit, but is likely to include many of the required skills as described above.
Where possible, a business awareness programme, including short periods of secondment into key business areas, should be provided for new staff who do not already have this level of business awareness.
When starting on the Service Desk, new staff should initially 'shadow' experienced staff - sit with them and listen in on calls - before starting to take calls themselves with a mentor listening in and able to intervene and provide support where necessary. The mentor should initially review each call with the trainee after it concludes to learn any lessons. The frequency of such reviews should be gradually reduced as experience and confidence grows but the mentor should still be available to provide ongoing support even when the trainee has reached the stage of going solo.
Mentors may need to be trained on how to mentor. Service Desk experience and technical skills are not the only requirements for mentoring. Effective knowledgetransfer skills and the ability to teach without being condescending or threatening are equally important.
A programme will be necessary to keep Service Desk staff's knowledge up to date - and to make them aware of new developments, services and technologies. The timing of such events is critical so as not to impact upon the normal duties. Many Service Desks find that it is best to organize short 'tutorials' during quiet periods when staff are less likely to be needed for call handling.
Note: Investment should also be made in the professional development of Service Desk staff. Internal mentoring and shadowing second- and third-level support staff is a good start, but best-of-breed Service Desks benefit from a formalized programme of staff development. Organizational commitment to professional development helps instil a sense of accomplishment and opportunity to staff. This often leads to innovation in Service Desk operation (such as specialized services) which in turn drive operational efficiencies at all tier levels of support. It helps to build skills that can be used in their current role as well as it jump-starts the training for a new role. While it is important to develop their core competencies in their current role, having a clear career path and recognising future requirement and development needs is also important.
In order to have a good understanding of ITIL and the importance of configuration management, we first define what ITIL is: ITIL is literally a collection of documentation.
This documentation can help IT organizations implement the best practices. The documentation grows and grows as more successful techniques are documented and guidelines established for what can make others successful. The latest ITIL resources are published by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC).
Integrated service delivery refers to the need for Configuration Management, Change Management, Incident Management, Problem Management and Release Management processes that are linked together in a meaningful manner. For example, the process of releasing components to the live environment (the domain of Release Management) is also an issue for Configuration Management and Change Management whilst the Service Desk is primarily responsible for liaison between IT providers and the Users of services. This section highlights the links and the principal relationships between all the Service Management and other infrastructure management processes.
ITIL processes fall under Operational Layer or Tactical Layer, as follows:
|Operational Layer:||Configuration Management - Service Desk Management - Incident & Problem Management - Change Management - Release Management|
|Tactical Layer:||Service Level Management - Availability Management - Capacity Management - Continuity Management - Financial Management|