Service Desk Best Practices for School District System Administrators

Education IT

As state and county governments deal with budget shortfalls, IT departments at school districts are often required to do more with less, while still delivering the same level of service desk support to teachers, students, and support staff.

So, how can IT decision makers and system admins meet the growing demands of IT management and support without sacrificing service desk performance?

Fairfield Connecticut’s School District recently underwent budget cuts that reduced the IT staff covering its 17 schools by more than a third. Their remaining team was able to do more with less by developing several best practices to streamline help desk operations.

1.   Centralize Ticket Processing: Chris Brand, an applications integration specialist at the district, says that the district’s old manual tracking system of phone, email, and post it notes wasn’t integrated enough to allow for genuine IT management. Centralizing ticket management has helped the service desk do a better job of prioritizing issues and ensuring that tickets requiring specialized skills were routed to the right techs. Centralizing also has it easier for help desk techs to see the status of open tickets across the system.

2.   Define Ticket Flow and Escalation Process: Revisiting the information gathered when a ticket was generated and allowing users and techs to categorize tickets more meaningfully helped Fairfield’s School District do a much better job of routing and managing service desk tickets. Brand automated key parts of the process so that techs did not have to analyze each ticket and waste time. By ensuring certain kinds of tickets included the data needed to diagnose the issue, Brand cut time to resolution by eliminating “head scratching” time.

3.   Enable Self Service: Brand empowers employees to use self-service options to free techs and admins from some tasks. The department maintains a knowledge base that allows users to solve many issues themselves without creating a service ticket. Brand notes that one of the benefits of this approach is that it gives users a greater stake in maintaining the health of their PCs.

4.   Automate Ticket Creation: The beauty of a service desk offering is that it will generate some service tickets automatically when certain thresholds are met and route that ticket appropriately. Techs can get away from break-fix and begin to manage systems to head off IT issues before they impact users or lower productivity.

5.   Review Top 10 Ticket Generators Periodically: The Prieto Principle applies. The majority of tickets are often generated due to a small set of issues or small subset of users. Looking at ticketing information weekly or monthly allows system admins and techs to do proactive maintenance, user training, or process upgrades to address root causes.

Check out Kaseya’s Best Practices for Service Desk in Educational Environments for two more best practices and other tips Fairfield School District is using to improve its service desk performance!

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