Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen generations of service management platforms come and go. While many advancements have been delivered over this time, in many ways, each subsequent generation has repeated some core and critical flaws. Consequently, even as they’ve upgraded to new platforms, organizations have continued to be hampered by the same challenges and obstacles. Consequently, IT organizations, and the businesses they serve, suffer from a lack of agility, poor service levels and high costs. Following is an overview of the prior generations of service desk platforms, and their inherent limitations:
- First generation. Lacking commercial alternatives, many large enterprises developed and deployed their own application logic for tracking and managing tickets. While this rudimentary service desk functionality enabled organizations to improve their service management capabilities, this functionality came at a high cost, not only due to the upfront effort required to develop the system, but due to the resources required to support this environment over the life of the deployment.
- Second generation. The first commercial service desk offerings represented substantial advancements over the prior build-your-own approach, and so established what would come to be a huge market over time. These second generation solutions delivered workflows, rules engines, databases and application code. Deployed on premise, these platforms required large internal development teams and extensive coding in order to meet the ongoing needs of the support organization and the business.
- Third generation. In recent years, the concept of hosted service desk platforms has started to gain increased market acceptance. Because these solutions are hosted, they eliminate the need for customers to have to deploy and manage the service desk platform hardware, software and underlying infrastructure. However, in essence these are hosted versions of second generation platforms. Consequently, they still present many of the same challenges, including requiring extensive development work and modification to align with specific business needs.
In short, while each generation has brought advancements, some key obstacles persist. These traditional service desk platforms require coding in order to be customized to the specific needs of the organization. This complex, development-intensive model typically leads to extremely lengthy deployment cycles, with many initiatives spanning four months or more.
Further, this complexity doesn’t just affect up-front deployments, but also any and all changes that arise after deployment, and, as we’ve clearly seen in the last couple of years, change just keeps coming faster. Consequently, many organizations are paying dearly for their service management platforms, which are difficult to adapt to changing needs and are costly to support on an ongoing basis.
The service desk is and will remain a vital business function. However, this service can’t continue to be supported in the same way. Instead, service management needs to be administered in accordance with modern technology models and current economic realities. The fourth-generation service management platforms available today offer a true break from the challenges of the past. These platforms deliver a range of benefits, and in the following posts we’ll outline a few.
Note: This is the first in a five-part series of posts on the fourth-generation service desk. Stay tuned for our next post, which outlines how next-generation service desk platforms deliver increased agility. In addition you can also view a webcast titled “Service Desk Manager: Where do we go from here?” with George Spalding, Executive VP Pink Elephant to understand the obstacles of prior generations of service management platforms and learn how a new generation of solutions addresses these fundamental limitations.