D'Arcy Gue

Uncover Hidden Costs With a Hospital Service Desk Costing Analysis

November 11, 2014

IT Service Desk 3 Minute Read

By definition, hidden costs are hard to find. However, it’s not impossible to make educated estimates, even when hard data is not readily available. This aspect of analysis requires creativity and an understanding of the hospital’s user population — notably, understanding what modes of communication will provide reasonably adequate data.

Service Desk Hidden Costs

As a provider of Service Desk support, we have to perform this analysis regularly. Methods we use include providing well-constructed online questionnaires to groups of key users. These incorporate questions concerning the frequency and time spent on self-solutions, getting the aid of co-workers, and hunting down favorite IT friends. We address issues such as:

  • Lack of confidence in the Service Desk,
  • Poor experiences,
  • Off-hours unavailability, and
  • Related concerns

Another assessment method we use is conducting targeted interviews with representatives of key user groups and IT analysts that home in on quantifying how much time is being spent inappropriately on issues that are in the Service Desk’s purview. Sometimes, an approach as simple as conducting a lunch-hour group debriefing of key users can also be used to help make educated cost estimates.

This type of exploration will reveal hidden costs caused by external problem management such as:

  • Self-solution: Hospital staff spending time trying to resolve their own problem before seeking help. These can be costly and indicate a lack of confidence in Service Desk abilities.
  • Involvement of other IT staff: Users frequently employ the help of their favorite IT staff members to solve problems. This is detrimental because it means that processes aren’t followed and often times, the IT staff providing assistance likely has a higher salary than a general Service Desk analyst.
  • Involvement of other hospital staff: Non-IT staff pulled into problem resolution situations typically have a higher salary cost that Service Desk agents, and their time spent helping is most likely unbudgeted.

Also, if the Service Desk operation is making inadequate use of its software products, we recommend that time be taken to get a full demo of the system’s capability with the Service Desk manager in attendance. Working with the vendor representative, it should be possible to determine if there are software capabilities that could be utilized that would reduce costs (and which, unused capabilities are generating costs).

Examples of useful features that can impact your Service Desk’s bottom line:

  • Automated escalation and routing rules: Automated rules require a great deal of time and effort to set up and maintain, but they are imperative to operating an efficient Service Desk
  • Self-service portal / Knowledgebase: Having the proper documentation in an easy-to-access location can greatly reduce the number of contacts made to the Service Desk.
  • Performance management: Defining the performance and metrics you hope to achieve is a must for any Service Desk, and most Service Desk tools will help you better understand the real-time performance of the Service Desk if configured properly.

Once you determine which of these costs might be impacting your Service Desk’s bottom line, you can plug them into a cost analysis and render a more accurate assessment of your Service Desk costs. To view a sample cost analysis, download our Service Desk Cost Estimation report. 

Related Posts