Monday, August 27, 2012

Ruler of Request Routing

Service instanceWhen someone uses Self Service to submit a request for a service, the correct instance of this service gets selected automatically. This service instance could, for example, be the production environment of SAP or one of the email servers. Self Service is able to figure out which service instance the requester should have access to, thanks to the SLA information in ITRP.

Submitting a Self Service Request
Whenever the service instance is known, Self Service passes the request directly to the team that is responsible for supporting the service instance. This has the advantage that the request goes straight to the experts, which speeds up the support process and reduces the workload of the service desk.

But there are also some negatives to this approach. If a service desk analyst would have been able to resolve the request, it may have been more cost-effective had the request been passed to the service desk. Also, if the service desk is open 24 hours a day and the experts are only available from 9 to 5, then it may again be better to pass such requests to the service desk. For urgent incidents, the service desk may then be instructed to call an expert if it's outside office hours.

The feedback that we've received from organizations that rely heavily on Self Service is that for some services it makes more sense to first give the service desk a chance to solve the request. For other services it is better to pass the requests directly from Self Service to the specialists. And then there are cases where it may be better to route the requests from Self Service to the Operations team, because the organization has to pay for each request that is handled by its external service desk.

Using this feedback, we prepared an additional feature that allows a first line team to be specified for each service instance. The first line team is the team to which the request will be assigned after it has been submitted in Self Service. If a first line team is not specified, the request will be routed, as always, to the support team of the service instance.

Email Service Instance
This new feature can also be useful for services lower in the service hierarchy, i.e. the services that are not offered to end users for selection in Self Service. For example, when a system management tool passes an event to ITRP for a specific server, the API will automatically look up the service instance that the server is a part of. Once the service instance is known, ITRP will generate a new request for the event and will pass it to the first line team of the service instance. Again, if a first line team has not been specified for the service instance, the request will instead be assigned to the support team.

Windows Server Service Instance
Take a minute to consider if the First line team field could help you fine-tune the routing of requests for services that your team is responsible for.