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End-User IT Analytics - Exposing the Iceberg

Traditional IT service desks work in much the same way and share the same working mantra – no call – no issue. By its very nature a service desk is a reactive rather than proactive entity; a user logs an issue complaining of a faulty service or component and the issue is investigated and all being well, ultimately, remediated. Such has been the nature of ITSM since its inception.

There does however exist a significant and ultimately inherent flaw in this model… that it relies on the end user to actually pick up the phone and log a call. Various studies have demonstrated that the percentage of genuine issues that fail to result in a logged ticket is worryingly high, that, in many instances, the majority of service issues are in fact left unreported. Does the end user call the service desk when he is struck down by a blue screen of death? Does he report every application crash or session time out? Probably not. The problem then is that IT sees only those issues that are persistent or major enough that the hands of the end users are forced into dialling the dreaded service desk. Now however benign a BSOD or simple application crash may seem to the end user, that information forms part of a much bigger picture and may help to identify trends and recurring issues within service delivery. If only a percentage of that information is being presented to the service desk then we are only seeing half the story – or the tip of the iceberg…


Traditionally it is the provision of IT services that we monitor in order to gauge quality and consistency of delivery. However there is much to be said for instead monitoring the consumption. Only when we take an ‘outside in’ view of IT and focus on consumption rather than provision do we truly understand the end user experience and in turn where our issues lie. An ‘over the shoulder’ view then, allows us to feel the same pain and experience the same problems as the end user; ensuring that we can see all issues, not just those experienced by the user most inclined to log a call with service desk.

It also allows us to be a great deal more proactive in our approach to service delivery. In traditional environments a threshold is applied to types of tickets or issues and proactive remediation only comes into play once that threshold is reached. That means that in order for IT to begin its investigative process a number of users need to have already suffered poor or faulty service. If we have the tools to allow us an ‘outside in’ view of IT service consumption then the point at which we become proactive is far earlier. A ticket need not even be raised for IT to understand not only that an issue exists but also who it is afflicting. That allows us to proactively and even pre-emptively address the issue perhaps even before the user is aware of it. It also allows us a measure of end user management, when a major issue is reported we can quickly identify which users are being affected and communicate to those users that the problem is being addressed – thus saving the service desk the inevitable barrage of angry callers.

Thankfully – such a product does exist! Nexthink is the leading IT Operational Analytics (ITOA) solution in the marketplace today. Borne out of an artificial intelligence project at the University of Lausanne, Nexthink is rapidly proving itself an invaluable asset to IT organisations across the UK in terms of ITSM and Service delivery. Nexthink empowers the IT organisation to become inexplicably more proactive in its approach and to have a more complete perception of the real problems affecting end users. Named as a Gartner ‘Cool Vendor’ in 2014 Nexthink is a product that deserves attention and investigation across the public and private sectors, for organisations with only 500 end users to those with 50,000.