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Press Release

21 May 2009

Hornbill poll reveals top three issues for the service desk

Poor knowledge of customers; pressure to handle increased call volumes, faster, across multiple departments; and managing complexity of change are major headaches for service desk staff today

The top three issues for today’s service desk have been revealed by Hornbill Systems, a leading provider of service management software with the ‘human touch’. Visitors to Hornbill’s stand at the recent Service Desk & IT Support Show in London were asked to disclose their major challenges in running a successful service desk. The poll of more than 150 respondents, representing a broad range of organisations in both the commercial and public sector, found that the most significant obstacles to delivering excellent customer service and supporting the overall business or organisation are:

1. having no or poor knowledge of customers
2. managing the complexity of change
3. the pressure to handle increased call volumes, faster, across multiple departments in different time zones.

Highlights from the poll include:

• One third of respondents cited reporting and management information as the crucial problem area. Specifically, poor knowledge of the customer’s history can limit the effectiveness of the interaction between service desk staff and users so diminishing the overall customer experience. In addition, lack of analysis of past incidents often leads to recurring problems with the service desk forced into a reactive rather than a proactive mode. Similarly, difficulty in extracting meaningful, actionable information from the service desk solution prevents staff from reporting on service desk activity against business metrics, and ultimately limits the strategic value that the service desk function can bring to an organisation.

• One quarter of respondents stated that change management is a challenge. In particular, the increasing number of Configuration Items (CIs) and the rate and complexity of change are exacerbated by having neither a change process nor a repository for storing and managing change data such as a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) in place.

• One fifth of respondents claimed that basic incident logging and reporting remain a hurdle. Some service desk managers continue to work in a manual environment where they have no real visibility of incidents or the ability to track incidents across multiple departments. Even in automated environments with sophisticated technology, increased call volumes combined with the pressure to improve response times and first time fix rates with the same number of staff are critical stress factors for service desk managers.

A significant proportion of respondents mentioned the definition and management of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) as another challenge, particularly in global organisations where the support of diverse SLAs in different countries, languages and across multiple time zones is crucial to maintaining excellent levels of customer satisfaction.

The issue of globalisation re-emerged especially in UK-based companies whose service desk staff work within a traditional 9-5 framework but where the business environment requires them to operate on a 24/7 basis often in small teams and in fire-fighting mode. Lack of resource is further complicated by the fact that many service desk managers claim it is difficult to find the right quality of staff to operate in today’s service desk environment.

Gerry Sweeney, CEO of Hornbill Systems commented: “Our visitors highlighted some interesting priorities: whilst processes and best practice frameworks such as ITIL, and technology designed to help users help themselves like self-service, come relatively low down on their list of issues, being able to capture and share customer information is more important. Getting closer to customers’ needs and wants is pivotal to creating an enhanced customer experience. This is what Hornbill calls the ‘human touch’ - putting customers at the core of everything we do and developing technology that can be used to drive excellence and prevent process stagnation.”

Hornbill has published a research paper, in conjunction with the Service Desk Institute (SDI), entitled “Computer Says No!” which demonstrates that process aligned with the ‘human touch’ is widely regarded as the best way to provide service excellence, and is driving the interaction between the service desk and users. To download a copy of Hornbill’s latest white paper, please go to



About Hornbill Systems

Service Management software from Hornbill enables organisations to provide excellent customer service while benefiting from the economies of consolidation on a single technology platform. Supportworks’ service desk templates are designed for rapid deployment within any employee or customer support environment, including ITIL-compatible IT Service Management, IT Helpdesk, Customer Service, HR and Facilities Management with the flexibility to build additional desks at minimal extra cost. Hornbill’s software supports thousands of commercial and governmental sites worldwide. Hornbill Systems was founded in the UK in 1995 and has US offices in Dallas and New York.

Hornbill has earned many industry accolades including; Service Desk Institute “IT Service and Support Technology Supplier of the Year” for 2008, “Best Business use of Support Technology” with Sharp Electronics and “Support Excellence Award for Smaller Helpdesks” with Camelot in 2005.

High profile customers include Atos Origin (Athens Olympics 2004, Torino Winter Olympics 2006 and Beijing Olympics 2008), Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Greggs, London Metropolitan University, RSPB, Chubb Insurance, House of Fraser, Halfords, The National Archives, and Camelot.

For more information about Hornbill’s solutions please visit

For Company and editorial information contact:

Julie Aguilar
Hornbill Systems
Tel: 0208 582 8205

Andreina West
PR Artistry
Tel: 01491 639500

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of PR Artistry Limited in the following categories: Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit