All Aboard the 90 9 1! Shift Left! Shift Left!

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It’s a common fact that IT professionals and specialists often keep certain knowledge close to their chests.  Now, I hear you say, “Yes, that’s damn right!  Why should we leave ourselves exposed and risk role redundancy if staff at lower levels can do our work?“ OK OK, I’m hearing you loud and clear and I’ll admit I’ve felt the same way before.  But…..and it’s a big but…..what if you or your staff could take on more valuable work?  What if you or your staff could spend more time on cutting edge projects without the bother of mundane tasks?

Now we’re talking….So if this excites you, then it’s probably time to get on the shift left bandwagon.

A survey by Service Desk 360 polled hundreds of Service Desks and IT Managers and revealed common feedback to the question “What is on your wish list?”

Service Desk Analysts – “I wish we were given the opportunity to do more than just fix problems and take IT requests”.

Service Desk Managers – “I wish the service desk was held in higher regard within the IT department”

IT Directors – “I wish the service desk provided more proactive and preventative support”

Yes, it’s true, the staff who take the initial brunt of customer incidents & requests actually want to do more than just answer the phone.  Guess what?  IT managers and directors want their customers to have these incidents and requests resolved as efficiently as possible and with the least amount of fuss.  Shifting your knowledge and skills left is as much about empowering others, as it is about building a legacy culture.

What’s the 90 9 1?

90, 9, 1 could well be your local bus route numbers or a clever mathematical sequence….thankfully it isn’t.  Imagine if 90% of your customer support tickets were resolved at 1st point of contact, without the need for escalation?  Imagine if the remaining tickets were resolved, 9% at 2nd line and 1% at 3rd line?  These figures are purely aspirational and roll off the tongue quite nicely, BUT they do align perfectly with the shift left culture.  Already at those figures? Why not push the boundary further….

What are the benefits of the shift left culture in your organisation?

Let’s not beat around the bush….

  • Reduction in support costs
  • Increase the availability of senior staff
  • Improve engagement levels across the support spectrum
  • Higher customer satisfaction scores for your IT Support or Service Desk function.
  • Improved resolution performance through proactive and preventative support
  • Empowering staff and providing opportunities for skill development
  • The needs of individuals are more likely to be met = happy staff
  • When combined with continual service improvement, opportunities for shift left activities are easily identified.

Here’s the challenge:

Individuals in a 1st or 2nd line role – Are you sharing your desire to learn more with your managers and peers?  Select one or two tasks or responsibilities that you think can be shifted left and make sure it happens.

Individuals in a 2nd or 3rd line role – Think about one or two tasks that you do regularly, can these be documented or knowledge shared with junior colleagues?  Chances are they can, so speak up, tell your manager and make it happen.

IT Managers and Directors – Are you encouraging a shift left culture in your organisation?  Are you providing opportunities for staff to follow or forge clear career paths?  If not, then engage with your management teams and staff to ensure it happens.  Listen to junior staff when they call out to do more – embrace their desire and reap the benefits of an empowered workforce.

Right to leftwards and success…..over and out.