IT decision makers at large firms have said their service desks are being measured mainly on how well they improve system performance levels, rather than on cost.

A survey from service management and IT operations specialist Fusion Business Solutions shows the service desk has "an important role at the forefront of IT operations". The survey found that 63 percent of those polled in a YouGov survey agreed that the service desk should be "the front-end and co-ordinator of all IT requests".

In spite of many firms attempting to cut overall IT costs, service desk performance was shown to be benchmarked predominantly against service-based targets such as agreed service level agreements (58 percent), percentages of issues resolved on first contact (55 percent), and overall level of customer satisfaction (45 percent). Just 23 percent said they evaluated against total cost per supported user.

“Most IT managers we surveyed told us that cutting costs in service management and IT operations was a top overall priority, yet only 23 percent are using this as a measure of performance on the service desk,” said Fusion Business Solutions CEO Mark Lyttle. The survey was based on responses from 104 UK-based IT decision makers in large enterprises.

Lyttle said: “The service desk is a big cost centre in the IT department and while service is important, performance measures that are focussed on efficiency and productivity are needed to ensure alignment with the rest of the IT department and to help managers drive improvements.”

The London Fire Brigade recently deployed a new identity and access management (IAM) system to help protect its data systems and ease the workload on its service desk.

The fire service implemented the Access Assurance Suite from Courion to automate password management and enforce consistent password policy for its 7,000 full-time firefighters and support staff.