Evaluating the BMC Remedyforce modules
This topic provides information about evaluating various modules in BMC Remedyforce:
Overview of BMC Remedyforce
The following topics provide information about the different tabs in BMC Remedyforce::
- Overview of Self Service
- Overview of the Remedyforce Console tab
- Navigating the Remedyforce Administration tab
- Accessing BMC Remedyforce
For information about additional resources that you might find helpful, see FAQs and additional resources.
BMC Remedyforce Incident Management
Incident management is perhaps the most important function performed by any IT help desk. In fact, the perceived value of an IT organization can be shaped by how well it manages and responds to incidents. Effective incident management can also benefit the business in terms of faster resolution times, minimized disruptions, and improved productivity.
As you begin to evaluate IT help desk software, be sure to consider the relative effectiveness of the incident management capabilities. Your agents will spend a great deal of time managing and responding to incidents, so it makes sense to arm them with the best tools possible.
In addition to aligning with ITIL best practices, does the IT help desk software include the right features for maximizing agent productivity? Are the incident management features easy to use? How well do they integrate with other IT service management functions? These questions can help you assess the usefulness of the interface and whether your agents can do what they need to do, such as viewing and creating related tasks, changes, and configuration items.
BMC Remedyforce delivers incident management features that are based on our years of experience in the IT help desk industry. The interface is designed to meet the everyday needs of help desk agents. Incidents can be created and managed with built-in templates, all from within a clear and easy-to-use dashboard. There is also seamless integration with other essential IT service management features, including problem, change, and configuration management.
For information about creating and updating incidents, see Incident management.
Metrics that matter
Incident management is a notoriously difficult area to measure effectively; there are countless data points on which you can focus, and some of them must be considered together to make sense of what is really happening. For example, “call-handling time” is an interesting measurement, but you must also track customer satisfaction to ensure that you are delivering an effective service, and not just a rapid one.
However, there are three key points of measurement that can deliver real insight into the quality of your incident management services. These metrics can also be used to prompt further investigation, as needed.
Customer satisfaction continues to be the single, most important measurement for any help desk organization. A long-term trend in high customer satisfaction can reflect the efforts you have put into place to improve incident management. Fast responses, effective and lasting resolutions, and timely communications can all contribute to a positive perception of the help desk by the end user.
BMC recommends a goal to achieve and maintain better than 90% customer satisfaction.
This is a compound measurement of several metrics, and it is a very good starting point for tracking the performance of your incident management processes and systems. In essence, you are measuring how well your organization has delivered on its Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with the business. Organizations often focus on an aggregate of the SLAs relating to response time and resolution rates. When you can combine good SLA scores with a high customer satisfaction rating, you can be sure that you are providing optimal levels of incident management.
BMC recommends a goal of 95% or higher SLA adherence.
|Help desk agent satisfaction|
Help desk agent satisfaction is often overlooked, but it can actually be a deeply revealing measurement of your incident management services. In fact, interest in this critical metric in increasing. Help desk agents, particularly those in first-line positions, spend a great deal of their time processing incidents in accordance with the processes you have in place and using the software you selected. With that in mind, you can be sure that opportunities for optimization are going to reliably show up in the feedback you get from your agents, and probably earlier than anywhere else.
BMC recommends a goal to achieve greater than 80% overall agent satisfaction.
BMC Remedyforce Problem Management
Problem management is not considered a critical process in many IT organizations. However, IT organizations that have a problem management workflow tend to deliver higher quality services for the following reasons:
- Timely investigation
- Correction of underlying root causes
The business can benefit from fewer service outages and a faster time to resolution when problems occur.
Effective problem investigation is tied to your ability to link problems with related incidents, changes, and configuration items. You can determine how a problem impacts other services, understand which devices are involved, and record details of any changes that caused the problem or correct the underlying root cause. As you evaluate IT help desk tools, ensure that you check for seamless integration between processes and features that enable you to link all relevant information with your problem records.
BMC Remedyforce aligns with ITIL best practices for problem management. With comprehensive integration of IT service management functions, your agents can review all of the related information when investigating problems. They can also create detailed and auditable records of their investigation so that a history is maintained throughout the problem management process.
For information about creating and updating problems, see Problem management.
Metrics that matter
Effective problem management is about the speed and efficiency of root cause investigation and resolution. The goal is to minimize the impact to the organization and to prevent problems from recurring. The following metrics support these objectives.
|Mean time to resolution (MTTR)|
MTTR is an important measurement in many best-practice processes — but in problem investigation, it is a critical key performance indicator (KPI). Your problem management process and supporting tools should support your teams in quickly investigating and resolving problems and their underlying root causes.
Organizations that become accomplished in problem management tend to reduce their overall incident volume over time, as a function of fewer recurrent problems. It is important to distinguish incidents linked to underlying problems from other types of incidents. This way, you can more accurately measure the impact of your problem management approach.
|Mean time between failures (MTBF)|
If your problem management strategy is working, you can expect that investigation and elimination of root causes to result in greater service stability. This can result in fewer outages over time and, therefore, a longer interval between them (MTBF).
BMC Remedyforce Change Management
Change management is a critical process for any IT organization; the disastrous results of poorly planned and uncoordinated changes are all too familiar. Unplanned outages of critical business processes can be expensive, damage the reputation of the business, and result in the loss of customers. The good news is that much can be done to improve your organization’s effectiveness throughout the change lifecycle.
As you evaluate potential IT help desk solutions, focus on the full range of their change management capabilities and how well the processes are integrated with other IT service management functions. Ensure that the workflow extends beyond a simple record of change, and that best practices for planning, assessment, and approval are enforced.
The ability to understand and visualize the dependencies across different configuration items is of real value in planning changes. Similarly, the degree to which correlations and relationships can be made between changes and other process records has a material impact on the quality of your change management process.
BMC Remedyforce supports a comprehensive and well-integrated change management process. The application aligns with recognized best practices: the workflow is documented and visible to users at all times. You can plan, coordinate, and execute changes within an easy-to-use interface, which includes configuration management details and visual tools. The product also includes an intuitive assessment and approval process.
For information about creating and updating change requests, see Change management.
Metrics that matter
Carefully coordinated changes can have a positive impact on a range of key performance criteria. If you can understand the impact and risks involved with changes before they are made, you can avoid major service disruptions and eliminate costly repercussions for the business.
The following metrics can help you ensure that your change management processes, teams, and supporting systems are well aligned and delivering maximum benefits. It is critical that you measure how your change management approach affects your service availability and how well your organization actually executes changes.
|Unplanned outages due to changes|
Correlating change activity to unplanned outages is important. A high volume of unplanned outages that result from a change can be caused by gaps in due diligence in the risk assessment.
|Incidents resulting from changes|
Tracking the incident volume that results from changes is helpful. This is a related, but separate, measurement from the unplanned outage metric. Changes can cause incidents that are related to slowdowns in performance, or critical services can be impaired in other ways. A high volume of incidents resulting from a change, can be caused by weak planning.
Understanding how often you have to back out or rework changes is important. This metric helps you assess the effectiveness of your change execution processes, and it highlights deficiencies in the communication and coordination among teams. With a unified change management approach, you can reduce the number of problems that occur and improve productivity across the organization.
BMC Remedyforce Chatter integration
The ability for help desk agents and other IT teams to collaborate in real time has been a long-term goal for many IT service management organizations. Email integration and knowledge management have undoubtedly helped, but they cannot fully support the immediacy and interactivity required for resolving incidents, problems, and changes.
The recent inclusion of collaboration platforms, similar in function to popular social media sites such as Facebook, has improved the ability of a help desk team to leverage the collective capabilities of its employees and provide an even greater quality of service.
As you evaluate IT help desk applications, carefully consider how well they support collaboration. Do they include an integrated social media platform? Does the integration go beyond supporting communication between interested parties and instead enable agents to also reference key IT service management processes and their associated records?
BMC Remedyforce uses Salesforce.com’s Chatter platform, a sophisticated collaboration platform that has gained credibility with support teams worldwide. The Chatter integration permits communication between help desk agents and other IT teams, and it links into critical IT service management processes themselves. Incidents, problems, changes, configuration items, broadcasts, and people all have dedicated feeds that can be subscribed to, with updates provided in real time.
Metrics that matter
Social media collaboration platforms (for example, Chatter) are helping to improve the productivity of IT help desk agents worldwide, and they have a measurable impact on quality of service. Salesforce.com, which developed and hosts the Chatter platform, has analyzed the effectiveness of support teams that use Chatter.
|Time taken to find resolving information|
One of the effective uses of Chatter integration is to consult with other colleagues on what to do next or to share a successful resolution. These responses are often quick, and they provide information that is not available in the Knowledge Base or readily accessible through other means. This can reduce the average time taken to find information, which in turn might, drive other key performance indicators (KPIs), such as mean time to repair (MTTR).
Using Chatter for collaboration between help desk agents and other IT teams helps to reduce the use of email messages relating to specific incidents, changes, and so on. Agents report this reduction in email traffic to be beneficial, and they find that using Chatter in place of email messages enables them to focus more on the tasks at hand.
Many IT support teams suffer from a lack of collaboration between agents and teams. Incidents can be resolved more quickly and changes can be coordinated more carefully when there is an easy way to share information across the organization. The Salesforce.com research showed a significant increase in the amount of collaboration happening in organizations that use Chatter. This increase drives a number of other metrics relating to resolution times, quality of service, and staff satisfaction.
BMC Remedyforce Reporting
Effective reporting capabilities are an essential component of any IT service management application. Well-designed reports can provide real insight into the effectiveness of your support teams, your IT infrastructure, and your processes. Help desk organizations that are disciplined in the collection and analysis of reports consistently offer better service, and tend to enjoy greater systems stability, as a result of acting on the performance trends identified in the data.
As you evaluate IT help desk systems, ensure that the software has more than just a wide range of reports; consider the relevance of those reports for your organization and how easily they can be adapted to meet your needs. Every IT help desk environment is different, so flexibility is essential. Ideally, the software should also allow you to create and configure custom reports.
BMC Remedyforce offers a number of predefined reports, which have evolved out of recognized best practices and customer feedback. Each report can also be extensively customized and saved for future use.
BMC Remedyforce leverages the considerable reporting power of the underlying Force.com SaaS platform, which means that you can create and adapt new custom reports to meet almost any requirement imaginable.
For information about the predefined reports available in BMC Remedyforce, see Accessing predefined reports.
Metrics that matter
Effective reporting capabilities can positively impact the performance and efficiency of your help desk organization in many different ways; for example, when actionable data is rolled into your ongoing improvement initiatives.
The following key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you assess the effectiveness of your reporting strategies.
Change success rate
A change management process that is flawed and is causing unnecessary service disruption often appears in reporting long before a specific weakness in the process is identified by other means. A team that is actively reviewing reports — especially the reports of incident volumes resulting from changes — spots areas for investigation and improvement. This often has an immediate and beneficial impact on the success rate of the changes undertaken.
|Recurrent incident volume|
Help desk reports are a highly effective means of analyzing patterns in the flow and types of IT incidents that are occurring in your organization. Regular analysis of incident category reports, for example, can reveal specific and frequently recurrent areas of difficulty in the infrastructure and support processes (and sometimes, individuals). Organizations that are disciplined in this analysis, and take action accordingly, tend to have fewer recurrent problems and see a more even spread of root causes.
For those help desk organizations subject to regulatory or corporate compliance reporting, the time and effort taken to respond to a specific audit request is a very reliable health indicator of your reporting model. If you have correctly identified and configured the set of reports that you need to meet compliance requirements, the process of providing the necessary data in an acceptable format should be rapid and uncomplicated.
BMC Remedyforce Self Service Portal
Why do effective IT organizations offer self-service features for their users? A self-service portal can deliver measurable gains in efficiency and productivity. If users can easily get updates about ongoing issues, find solutions to their problems, and request service in a simple but structured way, they are less likely to consume help desk resources.
As you evaluate your choice of an IT help desk vendor, self service should be an important area of consideration. Consider the following key questions:
- Are self-service options accessible from a variety of devices?
- Are the self-service options easy to use?
- How effective is the presentation and organization of self-service information?
The easier the system is to use, the greater the chance that the resources will be used throughout your organization.
BMC Remedyforce provides a simple and well-organized self-service portal. Users can review current issues affecting the organization, see the most common problems their colleagues are facing, and check out associated solutions. Users can also request help from the help desk by using out-of-the-box templates, which can help save time and ensure greater consistency in how requests are submitted.
For information about using the Self Service portal, see Tasks in Self Service 2.0.
Metrics that matter
You can analyze many parameters to assess the relative effectiveness of your self-service strategy. However, by focusing on key performance indicators that capture the uptake, cost, and impact of self service, you can be sure that you have a well-balanced appraisal that facilitates corrective action or prompts further investigation.
|Phone call deflection rate|
Organizations that have implemented self-service sometimes report a significant drop in the number of calls to the service desk. Phone-based interactions represent some of the highest costs per incident, and freeing an agent from the phone yields great returns. When help desk services are provided promptly and appropriately through self-service, the adoption of self service tends to build significantly over time.
|Cost per incident|
Self-service help desk interactions cost organizations a fraction of those initiated via the phone or in person. The savings largely results from the removal of a first-line agent from the earlier phases of incident reporting and classification, which in turn reduces the amount of time that the agent spends investigating and resolving an incident.
|Mean time to resolution (MTTR)|
When users can quickly and easily categorize and record the challenge they are having, or in many cases, take self-initiated corrective action, you can reduce the time needed to resolve issues. To have a measurable impact on MTTR is to develop an effective knowledge base that it is delivered through your self-service portal. In addition, you must ensure that it is easy to create service requests in a structured way that maximizes consistency and minimizes error.