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Help Desk, Customer Service, Cloud & Security Insights, with a Side of Altruism!

ITIL Compliant Workflow Approval Process

This free white paper describes the workflow approval process and automated email notifications for requests for change (RFC) using Giva’s eChangeManager, which is ITIL compliant.

According to a recent Gartner Group report, 87 percent of help desk calls result from change-related failures. The Help Desk Institute determined that the support industry standard cost per contact is between $15 and $30. If your support organization averages 1,500 service requests a month, the cost of change related failure requests is between $235,000 and $470,000 annually.

The primary communication vehicles used by IT professionals for managing IT changes are paper, email and voicemail. People generate and forward requests around the organization, but many key people and departments are unaware of important changes. Often, no central authority prioritizes important IT change requests or makes escalations in a timely manner.

Giva understands the importance of a sound change process. Giva also knows that the key person to making a change process work is the IT Change Manager. This demanding job requires balancing priorities between reviewing all new requests for change (RFC), chairing the Change Advisory Board (CAB), prioritizing, approving, scheduling, conducting post-implementation change reviews, and many other activities. To help manage the myriad of projects, the IT Change Manager needs a way to document the change flow and automate the tasks.

Designed with extensive input from real IT Change Managers, Giva eChangeManager includes industry best practices as defined by the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and IT Service Management (ITSM). Unlike most change management applications, Giva eChangeManager is simple to configure and easy to use.

See to access white paper.

Sample Service Level Agreement-IT Help Desk

Hosted help desks prepare service level agreements to detail the services that will be provided to the customer and how they will be delivered. SLAs describe how the work of the help desk will be prioritized and agreed upon response times.

For example, the SLA describes the factors influencing first level problem determination, such as:

  • Number of customers affected
  • Effect on business mission
  • Context of problem
  • Deadlines
  • Estimated solution time
  • Application involved
  • Frequency of problem
  • Customer’s sense of priority
  • Customer’s commitment level
  • Availability of workaround
  • Threat to data integrity or computer security

Tables are used to define security levels, describe how calls will be prioritized, and respective response time commitments.

Request this sample service level agreement, which is consistent with industry best practices. Be sure all relevant topics and details are included in your SLA. If something is left out, it can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings between you and your customers.

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Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 & HIPAA

What Every IT Person Should Know About SOX and HIPAA

Both the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996/2003 require that your IT department put controls in place to comply with these regulations. These regulations sparked renewed interest in best practices like COBIT and ITIL, which have been addressing control issues for years.


SOX requires CEOs and CFOs to certify and provide quarterly and annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Management must accept responsibility for the effectiveness of its internal controls, evaluate the effectiveness using suitable control criteria and support this evaluation with sufficient evidence. In addition, auditors are required to verity and attest to these controls.

Since the accuracy and timeliness of financial reporting depends on a well-planned and well-controlled IT environment, IT organizations must not only provide various forms of control documentation (in the form of manuals, flowcharts, memoranda, etc.), but also documentation about the effectiveness of those controls. This white paper provides insight into passing your SOX audits.


The final Security Rule on HIPAA Security Standards was enacted in 2003. It complements the Privacy Rule and lays out three types of security safeguards required for compliance:

  • Administrative Safeguards - policies and procedures designed to clearly show how the entity will comply with the act
  • Physical Safeguards - controlling physical access to protect against inappropriate access to protected data
  • Technical Safeguards - controlling access to computer systems and enabling covered entities to protect communications containing protected health information (PHI) transmitted electronically over open networks from being intercepted by anyone other than the intended recipient

Request a copy of this free white paper to distribute to members of your IT department.


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How IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) can improve IT security

10 Ways IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Can Improve Information Security

  1. ITIL keeps information security service and business focused.
  2. ITIL can enable organizations to develop and implement information security in a structured, clear way based on best practices.
  3. With its requirement for continuous review, ITIL can help ensure that information security measures maintain their effectiveness as requirements, environments and threats change.
  4. ITIL establishes documented processes and standards (such as SLAs and OLAs) that can be audited and monitored.
  5. ITIL provides a foundation upon which information security can build. It requires a number of best practices - such as Change Management, Configuration Management and Incident Management - that can significantly improve information security.

Request a free copy of the white paper to see the rest of the countdown.


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Assess How Your Help Desk Is Operating

Evaluate Your Help Desk by Taking a Short Quiz in this White Paper

According to the Help Desk Institute, help desk costs rise 10-20% every two years. Some of the reasons for the increase are:

  • Increasing complexity of new help desk support software
  • Shorter life cycle of help desk software and hardware
  • Increasing customer use of help desks

To control costs and increase customer service satisfaction, take the short quiz contained in this white paper to assess how your help desk is operating. In addition, read about the best practices of help desks and benchmarks for common metrics like call abandonment and first call resolution rate.

By performing the root cause analysis described in this paper, one company found that new employees contacted their call center four times as often as other employees. After offering a 30 minute IT orientation to new employees, new user calls to the help desk dropped by 60%.

Performance goals are also a must. At the very least, performance goals should be established for customer satisfaction, cost per call, call abandonment rate, service level compliance, first call resolution rate, and cycle time. Individual agents should be measured using calls per month, customer satisfaction, and first call resolution rate.


See to access white paper.

Self-Help-Benefits of Customers Logging Service Requests

How to Successfully Implement & the Benefits of Customer Logging of Service Requests

Save Money By Successfully Implementing a Web Based Help Desk

Your customers or employees will not or cannot accurately and reliably enter their service calls into a software problem management system. That is the common perception, but it simply is not true in practice. In fact, industry studies indicate that the successful implementation of a self-service web based help desk is possible and it will save you a lot of money.

In this free white paper, the advantages to having customers log their own service requests via the web are presented. In addition to saving time and money, you will achieve increased accuracy of information and better help desk coverage.

Using one of our client’s experiences as an example, we share how they saved $135K in the first year alone and achieved an adoption rate of over 50% for help requests via the web.

This white paper addresses the following topics:

  • Detailed analysis of our client’s cost savings over a 4 year period as the result of customers logging their service requests via the web
  • Data on customer adoption of a web customer service system over time
  • Customer responses to the question: “What do you want from a support center?”
  • Suggestions for communicating and executing the adoption of web service requests so it benefits both you and your customers
  • Results of our time study comparing the time required to log basic help desk data by phone, voice mail, email, fax and web
  • Tips on how to implement a web based help desk successfully


See to access white paper.

Help Desk Staffing: Simple Analysis Can Save Money

Help Desk Staffing Models: "A Simple Analysis That Can Save You Money"

Methodology for Optimizing Your Help Desk Staffing

If you want to strike the balance between having sufficient staffing to react as needed and doing so economically, this free white paper is for you. Industry studies indicate that 80% of a typical help desk budget is salary, so staffing appropriately has a major impact on the bottom line.

The common Erlang formulas from queuing theory fall short because of the wide diversity of help desk entry points (call, fax, email, web, walk-ins, and pages).

Using the detailed formulas and methodology presented in this paper, you will be able to calculate the relationship between staffing levels and customer support levels. First, the paper looks at call center flow models to see how the organizational structure affects costs and program performance. Secondly, call volume, time to process a call, and time to resolve a call are used to determine the average number of staff required for a given call volume (time required to process the calls in the help desk tracking software application and time required to resolve the calls). A 70% utilization rate is a good starting point, since the inflow of random calls requires some slack capacity.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


Call Flow Design - Understanding the Different Strategies

- Gate Keeper Model

- Call Sorting Model

- Tiered Structure: Specialist Model

- Tiered Structure: Generalist Model

Financial Impact of the Various Models

How Many Help Desk Staff Are Required For Your Call Volume?

- Determining Direct Labor Requirements

- Determining the Number of Potential Direct Labor Hours Available

- Utilization Rate

- Sample Formulas

Appendix A: Cost Calculations for Typical Call Flow Support Models

Appendix B: Gross Staffing Level Calculation Worksheet

See to access white paper.

How to Choose an IT Help Desk Vendor

How to Choose the Right Help Desk & Customer Service Software Vendor

This free white paper presents a framework or organized approach for your vendor analysis so you can choose the right help desk support software the first time. It will help you avoid repeating the process in a year or so because the initial evaluation was incomplete.

Acquisition cost is only a small part of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of help desk management software. There are also significant lifetime recurring costs in dollars and personnel. All the costs to consider are discussed including a detailed breakdown of training costs, report creation, server requirements, web implementation, future customization, upgrades, network costs, etc.

Many help desk tracking software applications appear to be the same on the surface. Learn about the questions that vendors hope you do not ask. This approach will allow you to compare products apples-to-apples.

Table of Contents:

Summary. 5

Introduction – A life experience. 10

Write A Project Plan. 12

Write Your Goal 13

Acquisition Costs. 13

Application Cost/Licenses/Up-front Customization. 13

Server Requirements –Software/Database/DBA.. 14

Web Implementation. 14

Report Writing. 14

Development Environment 15

Training Costs. 15

Lifetime Costs. 16

Support 16

Day-to-Day Administration. 16

Future Customization Costs. 16

Upgrades. 18

People Costs. 18

Creating New Applications. 18

Network Costs. 19

Future Application Integrations. 19


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Improve Customer Satisfaction-Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Improving Customer Satisfaction by Implementing a Service Level Agreement (SLA)

An SLA is a type of service management system that establishes a two-way accountability for service, which is negotiated and mutually agreed upon. It is really a contract that documents operational and interpersonal relationships, establishes mutual expectations, and provides a standard to measure performance. Organizations that have such systems in place achieve higher customer and employee satisfaction ratings.

This free white paper explains how to get started in creating an SLA and pitfalls to avoid. The most common pitfall is creating SLAs that are too complex. If your SLA is more than 5 pages long, you are doing it wrong. Also, your SLA service level objectives must be realistic. You cannot write an effective SLA without knowing what your current performance measures are.

The following is the table of contents for the white paper:


a) Purpose of the SLA

b) Mission of IT (This is not just between the Support Center and customers)

c) Customers covered under the SLA

d) Locations

e) Owner of the SLA document and communications path

f) Services covered. This is only a high level statement.

2) Service Goal

a) Overall goal

b) Specific goals

3) Definition of terms

4) Service delivery elements

a) Service coverage times

b) Environment(s) included

c) Environments excluded

d) Specific applications and network services coverage

e) Methods for requesting service

f) Customer responsibilities

g) Service tracking and reporting procedures

5) Escalation procedures

6) Telephone, Web and Email response times

7) First contact resolution by the Support Center

8) Reporting methods

a) Weekly management reports on the Web

b) Monthly performance metrics on the Web

c) Quarterly Customer Satisfaction Surveys results on the Web

9) SLA contract period

a) When the current draft is effective

b) When it will be reviewed

c) How to request changes

10) Examples of cases by severity level and case type

11) Sample of the customer satisfaction survey questions


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Calculating ROI For Knowledge Base Cloud Software

Calculating ROI For Knowledge Base Software

Knowledge Management is the ongoing process of capturing, optimizing, and delivering information. It is not a one-time purchase of a new support center tool. Therefore to calculate the Return On Investment (ROI), you need to evaluate the cost of implementation and the cost of management. Quantifying the benefits in dollars can be difficult.

Most managers are able to forecast the costs, but struggle to forecast the savings. Companies struggle to put a value on customer satisfaction, job satisfaction, quality service, or even the intellectual capital that is captured into the knowledge base. In addition, before you can forecast an improvement, you have to know where you are. Some knowledge management vendors can help.

This free white paper demonstrates how to calculate future savings in dollars as a result of:

  • Reducing the average call time in your call center
  • Increasing the first call resolution rate
  • Reducing the escalation rate
  • Reducing the training time of a new support person


See to access white paper.


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