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

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


See to access white paper.

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


See to access white paper.

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.

SOX Compliant IT Change Management Cloud Software

The current business climate of fast paced change requires IT service providers to deliver products and services at a justifiable cost without negative impacts to the infrastructure and end user. To compete in the global marketplace, IT service professionals are required to manage their infrastructure using an end to end holistic approach to deliver reliable service on a consistent basis.

Many organizations of all industries have implemented ITIL to effectively compete. Of the multiple ITIL processes, Change Management is considered difficult to implement but often shows the greatest return on investment. If you are beginning a change management process here are a few questions to consider. They will aid you in your Change Management planning and implementation process.

· How to start a Change Advisory Board?

· Is a tool required before we can start?

· Do we need a Change Coordinator?

· What metrics should be created?

· How do we involve the business customers in the process?

· How do we initiate a post-implementation review process?


Click the following for a demonstration of Giva's Hosted Change Management software.

RFC Dashboard-IT Change Management Cloud Software

Giva recently launched a new User Interface for our Giva eChangeManager.  See a demo at Hosted Change Management Software.

A hosted change management solution offers a lower total Cost of Ownership.

Giva eChangeManager starts with a simple home page.

  • Submit a new change request, by clicking on “Create New RFC”
  • Search for RFCs by typing in keywords or an RFC number in the “Find RFC” tab or use the mini search in the main navigation on each page.
  • RFCs Waiting For Approvel by the Change Manager and others are quickly accessed.
  • Recent and Upcoming RFCs 30 days in the past or scheduled for 30 day into the the future are quickly accessed.
  • Optional Knowledgebase tab is also available for more advanced organizations where standard documents and files such as Implementation, Test and Backout Plans are stored for easy reuse.
  • Giva’s outstanding Reports are quickly accessed from each page in the main navigation.

High Cost of IT Change Related Failures

The Gartner Group published a report several years ago that stated that 87% of calls into a typical company's helpdesk were the result of 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 1500 service requests a month, using Gartner’s 87% figure and $25 per contact, the cost of change related failure requests is an astounding $391,500 annually!

Furthermore, today, the primary communication vehicles used by IT professionals for requesting and managing IT changes are paper, email and voicemail. People generate and forward these vehicles around the organization, but often the key people and departments are not aware of important changes. Often, no central authority prioritizes very important IT requests for changes or makes escalations in a timely manner. At Giva, we understand 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 and we know that this job is very demanding! It requires the balancing of priorities between reviewing all new requests for change (RFC), chairing the Change Advisory Board, prioritizing, approving, scheduling and conducting post-implementation change reviews. In order to help manage such a demanding and important job, the Change Manager needs a way to document the change flow and automate the tasks.  Giva’s eChangeManagerSM was designed by a team of product managers using extensive customer feedback and “best practices” as defined by the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and IT Service Management (ITSM). Unlike most change management applications, eChangeManager was designed to be first a stand-alone application and then integrated and, most importantly, simple to configure and easy to use.  One person on the team won the prestigious Help Desk Institute Help Desk of the Year award in 1998 and was a runner-up in 1997 not only for his helpdesk but for his design and implementation of IT change management processes and tools.


See more at

ITIL Compliant Cloud IT Change Management Software Process


The follow are the high level steps where a good SaaS hosted change management software application will assist in the change process workflow:

  • Step 1:  Request for Change (RFC) Submission:  Users and Customers submit requests into the SaaS hosted change management software.  Requirements include the reason for change, customers affected, estimated cost, impact on existing services and other relevant factors.  Documents can be attached to the RFC such as business and project plans and ROI analysis.

·         Step 2:  Change Manager Acceptance:  The Change Manager is notified by the SaaS hosted change management software of a new RFC. 

o        Change Acceptance:  This means the actual receipt, recording and documentation of the RFC.

o        Filter RFC:  The Change Manager filters out inappropriate requests, and informs the RFC initiator of the acceptance or rejection and the reason.

  • Step 3:  Establish Priority:
    Urgent Priority
    :  The Change Manager may classify the initial priority as Urgent. The SaaS hosted change management software automatically notifies CAB or CAB/EC of an urgent meeting.  If the CAB approves the change, then the Change Manager updates the change record and implements the urgent change process.
  • Priority:  The Change Manager decides the category (initial impact/resource estimate) and/or use of standard (minor) change model.

  • Step 4: Classification

    • Minor Change:  The Change Manager has the authority to approve or reject a minor change.  The Change Manager schedules the change based on resources and other changes scheduled in the change management software.  This action automatically notifies the CAB.
    • Significant Change:  If the Change Manager assigns the priority as “Significant”, then the SaaS hosted change management software automatically circulates the RFC to CAB members.  CAB members then confirm impact/resources estimate and priority, approve/reject changes and schedule changes.
    • Major Change:  If the Change Manager assigns the priority as “Major”, then the SaaS hosted change management software automatically circulates the RFC to CAB members AND to senior management/board level.  CAB and senior management approves/reject changes on the grounds of financial, technical or business reasons.  Next, the change is scheduled.
  • Step 5:  Forward Schedule of Changes (FSC):  This is a schedule that contains details of all the Changes approved for implementation and their proposed implementation dates.   Once approved, the responsible Service Group communicates to Users and Customers any planned or additional downtime arising from implementing the Changes.

  • Step 6:  Change Builder Input:  Approved changes have a responsible builder party that builds the change in the development environment, creates the back out and testing plans.  The Change builder updates the RFC with all this information.

  • Step 7:  Change Implemented Documentation:  The RFC is updated after the change is successful implemented with actual change data, costs, time to implement and realized benefits.  Also, the RFC is updated if the change did not work. The update includes what went wrong, impact on customers and the business, lessons learned and recommendations to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

  • Step 8:  Change Closed:  The Change Manager closes the RFC.  He verifies that the record has all the required information entered according to the established change processes.

·         Step 9: Reporting Metrics:  The Change Management process' key metrics include the following:
1.  Cost and benefit information.
2.  The source of and reasons for change. For example, corrective vs. innovative, business vs. technical.
3.  Number of successful or unsuccessful changes.  For example, how many changes had to be backed-out and how many problems arose.
4.  Status metrics. For example, the number of changes in progress or the number of new changes in backlog.


Throughout the change process, SaaS hosted change management software has all the current information for all of IT. However, more specifically it has this information available for the help desk.  When anything out of the ordinary comes to the help desk, a simple click of the SaaS hosted change management software hyperlink will allow a User to access all recent changes. Valuable time is not required for diagnosing an issue that is the result of a change.  If necessary, the help desk can create a ticket with a cause code of “Change” and immediately assign it to the responsible change implementation person. 


Giva eChangeManager is integrated with Giva eHelpDesk. There is also a standalone edition of Giva eChangeManager. This can be integrated with other problem management systems.

For more information see

Change Management Process Implementation Suggestions


Change Management is first and foremost a process. It is a process involving all of IT. It must have the highest management support. The following are roles and responsibilities that need to be in place before embarking on a Change Management process. These must be in place before a change management process can be successfully implemented.  Consider SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) to make getting up and running faster, easier and less expensive.

  • Change Manager
    • Ensures the Change Process Is Followed
    • Approves Low Risk Changes
    • Issues Future Forward Schedule of Changes (FSC)
    • Coordinates Change Building
    • Reviews All Implemented Changes
    • Closes Change Records
    • Produces Management Reports
  • Change Advisory Board (CAB)
    • Reviews All Submitted Request for Changes (RFC)
    • Attends Relevant CAB or CAB/EC Meetings
    • Advises the Change Manger
  • Emergency Committee (EC) (Subset of the CAB)
    • Makes Decisions on Urgent Changes

Please see for more information.


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