What is this ‘Level 0’ thing?

May 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM | What is this ‘Level 0’ thing?

What exactly is "Shift to the Left" or "Level 0," and is it the future of IT Help Desk Support and Service Delivery?

A Vision From Down Under
By Michael Poole

Last week I was a part of the Service Management Forum (SMF) that one of our larger clients in Australia has formed to bring all stakeholders in the IT area together to plan and implement the future of IT support and service delivery.

With a base of over 70,000 users geographically spread over an area of 809,444 km2 (312,528 sq mi—nearly 3 times the size of Nevada) it is a vital matter .

With a new leadership, they are now wanting to embracing ‘Shift to the Left’ or ‘Level 0.’

What is ‘Shift to the Left’? What is ‘Level 0’?

Let us look at the standard support model we all know and, perhaps, love.

It starts at Level 1 with the Help or Service Desk operator logging and hopefully resolving incidents or requests. If this is not possible, we move through Levels 2 and 3 etc. of the support and service layers. In this model, the user who contacts the Help Desk takes no active part in the correct resolution or fulfillment process. The support and service team use various tools to get to a resolution. These may include: Call Scripts, Knowledge Bases both formal and informal, automated fulfillment services/applications, interaction with other team members etc.

If we look at the support levels as a series running from left to right with the lowest—Level 1—on the left and then add Level 0 (the user) to the left of Level 1, then we have a ‘shift to the left’ with ‘Level 0’ as the first level of support.

Level 0 is all about creating an environment where the user can commence and, with the right tools, resolve an incident or fulfill a request WITHOUT having to involve the conventional support and fulfillment teams.

Let’s admit it, ‘Level 0’ can be a challenge to conventional support and fulfillment structures. The Help Desk is a well established and understood method of providing support to users. Users and support teams both can feel  uncomfortable with this model.

Done badly, it can result in frustration for the users, who feel that they are being abandoned and the support team feeling that they are being ‘put out of a job.’

Done well, the users will get a resolution faster and the support team—at all levels—will be engaged in the more challenging issues while not being overwhelmed by trivial issues that can be resolved easily.

In my next blog on this topic, we will look at the tools which enable Level 0 and, of course, how the Kinetic Suite of applications can be an integral part of addressing the challenges.

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