The most crucial element of a successful run with your new service desk partner is the implementation process.  Getting the service desk set up properly allows your new partner to function as a service desk for your organization, not a new and more expensive call routing system.

What we have run into all too often is that the implementation plan consists of “Let’s get up and running and address our issues and concerns as we go.” For many of the clients we now work with, unfortunately, they found out too late that trying to solve issues on the fly cost too much in terms of money and results. Without a plan, the implementation process takes longer, the results are difficult to measure, and the service desk is far less efficient.

To avoid finding yourself six months into your new partnership and wondering why things are not going as well as promised, here are 5 things you should look for in an effective implementation process.

A Plan

You should expect to receive a detailed project plan that outlines milestones from the signed contract through the go-live date before committing to a new help desk provider. To go-live successfully, your plan should include regular reviews after the go-live date to address any unanticipated issues early in the process.

This plan should have clear timelines for the process and dates for completion of each milestone to ensure success.


A key element of the plan is identifying the resources necessary to implement the plan. Planning for and allocating resources to accomplish the tasks necessary to complete the implementation early in the process will ensure they are available. Making sure the right resources are available early on avoids last-minute scrambles during implementation that can jeopardize the go-live date.

Discovery Process

The discovery phase should be simple in design and execution, starting with a comprehensive list of the information needed to successfully start the relationship.  This generally includes the documentation for the systems, policies, and procedures that you expect the service desk to follow.

Clear, Open, and Honest Communication

This is important for both the service desk and your company.  On the service desk side, providing the information outlined above will help set expectations, avoid confusion, and allow for everyone involved to monitor the progress towards the go-live date.  On the company side, clarity regarding which systems, policies, or procedures in the workflows do not exist allows for time to address the gaps. This is more common than you might expect as companies continue to ask IT departments to do more with less each year. A well-run service desk implementation process will help create the necessary documentation to ensure all parties have the right information and the expectations are clear on day one. While clients are often hesitant to openly communicate any deficiencies that exist, when they do, we work together with them, identifying and eliminating any gaps in the necessary documentation.

Concrete Deliverables

As a direct outcome of the steps outlined above, you should understand the key deliverables that result from the process.  For our clients, the outcomes include the following deliverables at the go-live date:

  • A workflow detailing the process and definitions used to measure the service desk Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • The creation and beginning of a knowledge base to speed resolution of known issues and aid in driving self-help for the end users of your organization
  • Complete and aggregated documentation of the systems, policies, and procedures for the service desk
  • Trained service desk employees who are ready on day one
  • Scheduled progress reviews post-go-live to address any issues that arise at the beginning of the relationship.

Having detailed conversations about the implementation process should be an expectation before signing a deal with any service desk provider. You should understand exactly the costs and deliverables required during implementation. Knowing this information before signing the contract provides the assurance that your new relationship will be successful for you and your service desk partner.

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