The future for university IT is customer-centric

Nearly 80% of university IT teams will focus on customer experience in the coming year, according to research commissioned by Freshworks

Freshworks, a provider of cloud-based business software, has announced the findings of a research project by the Service Desk Institute (SDI). ‘View from the Frontline: University Edition’ finds that nearly 80 percent of university IT teams will see an increased focus on customer experience over the next twelve months. Automation, self-service and self-help functions are high priorities for universities to invest in, with these technologies getting adopted faster than the overall market. 

Alongside this concentration on customer experience, the report found the following: 

 – 60 percent of respondents said their most significant pain area was the increasing demand for services from across their organisation, including internal requests and workload in supporting students together

 – 74 percent of respondents highlighted that using more automation will be a top priority for their service desk. 

 – Fire-fighting due to heavy workload has been specified as where the most amount of time has been spent in the last 12 months. However, more than half of all respondents said their working life on the service desk had improved over the past year.

 – Self-service capabilities were the top influence when it came to new tool deployments according to 68 percent of respondents, followed by ease of use and UI in second position (63 percent)

 – Around 43 percent of universities use IT Service Management (ITSM) tools that are either software-as-a-service or cloud-based; three percent use hybrid cloud and on-premise tools; 54 percent are solely on-premise deployments 

 – Poor knowledge management integration capabilities were identified as a significant pain area for higher education service desks  

‘The increasing range of technology services used within higher education means that connected classrooms and teaching need more support as well.’

Scarlett Bayes, Research Analyst at SDI and author of the report, commented: “Compared with research set against the service desk industry as whole, we can see that higher education service desks are much more driven to develop their service and implement new technologies. This could be due to these teams having a more direct understanding of the needs of their customers. It will be interesting to see whether higher education service desks will continue to be ahead of the curve in the next three to five years, or whether their rate of development will start to match that of the wider industry.” 

Simon Johnson, General Manager UK and Ireland for Freshworks, said: “There’s a stronger emphasis on ease of use and automation for universities around IT service management today. With higher expectations around customer experience and speed of response, students want better support and service from their university IT teams, while the increasing range of technology services used within higher education means that connected classrooms and teaching need more support as well. For IT teams, improving ITSM through access regardless of device, more use of self-service and easier tools and workflows can add up quickly, enabling teams to deliver better service quality overall.” 

The View from the Frontline: University Edition report is based on interviews and research conducted in late 2017. The full SDI report is available here


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