Running an IT help desk without a ticketing system might seem like driving a car without any wheels. For decades, tickets have been a fundamental resource for keeping help desks organized and efficient.
But that may be changing. Help desk automation has advanced to the point that ticketless service desks are now feasible, creating rich new opportunities for IT teams to add efficiency to some of their core processes.
Here's how ticketless service desks work, which benefits they offer, and how to enable them.
What Is a Ticketless Service Desk?
A ticketless service desk is a service desk where users can receive the support they need without having to create manual tickets. In a ticketless setup, help desk operations are automated to the point that most user requests can be anticipated and serviced automatically.
Thus, instead of handling user requests by having users contact an IT employee, explain their request, and then have the employee open a ticket for the request, a ticketless service desk automates the request process.
There are several key components to the typical ticketless service desk:
- Automated engagement channels, like chatbots, which allow users to initiate requests without manual interaction with IT employees.
- Self-service solutions, which users can access on demand and on their own.
- Monitoring and observability, which help IT departments identify and fix user-impacting issues proactively, before anyone has to submit a ticket.
In most instances, ticketless service desks are not completely ticketless in a literal sense. Most organizations that embrace this approach still have ticketing systems, which they use to handle requests that their help desk automations can't support. But the aim is to minimize the number of tickets that IT teams open and manage.
Benefits of a Ticketless Service Desk
The main benefit of a ticketless service desk is obvious enough to most anyone who has worked in IT: Sorting through tickets can be a tremendous amount of work, so the fewer tickets you have, the more efficiently your IT team can operate.
Plus, the ticketless service desk model also offers the benefit of helping users get what they want more rapidly. From the user's perspective, handling user requests through help desk automations or self-service solutions beats having to wait for an IT employee to open a ticket, then wait longer for someone to respond to it.
In short, the ticketless approach is a win-win for IT teams and end users alike.
How to Get Started with Ticketless Help Desk Automations
Ticketless help desks aren't a brand-new idea. The concept has been around for at least a decade.
However, actually building service desks that minimize their reliance on tickets has only recently become feasible for most organizations. Advancements in AI and help desk automations, like the release of advanced chatbots, go far in helping IT teams engage with end users in an automated, ticketless way. Generative AI technology promises to take these innovations even further by allowing businesses to build even better chatbots.
At the same time, new trends in self-service solutioning are helping IT teams take a more hands-off approach to user support. Platform engineering, for example, can address internal user requirements in an automated, self-service fashion and significantly reduce the number of tickets opened in response to internal employee needs.
Advancements in monitoring and observability, too, make it more practical than ever to identify user problems proactively and respond to them before anyone has to open a ticket. If you notice a spike in application latency or a high error rate for users based in a certain geographic region, for example, you can get ahead of the issue and correct it before users contact the help desk.
Paired with more traditional help desk automations, such as automated user provisioning and email notifications, modern automations can bring IT organizations closer than ever to a ticketless model.
Conclusion: AI and the Future of Help Desks
IT practitioners and managers shouldn't expect tickets to go away entirely anytime soon. But they should be on the lookout for opportunities to operate help desks that are ticketless, or as close to it as possible. Seizing on a new generation of AI solutions and help desk automations, they can say goodbye to the morass of traditional ticket management and say hello to a more efficient and effective approach to supporting their users.
About the authorChristopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.