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Public Sector IT Teams Find Increased Band-Width with Better ITSM Service Portals

Among the challenges faced by IT organizations, a lack of resources is usually at the top of the list, especially in the public sector.

Shutterstock/Jacob Lund
Among the challenges faced by IT organizations, a lack of resources is usually at the top of the list, especially in the public sector. IT leaders need to make smart changes to keep up with increased demand for technology resources so that they can continue to provide excellent support for their communities. Embracing self-service is a great place to start.

According to HDI, a support call costs $22 compared to self-service, which is just $2 per incident. The opportunity for reduced costs is clear, and there needs to be a push toward including self-service in IT Service Management (ITSM) initiatives. But not all self-service portals are created equal, so how can you tell what to look for?

Easy to use, own, and operate

For starters, your portal should be welcoming to end users. Using the same colors, graphics, and fonts users are familiar with from your main website is essential. The portal should also be designed using the language of your end users – avoid using too much jargon and overly technical language.

When it comes to creating the portal itself, it should be easy to build and maintain. Look for a tool that requires no specialized technical skills like coding or scripting to manage your portal. This way, you shouldn’t need dedicated resources to administer it either.

With a highly configurable portal, you can be strategic in your efforts as well—first focusing on frequently asked questions and those issues that contribute to a high volume of incoming help desk tickets. Over time, you’ll be able to grow and evolve your portal into a valuable resource that end users will learn to turn to first, freeing up the IT staff to focus on higher priority tasks and projects.

Knowledge Base

Along with being easy to navigate and written in the end users’ own language, stellar portals also leverage a knowledge base (KB) that provides quick links to the most accessed content, makes it easy to enhance content, and is accessible via mobile devices.

Maintaining an effective knowledge base means the information available is always as up to date as possible. Knowledge Centered Service (KCS®) relies on the notion that content is generated as problems arise, and articles are updating often. While KCS started in ITSM, it’s now being adopted across the enterprise. KB articles are living assets that can be leveraged by both the users and technicians, which translates into a dramatic increase in first contact resolution (30-50%).


When creating a portal, it is important to be as accessible as possible, meaning it should be WCAG 2.0/508 compliant. Not only should the site be easy to navigate, but it should also be made available to everyone.

Making your knowledge base publicly indexable by Google is a great way to help users find the information they need. Selecting a tool that allows you to make some KB articles public means that people can find your portal even if they have never used it before.

Want to see a collection of stellar self-service portals? Here are some real examples of portals really work.

Beyond the Reviews: What to look for in an ITSM platform.

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™.

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