Findings From A View from the Frontline: University Edition

Posted on Wednesday 17 January 2018.

by Scarlett Bayes, Industry Analyst, SDI


Following the latest iteration of ‘A View From The Frontline’ published in 2017, SDI and UCISA wanted to take a closer look at the Higher Education industry, and note how it compares to the wider service desk industry. Within the scope of Higher Education, this report takes an in-depth look at service desk priorities for 2018, trends in IT Service Management tools and technologies, and the vendors that supply them.

Freshservice’s press release highlights some of the key points from the report.

“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, and these technologies are getting adopted faster than the overall market.

“Alongside this concentration on customer experience, the report found that 60 percent of respondents highlighted that their most significant pain area was the increasing demand for services from across their organisation, including internal requests and workload in supporting students together.”

The report found that Higher Education service desks are ahead of the rest of the industry in some aspects, particularly the sophistication of their technology and implementations and the focus on providing the customer and the business with the tools and technologies they require.

However, there are several points where data suggests that most service desks, regardless of sector, face the same challenges.

“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.”

Simon Johnson, General Manager UK and Ireland for Freshworks, gave his thoughts on the report findings.

“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.”

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.

The ‘View from the Frontline: University Edition’ report is based on interviews and research conducted in 2017.

To see all of SDI’s published research reports take a look at our Service Desk Insight area.


About Freshworks

Freshworks Inc. is the parent company behind the suite of products, which includes Freshdesk, Freshservice, Freshsales, Freshcaller, Freshteam, Freshchat and Freshmarketer. The company’s suite of products is designed to work tightly together to increase collaboration and help teams better connect and communicate with their customers and co-workers. Founded in October 2010, Freshworks Inc. is backed by Accel, Tiger Global Management, CapitalG, and Sequoia Capital India. Freshworks has its HQ in San Bruno, California and global offices in India, UK, Australia, and Germany. The company’s cloud-based suite of SaaS products is widely used by over 130,000 customers around the world including Honda, Bridgestone, Hugo Boss, University of Pennsylvania, Toshiba and Cisco.

To learn more about Freshworks, please visit

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