In an earlier blog post, I introduced the eight KPIs that are critical to every IT help desk. These KPIs help meet basic IT help desk objectives such as business continuity, organizational productivity, and delivery of services on time and within budget. The previous blog post discussed about one of the most important KPIs, infrastructure stability. This post discusses the fourth KPI – ticket volume trends.

Definition: Total number of tickets handled by the IT help desk and their patterns within a given time frame.

Goal: Optimize the number of incidents and service requests, and prepare the IT team to handle the ticket load.  

What can you do with  ticket volume trends?

  • Identify peaks and troughs to optimize  resource management and technician workload.

  • Create a better staffing model.

  • Design training sessions for your IT help desk team.

  • Analyze service request patterns and plan ahead for purchases of assets and licenses.

  • Validate any additional resource requirements.

IT help desks should watch out for a few trends when it comes to ticket volumes, such as:

Discrete spikes


A sudden upward spike in the ticket volume can be due to the following reasons:

a. Period of peak business activity

b. IT rollouts leading to:

i.Service disruptions and unavailability


c. IT disruptions

d. Post holiday password reset tickets

Case study: Fall intake leads to ticket spike at a university


The above figure represents the number of tickets handled by the IT help desk at a university in the United States. The graph clearly indicates a ticket spike  in the month of September 2012 and 2013. This is due to the increased amount of students joining the university during the fall. So, the IT team makes sure that this extra load is distributed evenly across the team, and each member works overtime to handle these ticket spikes.

Gradual continuous upward trend


An upward trend could be due to any of the following reasons:

  • Increase in the organization size

As the business grows, it is obvious that the IT help desk has to support more end users, which typically leads to increased ticket volumes. This gradual increase in the ticket volume can be handled by an effective staffing plan in accordance with the growth of the business. Furthermore, end users can be segregated into departments and user groups to handle tickets effectively.

  • Initiatives to support more business functions  

As IT starts supporting more business functions, the ticket volume (both incidents and service requests) rises. This can be handled by understanding the requirements and expectations of the end users, and equipping the IT help desk team to handle the increase in tickets.

  • Decrease of infrastructure stability

With the increasing number of problematic and outdated assets in the IT network, the number of tickets is bound to increase as well. This can be addressed by associating the incidents and problems with the assets,  helping the IT team decide on retiring the asset, upgrading the assets, and so on.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. In the next blog, we will discuss about the next KPI, First Call Resolution Rate. In the meanwhile, if you are looking for an end to end IT service management solution, we encourage you to check out ServiceDesk Plus, the IT help desk software trusted by over 100,000 help desks worldwide.