IT Jargon Explained

Shift Left

Shift left is a practice — better yet, a strategy — that makes problem resolution and other key activities less costly and accelerates issue resolution.

As an IT professional, you’re a problem-solver at heart. Solution-oriented is written on your sleeve and you’re pretty darn good at it. 

But for longer than you can remember, you’ve been spending the majority of your day troubleshooting problems. And there are so many that you can barely keep up, which has left you with no time to work on more strategic projects that will increase the organization’s effectiveness. You feel stuck in an almost permanently reactive mode. 

You’re not alone. This is where many IT teams find themselves as the complexity of their IT landscape continues to increase without the technology to match it. It doesn’t have to be this way because the more you can “shift” your department “left,” the more these problems can actually take care of themselves. Imagine that! 

This article aims to help you understand the benefits of shift left and how it can make an impact on your organization. Keep reading to learn more.

What is shift left?

Shift left is a practice — better yet, a strategy — that makes problem resolution and other key activities less costly and accelerates issue resolution. This is achieved in large part through automation, so that the problems typically handled by the frontline support desk analyst resolve themselves automatically. Even more left is actually putting the problem resolution in the end users’ hands so they can resolve the problem themselves. 

Both approaches shift the resolution left, closer to the original issue. It’s also not a process that is one-and-done. It’s a constantly evolving practice that requires constant revisitation and reevaluation and fosters an environment of innovation. As a result, this can save time and money, and increase security and productivity in the long-term. 

The benefits of shift left

There are a number of benefits to implementing a shift left IT strategy. 

Faster Resolution: It decreases the amount of time it takes for your team to resolve tickets. This takes them from a reactive to a proactive state and frees up your team to put their brainpower behind more strategic initiatives that have bigger business impact. 

Reduced Escalations: Shifting left will also minimize the number of tickets that require advanced human intervention. This leads to decreased work disruptions that helps keep Agent efficiency high and improves user productivity. 

Improved Employee Experience: Being able to resolve issues seamlessly, without having to wait for an agent or interrupting their work increases employee satisfaction and improves IT’s reputation across the organization. 

Optimized Costs: With issue resolution being handled more on the front line and less by costly specialists, you’ll be able to save costs related to hours and even headcount. Additionally, you’ll free up your team members for more strategic work. You'll better utilize your resources and assets and organize the most effective resources to the right projects. 

Increased Security: An automated process that allows you to identify vulnerabilities early, understand their impact, and remediate them before wider impacts on your organization. 

How to shift left

Getting your IT department to shift left won’t happen overnight but you can begin to implement these practices to get started. The key to success is making sure you have an IT service management solution in place that can help you execute the following steps: 

Assess - First, consider which practices your service desk analysts are spending the most time on and whether any of these activities can be automated. 

Automate - Design and configure your workflows and self-service portals with automation in mind that makes the end user experience less complex and will also decrease the number of tickets your frontline Analysts must address. 

Reevaluate - As mentioned previously, shift left is an ongoing practice. As you implement new practices and approaches, constantly reevaluate what could be done better and consider what additional automation opportunities present themselves. 


Shift left is an incredibly valuable practice that can help your IT organization become more productive and strategic. By moving incident resolution closer to the end user and ever further left into self-healing, your Support Teams can focus on resolving more complex issues, all while reducing escalations, improving the employee experience, optimizing resource allocation and enhancing security.