Re: User perspective
What type of event would put you at standstill and unable to work? I know you are speaking hypothetically but in my long experience out here, that event is not going to be something fixed from a tip in self service portal. If you are that down, you aren't getting to any self service portal anyway, unless you have an application problem. And self service won't fix that.
Other than doofy stuff like getting and hooking up a new mouse/keyboard, which you could have Googled anyway, this doesn't sound that useful. Makes me wonder what kind of calls they actually eliminated from Help Desk? Stuff like "Can't get site to work in browser", which self service site tells you to clear Temp Internet files, try Compatibility mode, etc? I guess I could see that, especially in company of 16,000 users. Be interesting to see if this idea expands to more companies.