With the growth in BYOD and the consumerisation of devices, more and more enterprises are adapting the way that they use technology to service the business effectively. However, many ITSM tools have been designed to give traditional IT teams a way to manage traditional services and processes at a component level only, whether that’s processing tickets or responding to an individual end-user request. The challenge, however, is whether or not ITSM evolution is possible and demands of the business can be met using the current tools at our disposal.
Today, firms need to ask themselves if this type of service level approach, using legacy methods, can flourish, or even survive in the future. This article will look at the practical steps that we’d recommend IT Service Managers consider, to deliver services that address the needs of the internal ‘business customers’ in a dynamic business environment, where user expectations are more demanding than ever.
Step 1: Know your customers
As a matter of course, you should already be undergoing customer satisfaction surveys or have appropriate forums for regular dialogue with your internal business customers. Use these forums to gain an appreciation of how your customers do business today, what IT services they use and what may change in the future. It is likely that:
- Your business will be using more personal devices and business customers will expect to access corporate applications and data securely from those devices
- Your business customers will be embarrassed if their business partners and guests cannot easily use your enterprise guest wireless whilst they’re visiting
- Your business customers will expect to work effectively from wherever they are
- They will expect to walk to another desk or meeting room and instantly access the IT services, applications and data at those locations
Expectations are changing. It’s important to explore these areas, and never shy away from hearing frustrations. Canvas their views on new service capabilities that would improve their experience and help them be more productive.
Step 2: Pay attention to your IT service portfolio
Look at the IT consumer services that you provide, and break them into categories. There is high chance that you will have one category (and call it what you prefer), has a large percentage helpdesk tickets that are similar. This means that “your consumers” repeatedly need to consume these same critical services. These include: resetting passwords or removing software on end user devices. It is important that you automate these services and allow the business to self-serve. This will free your team up to focus on the emerging services that need to become part of your service portfolio. As you add those new services, some may fall into this same category. Consider how automation and self-service capability is applied to those emerging services.
Step 3: Evolve ITSM Toolkit to Meet IT Service Goals
As you evolve your service portfolio, how well does your current ITSM toolset fit your strategic needs? It is important to evolve your ITSM toolkit to meet your longer term IT service objectives. Can you easily add common cloud services and can you automate and allow your consumers to self-serve?
In larger enterprises, you should think like a public cloud provider. You provide the capacity and the technologies and your customers help themselves to the most common services, without the IT team’s involvement. You should focus on managing areas such as, overall service capacity, the software license position and the development of your service portfolio. Commonly used or repeatable IT services should be available to your customers to help themselves, in the way customers consume Microsoft cloud services, for example, without the need to involve Microsoft’s Cloud IT support team. If your ITSM toolkit does not support that strategy, then you need to consider replacing or adding to those tools, to support a more strategic focus. That may mean looking at new ITSM capabilities that augment existing processes and tools to deliver “new world” capability within your service portfolio.
Step 4: Review and measure
As your service evolves, make sure that you have a continuous review cycle in place with an internal business customer group. It’s important to measure not only how the service portfolio fits the changing needs of the business but also whether your ITSM “toolkit” allows you to shape your service around your changing business. The following are critical:
- Know your service portfolio – To measure the services that you provide as an enterprise IT team, be clear on the portfolio of services provided. It starts with a list of those services, typically on a web portal explaining clearly what the services are (and are not). The portfolio needs an overall owner, typically a senior IT head, and the individual services require service owners, such as IT line managers. This list of the services requires ongoing maintenance.
- Manage the service portfolio – Work with business representatives and senior IT stakeholder to ensure that the portfolio remains manageable. As new services are used, you need to be able to remove other services, unless the business is willing to fund you to support an ever-growing and unsustainable portfolio.
- Measure the service portfolio – Develop a way to measure your portfolio. This needs to include which services are used by whom, and the level of consumption. Undertake a Service Review, and work with the business to get feedback on the quality of those services. Understand the cost of providing those services, relative to their business value.
- Build a Governance Function – Be open and discuss the importance of not creating a technical debt because of a “bloated” portfolio. You only have so much capacity as an IT function. Consider building a senior governance function to support the integration of new technology capabilities whilst removing non-strategic services and technologies.
In summary do everything you can to know your customers, understand your changing service portfolio, be aware of current limitations in your ITSM toolkit and evolve it for emerging demands, and lastly, proactively review and measure.