How do you define the IT work you do?
It involves more than just break fixing. IT service management (ITSM) is about recognizing the business value of the information technology (IT) function and providing a framework to deliver service in an integrated way.
Let’s face it: the technology alone in “IT” is complex. But there is also complexity in how technology is used to support an organization’s operations and functions. Decades ago, these functions were more likely to be siloed. That might have been easier to manage in some ways, but there is greater business impact when they are managed as an entire unit. That’s why ITSM is embraced by so many practitioners—it’s a structured way to wrap your arms around everything IT does today.
There’s a bit of complexity around ITSM processes, but the idea is that you need a framework to design, create, deliver, support and manage IT services. At its root you’ll find:
- Incidents: requests to the service desk about things that went wrong or are broken.
- Request: a need for something, like a new laptop or onboarding an employee.
- Change Management: managing a system change, like a migration or upgrade. One change can affect other applications and systems, so you need a way to track how systems are connected and what the impact of various changes will be.
How ITSM Helps IT and the Greater Organization
Because it’s a framework, ITSM gives you a structure to follow for most things the department does. No need to invent a wheel—you follow an established, proven process in order to:
- Save money.
- Eliminate what you don’t need (whatever doesn’t support the business).
- Make more informed budgeting decisions.
- Improve customer and/or end user service and satisfaction.
- Mitigate potential risk.
- Better support IT governance.
- Operate at a lower cost than the competition.
- Improve IT service delivery to the organization.
As a result, you’re more likely to see a decrease in issues and reactive tasks, while gaining more time to act proactively, focus on strategy and empower business processes and services. It’s about efficiency, keeping end users working/moving forward, while serving customers at a higher level.
You’re likely to see a decrease in IT costs, because provisioning, management and support are viewed in a unified way. The focus is likely to be on:
- Repeating processes that help you operate consistently.
- A holistic view of the entire operation: what you have, what you are doing and what you don’t need. This insight helps you understand what assets and services to streamline.
- Understanding investments that support the business: financial, time or service-wise.
- Removing risk via compliance.
Both the IT department and greater organization win with ITSM. The IT team can make tasks less labor intensive and more efficient using automation and workflows. And with fewer fires to put out, you can focus on choice and more interesting or complex work. You can explore ways to innovate, like a strategic use of knowledge management and other methods of maximizing knowledge the team has created. And reporting can be improved so that it’s easier to create, visualize and understand the story behind the data.
The business benefits because everything is up and running: IT can respond to incidents faster; they can plan services and changes at non-peak hours. Larger problems are less likely because IT can better spot and resolve smaller issues. There is less waste, more consolidation, because questions of “what do you really need?” regularly asked and evaluated and there’s a process to get rid of anything unnecessary.
ITSM: Where to Start and How to Realize Benefits Fast
ITSM is a long game, but with a little prioritization you can see results in the short-term by defining what you need and weeding out what you don’t:
- Stay in the moment when it comes to investments: purchase items that are necessary or that you have a proven need for. Now is not the time to build inventory.
- What can be recycled? You might be surprised that you have readily available stock of hardware, software and licenses.
- Focus on change management: fix failures, prevent failures and maintain compatibility during changes so that applications and systems continue to run smoothly. But always consider: why are you making a change? It should be justified in a concrete way, so that you know it will have an impact and not lead to incidents.
- Make cuts where you can: In the wake of organizational change, you may have multiples or applications you aren’t using. Let ‘em go.
Another idea? Look for ways to save the team’s time. Automation can be a life saver. It reduces manual steps and, in some cases, creates remarkable efficiencies. A great example is Tikit, a Microsoft Teams-based IT service desk solution, that uses AI-powered deflection. It touches end users faster, while giving analysts and admins time and space to step in and resolve issues the virtual agent isn’t equipped to solve. It does this without writing a single line of code.
Automated self-service is another example of low-hanging fruit. The idea is to help end users find an answer, instruction or a solution faster, but Tikit takes an innovative approach on this front as well. It uses the knowledge base as a tool to train the virtual agent, so that the answers, instruction or solution are served directly to the end user. They don’t have to search for it. They just ask and receive.
With more employees working remotely or via hybrid schedules, the ability to remote into computers to survey issues and repair is more crucial. These tools are worth investment.
If certain problems pop up again and again, it’s time to get to the bottom of it. Repetition is a time and resource waster.
How are you affecting / empowering the business?
What will the business need now and in the future? Brainstorm about future investment and strategy, the best way to organize team processes around demand, assets, service delivery and relationships across the organization.
Promote IT department wins. IT is often taken for granted, often because non-technical people don’t understand the steps IT takes to achieve a result and skill required. It’s wise to actively educate on IT achievements and its role in organizational projects. Tikit offers an easy way to do this and reflect return on investment (ROI) of tickets created vs. deflected.
Evaluate SLAs. It’s often helpful to look at the cost of executing a service against its value. If SLAs need to be adjusted, perhaps lowering a target if it doesn’t change perception of service, might be worth a shift.