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2015 – The Year of the Enterprise – Service Management

service management

Let’s declare 2015 the Year of the Enterprise and do things that forever change the business’ impression of IT! What can Service Management do to help?

With the new year upon us, now is a great way to look at three ideas your IT organization can use to drive a stronger partnership with your organization and change your relationship with them forever (well, at least for the short term) using service management.

Idea #1: Build an Enterprise Portal

Even if IT already has a Service Request Catalog, now is a great time to expand it to include all service providers in the organization and reduce the number of request channels your associates must navigate. There are several reasons to ‘go enterprise’ on this one:

  • The single pane of glass approach makes it far easier for people to figure out where to go when they need a light bulb changed, want to recruit someone for an open position or order a new workstation.
  • This approach makes it possible to manage complex and multi-provider requests like on boarding a new associate. A customer can fill out one on boarding request and appropriate work orders can be cut for HR, Benefits, Facilities, Security and IT. This is a huge time-saver for hiring managers who have to work with all of these providers each time they hire someone, returning them to more valuable work more quickly. Additionally, if they can see the progress of their request at any time, it enables them to see how all of their needs are progressing in one view, again streamlining their activities.
  • This approach can actually reduce costs by shutting down multiple portals. While it won’t always enable you to replace a facilities management system or HRIS tool, it will enable you to provide them with a customer-facing catalog that can enable them to eliminate other, similar portals. Even if you have multiple homegrown service portals on web sites and collaboration servers, you still lower costs by having to supply skilled IT personnel to support those other environments. If you can provide them with case management, both of these providers may be interested in using the same tool as IT for these functions enabling their case management tools to be phased out, producing more significant savings.

How to get there: 

If you don’t already have a service request catalog, there are several approaches you can take:

  • Implement a front-end service catalog tool that is able to “bolt-on” to multiple types of systems and comes with out of box integrations to these systems and API’s.
  • Implement the self-service Service Catalog tool in your existing IT Service Management tool
  • If your tool does not have self-service, implement a tool that does and use it like a “bolt-on” catalog initially, eventually migrating all willing service providers onto the new tool

Idea #2: Go PMO

A program management office implementation is a great way to engage the business in the service strategy and service design aspects of the ITIL framework. Marrying your ITSM implementation with program management provides the link between your ITSM processes and the business processes involved in managing their portfolio of programs, a more common term for the activities that take place in ITIL’s service portolio management process. Thus, if the organization has already established a PMO, this can be as simple as getting the right IT department members involved. If not, this is an easy way to engage the business without sounding too much like IT.

Once IT is working with a PMO, it’s as critical that all IT projects are sent to through the PMO as it is to have all business projects go through PMO review and chartering. The key here is to being linking the IT portion of a business initiative with that initiative. For example, IT may look at their role in implementing technology for a new business project as an IT project, but instead it should be part of the business project. In fact, there should be very few standalone IT projects. Often the term ‘infrastructure refresh’ comes up when this concept is introduced to an IT organization. But really, what is an infrastructure refresh? If equipment is nearing end of life, replacement is part of an operating budget and regular maintenance. If a major infrastructure refresh is being done isn’t this part of a service improvement program? As such it should be addressed and submitted by the business owners of the services that need the refresh, turning it into a business project.

How to get there:

If you already have a PMO in the organization, engage the PMO’s process owner in discussions about how to roll IT into their operation. Chances are they’ll be happy to have IT’s involvement. If there is no PMO, the CIO or VP’s of IT will need to be involved in establishing an effort to implement one as they will need to engage the appropriate business executives. Once this is accomplished, the service strategy and service design processes along with PMO best practices provide the guidance needed. One word of caution: before approaching this, a certain level of ITSM maturity is needed: service operation processes need to be mature enough to provide good system/service stability, assisted with good service transition maturity.

Idea #3: Empower the Enterprise to Become Self-Sufficient

Many IT organizations consider a self-service request catalog and knowledge base to be a full self-service implementation, but there’s more opportunity here: full automation wherever possible. The marketing folks call it ‘turning your catalog into an App store,’ which is a great beginning, but there’s far more to real self-service. Here are a few goals to think about in this arena:

  • Turn software requests into an ‘App Store’ (of course that’s #1) by using automation to enable the customer to download and install the software immediately if it’s covered by an enterprise license or is freeware (like Adobe PDF readers). Even if a license needs to be obtained, the process can enable them to self-install the software on approval of the license by their manager.
  • Enable your Knowledge Base to supply a fix. If certain problems have a known fix that can be automated, include a link to the script or other automated solution that enables the user to run the fix themselves. If the solution fails, include a link to automatically open an incident, which includes details that the fix was tried and failed.
  • Add common desktop maintenance activities and fixes to the Service Request Catalog: There are many simple fixes that organizations automate for the Service Desk’s use, like password resets, virus signature updates and scans, spyware scans and cleanup etc. Instead of leaving these as Service Desk only tools, automate them and put them in an appropriate place in the Service Request Catalog so people can find them easily, without even having to search the Knowledge Base to find them.
  • Orchestrate/automate IT to IT requests: From provisioning a virtual server to automation to open firewall ports, look at all of the simple tasks IT personnel perform for one another and pursue ways to use the orchestration capabilities in ITSM tools to automate these tasks.

How to get there:

Engage your IT Service Management tool administrators and technical teams, challenging them to find ways to automate these features. In fact, work with IT management to run an internal Hackathon to create these solutions, with some prizes attached. You’d be surprised how fast this builds your catalog of simple fixes!

Oh, and while you’re at it, review your BYOD policies. The best way to get people to be self-sufficient is to let them use the tools they need, when they need them.

Hope these ideas get you going. Leave me tweets about any other great ideas you have for 2015  @MSITSM.


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