The volume of tasks running through the service desk continues to escalate. And end users—conditioned by Amazon, Facebook and Netflix—have ever-increasing service expectations.
But IT budgets remain unchanged, begging the question: How can IT make service processes more repeatable, predictable and automated while improving customer service—a growing business imperative?
Taking a page from the playbooks of more mature IT companies can provide answers. EasyVista has compiled the findings from a global survey on companies’ IT service management maturity levels—based on research conducted with Solisma, a global data analysis firm. It’s a sobering look at the state of the industry, but the results reveal what the leaders that score highest in the survey do when it comes to ITSM best practices.
Each company was ranked across six categories on the maturity scale. They received a score between zero and five:
- 0—Non-existent: Processes do not exist or are not yet performed
- 1—Initial/Ad-hoc: Basic activities are performed as required
- 2—Repeatable: Essential procedures and work instructions exist
- 3—Defined: All essential processes, roles and responsibilities exist
- 4—Managed: Clearly established objectives and targets
- 5—Optimized: Mature, integrated and continually improving
The Bad News: Very few of the companies surveyed received high marks
The majority of companies (75%) averaged a score between 1.2 and 2.2, and some industry sectors fared better than others. Financial services earned the highest score (2.3), higher education received the lowest (1.9), and high technology, not surprisingly, showed the widest maturity range, with data centers having more rigorous processes than small, managed service providers and start-ups.
From a geographic perspective, US companies fared slightly better than the rest of the world. The US average was 2.17 as compared with Europe’s score of 2.07 and the rest of the world’s score of 2.0. Company size was also a factor. Larger companies scored higher than smaller companies with billion dollar-plus companies’ averaging a score of 2.3 as compared to an average of 2.04 for companies with revenue under $250 million.
The Good News: 5 low hanging fruit measures can quickly boost maturity
The survey uncovered five important areas of opportunity for companies to focus on if they want to raise their ITSM maturity, allowing them to close the gap between an expanding workload and stagnant IT budget.
- Problem Management: 43% of respondents do little to no problem management. By addressing underlying problems before they result in incidents, companies can avoid hundreds of tasks that require attention—a potential gold mine as companies seek to balance tasks with resources.
- Knowledge Management: 66% of respondents do not offer knowledge management. When companies codify common questions and offer them via a self-service knowledgebase, support professionals can add more value and be the heroes they want to be. Start by codifying Tier 1 issues and expand from there.
- Prioritization: Many companies don’t map services by types of customers and services. Identifying important stakeholders and their critical service needs allows companies to put extra process rigor around these areas. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule—80% of the value delivered is contained in 20% of the services. Identify those, matrix them to see where they intersect and focus there.
- Reporting: 50% of respondents don’t have formal service reporting in place. Regularly sharing what the service desk does for the business not only keeps customers informed, it creates a focus on results among those who deliver the service.
- Measurement: Companies that had undergone a maturity assessment averaged a score of 3.44—far higher than the overall average. This suggests that ongoing measurement inspires continuous improvement. We recommend companies use the software process assessment model ISO/IEC 15504 surgically to regularly evaluate their IT service management practices.
Good service is good business, and the old adage that “we manage what we measure” certainly applies when it comes to building a mature, modern IT service management offering. Ideally, companies should assess IT service readiness every three to six months to continue to offer good service and drive out unnecessary costs.