As we prepare to move beyond what was termed “the new normal,” now is the time to reflect on the global pandemic’s impact on your business and how to future-proof your service management strategy. Many of us were comfortable before the crisis, but the pandemic pushed us out of those comfort zones into a hectic pace of digital transformation, showing us the ever-growing significance of DevOps and an increased pace of adoption.
Now more than ever, the first focus within service management is to contribute to value delivery to the business, which ultimately creates value for the customer. The second focus is to deliver a great, and more importantly, consistent customer experience. Hence the service management strategy that worked in previous years must be re-thought, re-calibrated, and realigned into the new era.
To help, this article walks through four factors to consider when getting ready for the next era in service management: innovation, collaboration, experimentation, and transparency.This article by @NancyVElsacker walks through four factors to consider when getting ready for the next era in service management: innovation, collaboration, experimentation, and transparency. #ITSM #business Click To Tweet
Innovation is the intersection of what you think is needed, what the customer needs, and societal transformation. In service management, the key to innovation is to start with the “why” and then move into finding ways to make it easy for customers.
When I say start with the “why,” I mean to start by asking what pains you are solving and what are your drivers. This is relative to customer value and customer experience. For example, is your customer a call center employee who routinely has to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be negatively impacted by system errors and outages? Are they so used to taking care of their customers that they are often ignored or not given an exceptional experience themselves? Think about why this customer will contact the service desk and what drives them, and you. Then, find ways to create a culture of enablement to make things easy. Solve their problems in a way that doesn’t add more stress to their plate.In service management, the key to innovation is to start with the why and then move into finding ways to make it easy for customers – @NancyVElsacker #ITSM Click To Tweet
In an enablement culture, you can, and should, facilitate collaboration. Customers want to be helped how, when, and where they prefer. According to a 2019 Digital Workplace Consumer Survey from Gartner, when asked “If you had an issue with the digital technology you use for work, how would you prefer to solve it?” 29% said as their first option that they would ask a co-worker and 28% said that they would primarily look for an answer on the internet. 25% said their first choice was to phone IT support, and 7% said they would primarily email the IT service desk.
That means that collaboration in this context doesn’t necessarily mean only sticking to collaborative efforts among service desk agents to resolve the incident – although that can certainly help. Rather, it means including the customer in collaboration to solve the problem. By doing so, you enable the customer to learn how to solve their own problems in the future, and you also create a culture of constant feedback. Involving the customer in the solution also means that the more involved they are in understanding the problem and solution, the more likely they are to share it with their peers, who are possible service desk customers.
Another aspect of collaboration is giving agents the ability to share notes, questions, or feedback on a particular incident or problem in a shared, social way. This can be done directly in your knowledge management or ITSM tool and will help keep knowledge articles refreshed as new workarounds are found and as the service desk evolves.Enable your customers to learn how to solve their own problems in the future, and create a culture of constant feedback, by collaborating with them on their incidents – @NancyVElsacker #ITSM Click To Tweet
Experimentation and continuous learning are not the same as continuous improvement – but they are a prerequisite for it. Experimentation and continuous learning mean that you’re enabling a culture of ongoing improvement and are encouraging a model of failing fast, failing often, and failing forward.
Let me explain. In a traditional service desk or service management model, risks are carefully managed and, in some cases, the processes of ITIL eliminate those risks. But, through continual experimentation you may find it more beneficial to try new things with the caveat that it’s okay for the project to fail fast and often, as long as you’re “failing forward” and learning, applying what you learned to the next experiment. And this boosts any continuous improvement outcomes.
For example, think of a service desk that’s experimenting with creating a new ticket migration scenario. You’ll probably run into times when the ticket isn’t resolved fast enough or something slips through the cracks, which is a failure you can experience fast and apply what you learned to the next iteration of the project. Similar to using the agile methodology, you should continually work to experiment, improve, and keep moving.
The biggest benefit of focusing on continuous learning, rather than an improvement environment, is that it takes away the pressure from always having to improve and moves it to encouraging people to always learn. In this environment, people are more likely to think outside the box and ultimately (and surprisingly) having more improvements as a result.The biggest benefit of focusing on continuous learning, rather than an improvement environment, is that it takes away the pressure from always having to improve and moves it to encouraging people to always learn – @NancyVElsacker #ITSM Click To Tweet
A modern service desk is a transparent service desk. By this, I mean that to fully embrace the previous point of experimentation you must also incorporate feedback loops and actively solicit feedback. This can be feedback from the customers with whom you collaborate and work, the greater IT team, management, or other departments.
These insights should be measurable so that you know what to prioritize. For example, you might consider incorporating a customer feedback survey at the end of each ticket so that you can gain insight into whether the problem was solved quickly enough and if the customer feels their problem was solved correctly. This will give you measurable KPIs to work toward, which you can then use to refine processes and shift priorities. You can read about a few of the ways to measure customer transparency in this recent post from EasyVista’s Evan Carlson.A modern service desk is a transparent service desk, and that means incorporating feedback loops and actively soliciting feedback – @NancyVElsacker #servicedesk #ITSM Click To Tweet
Sustainability is Key in Next Era Service Management
After you’ve shifted focus onto the four factors above, make sure that it’s all measurable so that you can prove the financial impact these changes have on the IT department and business as a whole.
A final point: you should make next-era service delivery manageable on the levels of process, people, and technology. As an example, you don’t want to make your processes nor technology too dependent on specific people. Imagine you need three full-time employees to program any process changes into your service management tool. Now, imagine two of these employees retire, and think about the challenges that come with that. This stress can be avoided with a service management tool that doesn’t require several employees to manage and maintain it. Making your strategy ready for the next era means focusing on making things easy to implement, use, administer, maintain, and grow.
Altogether, this will help you create a sustainable service management strategy to last for years to come – no matter what crisis should encounter humanity next.
Nancy Louisnord is the Chief Marketing Officer of EasyVista, responsible for the company’s global and regional marketing programs and product marketing strategy. With more than 14 years of global leadership experience in the ITSM software industry, she is a sought-after presenter at conferences and contributor to several leading industry publications. EasyVista is a global software provider of intelligent service automation solutions for enterprise service management and self-help. Leveraging the power of ITSM, Self-Help, AI, and Micro Apps to create customer-focused service experiences, EasyVista has helped companies improve employee productivity, reduce operating costs, and increase customer satisfaction.
I find the definitions for innovation, collaboration, and experimentation interesting – though I understand it is coming from a tool vendor marketing perspective – what can the tool do. Tools can support, enable, and facilitate success; however, they can only do this when there is policy, culture, leadership, and trust – none of which are addressed in the article.
Innovation is much more than providing something that someone thinks they need. Innovation is about solving a need in a manner different that what has been done previously, or creating demand that people didn’t know they needed. Collaboration is much more than cooperation, and experimentation is often part of innovation.