A recent study from InformationWeek revealed only eight percent of organizations feel they operate at a very high level of IT service management (ITSM) maturity – meaning their ITSM technology is fully optimized, with all processes and standards in place. And when you consider that 40 percent of the same organizations surveyed for the study stated they haven’t refreshed their ITSM technology in nearly a decade or longer – it’s not hard to see why ITSM maturity is suffering.
With many of these organizations relying on dated ITSM technology or homegrown ticketing systems, many listed a heavy reliance on IT to administer ITSM as a top challenge, along with a lack of automation and integration capabilities. Additionally, a little less than half (49 percent) said they still lack formal intake, prioritization and review processes when it comes to taking on new projects.
All of this paints an alarming picture that makes clear organizations are struggling with ITSM maturity, and this struggle is resulting in a drain on resources, budgets and morale.
There are two major areas, in particular, that the study highlights where organizations say they need help when it comes to ITSM maturity. These are:
- Automation and workflow.
- Self-service and knowledge base design.
Both areas are staple features of modern ITSM solutions, so it’s no surprise that many organizations relying on homegrown or legacy ITSM software are struggling when it comes to these areas.
Improving ITSM Maturity with a Single Platform Approach to Service Management
One of the best ways to address these problems is to start by finding the right ITSM tool for your organization – one that includes all of the key features and functionality you need to succeed:
- Incident and problem tracking – when you run a service desk you need to have fast routing and the ability to group tickets for both incidents and problems. Doing so will allow you to properly communicate and be transparent throughout your organization.
- Service portal and knowledge base – Did you know a support call can as much as $22 (according to HDI), while self-service is just $2 per incident? It’s a recommended best practice to build out a solid knowledge base and service portal so customers can resolve their own issues instead of taking up your IT help desk’s valuable time with requests like “how do I change my password.”
- Workflow automation – Your teams should be focusing their efforts on your organization’s highest priorities. By setting up automation for mundane, manual, or error-prone activities they can do just that.
- Asset management and discovery – Make sure you can identify and track assets, plan for changes and respond to issues with an understanding of CI configuration history, blackout and maintenance windows and impact maps.
- Change management – The majority (nearly 80 percent!) of issues reported to IT are the result of poor change and release management. Make sure your tool allows you to properly organize and manage plans, execution and communication for new functionality and maintain the continuity of existing services.
- Dashboards and reports – Great ITSM dashboards and reports give you the key metrics needed to make confident decisions, helping you to identify issues before they become problems, support key meetings, profiling trends and communicate the value IT provides to your entire organization.
In addition, you want a codeless platform that includes project management capabilities (project portfolio management), if needed, and an integration and automation layer through iPaaS (integration platform as a service) so you supercharge your service delivery.
iPaaS allows you can pull together systems across your tech stack into a single platform and use your ITSM tool to automate mundane tasks that might be bogging down your service desk – tasks like onboarding, offboarding, password resets, name changes, etc. By adding iPaaS to your ITSM you can simplify both simple and complex tasks – saving you both time and resources.
By choosing a codeless platform for this, you get the added benefit of anyone being able to use these tools – not just IT. By allowing lines of business to create their own workflows you can free up your IT resources to work on larger projects and eliminate the logjam when it comes to integrations within your organization.
And when this is all on a single platform, along with PPM, you get a full picture of all the resources in use across all of the projects and departments for resource capacity planning. Allowing you to really maximize your teams’ time spent when working on tasks and projects throughout the entire business.
The Growing Importance of Knowledge Bases and Self-Service Portals
As resource constraints continue to plague IT departments, and demand for service and service excellence continues to grow, organizations should be making the creation of a searchable, knowledge base and self-service portal a priority.
One of the most efficient ways to improve ITSM and service desk delivery is by removing the need for starting a ticket in the first place—by empowering users to answer their own questions and solve their own problems before an issue requires human intervention.
In general, people would much rather resolve issues themselves instead of submitting a service request and waiting for a response. With the increasing desire for more self-service options, it is essential for those in IT to respond accordingly. Having a well-organized portal with the ability to search for solutions by keywords or tags goes a long way in quickly helping users get the information they need.
Self-service models that deflect calls from the helpdesk to the portal and give users access to an intuitive, timely catalog of technical knowledge not only improve customer satisfaction, they also dramatically reduce the per-incident cost incurred by IT.
Simplicity is key when designing the layout for a client portal. Users should not need to scroll or navigate extensively to find what they are looking for, nor should it take them longer than a few minutes. Outlined information written in understandable, everyday language is essential to encouraging self-service.
Crowdsourcing knowledge can be a fast and accurate way to build a knowledge base, and Knowledge-Centered Service® (KCS) is one of the best ways to do this.
The principles of KCS stipulate that the creation and maintenance of knowledge must be fully integrated into the most important support operations.
Here are a few reasons why Knowledge-Centered Service can be so powerful:
- Helps to continually lower inbound call volume.
- Increases customer satisfaction.
- Provides customers with the answers they need now.
- Crowdsourcing knowledge helps maintain accurate content.
- Offers opportunities for professional development and career progression.
By adopting KCS, you can not only improve customer satisfaction but dramatically reduce the per-incident cost incurred by IT (from about $22 for a level 1 support call to $2 for self-service); and reduce the volume of issues and requests coming to the help desk, allowing IT to reallocate technicians to higher priority tasks and projects.