Let’s face it, circumstances may have created a situation where your ITSM or IT Service Desk software is now outdated. Maybe it is just a rudimentary ticketing system and is missing critical elements like a service portal and knowledge base. Or it’s dated and lacks workflow and automation.
For all these reasons and many more, organizations are now out shopping for new IT service management software. They are finding that the ITSM world has changed dramatically since the last time they went shopping for ITSM software. Not only is your platform expected to have a self-service portal and a highly indexed knowledge base, but it’s also expected to have full support for ITIL with asset management and change management. So, what is new? Automating the mundane is new.
While ITSM platforms have offered basic automation and workflow for over a decade, it’s now more common to have a full-blown enterprise service management (ESM) platform with additional integration and automation capabilities. Life has changed.
Enterprise Integration and Automation are Changing the Service Desk
IT Service Desk Technicians should not be spinning their wheels on mundane, repetitive tasks that can be easily automated – they should be doing things that move the needle strategically.
For instance, if someone enters a ticket for a name change, or to onboard a new employee, it is no longer ok to simply have a ticket that dead ends to a queue for action. Instead, we are now seeing full-blown automation that will do things like:
- Automatically create new users in the Active Directory.
- Update group and user permissions.
- Manage basic name changes or company moves.
- Provision software.
- Update user settings and permissions.
As we look forward, enterprise integration and workflow automation are going to fundamentally change how organizations think about service management. Most service organizations are spinning their wheels when dealing with procedural and repetitive ITSM tasks.
With an integration and automation layer, tasks such as user management, onboarding/offboarding, name updates and so on can be executed directly from the service desk platform. Without the integration and automation capabilities, service desk technicians are doing this work manually or are relying on a patchwork of scripts and APIs.
What we see now is that IT Service Management Software needs to have an inherent integration and workflow automation layer. To do this, TeamDynamix built an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) to work directly with the ITSM Software. This is a cloud-based platform used to connect a variety of different systems, technologies and applications – whether they are on-premise or in the cloud – and avoid the use of middleware and specialized hardware. Using iPaaS, people can build automated workflows that do several tasks, simple or complex, including the syncing of data, onboarding/offboarding or resetting passwords.
As an example, BYU-Idaho started exploring TeamDynamix iPaaS when they realized they wanted to automate various processes on their campus, specifically onboarding new employees and sending out financial aid notifications. Using iPaaS, the team at BYU-Idaho created flows to take an employee through the entire onboarding process.
This is incredibly beneficial and saves the university a lot of time since they regularly hire student employees. These students need a lot of access to different tools and programs and giving access/taking it away is now a seamless, quick task.
Onboarding/Offboarding Tickets are Automatically Fulfilled
“We’re doing a lot (with iPaaS) in HR with onboarding flows, and there are a lot of other groups around campus that want to use the onboarding flows to onboard an employee from the beginning, all the way to getting their equipment sent out and getting them into Active Directory,” Nepal Plummer, Director of Product and Service Management, said. “And we haven’t even opened up the floodgates yet.”
As for tracking student financial aid awards, the university used to have to send the award letters through Outlook with no way of tracking them. Now with iPaaS, there are individual tickets for each award letter so that counselors can see the information they need for each individual student.
They also created a flow that allows the IT team to recall and restore deleted data in tickets. Kevin Cook, Application System Engineer, explains the significance of this workflow, saying “We had 2500 tickets that didn’t have a value because that choice was accidentally deleted. So, we were able to use iPaaS to go out and grab a report with those tickets and update them to put that value back on the tickets.”
Better Together: Service Management & Project Management
The complex nature of modern organizations makes this next building block critical. No organization, indeed no department, can focus only on one or two things at a time. They have their regular workloads to manage, they have several different projects on the go, they have transactional ticket type work, and they are supporting projects from other business areas. Keeping track of this work accurately is critical to prevent things from being missed – with significant business impacts happening as a result.
That’s why the ability to track and manage resources across a portfolio of projects is critical. From simple tracking of how much time is being spent on a project, to understanding whether we have enough people, and enough skills, to complete the planned work, resource management is fundamental to effective project delivery. The base unit of resource management is time tracking: the ability to accurately, easily and consistently capture who is doing what and how long is being spent on each task. A quarter-century… ok even a decade ago, this process was about making sure people were working as hard as they should be - today things are very different.
This is an aspect of project planning that is understood in the areas of organizations that commonly see a lot of project work. The skills needed evolve rapidly, such as software development for example. However, the same approach must be used in all business areas, indeed it is sometimes more critical in specialist business functions where there are more ‘single points of expertise’: individuals with specialist skills or knowledge who are in high demand for projects.
Case in Point: East Carolina University
Project Portfolio Management + Service Management
“Initially, we were looking for a dedicated project and portfolio management (PPM) solution and were evaluating a number of vendors, but TeamDynamix wasn’t one of them,” said Hector Molina, Director, Central Project Office. “We caught wind of another institution in our system using TeamDynamix for projects and saw that it combined project, portfolio, and IT service management into one platform.”
Finding a platform that can do both project portfolio management and IT service management was a game-changer, according to Molina, and led them to accelerate the replacement of our IT service management (ITSM) solution, “The people who work both tickets and projects don’t want to use multiple systems, they want one solution that works for everything.”
“TeamDynamix has changed the way we do projects; our resources now have all the information they need at their fingertips,” Molina said. “The Resource Management module, in particular, has been crucial to us. We’re now able to understand the true allocation of resources and prove to our leadership that we need more people.”
“Overall, it’s improved our stakeholder relationships,” Molina said. “Our leadership is really excited about the fact that resources can self-serve rather than having to send emails to track down information. Our clients like having visibility into the status of projects and being able to see the degree of completeness. The PPM tool was only going to be used within the IT department, but it’s shown so much potential that other departments have started using it.”
Resource Optimization: Stronger Together with ITSM and PPM
The service desk is often the front line for capturing changing business needs and requirements. As cloud-based applications and services are matched with an increasingly remote workforce, innovations in automation, reporting, and service delivery are important. TeamDynamix takes this further with project portfolio management functionality being baked into its solutions by default. TeamDynamix PPM users rank its PPM functionality as part of what compelled them to choose TeamDynamix ITSM in the first place. In fact, based on user satisfaction rankings, the PPM area was so compelling that not only was it a leader in the PPM space, but it also added substantially to the business value of the overall solution and user experience. The power of the two together is what sets apart this platform.
Is it time for a change? IT service management software is no longer restricted to IT. Read more about the state of service management: 2022 State of ITSM and ESM Report