When you look across any organization, you can find groups or departments working together in various ways – sometimes it’s figuring out a project, other times it’s completing a service request. For instance, there could be a request to marketing for creative support, a request to HR to change a name or a request from HR to IT for onboarding an employee.
With these types of activities, collaboration is key – but all of these interaction points represent potential drops in productivity when not managed properly.
For this reason, many organizations are implementing a single, enterprise-wide, service management platform that can manage both project work and service requests.
Why Service Management Should Include Project Management
When implementing Enterprise Service Management (ESM) or IT Service Management (ITSM), it’s important to consider your project management tools and processes – especially if you’re working with limited resources. By bringing ESM/ITSM and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) together – you can gain a 360-degree view of your entire organization. Every project, problem and service request is all there at your fingertips allowing you to engage in true resource capacity planning.
With resource capacity planning you can balance workloads across projects and IT support, using your ITSM/ESM platform to see the different types of work that need to be done at any given time and the resources available to work on those projects and tickets.
For example, if you have three IT technicians that need to cover three functional areas of business – like service, projects and operations – you can use resource capacity planning to optimize each technician’s workload based on their skill set and their availability. As a result, the work can be completed more effectively and efficiently as each technician is focused on work that plays to their strengths. And because you have a full view of the work and the time it will take to complete; you can avoid overcommitting or underutilizing your resources.
This approach is beneficial when you have limited resources, but an increase in demand for the support of remote learning and remote workforces – as many organizations do.
Recently, the City of Goodyear took steps to increase the maturity of its IT operations by bringing together ITSM and PPM and giving leaders a holistic view of the work employees are doing.
With TeamDynamix now in place, the city is well-positioned to grow its IT maturity.
On the IT service side, the platform has allowed the city to set up a service catalog and a self-service portal that routs tickets to the correct staff members for fulfillment automatically, reducing the number of times that service tickets bounce around from one person to another. This has helped speed up incident response times significantly.
“We did a training roadshow,” Faison said, whereby IT staff met with various departments and showed them how to use the self-service portal. They also handed out pens with the link to the portal etched on the side. This internal marketing campaign has contributed to widespread adoption, with about three-fourths of service requests now being submitted through the portal— and this is leading to faster resolution for employees.
Automated workflows have also helped streamline key processes and improve the delivery of IT services. For instance, the IT team established an automated workflow within TeamDynamix for purchasing hardware and software, with requests being routed automatically to the appropriate people for approvals.
“It’s a nice, fully automated workflow,” Faison said. “We’d like to implement automated workflows in other areas moving forward as well.”
On the project side, TeamDynamix gives the city’s IT department a simple way to evaluate, approve and manage projects of all sizes. Managing IT projects and service requests within the same platform gives leaders a holistic view of the work that team members are doing.
“It helps us evaluate whether we can take on new projects based on the people we have available,” said Remi Nunez, senior IT project manager. And this is critical for reducing resource drain.
“One benefit of a centralized solution is it provides a holistic picture. With the ability to tie service usage to project and support requests, we are better able to manage prioritization and workload."
The Benefits of PPM and ESM/ITSM Together
At Covenant HealthCare, CIO Frank Fear recognized the value in having a combined ESM/PPM strategy, “As the CIO, I have IT resources, and I need to assess their capacity,” he said. “I look at what capacity they have to work on projects, to work on change requests, to work on support requests. At the 40,000-foot level, having a comprehensive project management solution that also operates with the service management platform, allows me visibility for insight into those areas, and allows me to plan for project-based work based on the capacity to handle support requests and change requests.”
According to Fear, like many other businesses and organizations, Covenant is becoming a digital business that provides healthcare, “Our customers need our support, so the demand is escalating and it’s only going to increase.”
Driving that increase, in part, for Covenant and hospital-based organizations nationwide, is the post-EHR (electronic health record) operation environment, “Just a small number of years ago, a relatively small percentage of patient care organizations in the United States had digital health records, so naturally, the first step was to implement EHRs… We’re now over 90 percent fully electronic in our processes. So now, we need to learn how to work differently, and we need to leverage information technology to help create those process and performance changes,” Fear said.
Because of the move towards a more digital experience, it’s more important than ever for Fear to be able to clearly articulate what his IT organization’s capability is when looking at the needs of the entire organization.
“IT service management and project management must be conceptualized at the highest levels of an organization, and must be governed actively and consciously, in close relation to the organization’s core business objectives and needs,” Fear said. And those needs continue to accelerate dramatically, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
“CIOs and other healthcare IT leaders can no longer rely on anecdotally based, guesstimated evaluations of needs and resources in their organizations,” Fear said. “A more evidence-based, quantifiable and quantifying, set of processes, is needed. An organized, comprehensive, strategic process of service management and project management needs to be delivered in an integrated way, via a flexible, supportive platform.”
Automate IT: Why Integration and Automation Matters for Service Management
The benefits of a one-platform solution for ESM/ITSM and PPM are enhanced even more when you can include an integration component. By combining iPaaS (integration platform as a service) with ESM/ITSM and PPM on a single platform, you can automate complex and simple tasks and connect disparate systems throughout your organization.
Employees no longer need to spend time on repetitive, mundane tasks like password resets before working on bigger projects. All of these, and more, can be automated with workflows using iPaaS.
And with a codeless iPaaS platform, 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.
“People feel so much more empowered and have so much more worth when they are doing things that are intellectually rigorous and challenging versus when they are just repeating the same mechanical actions over and over and over with very little thought,” Mark Hayes, information technology leader at Pima County, said.
“The drudgery of working through mundane, repetitive tasks doesn’t exist just in IT,” Hayes said. “I think the more we can reduce toil within the departments that we support, the more people are going to buy in and understand the value.”
If you want to see how more organizations are supercharging their service management throughout their organizations, read our latest eBook: Automate IT – A Playbook for Supercharged ITSM.
This article was originally posted in January 2021 and has been updated with new information.