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Working Better Together – How Organizations Can Better Manage Collaboration Across Teams

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 especially useful when you have limited resources, but an increase in demand for the support of remote learning and remote workforces – as many organizations do. “We don’t have enough IT professionals, anywhere – there’s a huge drain and we’re all experiencing this,” Angela Neria, CIO of Pittsburg State University, said in a recent interview with TeamDynamix.

“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

Texas Woman’s University (TWU) came to TeamDynamix to update an aging legacy system. “We needed a solution for project management and ITSM as well,” said Heather Davis, manager of IT training and development. As TWU Technology discovered in its evaluation, TDX provides an integrated ITSM platform to extend beyond IT to support facilities, admission, marketing, and HR. This one platform can expand and interact with PPM and resource management to meet both current and future university needs.

“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,” said Lena McLain, Sr. Applications Developer at TWU Technology. “ESM helps us align with the university’s strategic plan and goals while maintaining excellent service through the ITIL framework in ITSM.”

Covenant HealthCare Driving Digital Transformation with Single Platform Approach to Service Management

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.