Enterprise Service Management: Get Your Own House in Order


by Roy Atkinson
September 19, 2017

In this third post in the series outlined in Enterprise Service Management: The Top 5 Things You’re Not Doing, I explore what you need to do to build trust and overcome skepticism.

If you want to sell your house, you prepare it. Those shutters you’ve been meaning to fix finally get repaired. You wash the windows and clean the carpet. Squeaky doors are oiled and damaged screens replaced. You do everything possible to make a good impression on the possible purchasers, who will be looking for dust bunnies under the bed and poking into that storage area you have neglected.

The process of getting ready for an Enterprise Service Management (ESM) journey is comparable. Before buying your service management expertise, the other business units will want to look around to see what kind of condition IT is in.

The other business units will want to see what kind of condition IT is in.
Tweet: The other business units will want to see what kind of condition IT is in. @HDI_Analyst @ThinkHDI #ESM

Look in the Mirror

According to 2017 HDI research, the number of incidents is trending upward in 56 percent of organizations. If your organization is seeing this trend, you should find out why.

Do you have a formal problem management program? How successful is it? Coincidentally, 56 percent of organizations say they have such a program, but only 37 percent have definitely seen a reduction in incidents as a result; 20 percent say they have not seen a reduction in incidents. If your organization is one of that 20 percent, or one of the 43 percent that have only seen “somewhat” of a reduction in incidents as a result of problem management, you should be looking into why. If you are finding root causes and fixing them, you should be showing improvement. Consider specific training on problem management.

Why is that important in thinking about ESM? Consider this: Your 2005 X-brand car has suffered numerous breakdowns, increasing in frequency as time goes on. Your friendly, local X-brand dealer contacts you, offering a test drive in the new 2018 X-brand. What are the odds you’ll trust that brand enough to buy another one? If your IT services keep breaking with increasing frequency, are you developing the trust of other business units?

One More Time: It’s not About the Tool

ITSM tools are used outside of IT in more than half of organizations, according to our research. This does not mean that they are engaged in ESM. The tool enables, and that’s all it does. ESM is all about what the tool enables and how an enterprise benefits from that. You need to:

  • Check your reputation. Your reputation counts, and you need to know what that reputation really is before approaching business units and soliciting their confidence and support. Customer satisfaction surveys are not enough. Those are usually done by your service desk, and only when there has been an interaction. You need to know what customers think, including those with whom you’ve no specific interaction that would be included in a survey. Was the last project IT delivered successful, for example?
  • Check your SLAs. Remember that “meeting SLA” only means that you are accomplishing the minimum required. Have those SLAs been adjusted to reflect improvement?
  • Check your metrics. Your service management practices include continual improvement. Are you improving in ways that are meaningful?
  • Check the outcomes. Have recent technology initiatives produced the desired business outcomes? If not, why not?

If you have ever considered having professional assessment of your process maturity, consider doing it before embarking on an ESM journey. Getting an outside opinion can not only point out possible shortcomings and help you correct deficiencies, but also give you more credibility with the other units of the enterprise. Yes, it will cost money, but the return on that investment will come in the efficiencies, reduction of duplication, and service improvements that will result from well-executed service management across the organization.


Roy Atkinson Roy Atkinson is one of the top influencers in the service and support industry. His blogs, presentations, research reports, white papers, keynotes, and webinars have gained him an international reputation. In his role as senior writer/analyst, he acts as HDI's in-house subject matter expert, bringing his years of experience to the community. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.


Tag(s): supportworld, service management

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