Service management has been so valuable to our IT organizations that we have seen a desire to start sharing those practices out to the entire enterprise. Enterprise Service Management (ESM) has never been an issue of our tools or our capabilities. In a 2018 study, HDI and Samanage found that 91% of us believe our tools have the capabilities to support service management outside of IT.
If the issue isn’t our technology, why hasn’t service management taken over the enterprise? What is preventing us from providing top-tier support and customer experience beyond the service desk?
Why hasn’t service management taken over the enterprise?
The main issue? Getting the buy-in and sponsorship from our organizations. Service management professionals need to be able to market the people, processes, and technology behind ITSM into broader enterprise-wide understanding.
Just a Ticketing System
As ITSM and service management leaders within our organization, it can be easy to forget that we are awoken to the ideas and concepts of ITSM. We get daily exposure to the processes, best practices, and models that the ITSM world employs.
Outside of our offices, however, there is a perception issue that many of us face. ITSM is seen as a synonym for “help desk” or “ticketing system.” Try as we might to explain the many other processes we manage under ITIL such as change, problem, asset, CMDB, and beyond, those in leadership outside of IT see that long list as “help desk tickets.”
Communicating the value of ESM can be tricky. But not all is lost, and the way forward is clear. We need to be able to explain the value of ITSM before we can translate that to ESM.
Using numbers, we need to be able to project the total cost of ownership of our tickets and of self-service initiatives within IT. We can use these numbers to show the impact of shift-left strategy and how ITSM is saving our organization time and money. Looking at our total volume of support calls, versus self-service we can then start to explain how adding in new enterprise areas such as facilities, human resources, or the finance department can add value.
A Tale of Two Plugs
Beyond the resource savings of ESM, an important message to convey is the impact ESM can have on overall employee and customer experience. When communicating the value of ESM, I like to think about something many of us have in our offices, an innocuous, simple, often overlooked thing. Outlet plates.
The diagram above shows a pair of wall outlets: a simple keystone wall plate with three ports and your standard power outlet. At first-glance these seem simple enough. But if we start thinking of how we would support them, they become more complex.
In the IT world, we know that the left wall plate is ours to support. The label is a plate number that usually maps to an internal system where we then connect each of these networking drops to some sort of networking appliance. We know which team supports it and can even define service level agreements and produce self-help documentation. In some of our companies, the keystone jacks within the plate have specific meaning: grey could be telephony, red high-speed data, and white secondary data. We design and develop systems and know exactly how they work. Even if we have different teams supporting the telephony and data components, internally, ITSM helps us route the support to the right place.
Then, we throw in a twist. In a pure ITSM world, the power outlet causes an issue. This outlet, which can be less than a foot away from the networking jack, with well defined supportability, causes a rift in our support. An end-user calls in and asks for support with their power outlet and we respond, “Sorry that’s a different department.” We might be benevolent enough to provide them the number for our facilities team. But more than likely we tell the user “This isn’t our problem” and end the call. We place the burden on the user to know who supports what and how it is supported.
Imagine a world where, for our networking jack, we have the same support level. A user calls in about the telephone jack not working, and we end the call because we only support the network drops. It would feel like an arbitrary line to draw. To our users, the line drawn between network and power also feels just as arbitrary.
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Making It Work
Selling the shift from ITSM to ESM should be about showing the value that ESM adds and about the increases in productivity that a combined enterprise service catalog can have. Our users know that they have an issue. But they can focus on getting their issue resolved, without worrying about arbitrary lines drawn around lines of business, and the system can do the heavy lifting to help appropriately route the issues.
As author and UX expert Steve Krug once said, “Don’t make me think.” We should leverage our tools and our own knowledge to enable our users and not make them think about who and how something will or won’t be supported. In a perfect utopia of ESM, the user can submit an issue and have faith that it will make its way to the right team.
Chris Chagnon is an ITSM application and web developer who designs, develops, and maintains award-winning experiences for managing and carrying out the ITSM process. Chris has a Master of Science in Information Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications. In addition, Chris is a PhD Candidate studying Information Systems with a focus on user and service experience. As one of HDI’s Top 25 Thought Leaders, Chris speaks nationally about the future of ITSM, practical applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning, gamification, continual service improvement, and customer service/experience. Follow Chris on Twitter