Outside IT is a relatively new term but its definition has been in existence for quite some time. Now, we have a buzzword to bring up when speaking with our IT peers, and because of this, the notion of ‘outside IT’ is spreading…and quickly. IT service management teams are using this it to become better business partners within their organisations.
If you’re new to this phrase, it means taking your ITSM tool and using it beyond your service desk, or helpdesk, to meet another department’s business goals. It’s a perfect way to increase ROI by using what you already have and, for the service desk team, to use the knowledge and understanding it has of both ITSM and its service desk tool to create more valuable processes for the business.
Service desk teams have historically focused on quantitative ways of measuring their value such as the number of calls taken and first time fix rates. This type of measurement is certainly valid and necessary. ‘Outside IT’ enables the ITSM team to expand its range of activities to increase opportunities to deliver value back to the business.
So, how can you start to incorporate ‘outside IT’ thinking into your team’s approach? Here are three tips:
1) Do you get out into the business? Do you ask what the challenges are?
It’s as simple as this: go and speak with the other teams in the organisation. Ask them about their challenges, and discuss how you may be able to help. This is a skill that service desk teams may want to consider developing, and time needs to be allocated to undertake this type of activity. Essentially, you would be looking to develop business analyst skills within the service desk team. This includes being able to understand what the business is trying to achieve and to communicate that need back to the business in clear language.
2) Stop the perception that IT is closed.
We all know the stereotypes around IT. However, these stereotypes aren’t accurate. The challenge – and the opportunity – is how to reverse this perception. Many people equate the service desk with just support, as most people don’t think about IT unless something isn’t working. One of my colleagues once told me that the best compliment you can provide to IT is not knowing it’s there.
However, this perception is also dangerous. IT is now at the core of every business. Leaders within IT departments, including service desk managers and service delivery managers, may want to think about what else their team can do to possibly help the business. Ask the “What if” questions. What could we achieve if we were more efficient, or if we were more flexible, or if we engaged more with other departments? This involves being both more open and more engaged with the business.
3) Don’t try to reinvent the wheel
If we are to grow into this role of providing valuable and measurable help to business teams, there is a need to recognize where the quick wins are. Some ITSM projects flounder, not due to any lack of effort, but due to trying to do too much, budget requirements/constraints and time. IT does not need to cost the world in both time and money.
‘Outside IT’ can be done relatively quickly and cost effectively with modern IT service management tools, especially ones that don’t require developers and/or coding expertise.
Cherwell Software™ recently launched its Cherwell mApps™ Exchange that offers “mergable applications” – or mApps – which are applications that work with the Cherwell Service Management® platform. Cherwell Software customers and partners can now easily merge specific new functionality or capabilities into their own ITSM implementations. This can help teams meet new or changing business needs swiftly and cost-effectively.
If you’ve implemented an ‘outside IT’ approach to your service desk, how did you get started, and what tips would you provide to others just starting this journey?