5 Reasons Why Implementing ITSM is More Crucial Now Than Ever Before
Posted by on August 12, 2019
Kari Nelson's background and expertise has focused on numerous digital transformation technologies, including servers, storage, networking, professional services, software, virtualization, and ITaaS. Prior to joining Cherwell Software, Kari spent over 15 years with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
IT Service Management (ITSM) is the most widely followed paradigm for managing IT resources. Why do these organizations implement ITSM? Through a process-oriented approach, ITSM empowers IT teams to take a more structured approach to service management, increase transparency and accountability of the IT organization, and implement new functions that drive customer satisfaction. ITSM tools are also enabling the next generation of automated technologies that will help IT organizations drive digital transformation and accelerate their services like never before.
In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, it's more important than ever that IT organizations implement ITSM as a means of better aligning themselves with business needs and providing exceptional service delivery at a low cost. In this blog post, we're providing our top five reasons why your organization should implement ITSM now.
1. ITSM Provides a Clear Line of Sight Between Individual Contributions and Business Results
ITSM is a process-oriented approach to IT management that seeks to align the service delivery activities of the IT organization with the needs of the business. The implementation of formalized processes for basic IT functions, such as Incident Management, request fulfillment, Change Management, and others creates transparency and accountability for service delivery throughout the IT organization.
Organizations that have not yet adopted ITSM best practices may be following a more technology-oriented approach to IT management. These organizations may adopt a relatively basic management hierarchy, with one or more IT managers and a group of IT analysts or operators with varying levels of seniority and experience. A lack of processes means that many people touch each project and it is not always clear who should be making a decision. In these situations, IT staff are often confused about:
What their specific roles and responsibilities are in the context of the team
What their priorities should be each day
How they should interact with their colleagues when it comes to solving problems, making decisions, resolving incidents, and so on
What services they are responsible for supporting, and what service levels should be maintained
Effective ITSM resolves this confusion of this by:
Creating processes to address each of the IT organization's most important functions
Establishing what roles are required to deliver on each of those processes
Clearly defining the responsibilities and participation of each role in the process
In the ITIL framework, the responsibility matrix, or RACI model, delineates who is responsible and accountable for each sub-process in a given process. The result is that both the IT organization and the business gain a clear line of sight between individual contributions and business results. There is transparency around who is involved in each process, everyone knows what their roles are, and individuals can be held accountable for their actions either in success or failure.
2. ITSM Creates Structure within the Business
A business can be defined as a set of systems or processes whose goal is to deliver a product or service and generate a profit. There are processes for procurement, processes for sales and marketing, processes for documenting expenses—all with the purpose of ensuring that the company performs critical tasks as consistently and efficiently as possible. When we talk about creating structure within a business through ITSM, what we're really talking about is expanding that set of systems or processes to exercise more control and oversight of crucial IT functions that deliver value to the business.
From an IT management perspective, sometimes you implement a new process because you want to start doing an activity that you were never doing before. This could be the case with a process like knowledge management for an IT organization that has no existing knowledge base.
Other times, you create a process to introduce efficiency to an activity that you're already being forced to manage, such as incident response or request fulfillment. As a small IT organization, you might be fine at first without a formalized process for incident response—but as you increase in size and you start having ten or thirty or a hundred service requests per day, the need to answer all of those efficiently increases and you need to develop a structured process.
Whatever the reason for implementing the process, the results are ultimately the same. Systems produce more predictable results; they help to ensure that critical tasks are completed when they should be; and in the case of ITSM, they establish roles and responsibilities so that individuals can be held accountable when they fail to follow processes.
The main goals for ITSM implementations are to reduce IT costs and to standardize delivery of IT services within the organization. These goals are accomplished through ITSM's structured approach. Formalized ITSM processes help to ensure that:
Individuals know what specific tasks they are responsible for
Routine tasks are completed on the required schedule
New changes and service deployments are approved through the proper channels
The strategies and goals of IT and the business are aligned
Information is reported and disseminated in a timely fashion
Imagine that you are in charge of a growing IT organization. As you deploy more services, you receive an increasing volume of incident reports and you begin to realize that not all of the incidents are being addressed on time and some are being completely overlooked—so what do you do?
You start with an objective: to make sure that all incidents are responded to in a timely way. Then, you build a process to meet that objective—you could call it Incident Management. You take all of the activities that are needed to execute that process and list them out, then you divide the process into sub-processes that include all of the activities. Finally, you assign roles and responsibilities to your team members with respect to each sub-process. Now, you have a structured framework for what should happen with each incident report and a system of accountability to make sure it gets done. ITSM provides this ready-made structure for establishing accountability and consistency within IT service delivery and meeting your service objectives.
Read More: 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Incident Management
3. ITSM Facilitates Consumer Self-Service and Self-Help
The most cost-effective way of dealing with IT incidents is to prevent them in the first place, but when an IT incident occurs, managers and service desk operators need to understand that there is a significant financial cost associated with escalating incidents to higher levels of support. Before we can quantify that cost, we need to understand how incident escalations function in most IT departments.
When a customer logs a ticket with the service desk, the first person to see it will probably be a Level 1 IT operator. Level 1 support workers staff the service desk and their primary role is to resolve newly reported incidents as quickly as possible, ideally on the first contact with the customer.
When a resolution is not possible by a Level 1 operator, the incident may be escalated to a Level 2 operator with greater expertise and more permissions to investigate certain types of incidents. The second level of IT support consists of technical support groups that work together to address more complex IT incidents that are reported.
If Level 2 support fails to resolve the issue, the organization may have a third level of IT support in place to help address the issue. This Level 3 support could include experts from other departments, experts from other organizations, outside consultancies, or even contacts from the vendor of the service that is malfunctioning.
Self-service offers users an extremely cost-effective pathway to resolving well-understood IT incidents or fulfilling common requests without even requiring help from Level 1 IT operators—but just how cost effective is the self-service model?
An article published by HDI discussing the importance of First Level Resolution rate for IT operators reveals the true value of consumer self-service and self-help portals in the context of enterprise IT. What they showed was that the total cost of resolution mounts up as an issue escalated through each level of support.
According to this infographic, a ticket reported to Level 1 support came with a price tag of $22, escalation to Level 2 added a further $69 of expenses, and a Level 3 escalation rose in price an additional $104. If the company needed to bring in a consultant, the average cost was $221 per incident, and if vendors were involved that meant an additional cost of nearly $600. Meanwhile, resolution of an incident using self-service costs an average of just $2. That cost basis represents a massive savings, but how exactly does ITSM make a difference?
ITSM supports two key processes that help organizations move toward a self-service model:
The Service Catalog Management process has IT organizations establish and maintain and up-to-date repository of all services that can be requested by the business.
The Knowledge Management process has IT organizations establish and maintain a knowledge base where they can document information and knowledge that is accrued through the delivery of IT services.
When these processes are tied together, IT organizations can create self-service options that empower users to resolve their own service requests by accessing knowledge contained in the IT organization's knowledge base. Self-service drives customer satisfaction with IT, reduces manual workload for IT operators, and reduces resolution times and costs for IT incidents.
4. ITSM Provides the Basis for Automation of Routine Operational Activities
IT organizations that lack a process-oriented approach to service management may find themselves encumbered by routine operational tasks that demand their constant attention. ITSM provides a process framework for managing every aspect of IT operations, but it can also enable organizations to implement tools that help to automate workflows in ways that drive efficiency.
ITSM software solutions help to streamline IT management by automating key processes. These include essentials like:
Monitoring software usage on the network for compliance with SLAs
Monitoring approval flows to ensure that changes are authorized through appropriate channels
Sending status emails to users about reported incidents and tickets
Conducting standard, pre-approved changes that do not require human involvement
Ensuring basic service delivery, such as requests for information or password resets
When it is difficult to automate a workflow that is complex or that requires input from a human operator, IT organizations can still benefit from time savings and cost reduction by automating just one or two steps in the process.
5. ITSM Helps IT Identify and Implement Justifiable Improvements
One of the most common pieces of feedback we hear from organizations that implement ITSM is that they've been able to take a much more proactive approach to how they manage IT services.
Many IT organizations spend most of their time in reactive mode, responding to incidents and trying to fix things that are broken, rather than working on delivering new services that add value to the organization. There are many reasons for this behavior:
Lack of process automation means that routine processes are time-consuming and labor-intensive for operators
Incidents take longer to resolve due to a lack of formalized processes
There is no clear decision path for the implementation of new services
IT goals and business objectives are poorly aligned, so the IT organization and its employees do not know what new services they should be working on
ITSM helps drive digital transformation within organizations through the use of ITSM tools that introduce standardization, automation, and efficiency into routine tasks. For ITIL followers, there are processes like service strategy whose goal is to align business and IT objectives to drive innovation and proactive problem solving.
How to Make ITSM Matter to Your Organization
Making ITSM matter to your organization begins with establishing a strong business case that demonstrates the value of ITSM's structured approach and the tools that can be implemented to realize value and ROI for your ITSM strategy.
Cherwell ITSM Software provides the ideal platform for getting value out of your ITSM strategy, offering out-of-the-box compliance with 11 processes in the ITIL best practices framework along with automated workflows, service desk functionality, and a service catalog function that promotes self-service.
The Cherwell Service Platform makes it easy to integrate HR service management or IT asset management functionalities into a unified system that serves your business with the highest level of efficiency. Get a demo and see for yourself how Cherwell can power your ITSM strategy and revolutionize service delivery for your organization.
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