- Published: Tuesday, July 06, 2021 07:00
By Ed Caufield, Distinguished Alumni
and Lonnie Sanders III, Associate
There’s a great quote from the cult movie Matrix: “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” As our experience working with a recent client, a $1B service company shows, this truism certainly applies to the realm of IT Service Management (ITSM). Here’s what happened…
The company’s IT management had called us in because they were growing increasingly frustrated with what they assumed was a broken help desk. The problems they were seeing included late tickets, incomplete tickets and aging tickets not being worked on. Major issues were not being properly escalated and their “VIP” customers were not receiving any special treatment. In sum, the entire help desk function was wildly inefficient, extremely unproductive and lacking transparency to the issues or trends at hand. Not surprisingly, customer satisfaction was low and going lower.
Although we were brought in to fix the help desk, we quickly realized that the problem was not just the help desk. The help desk wasn’t just broken; everything around it was. The real problem was they lacked processes and had an operating culture that was based on undocumented “tribal knowledge.” They didn’t have a basic process for how to handle incoming tickets, let alone how to get them resolved in a timely fashion. Consequently, every help desk agent and system administrator was attempting to reinvent the wheel for every ticket. Then, if that person didn’t have a solution for addressing that ticket, there was no clear path as to what to do next.
We saw that the company had installed a cloud-based IT Service Management tool, so they clearly “knew about the path.” But they had never implemented any ITSM processes to support using the tool. They had just installed the software and hoped things would work better.
Does IT Service Management matter? If you want to avoid the problems that this company was dealing with, then the answer is a resounding “YES!”
What is IT Service Management?
While ITSM can mean different things to different people, we believe it is all about implementing documented / repeatable / scalable processes to provide better service to your end users. When someone calls your service desk, for example, you want to delight them—not cause them to want to scream in frustration.
ITSM processes can (and should) address a full spectrum of issues, including incident management, knowledge management, change management and everything in between. Beyond simply having processes in place, though, ITSM really is a mindset or culture that affects your entire operation.
Of course, service management is not just for IT organizations—it’s for all of your other customer-facing business operational teams, too.
What are the benefits of IT Service Management?
By putting key processes in place and adopting the ITSM mindset around these processes, you can:
- Transform your organization from a reactive operational team to a proactive customer-focused team
- Use repeatable processes to deliver services far more efficiently to the end-users
- Create visibility and transparency for both end users and IT services leadership
- Align IT services with the business’ goals and objectives for day-to-day operations
- Enhance the end user experience and increase customer satisfaction
In today’s remote / hybrid working environment, ITSM helps drive the IT teams to a core scalable operating model, to provide consistent end-user support to those in the office or working remotely.
ITSM can also uncover hidden problems
Sometimes, as we found with our client company, putting IT Service Management in place can also uncover costly incident trends that are currently hidden due to lack of proper use of the ITSM tool.
In this case, the data created by the ITSM tool showed that 30% of the total incidents experienced by the company were related to one particular type of technical problem. This technical problem had been causing a great deal of lost productivity in the business, but no one had connected the dots to see this costly trend.
What’s going on in your IT service organization?
If you’ve been struggling with poor service and unhappy customers, ITSM might be the solution. This was the first article in a multi-part series. Stay tuned!
About Ed Caufield
Ed Caufield is a people- and results-focused senior IT leader with 20+ years of domestic and global experience in SAP / Enterprise Applications, ITIL service management, infrastructure and cloud operations, portfolio management, IT governance and outsourcing operations.
About Lonnie Sanders III
Lonnie Sanders is a program/project leader with exceptional leadership skills and technical knowledge. Clients appreciate his extensive experience leading cross-functional and multi-site teams to produce successful project results in diverse industries and domains.
About CIO Professional Services
Based in the San Francisco Bay area, CIO Professional Services LLC is a top-rated Information Technology (IT) consulting firm focused on integrating Business and Information Technology. Our consultants are all hands-on executives who are veteran CIOs and Partners of Big 4 consulting firms. Companies come to us seeking assistance with their information technology strategy as well as for interim or fractional CIO / CTOs, and negotiation and program management/project rescue assistance.