Does the thought of submitting a ticket to acquire a new laptop, asking for help with new software or requesting support for your team strike you with a sudden bout of procrastination?
The IT Service Blackhole
Some organizations have built or implemented so many technology solutions and methodologies for requesting IT services that they have become numb and oblivious to the amount of waste, inefficiency and missed growth that their complicated IT service systems have caused.
One of our clients had nearly 10 separate systems and over 35 mechanisms for submitting IT requests. Are you counting yours now? You may be surprised at what you discover in your organization.
The lack of centralized and consistent technology solutions, configured to operate with standardized processes, prevents IT leaders from managing and measuring the demand capacity and planning service request tickets.
As you look at your own systems, you may discover problems like needing multiple clarifications for requests with customers, an inconsistent (or non-existent) approval process, frequent need to re-assign or handoff tasks unexpectedly, unwarranted request delays and complex, unwieldy intake mechanisms.
A Better Way
What’s called for is a way to enable leaders to manage and measure IT service requests, improve transparency and give customers an intuitive way to interact with IT by standardizing processes and creating a centralized IT Service Request Management system aligned to ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) best practices for every service line.
How We Get There
We espouse a three-step approach to creating an ITSM that works consistently, predictably and accurately to deliver value to internal and external customers:
1. Define Customer Value
2. Map the Process
3. Capture High-level Metrics
Define Customer Value
There are three types of IT support or service needs and requests: service request, incidents and enhancements
Key to defining customer value is to understand what your organization’s typical need types are and where they come from, as well as how often.
Also, we want to understand how these various types of requests are falling short. Capturing metrics, like lead time, time to respond, and work time, as well as the duration it takes to go from request to delivery of a satisfactory solution, is critical.
Map the Process
When we work with a client, we focus on mapping their process by looking at four discrete areas – people, process, technology and data. Through this lens, we take a process-first approach so that we can capture what’s happening in the real world, as well as baseline the metrics that demonstrate what is important to customers and stakeholders.
One technique that we employ is called 5S and it comes from the Lean discipline. It stands for sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain and represents a straightforward way to identify and eliminate areas of waste.
Since this ITSM transformation cuts to the heart of how the IT organization serves its internal and external customers, we believe that a Human Centered Design (HCD) philosophy is key to success. These principles consider the needs of the people served by the system as service requesters and service providers.
Specifically, we want to achieve five goals through HCD principles:
1. Simplify input
2. Follow user’s mental model
3. Support novices and experts
4. Be consistent and predictable
5. Minimize cognitive load
Capture High-level Metrics
If a client has systems-based data (i.e. days to closure, ???) that comes from service level objectives and agreements, we can more easily gain a picture of where we need to take the new process transformation. We can identify what the customer expects and how the current process is performing towards that goal.
However, if you don’t have KPIs or system-level metrics, we can still create a baseline from our mapping step by using the voice of customer and needed business value. Together, these metrics will point to productivity, timeliness and accuracy.
An added benefit to this process-first approach is that we enable a system that can provide enterprise-level data, as well as empower a continuous improvement loop that uses the metrics to refine the ITSM.
Where to Go from Here
Creating a one-stop shop for all IT services, support and maintenance needs in your organization is possible and we’re doing it by creating simplified channels for IT requests and predictable tools for acting on, tracking and reporting on ITSM performance.