Tag Archives: ITSM

What’s The ROI of Service Management?

Share twitterlinkedinmail

IT service management has typically been seen as yet another cost inside of what is perceived to be a cost center known as “IT”. Why? Because many IT organizations still view service management as operating overhead…and nothing else. The potential business value of good ITSM is ignored.

Many IT organizations could start becoming a strategic organizational partner if they understood the ROI of their work. ROI, or Return on Investment, is an important financial metric that most value centers use to measure success. Unfortunately,  90% of all technical support organizations fail to measure ROI. 

But, a simple shift in thinking about service management and ROI will create major opportunities for IT.

Why is ROI important to IT?

Why should IT leaders care about ROI? Simply put, ROI is the language of the business. Everyone in the C-Suite understands ROI and how important it is in making business decisions. When IT leaders start discussing ROI with peers, they are taking the “techno-speak” out of the discussion.  As a result, ROI makes IT more relatable and understandable to the rest of the business.

Relating IT in terms of ROI within the organization can lead to bigger budgets, better staffing, and improved service relationships. Data shows that top performing IT support organizations produce a ROI of 500% or greater on an annual basis!

Understanding the ROI of Service Management

Measuring the ROI of service management starts with quantifying work. But not in the ways that many typically think, like counting closed tickets or tracking time to resolution. Rather, quantify service management in terms that truly demonstrate business value—measures like savings (or “costs avoided” as an early CFO of mine schooled me about) through better processes, improved productivity, or investments in innovation.  These are the kinds of topics business colleagues care about – not IT operational measures. 

Here are three examples where you can illustrate a business-relevant ROI of good service management. 

ROI Area #1 — Time is Money

According to estimates, the global impact of unplanned downtime is 14.3 billion and employees lose an entire day of productivity due to unplanned downtime. 

Many ITSM leaders measure IT productivity in terms of number of incidents resolved and time to incident resolution. This is a flawed approach.  An incident is not a “value-add”. While there is (limited) value in resolving an incident, the real business value is not having incidents at all

So how might good service management practices produce an ROI?  Let’s take an example. Company XYZ implemented service management improvements during quarter two. These changes included improving change enablement practices and developing and publishing self-help knowledge articles regarding the most-frequently encountered issues. 

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
12,792 12,374 10,556 9,843

Because of these changes, XYZ saw over 4,700 fewer tickets in Q3 & Q4 than they had in Q1 & Q2. 

Now let’s apply money to the scenario.  Let’s say every ticket costs the company $10 in productivity loss (of course, it’s much more than this!).  By implementing these improvements, IT helped the organization avoid nearly $50,000 of lost productivity. That’s where the real value and the ROI of service management begins to show itself. 

ROI Area #2 — Avoid unnecessary cost with self service 

Another ROI-enhancing area for service management is the concept of “shift left.” Shift left means moving support and enablement activities closer to those doing the actual work.  For example, moving incident resolution or request fulfillment from a desktop support team to the service desk or from the service desk to Level 0 (self-help), can help an organization avoid unnecessary escalation-related costs. Unnecessary escalations result in support costs that are not directly reflected in performance measures.  Because these escalations appear to be just ‘business as usual’, the cost associated with those escalations go unnoticed. 

How many tickets are unnecessarily escalated that could have been solved by Level 1 or by self-help? According to TechBeacon, a typical service desk ticket can cost around $22. But escalating a ticket can cost an additional $69, making the total cost of the ticket $91. If you are handling tens of thousands of tickets, these costs add up quickly.

But when self service offerings are provided for those repeatable and predictable support and enablement activities, your organization avoids the costs associated with ticket escalation.   

ROI Area #3 — Spend on innovation, not support

This last area is perhaps the most important but often the most forgotten. It’s where poor IT service management practices drain resources from innovation.

To understand how good service management facilitates innovation, let’s start by understanding the basis of IT budgets. Generally speaking, IT budgets have three categories of costs:

  • Fixed costs, like salaries, support contracts, and other operating expenses. These costs typically do not change dramatically year over year. 
  • Innovation, in the form of new projects and improvement initiatives.  These costs represent outcomes that the organization would like to realize through investments in technology. 
  • Maintenance and support, which includes application and software updates, responding to incidents and requests, security monitoring and patching, and other day-to-day activities needed to maintain reliability and availability. 

Again, let’s use some easy numbers for illustration. If an IT budget is $1000, then typically fixed costs make up $500.  Innovation is budgeted at $300, and maintenance and support is budgeted at $200. The organization is optimistic about realizing new value through innovation.  Support costs are acknowledged and seem reasonable. 

Until the impact of poor IT service management practices become evident. Poor IT service management practices result in poor change implementations.  Lots of fire-fighting.  Too many meetings to discuss and decide what should be simple requests.  Automation that just doesn’t work well. Confusion regarding how technology enables current organizational outcomes.  Duplicative products and services. 

And suddenly, the IT organization is spending more time in maintenance and support, and less time innovating. And what part of the IT budget absorbs that additional cost?  The budget allocated for Innovation. Innovation is sacrificed to cover the (unnecessarily excessive) cost of simply keeping the lights on.

Good service management preserves that innovation budget, by doing the right things well when it comes to maintenance and support. 

What is the simple shift in thinking that enables service management ROI? 

How is it possible to realize ROI with service management, rather than looking at it as cost? 

The answer is simple.

It starts with a shift in thinking.  Rather than viewing service management as a means of control, begin viewing service management as a business enabler.  

While the IT operational aspects of service management are important, it is not why organizations need to practice good service management.  

Good service management enables organizations to achieve business outcomes.  Good service management enables organizations to realize value from its investments in and use of technology.  And one of the key ways to enable this shift in thinking is to talk about service management in terms of ROI.  

Tedder’s Takeaway – Why It Matters

Shifting how the organization views service management is a critical enabler for discussing the ROI of service management.  Moving the conversation from cost to results, then attaching ROI to those results.  Having the ability to discuss ROI with organizational peers not only makes IT more relatable, it also repositions IT as a strategic enabler, with a tangible way to understand the impact of good service management. 

Is it time to shift your thinking about service management?  Are you reporting operational measures instead of business outcomes?  What would be possible for your organization if you could illustrate the ROI of service management? Let Tedder Consulting help!  For more information, contact Tedder Consulting today.

Share twitterlinkedinmail

You’re Talking About Value Wrong

Share twitterlinkedinmail

“Value” is one of the most overused and misunderstood terms in business today.

It is often thrown around in meetings and on company websites but while many organizations talk about value, very few get it right.

Why is that? What is the problem with value? For starters, value is a perception. What is valuable to one organization -or one person – may not be as valuable to another. And many organizations don’t define value at an enterprise level. As a result, company initiatives are fractured and less impactful because everyone within the organization is using their own value measuring stick.

The second problem with value is that too many organizations equate value only with cost savings. This is a misconception that can cost organizations a lot of money and time with little to show for it. Fact is that organizations, just like people, are happy to pay for things that they perceive as being valuable – cost is secondary.

If you’re talking about value wrong or worse, not talking about it at all, here are three points that will help you reframe the value conversation.

Value does not equal cost savings.

When thinking about value, it’s easy to just think in terms of dollars and cents. It’s straightforward and unlike value, everyone knows exactly how much dollars and cents are worth.

Now, cost is a factor in value but it should not be the leading factor of value. Because in addition to a price tag, there are intangible costs with any transaction. These intangible costs include things like time to make the purchase, the ease of making a purchase, the time to get set up with a product or service, etc. These intangible costs factor into the value and depending on the end-user, they could mean much more than a specific dollar amount.

When you’re discussing value — whether it’s the value of your product or service, a new technology, or your own IT services, don’t forget the intangibles and factor those into the value.

Outcomes by themselves don’t deliver value.

In an article for SysAid, I explained the difference between outcomes and outputs in reference to ordering a pizza. The outputs are the operational measures, like when you order a pizza and it arrives on time and at the agreed upon price. The outcomes are the results that show the value of that pizza delivery, such as did you get the pizza you ordered, was it hot and fresh, did it taste good and so on.

More IT professionals are beginning to focus on outcomes instead of outputs, which is very important! However, outcomes alone don’t get the job done when it comes to value. Competition is too intense these days and consumers have a lot of options, and high expectations.

So what combines with outcomes to create value? The experience of the transaction.

Part of value is experience.

If you don’t provide or enable a good experience, you’re not offering value. The experience is just as important today. In fact, Salesforce found in a survey that 80% of customers say the experience businesses provide is just as important as its products and services. And Gartner found that 81% of businesses compete primarily on customer experience.

Customer experience is more important than ever and if you want to deliver value through your products and services, you have to offer a seamless and personalized experience for your customers.

The Role of Service of Management in Value

By this point, it’s clear that value isn’t just about a price tag. It’s a combination of understanding what’s important to your consumers and consistently delivering those results – along with a great experience. In short, someone finds value when they can say “I got the outcome I needed and expected and I had a good experience while doing it – at the price I was willing to pay.”

The connection between the experience and outcomes lives in your service management foundations. Service management is how you can monitor the experience and ensure you deliver the outcomes that a customer wants so they can recognize the value of your products and services.

Is your service management approach strong enough to deliver value? Have you done these things in the last 12 months?

  • Met with your key stakeholders to review and agree on a shared definition of value
  • Mapped your value streams with all stakeholders, not just IT
  • Audited your workflows to identify and implement improvements
  • Implemented continual improvement strategies

Service management is an ongoing initiative but it can — and will — help to deliver value if it’s done properly with buy-in from the entire team.

If you’ve been struggling with showing how IT delivers value to the bottom line and you want to elevate your IT organization, you need to be sure you’re talking about value correctly. Review your service management approach. Examine the customer experience. You may just find the areas where IT can fill any gaps and deliver the value your customer needs.

Share twitterlinkedinmail

Business-IT Alignment isn’t a 50-50 Deal

Share twitterlinkedinmail

More and more companies are transforming via digital transformation and discovering new lines of business or radically changing their existing business models through the use of technology.  What does this mean?  It means that IT and the business have no choice but to become aligned if they want to succeed.

It’s no longer just “nice to have” alignment between business and IT. If the IT organization isn’t aligned with the business, the business will go around IT to make their initiatives happen — and that can have catastrophic consequences for everyone. 

It’s one thing to have a meeting with both the business and IT in the room and claim that you’re aligned.  But the realities of what alignment looks like and what it really means for IT and the business is more complex than simply adding IT to meeting agendas. 

What does it mean for the business and IT to be aligned? Who’s responsible for creating that alignment?

From Service Provider to Solution Provider 

According to Tim Winders, Vice-Chancellor of Information Services at Purdue University Northwest, “IT is aligned with the business when IT moves from being a service organization to delivering business solutions.”

The subtle difference between providing business solutions and being a service provider requires a proactive approach. As Tim explains it, “In the reactive model, IT fixes problems but is outside of the decision-making process.”  Being proactive as an IT organization means being “a collaborative business partner delivering solutions that solve specific business problems. IT collaborates with the business to identify business problems to provide proactive solutions, improving products, customer experience, and business reputation.”

The days of IT just implementing the right technology are long gone. IT has to be an engaged part of every business strategy discussion because technology touches every piece of the business.  IT must be engaged from the beginning if that technology is to work to enable value to the business and its end users. 

Mike Gill, CIO at Marian, Inc, explains it this way, “You need to ensure your solution delivery provides value. The value is not if you have the best technology or it runs the most efficiently, the value is if it solves a problem the business has.” 

Of course, it’s easy to say that the IT organization is driving value and is aligned with the business. But what does ‘alignment’ actually look like?  How do you know if you’re aligned? 

What Does Business-IT Alignment Look Like?

If business-IT alignment is connected to driving business value, then you have to start there. Of course, as I’ve pointed out before, the problem with “value” is that it’s a perception. What’s valuable to IT might not be valuable to the business – and vice-versa.  So it’s important that value is identified and agreed by every stakeholder in the organization — customers, partners, suppliers and internal stakeholders. Defining and agreeing on the definition of value as an organization is the first step to getting IT and the business aligned. 

Once value is defined, you can refine your workflows and processes to ensure they are actually delivering business value, including the appropriate measures within those workflows to check for value. For example, Mike shared a way that he can determine if IT is aligned with the business. 

“We have an internally developed ERP system and have the freedom to implement workflows that provide maximum business value – it is a custom system tailored to our company. One sign that we are aligned is looking at transactions in the system,” explained Mike. “Are users doing all the steps in real-time or are they catching up transactions at the end of the day? Looking at the logs you can see if a process that should occur over a longer period (days, not minutes) is mirrored by a similar timeline of transactions in the system. If I see those transactions happening by different people over the course of a day or two then I know the system is aligned to the business (both function and usability). If I see all those transactions happen within minutes of each other then I know they are just catching up work into the system because they must – [which indicates that IT is] not aligned.”

The key here is that Mike made sure the technology fit and supported the workflows of the business, instead of the other way around – a key to business-IT alignment. This enables the technology to be instrumented or monitored to confirm business value – and therefore, better aligned with the organization. 

Additionally, to ensure you’re aligned, look to see if IT is being invited to new projects and initiatives at the kickoff meeting. According to Mike, “It is easy to invite IT leadership to monthly and annual executive status meetings and feel like you are giving them importance or that you are aligning business and IT. That does matter, but it matters more when the regular business projects and initiatives are inviting IT representation in the first steps. It means the business and IT are given the chance to stay aligned from the beginning rather than create the feeling that IT just does what the business says – that never leads to good outcomes.”

IT leaders must regularly check in with other company leaders to ensure that IT is involved with all upcoming initiatives.  If you do that, you’re on your way to business-IT alignment. 

What To Do About Business-IT Alignment?

Once some signs of business-IT alignment begin to appear within an organization, you have to ask yourself one thing: “What am I going to do with this opportunity?”

I believe that IT organizations struggling with business-IT alignment fall into one of two camps. The first group doesn’t know how to achieve business-IT alignment. For that organization, they need to collaborate across the organization to define and agree on value, co-create workflows and solutions to achieve that value, and work together to monitor and continually optimize those solutions.

The other camp consists of organizations that believe that they have business-IT alignment – but they don’t. This is a much larger number of companies than the number of organizations that just can’t figure out alignment.  For these companies, the IT organization is in danger of losing its influence in the company – if it has any influence at all.

Business-IT alignment can often become performative in organizations. It’s easy to have meetings, to gain an agreement on a definition of value, and to create workflows that should enable the realization of value. It’s another thing to ensure that everyone in the organization – both from the business and from IT- is following through and living that definition of value. 

The important thing every IT leader must do is identify what happens after the big discussions, after the kickoff meetings,  and understand what is really going on in the day-to-day running of the organization. Is your team clear on the value it delivers and how it delivers it? Are you enabling your team to work across departments and proactively identify and promote the value you’re delivering? Are you enabling the rest of the organization to have input in how IT is operating and to provide feedback and suggestions for what needs to be done from a business perspective?

Business-IT alignment isn’t a 50-50 split. To achieve and maintain alignment, both IT and the business have to give 100 percent to make alignment work. But before they can both commit 100%, one team has to be the one to step up and put all the effort in first. I believe that team is the IT organization.  IT has to start giving 100% toward business-IT alignment,  even before the business commits to alignment. It’s work to get into alignment and the onus will fall on IT, especially in the beginning – but it’s work that pays off.. 

And remember, business-IT alignment isn’t a one-and-done activity. It’s a continual process that has to be monitored, mapped and measured on a regular basis. 

My challenge to you is to share: how are you staying aligned in your organization? What are your methods for checking and measuring business-IT alignment? Where are the gaps in business-IT alignment that you need to fill?

Share twitterlinkedinmail

How to Master the Art of IT Partnerships

Share twitterlinkedinmail

As businesses continue to become more reliant on technology, more and more organizations have formed partnership ecosystems. Bringing in and working with multiple partners is a smart way to deliver better experiences with optimized costs and capabilities. 

While there are many pros to working with partners — there are some drawbacks as well. Operations become increasingly complex as a partnership ecosystem grows. Regardless, end users will still expect a seamless experience, and the more partners you work with, the harder it could become to maintain that smooth experience. 

This article will address how CIOs can effectively manage those IT partnerships and set up their organizations for success in a partnership ecosystem.   

Partners vs. Suppliers and Vendors

You’ll notice that I refer to “partners” and not “suppliers” or “vendors”. That’s intentional verbiage. In order to succeed in this new paradigm, CIOs need to evolve from working with vendors and suppliers in a strictly transactional sense. Strategic partners are vendors that have go above and beyond effective delivery of systems and services – they commit to helping the CIO achieve the organizational goals of the company. 

The difference between “partner” and “supplier” has become increasingly noticeable due to COVID-19. Many CIOs saw partners be more proactive in their relationships by reaching out to see how they could better assist organizations during the pandemic. 

The best partners recognize that a business relationship is about more than making a sale. It’s about building a relationship where they understand the customer’s business models and the inner workings of the company. They don’t just execute on the customer’s demands, they work with the customer to find mutually beneficial solutions. 

When Badly Managed Partnerships Happen to Good Organizations

Why should you care about managing your partnerships? When does a vendor need to be a partner? 

Silo mentality has been a frequent roadblock within many organizations –  and IT is no stranger to them. Internal silos can wreak havoc on workflows and efficiencies. When IT isn’t looped into the full scope of projects and how the rest of the organization is driving value, they are often left to catch up — and end-users always suffer. And that’s just with internal silos! 

Compound that with the fact that more organizations are reducing staffing yet increasing demand for technology. This means more outsourcing and external support.  But without a shared and agreed approach to delivering that support, IT organizations could easily find themselves in a chaotic situation.  

Finding the Right Partners

Of course, there are many vendors simply parading as partners –  so how do you know what to look for in a partner? The most important thing is not to rush into a relationship or make a decision based solely on price. Yes, it can be time-consuming to get referrals and do your due diligence when evaluating potential partners. Start off with your trusted circle of IT leaders. Other leaders are often the best source of knowledge of who is a great partner and who simply delivers a product. 

Once you have your shortlist of partners from your own research and recommendations from peers, it’s time to start establishing connections. Remember that the right partner doesn’t start the conversation about themselves or their product – they will want to first talk about your goals and objectives.

Perhaps more importantly though, you have to view a potential partnership for what it is — a partnership, not a vendor-client relationship. It’s important to not view the potential partner as just a fulfiller of work. During those initial discussions, you have the responsibility of clearly defining expectations, challenges, organizational dynamics, and the goals of your organization. Don’t limit your conversations to specifically IT or the initiatives for a particular tool or product. IT is crucial to the success of any business so any IT partner needs to have a clear picture of that business. 

This will give the partner the opportunity to create a better strategy for delivering the right products and services for helping you achieve your goals. 

How to Better Manage Your Partners 

The best partnerships happen because they’re built on trust, respect, and mutual understanding. So there is a level of “people-work” that has to go into any of these relationships. But there are some ways you can better structure your organization so your partnerships will be more successful. 

  • Keep the lines of communication open. 

 

Far too often, supplier check-ins are just quick reviews of operational metrics or updates on the tasks completed during a timeframe. These types of communications aren’t sufficient in a partner relationship – in fact, this is a disadvantage to you and your partners! You want your team to be actively communicating with your partners about what’s happening in your organization so they can continue to get a clear vision of the overall picture of your organization.

 

  • Establish transparent workflows for all your partners.

 

This might be difficult because your partners likely have their own workflows. But working with them to establish a shared process that all partners follow makes for a smoother experience for your entire organization. Again, this might be a difficult ask and could take some time to develop, but the right partners will be willing to engage in defining workflows that work for your organization.

 

  • Get your internal teams and stakeholders to see partners as part of the team

 

Silo mentality doesn’t work — even when those silos are made up of full-time employees and contractors. Your internal departments and teams should feel empowered to be a part of the partner-IT relationship. You want everyone in your organization to know and trust your partners. This might mean bringing other departments to meetings with external partners or looping your external partners into existing initiatives with other departments.  

Introducing Service Integration and Management 

If you are looking for a better way to integrate your partnerships, Service Integration and Management (SIAM) might be the best option for you. SIAM is a management methodology that is growing in popularity. SIAM will provide an organization with governance, coordination, assurance, and integration for working with outside partners by introducing a “service integrator” role. If you’re working with multiple vendors, suppliers, and partners, SIAM can enhance the experience for everyone within your organization and for suppliers and partners working with your organization.  

If you’re curious about introducing SIAM or improving your partner relationships, I’d love to discuss how to prepare your organization to thrive in a multi-partner ecosystem.

Share twitterlinkedinmail

Don’t Believe These 6 Service Management Myths

Share twitterlinkedinmail

I have said before that service management has gotten a bad reputation. But that bad reputation is somewhat deserved because the service management of the past failed a lot of companies. I’ve heard from many IT professionals that they have tried service management and it just didn’t work or worse, they have current service management initiatives but they’re not sure if it’s working.

Service management has evolved over the years and many of the beliefs out there are just plain wrong. What if I told you that service management is a secret weapon that can solve many of the challenges facing a modern organization – if only more professionals understood the true power of service management?

It’s time to bust some service management myths.

Service management means fitting into a strict framework

This idea of adhering to an inflexible, strict framework is one of the biggest service management misconceptions. Many people view service management as being overly restrictive and that in order for it to work, you have to fit your organization and workstreams into exact, inflexible parameters. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Good service management is first understanding how the organization wants to derive value and outcomes from its use of technology, then applying the right methodologies to enable the realization of that value and outcomes.

This means that you should first identify your organization’s specific challenges and goals, then adopt and adapt approaches that best leverage people, capabilities, and technology in such a way that will address those challenges. You can drop in different aspects of service management best practices without forcing your team to adopt every single best practice. Good service management is customized to meet the needs of the organization, not the other way around.

Implementing service management requires a new tool

Another common myth of service management is that it’s all about the tool. Often, when I ask a prospect about their service management environment, they’ll start talking about the tools they are using, and not the business challenge they’re trying to address. This tool-first mentality around service management is problematic – it means many organizations go straight to investing in a tool before understanding what they are trying to achieve with service management. And because tools are never “magic bullets”, implementations of tools without understanding the why behind adoption of service management rarely delivers the outcomes that the organization needs.

Good service management isn’t an out-of-the-box solution. You can’t just fire up a new tool and expect everything to magically start working correctly. Instead, you need to start with the groundwork of mapping where you are currently. Map value streams, get clear on who is responsible for what and identify where you’re experiencing gaps in service. You need to get a clear picture of how your organization is currently delivering services before you can even start to think about a tool.

If you skip this step and go straight to investing in a tool, you’ll end up with an expensive tool that still doesn’t solve your problems. Or you’ll have a tool that is fully featured but your team can’t even use half of the features.

The bottom line is, if you want to properly implement service management, don’t start the conversation by discussing tools.

SM is only for large enterprises

To some, service management is a bureaucratic mess of processes that is only necessary in a company of thousands of people. But small and mid-sized companies need service management just as much as the bigger guys.

Good service management means:

  • Reliable, consistent, and relatable services
  • A measurable contribution to business value
  • Efficient, data-driven, defined, and documented processes

If you’ll notice, there’s nothing that says that good service management requires a big team. Service management is simply about delivering great service as efficiently and effectively as possible. This is so important in small and mid-sized companies! You’re getting just as much accomplished with smaller teams so everyone needs to work smart and find the workflows that will keep the team operating as efficiently as possible!

There’s no “minimum employee count” for organizations wanting to implement service management. It can make a positive difference in any size organization.

Service management is just about the Service Desk

Many people think service management is just something that the service desk does. Sure, the service desk is important and it will benefit from service management initiatives. But the goal of the service desk is to deliver a smooth experience for users. It doesn’t represent a holistic view of how value and services flow through the organization. And the service desk by itself cannot deliver good service management; rather, it relies on being integrated with all other parts of the organization to deliver good service management.

Service management is about providing and managing the right combination of people, processes and technology to enable a business to meet its objectives and deliver measurable value. The service desk is part of this but it’s just one piece of the overall puzzle. True service management extends far beyond the service desk.

Service management is just ITIL

I’ve noticed many people use “service management” and ITIL®1 interchangeably which contributes to much of the confusion around service management.

Service management is about the holistic view of a business and its IT capabilities. It can act like an operating model for the business of IT. It’s an overarching view of how IT operates within the context of the business and how IT helps the overall business achieve its goals.

On the other hand, ITIL is a collection of guidance and advice for implementing service management practices. Using a sports analogy, service management is the playbook for the season while ITIL may be a specific play executed on gameday.

Service management is only about IT

Finally, we have one of the most pervasive myths about service management: that it’s only about IT. Of course, for a long time it was known as “IT Service Management”, so it’s no wonder that this is a belief.

For service management to be truly effective, it must reflect and support entire organizational value streams, not just the IT portions. Technology is no longer department-specific. Technology connects entire value streams in nearly all organizations. If you don’t have enterprise-wide workflows that support value all the way to the customer, you likely have a bunch of disjointed pieces that result in a poor customer experience.

This idea of service management being used across the business is more commonly referred to as “Enterprise Service Management” and it’s becoming more prevalent. Limiting service management practices and views to only IT is severely limiting the organization’s ability to grow, scale, and meet the ever-evolving expectations of their customers.

Service Management: A Secret Weapon

Service management is often viewed as being old-school, restrictive, and too basic. However, if you look at service management with fresh eyes and recognize the difference between quality service management versus the myths of service management, you may end up seeing that it is the solution you’ve been trying to find all along.

Interested in learning how service management can improve your organization? Has your organization fallen victim to one or more of these service management myths? Let’s talk – book a free 30-minute consultation here.

*ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.
Share twitterlinkedinmail

5 Modern Use Cases for Service Management

Share twitterlinkedinmail

“Service Management” is in desperate need of a rebrand. For years, service management was synonymous with IT. It was branded as IT service management. But service management isn’t strictly about the service desk or specific methodologies. Service management is about improving how an organization creates, manages, and delivers value to its end users.

If you have already closed the service management chapter in your company’s book…it’s time to reopen it. Among the many lessons that 2020 taught us, one of them is that every organization needs service management to operate efficiently.

But service management of 2020 is not the service management (as it perhaps was considered) of the past. It’s something that every organization should use to solve its biggest challenges and enable holistic business solutions. I’ve identified 5 modern use cases for service management that address issues that many organizations are struggling with today.

Organizations have to operate under a hybrid work model.

One of the biggest impacts of the coronavirus is its impact on how businesses operate. Most experts are predicting that for many organizations remote work will remain an option for most employees, even after it’s safe to fully return to the traditional office environment.

This is going to lead to issues for the organizations because they are going to lose any “tribal standards” in how work is completed. For example, one week an invoice can be hand delivered to the finance department, the finance department verbally agrees to paying the invoice. They pick up the phone after payment and confirm to the rep that the vendor has been paid. But then, the following week, maybe the representative is working remotely, so they have to email the invoice to the finance department. Then there is a virtual back and forth email exchange around payment. There is going to be a lack of standardization which can severely impact the business. Of course, this is one small example. For something simple like processing an invoice, this hybrid work model might not significantly impact operations. But when the workflows are more complex and perhaps, lead directly to the customer, these often undefined by tribally-performed workflows can get backed up, criss-crossed and broken quickly.

The lack of consistent and defined workflows across an organization will be severely impacted with a hybrid workflow model. If you didn’t have defined workflows when everyone was working within a traditional in-office model, or if you had defined workflows – but they were never adjusted for remote work, then watch out. Work is going to be delayed, employees are going to get frustrated, and leaders are not going to be able to effectively measure the efficiency of their workflows.

Good service management is the solution for hybrid workflows. It provides a framework to create a flexible workflow for every important initiative. When implemented correctly and across the organization, you’ll be able to build a workflow for any type of hybrid workflow situation.

Customers are not experiencing the full value of a product or service.

Customers are being impacted by the changes in your organization. Whether it’s due to layoffs, broken workflows or tightened budgets, your customers will feel that decrease in value if you don’t account for those changes and adapt appropriately.

For example, let’s say Company ABC had to cut part of its warehouse staff and the rest of its employees are working from home. Without the convenience of having customer service agents in-house, sales representatives have become a bit slow to process orders. Because of a short-staffed warehouse, shipments are routinely delayed. The end result? A flustered team and a frustrated customer who starts looking for other options where their shipments will be delivered on time.

Value leakage is a term that has been brought up often during the pandemic. Value leakage happens when value doesn’t flow properly through the organization and the end user doesn’t receive the full value of a product or service. If value leaks from any part of a value stream, no matter if it’s the ordering process, the delivery, the actual product itself, or the customer service after a product has been received, it’s bad for the customer – and that’s bad for the organization.

Value leakage can be identified and corrected with good service management because good service management provides a holistic view of the value stream. It pulls back the curtain on how every department works with one another and will identify where there are bottlenecks and value leaks that inhibit value from reaching the end user. It also, as noted above, will help you to create a workflow that tears down silos and allows leaders to measure and optimize across the value stream so that if a customer doesn’t realize the full value of a product or service, you can easily trace back to why and where it can be fixed.

Bad tech investments are blowing budgets and ruining productivity.

This is one of the biggest problems I see that service management can solve. Too many organizations are putting their money into the fanciest, flashiest, newest technology on the market only to implement and find…. it’s not the magic bullet they were hoping it would be. Organizations end up with a very expensive tool that employees aren’t fully using and that isn’t doing anything to actually support the organization.

For example, during the pandemic Company XYZ invested in a project management software in the hopes it would keep the organization running smoothly while everyone worked remotely. Unfortunately, because the company was remote, training for the tool was non-existent and most of the company struggled with understanding how to best use it. Without any clarity regarding desired outcomes, defined processes, or how the organization intended to collaborate, each department adapted their own methods for working with the tool. Now there are seven different departments using the same software in completely different ways. Company XYZ is now in a hole with this expensive software and they have no idea how to get out of it.

So how does service management solve for bad tech? Well, the problem is often not the tech. It’s how that tech is being used. It’s never a technology problem. It’s usually a workflow or people problem. Instead of investing in different technology or adding on more features to this already expensive software, Company XYZ needs to get their departments on the same page and a standardized approach for using the tool and creating support services to help facilitate using the tool. This just so happens to be exactly what service management can do for you.

Organizations are straddled with restricted budgets.

Let’s look at the pandemic struggles of an average company:

  • Budgets have been cut because sales have decreased.
  • Layoffs have occurred so employees are terrified and overwhelmed.
  • The way we work has changed but workflows were never adjusted so there are lots of gaps in service delivery and in the overall customer experience.

That means organizations have to work smarter, faster and for less money.

No big ask, right?

The way to get your teams working smart and faster without more money or more help is to help them work better together.

Again, service management is a holistic view of the way organizations work together. It forces everyone to see silos, gaps, opportunities for improvement, and where they fit into the success of the organization. A transparent view of how value and work flows through an organization is your best opportunity for getting your team to work at its peak performance.

Transparency works in business. It can empower your team and creates a “no blame” work environment where everyone understands their role.

This cannot be done without implementing service management techniques.

Employee experience is at a low.

There have been plenty of studies done on how organizations that prioritize employee experience frequently report higher levels of customer satisfaction. But between a global pandemic, tightened budgets, mandatory remote work, and an “always on” culture, many employees are struggling this year and employee morale is low.

Unhappy employees means less productivity and worse outputs, which is bad enough. But if organizations don’t take steps to improve employee experience, then they could be scaring away top talent already at their company and scaring off talent from even applying or accepting positions.

Employees are the core of any business and creating a positive working environment — whether it’s remote or in an office — should be at the top of every leader’s priority list right now. When you can’t throw employee appreciation nights or offer free food in the break room, what can you do?

You can make sure that every employee has everything they need to do their best work. This could mean automating tedious and repetitive tasks, creating clear processes so everyone understands their boundaries and where others can meet their needs and in general, eliminate friction from an employee’s daily work. Once again, this is service management to a tee.

Service management isn’t about forcing everyone to follow a strict protocol. It’s not about how IT delivers services. It’s about how an organization works together to create a positive working environment, provide value, and delight customers. It’s a way to give your leaders and your team a transparent view of how value is created and delivered.

Let value lead the way in 2021 and let service management create that value.

Share twitterlinkedinmail

How To Avoid the Ghosts of ITSM Past

Share twitterlinkedinmail

What happened to IT service management? It feels like not that long ago IT was the master of its domain. But things have changed. Shadow IT is rampant in most organizations, there are higher expectations from consumers and less patience from end-users. IT organizations can’t afford to be unresponsive and uncooperative.

IT can’t keep playing by the old ITSM ways because they’ve stopped working. I’m not the only one who feels this way. According to a survey by ITSM.tools, only 24% of respondents think that existing ITSM best practice has kept up with the changing IT and business landscapes.

However, there is still a need for service management. In fact, I’d argue that the proliferation of technology in the workplace has made service management more important than ever.

Additionally, Enterprise Service Management is gaining traction among organizations, as is new technologies, such as AI and machine learning. Both of these will require strong service management foundations.

So what is a smart IT leader to do? You can’t keep trying to make new technology fit into old ITSM frameworks – but you can’t ignore the need for frameworks and processes. You need to avoid the ghosts of ITSM and instead apply modern principles of Service Management.

Let’s talk about the ghosts of ITSM past.

Seeing ITSM as Controlling

If there’s one thing that haunts ITSM, it’s the belief that it’s all about control and rigid processes. ITIL®, one of the most popular ITSM frameworks, was introduced in the 1980s and heavily focused on processes and managing IT infrastructure. But IT has evolved over the years and it’s become less about managing infrastructure and more about keeping end-users happy and delivering effective services.

While new versions of ITIL and other methodologies, such as DevOps, have been introduced, ITSM still struggles with having a reputation for enforcing unnecessary processes.

What CIOs and IT managers must do is learn more flexible frameworks and adapt them to work with their organization. ITIL4, DevOps and VeriSM™ have all become smart options for anyone looking for adaptable approaches that focus on efficiency, collaboration, and consistency.

A “Tool-First” Mentality

Another ghost of ITSM past that tends to haunt organizations is putting the primary focus on implementing the tool and not the processes, services, or people using the tools.

A “Tool-First” mentality is an easy mistake to repeat because, well, implementing tools is exciting. It is much more exciting than developing the enabling foundational pieces. Tool vendors make a lot of promises and to be honest, those tools can enable processes and make IT more efficient.

But modern ITSM means leading with services and processes and not with the tool. Before you implement a tool, you need to define processes, how the process moves information and work from beginning to end, and what activities will be performed as part of the execution of the process. It’s also important that you define the results from the execution of the process and how those results will be delivered and who will be responsible for each activity within the process. You need to define services in terms of value co-creation and measurable outcomes, and what’s in it for the customer, the consumer, and those that deliver and support those services.

This “services, processes, and people first” mentality is going to be extremely important with the new wave of AI capabilities hitting organizations. If your enterprise is interested in implementing AI, then the smart strategy is to define the objectives, processes, and roles before investing in a new tool.

Ignoring Business Objectives

For a long time, IT organizations perhaps didn’t feel the need to be involved with the business. Their focus was to manage the technology that supported the rest of the organization and let the organization grow the business.

But IT cannot afford to sit on the sidelines of the business. 81 percent of IT leads agree that CIOs are under extreme pressure to defend their investments and prove ROI. Technology places a role in almost every part of the business these days and much of that technology impacts the end-user. Nearly all business proposals today involve a technology component that needs evaluation and the C-suite will want to understand how that investment is paying off for them. Additionally, even for technology that doesn’t involve the end-user or relate directly to sales, the C-suite will want to know the ROI of that investment.

Properly managing technology in today’s world requires an understanding of the business, being able to communicate in the language of the business, and having a clear view of how IT and technology contributes to business objectives.

Being a Barrier to Technology

There was a culture of “no” that existed within IT in the past. It was easier to shut down tool requests or service requests within the enterprise. IT was often seen as the barrier to technology. But technology is so readily available these days and organizations will no longer wait for IT to say yes to a request.

According to an ITSM.tools survey, 40% of respondents think their IT department is behind meeting employee expectations – across services, support, and customer service – versus consumer-world companies.

Smart CIOs facilitate inter-department collaboration and communication. IT needs to learn to work together with the organization to deliver services within the enterprise and to the end-user.

Additionally, beginning to embrace Enterprise Service Management and co-creating processes with other departments to improve service delivery within the organization will help position IT as a leader in this new era of service management.

I recognize that it can be uncomfortable looking back at past mistakes and the ghosts of ITSM past. However, if we don’t look back, we’ll never learn – and the great news is that IT can easily avoid these ghosts. We’re in an ITSM renaissance driven by initiatives like digital transformation and the introduction of new technologies like AI.

Revisiting your ITSM foundation, defining the roles and processes, working within business objectives, and incorporating other departments into your processes and services will help bring your IT organization into the modern world.

Share twitterlinkedinmail

Can the CIO Save The Day?

Share twitterlinkedinmail

This year has been a banner year for IT. It’s only because of IT that so many organizations could continue operating in the face of the pandemic. IT has done its job on winning over the rest of the organization and most of the organizations now know they can count on IT. According to the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, 61% of the 4,200 IT leaders surveyed said that the pandemic has permanently increased the influence of the technology leader. So how can the CIO and IT leverage this new-found influence? How can IT become more than the team that keeps the lights on? 

I think that this new influence can help the CIO become the most valuable player on the leadership team because they’re the glue that keeps everything together.

Now, some may argue that the CIO has been thought of only as leading a support team for decades. So they could not in fact be the glue holding an organization together. But that was before the technology boom. Today, technology is a foundational component for every business. From communication to employee experience to the customer journey, technology plays an important role in every piece of every business. As the impact of technology has grown, so must the role of IT. While IT and the CIO used to only solve technology issues, they now must solve business issues because the business needs technology. 

That’s why the CIO has the opportunity that no other executive does. No other executive can impact another department as much as the CIO can.  

This is, of course, a force that can be used for good – or evil. The CIO can be the bottleneck, holding back every initiative due to poor service or inefficient workflows. But they can also be the hero of the organization: playing an integral,difference-making role in every initiative.

John Bruno, Chief Information Officer at Aon, explains that the CIO role can become “an integrator – someone that works across the entire organization.”  

So what can a CIO do begin breaking down the silos and helping other departments?

 

  1. Get out of IT and into other departments.

The biggest problem so many CIOs have is that they can’t see the forest through the trees. Or to put it in more blunt terms, they can’t overcome the IT fire-fights that come up every day to actually get out of IT to see what’s happening in the rest of the organization. It is absolutely imperative that today’s CIOs do this. If you don’t feel that you can see beyond IT issues, then you’re not going to be able to support the organization as you need to because CIOs have to be the integrator. They have to be the ones to connect the dots and it’s impossible to do without collaborating with other executives and understanding what is occurring in their departments. 

What would happen if you as the CIO were able to take 2-3 hours a week to meet with other executives to understand their initiatives – and how IT can help make those initiatives successful? What would it cost you? If your IT organization were to implode because the CIO took 2-3 hours every week to work with other departments rather than help put out IT fires, then your approach to service management needs attention. The right service management workflows and foundation ensure that IT runs smoothly and is able to serve the organization, while the CIO works to innovate other areas of the organization. If you’re struggling to even find the time to work with other departments and trust that your IT team can keep running, it’s time to clean up your service management. Book a consultation with me and we can discuss how to get started.

 

  1. Identify the impact of technology in other department initiatives 

As I said earlier, technology is the thread that ties everything together and as the CIO, you hold the thread. You should be actively looking for ways to enhance other department initiatives with technology. 

In the old days of IT, many CIOs would roll their eyes at the idea of making more work for themselves by collaborating with other departments. But today, the innovative CIO knows that it’s not about making more work for IT. It’s about unlocking opportunities for IT to step up and play a more influential role in the organization. 

That means that CIOs have to get comfortable offering suggestions and solutions to other executives. Imagine what would happen if a CIO offered to support the head of HR in automating and digitizing the employee onboarding process. Imagine HR and IT co-creating that solution together, instead of HR assuming what technology they needed or IT forcing a solution upon HR without even understanding the complexity of the problem. 

Instead of a forced solution where neither side is happy, everyone would walk away with a collaborative outcome that improved the business overall.

And this isn’t just an HR opportunity. The CIO could do this for every other department.  Because you as the CIO are the expert in technology, you can offer your expertise to every area of the organization. 

 

How to Get Started

First, before you start working with any other department, you need to be certain that IT can operate efficiently. That means optimizing workflows and identifying any gaps in your service delivery. You can’t offer value to anyone else without first cleaning up your own department. (And if you need help, that’s my specialty! Book a consultation here.)

Once you’ve done that, begin forming partnerships with other executives. Invite them to ongoing meetings to learn about their initiatives and technology needs. If you approach this partnership as an opportunity for their department to achieve their initiatives faster and with less resistance from IT, then they are going to be onboard with working with you. 

Slowly but surely, you can begin to work with every department in this manner and before you know it, the CIO has not only elevated the status of IT but also the entire organization. 

Share twitterlinkedinmail

Working From Home Is Only The Beginning: What is the Future of Service Management?

Share twitterlinkedinmail

I have said before that we are entering into a service management renaissance. Now that we are 9 months into the whirlwind of 2020, I’m even more convinced.

IT has been in the spotlight this year and for good reason. When the pandemic caused organizations to send employees home to work this past spring, IT was faced with a herculean task – and it stepped up. IT had to do most of the heavy lifting when businesses rapidly shifted to a work from home (WFH) model. IT organizations across the globe scrambled to equip their organizations so it could continue operations. 

Not enough laptop computers or product licenses to support WFH needs?  Buy some.  Not enough VPN or cloud storage capacity?  Buy more. 

Many IT organizations have experienced huge wins this year.  IT was appreciated – even cheered – by many, as technology-enabled organizations to continue operations as close-to-normal as possible in a completely remote environment. 

But as the novelty of WFH has started to wane, the full impact of this new normal has become more real.  Many organizations, faced with the significant costs associated with the shift to WFH, coupled with significant declines in revenues, had no choice but to reduce budgets.  Included in these budget cuts were reductions to the IT budget – the very organization that kept those businesses in business. 

The question now is “what happens next?

How do organizations successfully adapt to doing business in a WFH world? How do employees get the support they need when that support is no longer a quick trip down the hall?  How do organizations turn the unanticipated technology expenses resulting from the pandemic into investments that co-create value?

Enter service management.  Or perhaps more appropriately, it’s time to up your service management game. 

Admittedly, it is not the scenario that I had envisioned as the basis of the renaissance.  But if ever service management must become an organizational capability, the time is now. 

Here’s my prediction for the future of service management in a post-pandemic world:

Employee Experience is Now Non-Negotiable 

There is no returning to the previous “normal”,  but this isn’t just about organizations working remotely. It’s about leveraging the technology to create an exceptional employee experience. Users might not be able to simply stomp down to the IT department demanding assistance from the service desk. 

Organizations must step up their service management games to enable and deliver products, services, and workflows that result in frictionless, positive employee experiences. 

Collaboration and communication between service providers (not just IT, but other parts of the organization as well, such as HR and others) and consumers are going to be essential for success. Leaders will need to make sure their teams have in place communication structures so they can work with their team members to understand how technology is enabling the employee experience and identify any gaps in that service. 

The technology will matter less than how the technology is being used

In the past, many organizations invested in technology with the hope that it would be the savior for whatever business challenges they faced.  But one of the lessons from COVID-19 is that technology alone doesn’t deliver the long-term value organizations need.  In other words, technology is useless if it is not managed appropriately, with sufficient structure, processes, competencies, and a clear understanding of how the use of technology results in valuable business outcomes

Technology has always been looked upon as a quick fix and that is especially true in the case of the pandemic. Throwing technology at the problem worked at the beginning of the pandemic because we were looking for short term solutions, anything that would get people up and running quickly.  Now, IT organizations are dealing with tight budgets and an increased demand for technology. The easy answer may have been to  simply invest in more technology. But just adding more technology is just a band-aid for the problem. 

The successful use of technology depends significantly on the people using it and how it’s being used. The future of service management is going to rely on not just providing the technology but more importantly, truly understanding how that technology contributes to business outcomes. 

In many ways, this is a win for organizations because it’s always easier to develop existing capability than develop new. Now is the time for IT leaders to begin cataloging the technology already in use, the services that are provided, the processes in place for it, and what’s working and what’s not. Begin to leverage what you have so you can identify opportunities for growth. 

Service Management Processes Must Become Business Management Processes

Now, the truth is that if you are already taking a holistic approach to service management, you already know this. 

If you’re only using service management for managing the IT parts of a value stream, you’re missing the real opportunity for IT.  And even worse, you’re probably leaking value.

How value flows through an organization matters more than ever. Times are tight and they might be for a while. We are paying for the pandemic and we will probably be feeling the impact of that for months and perhaps years to come. 

Every part of the organization has to drive value. IT cannot do that without working holistically with every other part of the business. This requires a huge uplevel from IT. IT must integrate itself with the business (whether it’s in person or remotely), understand the role the services and technology it provides plays in driving and co-creating value.  

It’s not just about collaborating to provide technology to complete an initiative, it’s about integrating so that initiative is as successful as possible. IT must begin to recognize where and how value flows through the organization and most importantly, how it flows to the service consumer! 

Leaders can start to integrate service management processes with business management processes by identifying how value flows through the organization and how technology assists in that value reaching the consumer. By paying attention to the larger needs of the consumer and the goals of the business, IT will be able to seamlessly combine both processes so each supports the other. 

The new world for service management 

I think my view of the future of service management might come as a surprise to some.  Perhaps my holistic view of service management is different than how you’ve viewed it.  But I am convinced that if you take this approach, then you’re better positioned not only to deal with the fallout from the pandemic but also better lead your organization into the future.  

Are you looking for assistance in adjusting your service management approach to this new world? Book a free consultation.  

Share twitterlinkedinmail

Outcomes vs Outputs: The Real Proof of IT’s Value

Share twitterlinkedinmail

The typical workday looks much different today than it did just a few months ago. Instead of driving to work and walking into the building, employees are going online and signing in to their messaging or collaboration tools.

Instead of physically taking a document to a client for a signature, they’re being sent digitally for electronic signatures.

Instead of popping into an office, managers are checking in with employees via texts, instant messages, and video calls.

As many businesses continue to work remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that technology is keeping the business together. Because of this, IT has to move into a more strategic role. For years, experts have been advising IT leaders to take their seat at the strategy table and be involved in the larger business decisions. Many IT leaders have jumped at this opportunity while others have struggled to figure out how to demonstrate IT’s ability to be more than a support function.

This shift of IT from a support function into a strategic partner can start with a simple shift. The shift from focusing on outputs to outcomes can make a world of difference for IT organizations.

Outcomes vs. Outputs

Let’s begin by addressing the difference between outputs and outcomes.

Outputs are the actions or activities that an IT organization completes. They are quantitative and easily measured.

Outputs could include:

  • Moving files and documents into the cloud
  • Closing tickets in record times
  • Installing new technology

Many IT organizations measure outputs as a way to illustrate their productivity and value. The thinking is that the more outputs they complete, the more the rest of the business will see IT as being valuable.

While outputs are important, outputs only tell part of the story. The real measure of value is the outcomes that are enabled by those outputs. Outcomes are the results that the business wants or needs to achieve.

Outcomes are business objectives such as:

  • Increased market share
  • Higher customer satisfaction scores
  • Increased profits

For example, the outcome of moving computing capability to the cloud is a more mobile and flexible work environment. The output enables the outcome. For every output IT is completing, the CIO must know and communicate what the business is now able to do as a result, or outcome, of that output.

That means before listing an output on a project list, IT managers must ask: “What outcome is this going to enable?

By doing this, you can cut down on the amount of busywork or projects that are not contributing to the bottom line. It will also show what outputs are ineffective. In some cases, IT delivers an output that doesn’t enable or deliver any real business outcomes. If this is the case, you’ll need to review the output and determine if it is truly needed.

This shift may also show that some of your metrics and KPIs are ineffective ways of measuring IT’s performance. For example, if your team has a high first-contact resolution rate but employees are still reporting poor service, then the first-contact resolution rate isn’t a good indicator of your performance.

How to Make This Shift

What do IT leaders need to do this to make this shift in their organizations?

Build Business Relationships
IT leaders need to understand the outcomes the business wants to achieve. They should seek out key stakeholders and have regular conversations about their technology needs and their goals and objectives. This will allow IT leaders to begin to see the end-to-end value of their outputs and initiatives.

Define and Map Services
Once you know the desired outcomes, you can map IT services to them. Map how the outcomes of your services connect to business objectives.

Measure Outcomes
It’s not enough to simply list off the number of outputs your team completes each month. Engage your stakeholders to identify outcomes and how an output contributes to an outcome.

The Future of IT

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that IT has no choice but to evolve now. The way we work will be changed forever. Even when businesses return to the office, there will be different expectations around flexibility and how technology enables flexible mobile workforces. The business will want to be prepared for the future, should anything like this happen again and they’ll be looking at IT to help plan and prepare for those possibilities.

CIOs and IT leaders must approach their goals and initiatives differently if they want to rightfully play a leadership role in their organizations. Connecting IT outputs to business outcomes enables IT leaders to help shape the future of their organizations.

Share twitterlinkedinmail