Tag Archives: Service Management

The Ultimate Guide to Measuring IT Success in the Digital Age

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You’ve probably heard the old adage that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” While the saying is technically true, it can be misconstrued, especially in IT.

IT has no shortage of measurable tasks. Most IT organizations have been using the same metrics for decades. KPIs like cost per ticket, ticket close time, user self-service completion rate and technician resolution are popular metrics that many CIOs use to determine the success of their IT organization.

But do those rates tell the real story of what’s happening in IT? I’m going to argue that they do not. In order to succeed in the digital age, CIOs must identify new ways to measure success.

The Problem with the “Old Way”

IT is no longer just a support team. Now IT plays a critical role in delivering services to end-users (read “customers of the business”) and can be a driver of business growth within the organization.
Old metrics simply will not measure success in the digital world. Look at the examples of common IT metrics that I listed above: cost per ticket, ticket close time, user self-service completion rate and technician resolution. These are not bad metrics and there is value in measuring them but they certainly don’t give a holistic view of how IT is contributing to the business.

An IT organization could hit every one of those example metrics but still be seen as a cost center instead of a contributor.
While CIOs understand the importance of these metrics, business leaders like the CEO and the CFO may not understand the importance of them. It’s the CIO’s job to use these metrics to point to the bigger picture and demonstrate how those metrics increase business value.

IT metrics need to also tell the whole story, from historical data and into the future. Business leaders should be able to look at IT metrics and understand where the organization has been and what direction it must take to move forward.

Metrics in the Age of Digital Transformation

Metrics in the age of digital transformation can be summed up in one sentence:

Metrics should connect to end-users and the business.

This appears to be a struggle for many organizations. A Gartner study found that only 31% of organizations have IT metrics in place to improve business operations.

If you cannot connect a metric to the end-user, you will struggle to demonstrate business value. This often requires the CIO to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the business so that they have an understanding of the entire business model.

Metrics should also lead to definable actions – and those actions may touch several different areas of the business. This is important to note because it is going to move IT organizations away from having a silo mentality. IT touches almost every part of the business. CIOs need to collaborate with other areas of the business to determine where IT plays a role and how IT can provide the necessary resources to produce results.

Once you begin working with other parts of the business to identify where IT drives business value, you can then begin to build actionable process and systems and identifying key metrics for success within each one.

The Future of Measuring IT Success

IT metrics shouldn’t just measure technology performance. They should:

  • Track and trend performance over time
  • Diagnose and understand the underlying drivers of performance gaps
  • Prescribe actions to improve performance
  • Establish performance goals for both technicians and IT support overall

Every organization will have unique metrics but there are some starting points you can use to determine your initial metrics to ensure you’re properly measuring IT success in the digital age.

1. Cost and revenue indicators

Digital transformation is changing operational costs and customer acquisition costs. As technology evolves, pay attention to where those costs are, what can potentially be reduced, and where new business models or revenue streams are generated through leveraging technology.

2. Utilization

IT is often seen as a cost center because of the constant need for tools and technology. It’s important to measure utilization of these different tools and the impact of IT tools on business goals.

3. User experience

Are the other employees in the organization engaged with the tools and processes you have made available to them? What is the general level of productivity and business efficiency in the organization? If the users are enjoying a seamless experience and are able to identify productivity in their jobs because of the tools, technology and processes you have defined then you are able to IT’s role in business growth.

4. Customer experience

Finally, in the digital age, IT has a critically important role in providing the overall customer experience. IT can support the business in projects that improve the customer experience. CIOs need to inquire on how each project they play a role is impacting or enabling the right customer experience.

Pay attention to these four areas as you address new projects. If you begin to align your projects to support these areas, you will be able to identify relevant metrics that align with business success.

The Future is Here

The future of IT is already here. The bots have arrived, customer’s expectations have shifted, and the way we work has changed. So it’s time for your measures of success to do the same. If you are leading an IT organization, work with your peers to take a holistic view of business so you can begin to shift your IT metrics to reflect the success of the organization.

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Damn, I Made a Mistake

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Buckle up, friends, because this is the one where I share some truths.

I’ve learned many things in my years as a business owner and consultant but a few months ago, I had one of the biggest lightbulb moments of my career.

I made a huge mistake and it was costing me business.

I’ll avoid getting into the nitty-gritty of this mistake but it simply came down to this: I wasn’t listening to my audience and I was basing many of my offers and marketing choices on assumptions about my clients, rather than hard facts gathered by listening to them.

I think for many leaders and consultants, you get to a point in your career where you feel that you’ve seen it all. You learn to trust your instincts and in many ways, this is a good thing. But there comes a point where you start listening to your gut instincts over the voices of those around you. This is where you can start to cost yourself. If you work for yourself, you could be costing yourself business or if you’re part of an organization, you could lose the loyalty of your team and your rightful seat at the table with the C-Suite.

I believe as leaders it’s important to self-reflect on a consistent basis, even when you are moving quickly and chasing big goals. As I reflect on my missteps, I wanted to share three key points that helped me correct my mistakes and will hopefully help you avoid them!

Listen to others

Whether you’re like me and are a consultant, or you’re trying to manage a team and please a C-Suite, listening is a core component of leadership. However, listening is not always easy. You will hear things you don’t want to hear and think, “Well they’re wrong and I’m right so I’m not going to listen to their views.”

Differing views and conflicting opinions are part of business. Modern leaders want the best for their organizations and it’s normal to believe your views are the best. But the next time you hear a conflicting viewpoint and your urge is to “Shutdown and ignore,” I urge you to stop and ask a simple question in return: “Interesting viewpoint. I’d love to dig in on why you feel this way.”

The goal is not to shut down, it’s not to agree and it’s not to give up. It’s simply to dig in for more information. With an open mind and the right questions, you are creating space to find the solution.

Question your assumptions

While you’re working to understand why your team and colleagues feel a certain way, it pays to do the same for your ideas and viewpoints as well.

Questioning your assumptions is a powerplay for every leader.

The IT world changes at lightning-fast speeds. The trends of 6 months ago are now commonplace and the hot new technology of last year has already started being replaced.

In an industry where everything is evolving, your assumptions and beliefs should too. When was the last time you tested an age-old assumption or asked a clarifying question about a process, service or piece of technology to determine if it’s still working?

When you question your assumption, you are creating opportunities for continuous improvement, a hallmark of the modern IT organization.

Commit to learning

Leaders are always learning. This is probably not news to you but I challenge you to view this last point as more than keeping up on the latest trends or reading the latest news every morning. Instead, I encourage you to continue learning about your organization, the end users and your team.

Much like I had to learn more about my clients and their current needs, IT leaders should learn about the other departments, their end users, and, of course, the needs and desires of their own internal IT team just as much as they need to understand the latest piece of software.

This is also a fantastic area for you to encourage your deputies and other members of your team to practice, as well. Every member of your team can learn more about their end users and it will elevate the overall IT organization.

Part of the objectives of a modern IT department is to make an easier, faster and more streamlined experience for users. When was the last time you learned about the needs of a user from the actual user (and not from data or assumptions)?

Leaders make more mistakes than many of us realize. Course correcting along the way is part of leadership and success. We have a little less than half of 2019 left in front of us and this is a fantastic opportunity to look back on this year and ask yourself where you’re not listening, what assumptions your making, and how much you’ve learned so far this year.

I can tell you from experience that while it’s a humbling practice, the outcome of it can lead to more opportunities than you could have experienced otherwise.

Want more? I share more pragmatic leadership advice in my bi-monthly newsletter. Sign up here.

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5 Signs You’re Leading a Modern IT Organization

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There was once a time when IT was the “department of innovation”. IT held the keys to the technology and fearlessly led the way towards a tech-savvy future.

But that all changed. Technology quickly became mainstream and consumerized. You suddenly no longer needed to have a technical background to have success in using technology. Shadow IT became rampant in organizations and IT capabilities were soon taken for granted.

IT had either two choices: become a roadblock to the digital future or become a modern organization that continues to lead the way into a digital future.

Both the IT organization and the CIO role are evolving. Modern IT is here and it looks different than it did a few years ago. How can you be sure you’re leading a modern IT organization? Look for these signs!

1. You and your team make business cases for technology investments

The days of expecting CEOs and CFOs to simply invest in technology for technology’s sake are long gone. IT can no longer be a cost center. It has to drive value and in order for you to drive value, you have to understand business value.

Smart IT leaders are speaking the language of the business, framing their projects and objectives so that they fit that language and drive towards business goals. Additionally, modern CIOs are teaching their team members to do the same. It’s not enough for a CIO to be able to talk business value when it’s business as usual for the rest of IT.

Begin sharing with your team the business results of your different initiatives, use business terms, and highlight areas where your team is contributing to business results. Not only will this help strengthen your organization, but it will also help strengthen each individual team member. As the IT department and the CIO role shifts, so will the role of an IT professional. It will quickly become a requirement for every level of IT to understand and explain how they drive business value – so begin empowering your team with that now.

2. You collaborate with other departments

IT is no longer the sole keeper of technology. Technology is now part of every single department and your organization must keep up with it.

Many IT leaders focus on the “technology” part of their part but it’s important to remember that “I” at the front of IT stands for “information”. Modern IT organizations know that the “Information” is just as important as the “Technology” these days. Sharing information, collaborating with other departments, and improving interdepartmental communication is a priority for every modern CIO.

Cross-department collaboration may be more difficult for some CIOs, depending on the corporate culture and historical relationships between departments. However, as the Modern IT Leader, part of your mission is to facilitate this information-sharing for the good of the entire business.

If you find that IT is regularly left out of conversations or scrambling to catch up, you can start opening up those lines of dialogue by sharing your information. Be transparent about what IT is doing, and how it’s positively impacting the business. Sharing information should go both ways and if you open up that channel, you’ll advance into Modern IT Organization territory.

3. You focus on the end-user

The customer has always been king, but technology has resulted in a new set of customer expectations. In the past, organizations could deliver services in their own methods and at their own pace. Today, customers expect services to be delivered quickly, efficiently, and with continual communication.

For example, in the past, a customer would place an order for 100 sheets of paper with a salesperson. The salesperson would then bill the customer through the accounting department and then work with the fulfillment and shipping department to deliver the order. Each step would take several hours or even days. The customer would be in contact with the salesperson or would wait patiently for their order.

Today, you would never place an order and expect to wait 24 hours to receive an invoice, pay the invoice, and then wait several more days for confirmation of payment and several more days for confirmation of shipment.

Now, users expect to click a few buttons and immediately be able to make a purchase or receive support or information.

And what changed all of that? Technology. In the previous paradigm, IT had minimal touchpoints within the customer journey. Now, technology has enabled faster and more efficient delivery of services. This means modern IT departments must understand all the customer touchpoints and work with each department that handles those touchpoints to automate them and make them as streamlined and frictionless as possible.

4. Your frameworks and processes adjust to meet the needs of every initiative

Creating and implementing processes is a beloved IT tradition. Of course, it’s a tradition that IT will always need. But the difference between a traditional IT organization and a modern one is that IT processes can’t be set in stone any longer. You can no longer fit every initiative into rigid processes and unyielding frameworks.

The growth of technology, the ever-changing needs of users and the unpredictability of the digital world requires IT to be flexible with their service delivery. This doesn’t mean there’s no need for a process or structure. Every modern IT organization should have a set of frameworks or best practices that they can then adjust to fit the current initiative. Modern IT organizations keep their frameworks adaptable, agile and responsive.

5. You seek to enable instead of control

Perhaps the biggest hallmark of a modern IT organization is that it isn’t overly focused on having control. Modern CIOs recognize that the power of IT is that it can enable business value, solutions, efficiencies, and communication. Many traditional IT organizations and CIOs worry that they have lost control of technology, of their place at the table. When in reality, this shift into a digital future has made it easier for IT to enable innovation, change, and growth.

And guess what? This last point is a natural outcome of the first four signs. If your team is driving business value, collaborating, communicating, focusing on the end-user and adjusting frameworks to fit the solution, then you’re already enabling innovation. You’re already a modern IT organization.

The traditional ways of managing IT are out. It’s the modern era of IT and it just may be one of the most exciting ones yet.

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Alexa Is NOT the Service Management Star You’ve Been Searching For

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Have you been hearing the news?

There’s a brand new rising star in the Service Management world.

She’s tech-savvy, has fantastic people skills and is extraordinarily productive.

Her name is Alexa. But I hate to break it to you- I don’t think she’s going to be as revolutionary as everyone says.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m not talking about a “real” person. I’m referring to Alexa, Amazon’s much-loved voice assistant. While Alexa has been in the consumer market for years, she’s now making the move into service management. There have been many signs that Alexa is about to become the hot new tool in service management.

  • Amazon has already outlined Alexa for enterprise and business solutions
  • ServiceNow is showing partners how to build and integrate Alexa Skills with the ServiceNow platform
  • FreshService is already outlining ways Alexa can assist ITSM

There’s no question that AI, machine learning and digital assistants, including Alexa, will play a role in the future of service management. I’m not here to argue that. However, I will argue that we shouldn’t be focusing on the technology but the environment where the technology will play a role. If you put Alexa in the right environment, she can thrive (and so can your organization) but if you implement Alexa with the hope that she’ll make the environment a better one, then you’re going to have useless technology on your hands and you’ll still have a long line of tickets, frustrated users and stressed out service desk technicians.

So let’s discuss how you can put Alexa (or any voice assistant) in the right environment.

What Role Will Alexa Play?

Let me start by saying that the idea of AI in ITSM is a fantastic concept. Natural language processing (NLP) can make it easier for users to find the content they need to fix their problems. Machine learning looks at data, identifies patterns or conditions, and develops new actions in response. Virtual assistants combine the two to automate tasks for technicians, providing faster solutions for end users. This allows service desk technicians to have more time and energy to focus on bigger, more complex issues.

It’s exciting to think we can live in a world that could nearly eliminate the need for manual opening, closing, and management of support tickets. It’s thrilling to someday see a sales rep saying “Alexa, open a support ticket for a broken printer,” and then Alexa quickly assigns the ticket in the correct way to the correct person. And in the not far off future, Alexa may be able to provide context for possible solutions for more complex problems using past cases, making it even easier for technicians to troubleshoot. Just imagine how remarkable that would be!

And while all of this is exciting, there’s something to remember: Alexa doesn’t come “out of the box” with this capability. She’ll never replace the humans who currently work on the service desk because she can’t gain any knowledge or accomplish any process without guidance from them.

Who is The Future Star of SM?

Like any new service desk technician, Alexa won’t be ready or able to do any of those things without the proper training, frameworks and an accurate and relevant knowledge base. She’s not the rising star of Service Management. In fact, the star of Service Management is something you already have: the foundations provided by your service management implementation.

I know what you’re thinking. Knowledge management, frameworks, and communication aren’t as exciting as AI. Who wants to pay attention to that when you can say “Alexa, tell me how many tickets are open”?

But, Alexa won’t know how many tickets are open unless she can access that information. She can’t access that data if it is not set up for her. Simply put, without the foundations of Service Management. AI won’t work in your organization. You must have proper frameworks, the right data, and inter-department communication in order to enable Alexa (or any voice assistant) to work properly.

If you’re not sure if your foundations can be put to the AI test, check on these three things.

1. Knowledge Management
AI can’t work well without good data. You need to document, gather, record and store all your knowledge into an easy-to-read knowledge base. According to Gartner, “Through 2020, 99% of AI initiatives will fail due to a lack of established knowledge management foundation.”

It takes time to optimize a knowledge base system that is all-encompassing and easy-to-access. You already have a great knowledge base: it’s your team. Use this as an opportunity to engage your team and begin preparing them for AI. No one understands what needs to be in a knowledge base quite like the people who field tickets and solve issues every day.

2. Create flexible frameworks
There’s no space for rigid approaches to the use of frameworks. Flexibility is key to success with AI. Are your frameworks and methodologies capable of adjusting to keep up with evolving projects and services? Luckily, in recent years there have been updates to traditional ITSM frameworks, such as ITIL® that allow for such flexibility. There have also been new approaches introduced, such as VeriSM™, which allows for flexibility in delivering service management. If you haven’t updated your approach to using frameworks or offered your team the opportunity to achieve new certifications in these frameworks, now is the time to do so!

3. Extend Service Management outside of IT
The success of Alexa and other voice assistants doesn’t just depend on IT. It depends on an organization of self-service, shared processes and communication. Alexa won’t have the capability to change her process depending on the context who is requesting support – unless the entire enterprise works together to manage data, share information and create effective processes that work for everyone.

Enterprise Service Management is now gaining steam. As more of these technologies are introduced, I predict ESM will become more and more commonplace. Innovative leaders are jumping on the bandwagon now and you should too.

I am just as excited about the possibilities that Alexa and other digital assistants can bring to service management as everyone else. I share these thoughts because I want a world where AI plays a major role in delivering good service management. That’s why I want every IT leader to know and master these foundational pieces for AI enablement. Because they will pave the way for massive success with Alexa or any other voice assistant or AI technology that comes your way.

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What IT Organizations Can Learn From the Indy 500

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If you live or work in Indianapolis, then you know that May is all about the Indy 500.

Known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indy 500 features 33 of the top racecar drivers racing for 200 laps to complete 500 miles at the fastest time.

It’s a fun event for everyone to witness. But for CIOs and IT leaders, it can also be a learning lesson in speed, agility, and teamwork.

How do race cars racing in a loop at speeds over 200 mph relate to IT organizations? While on the surface, it seems as though IT organizations and the Indy 500 have nothing in common. But, there are actually quite a few similarities between winning the Indy 500 and leading a highly efficient IT organization.

For most drivers, winning the Indy 500 will come down to the pit crew. The pit crew is a team of mechanics who work on the racecars during the “pit stops” of a race. Pit crews perform the work of refueling, changing tires, or any mechanical adjustments needed during the race.

The pit crew is a lot like the IT organization of a business. They might not be the face of the race team, but they do the heavy lifting that helps the driver win the race. Much like the IT team who implements and manages the technology that keeps businesses growing, winning customers, and enabling value.

Let’s look at some of the hallmarks of a great pit crew and how that compares to a great IT team.

A Great Pit Crew Will:

1. Work together to accomplish their goals
Everyone has a defined role on a pit team, and there is no room for a single superstar. No matter how fast one person is at completing their job, the driver can’t leave the pit until everyone has done their job. As Derrell Edwards, a jackman for NASCAR’s No. 27 Richard Childress Racing crew once said, “Pit crewing is like a symphony. Everything has to be in sync for it to sound good.”

A great IT organization must also put the goals of the business above any individual needs or preferences. They must abandon any silo mentality they may have and focus on the success of the team – the business – ahead of the success of individuals.

2. Have defined roles and processes
Speed is essential in a great pit crew, however, it’s just as essential for everyone to stay out of everyone else’s way. Imagine the pit crew member who is in charge of changing the tire somehow cutting off the one in charge of refueling. It would be pure chaos. Fantastic pit crews are a little like a ballet. Every member has their own timing and their own movements and they must understand how that timing and movement work around one another to create a masterpiece. They’re expected to perform their roles perfectly without getting in the way of anyone else who is doing their role.

Great IT organizations also have well-defined roles and clear processes. Everyone understands who is doing what, when, and how it contributes to the overall goals of the company. Members of excellent IT organizations also have a clear understanding of how every role works together in a process. As a result, everyone is empowered to complete their part of the process to the best of their ability.

3. Identify bottlenecks and weaknesses
Racing at the Indy 500 level isn’t about driving as fast as you can. It’s about eliminating as many mistakes as possible to shave off as many seconds as possible. Minor mistakes or bottlenecks can ruin races and pit crews are trained to continually identify and eliminate any bottlenecks.

IT organizations also have to be continually identifying areas for improvement and creating solutions that won’t slow down business growth. When IT organizations prioritize identifying and eliminating bottlenecks, no matter how small, they are able to optimize their speed and success in the long run.

4. They play by the rules
In elite racing, every pit stop is recorded and 8 officials review this footage to determine that everything was performed correctly and within race regulations. If the pit crew’s timing is even one second too early, their driver could be penalized. Pit crews are trained to understand the specific regulations that are in place and learn how to excel within those parameters.

Likewise, excellent IT organizations understand they must work inside business policies. To a certain degree, they must play “office politics”, as well as adhere to procedures that exist outside of the IT organization. They must do this in order to garner support from the other parts of the organization as well as the C-suite. If IT doesn’t understand or follow the rules of the business, they could be penalized by being excluded from strategy discussions or business projects.

5. They use data to drive decisions and create processes so they can stay consistent
This last point is something that many casual racing fans don’t understand about pit crews. It’s also an area where many IT organizations struggle.

In the heat of the race, pit crews don’t have the luxury of being able to figure out what actions to take when something goes wrong. In a sport where there are millions of “worst-case” scenarios, they must plan ahead and create processes for everything. Race crews are constantly monitoring everything about their cars, their drivers and race conditions. They have data on everything and they prepare their pit crews accordingly for various scenarios so that if for whatever reason, an unexpected pit stop occurs, the pit crew doesn’t have to stop to think about what needs to be done. They simply follow the protocol that’s already been set.

Smart IT organizations also use data to drive decisions and leverage defined processes. By doing this, these IT organizations are able to address problems quickly and efficiently, with minimum impact to the business.

How can you apply lessons of a great pit crew?

It’s important to note that no matter how fast race cars become or what technological advancements occur in the sport, winning races will still heavily rely on the success of a pit crew.

The same can be said for IT and the business. Technology will advance and more tools and trends will be introduced to the business. But much of the success of an IT organization will remain on these core tenants as exemplified by pit crews: the ability to work as a team, having well-defined roles, continual improvement, and leveraging data-driven, consistent processes.

This is why good ITSM still matters – and will always matter – for your business.

1.Map value streams
Understand who and what drives value within your business. Map how IT contributes to that value. Remember, each member of the pit crew understands how they contribute to winning a race. Your IT team should also feel the same way!

2. Identify services and define the service portfolio
Mapping value streams will allow you to start to identify services that enable the business to meet its goals. Define your services and include the cost of ownership, needed resources, and the business value of what IT accomplishes. This will help you understand the business of the business and how IT contributes so you can play within the defined rules of the organization.

3. Review current processes
Look for waste in your processes, such as bottlenecks or delays. Eliminate or improve any parts of processes that contribute to these delays. Also, review where a lack of defined processes is holding you back. Identify issues where ownership or roles were unclear and address why that situation occurred.

There is no single “race day” for IT teams, but IT has to always be race-ready. Take the steps now to start getting race-ready. Follow the lead of great pit teams and soon, you’ll be seeing the results of that effort as your business zooms ahead of the competition!

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Enterprise Service Management or Enterprise Silo Management?

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Kelly orders chocolates through her favorite confectioner’s digital storefront from the comfort of her living room. Kelly makes her selection, enters her credit card and shipping information, and presses the “order now” button. Within seconds, she receives an on-screen message from the confectioner, thanking her for her order, and informing her that she’ll have her chocolates the next day.

At the confectioner, Kelly’s request is first processed by the Order Entry Department, who confirms her information and charges the sale to her credit card. Order Entry then creates a sales order, which is sent to the Fulfillment Department. Fulfillment selects the chocolates from inventory and updates the inventory management system with the change. Fulfillment then packages Kelly’s selections and sends the package to the Shipping Department for overnight delivery.

All of this behind-the-scenes activity happened without any involvement from Kelly – other than her single interaction to order the chocolates.

Are your customers enjoying a differentiated experience interacting with your company’s digital storefront?

Are the customer’s interactions seamless and friction-free?

Do materials and information flow smoothly through the organization?

If you’re not able to answer ‘yes’ to the above questions, then you have some compelling reasons to implement enterprise service management (ESM).

Some Popular Approaches to ESM

Many ESM approaches consist of extending the use of the IT service management tool into other areas of an organization, such as Facilities or Human Resources. This is a popular approach that often results in cost optimization of the IT service management tool by using that tool outside of the IT organization.

In a lot of ways, this is a reasonable thing to do. Whether it is a work order being completed by the facilities organization, or human resources on-boarding a new employee, using a tool that facilitates a consistent, repeatable approach to information capture and managing workflow just makes sense.

Another popular approach is establishing an enterprise service desk. Like an IT service desk, the enterprise service desk becomes a single-point of contact for internal employees to receive assistance with any request or issue. Employees benefit from having only a single point of contact for any organizational need or issue. The organization benefits by delivering a centralized approach for managing such contacts, rather than having each department having to individually staff such functions.

Implementing a self-service portal is also a popular approach for ESM. Employees can use a portal to find information or make requests without having to contact anyone. Issues such as requesting a replacement for a burned-out light bulb or updating voluntary benefits can be conveniently managed from an employee’s workplace.

But are any of these approaches really “enterprise service management”? Or are these examples of enterprise silo management?

What You’re Doing is Enterprise Silo Management

Extending the ITSM tool to other areas of the organization may improve the ROI of the tool. Establishing enterprise service desks may help centralize management of internal requests and issues. Implementing enterprise self-service portals can result in time savings for employees. It may even result in optimized departmental processes and workflows.

But if the goal of your ESM initiative is to only extend the use of IT’s service management tool into non-IT areas of the organization, what you’re doing is Enterprise Silo Management. You’re enabling (encouraging?) your organization to continue working as a collection of siloed departments.

While I would agree that optimizing departmental processes and workflows is a good thing to do, keep in mind that departmental optimization will deliver benefit…to only that department. It’s like speeding up one part of a conveyor belt but ignoring the big stack of boxes on either end. In fact, it’s really not speeding anything up – it is only exacerbating the symptoms of an organization whose interdepartmental workflows are not well integrated.

This is where these so-called approaches to ESM fall short. These approaches don’t enable or deliver a cross-departmental flow of information and work. There’s no end-to-end view of enterprise value streams. Requests or issues that (will) come up within the enterprise still requires the consumer (employee) to know what they need and what organization fulfills that need before they interact with the portal.

By following these approaches, your business will never realize the value of enterprise service management.

Why Your business Needs Enterprise Service Management

Organizations operating within a silo mentality, in which the departments within the organization are poorly connected with (or even isolated from) other parts of the organization, cannot react or respond as quickly as needed to changes in market spaces or business.

Think about it. There is no single part of an organization that can exist in complete independence from the other parts of the organization. The best business value is created when all parts of the business are contributing and collaborating to deliver value in the most effective and efficient way.

And in the digital age, having the ability to quickly shift and react to changes in market spaces is critical for business success.

This is why your business needs ESM – Enterprise Service Management.

Good ESM:

  • Provides business decision support – Good ESM provides transparency into how work is done within the organization. Decisions become data-driven, based on objectives measures captured as part of enterprise value streams.
  • Enables organizational agility – Well defined, interdepartmental workflows enable organizational agility because there is clarity and shared understanding regarding workflows. This helps leaders understand where to pivot if needed. Good ESM results in improved cohesiveness and collaboration within the organization and aligns activities toward shared organizational goals, not on departmental objectives.
  • Improves organizational understanding of the business – Individual departments not only understand their workflows and processes, but also how information, work, and value flow across the organization. There is a greater awareness of the interdependencies between the various departments within the organization.
  • Enables an enhanced customer experience – Good ESM removes the internal friction that gets in the way of a good customer experience.

Moving to Enterprise Service Management

Here are some tips to help you move from Enterprise Silo Management to Enterprise Service Management.

1. Strong leadership is required 
To have success with ESM, the focus must shift from achieving departmental objectives to enterprise goals. Silo mentality must be eliminated from the organization.

2. Teach employees the business of the business 
Many employees today are unaware of how the business operates outside of their own area or department. Having a good understanding of how the business does business helps with ESM implementation and enables improved employee productivity.

3. Map the enterprise value streams
No single part of an organization is independent of the rest of the organization; it takes all parts of an organization to deliver value to its customers.  Mapping value streams at the enterprise levels helps the organization visualize how work and value flows through the organization and to the customer.

4. Define or lean out processes
For each value stream, form a cross-departmental team to define any needed supporting processes. If processes are defined, review those processes to ensure that they are as lean and waste-free as possible.

5. Iterate
Don’t try to instantiate all your enterprise value streams within your service management tool at the same time. Rather, start with a single enterprise value stream, capture any learnings, and then apply those learning to the next value stream-to-tool implementation. (By the way, this approach should be the “new normal” for maintaining your ESM implementation.)

So, should organizations optimize at the departmental level or at the enterprise level? The fact is that to be successful in the digital age, organizations must do both. Doing one without the other only results in internal friction and waste.

Following the above tips will get you on the right path for good ESM that also results in optimized departmental and enterprise work streams.

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Why Your Process Isn’t Working “As Designed”

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Almost everything in an organization is a sequence of tasks. In fact, many people describe a business as the “sum of all its processes.” This is why many IT leaders and consultants focus on process design.

However, many IT organizations find that their processes rarely work “as designed.” No matter how flawless the design or how much time they spent designing the process, many IT leaders find that their processes just aren’t delivering the expected results.

When addressing why your processes are working “as is” instead of “as designed”, there are some red flags that might appear. Avoiding these could save your process.

1. No ownership

Ownership and accountability may be the most important piece of process design. IT leaders need to not only own the process but require their teams to own their roles in the process as well.
Without clear ownership and defined roles, your team will find it easy to blame others or blame the process itself. Lack of ownership creates a blame culture where team members are too busy pointing fingers than actually dealing with the issues that need to be addressed.

2. No documentation

Clearly defined processes may seem like they hinder productivity but they can actually help improve productivity. Documenting a process offers several benefits. It solves the above problem of no ownership and gets everyone on the “same page.” Documenting your process also lays the basis for cost-justifiable and continual improvement.

In addition to have a thoroughly detailed process, it should be easy for anyone in the organization to locate this documented process. It should be stored in an easy to access place and easy to read through so that everyone can learn the process and utilize it.

3. No communication

It is not enough to have defined processes, processes must be communicated consistently inside and outside of IT. IT leaders can easily communicate processes through having clear documentation..

The C-suite and rest of the organization should understand each process but also, why each process is important to the overall effectiveness of the organization. If other departments understand how a process makes their jobs easier, they will be more likely to adopt the process and incorporate it in their workflows.

4. Silo mentality

Proper communication should reduce the silo mentality but it’s essential that leaders work to eliminate silo mentality in the organization. When departments are out of the loop on what each other is working on, the entire company fails.

IT leaders need to work with other leaders to share data and information and encourage teams to work together.

Incentives must be aligned when it comes to processes. For example, why does it pay for the sales team to pay attention and integrate with the IT team’s processes? How does the entire organization improve because of a process? When other departments are clear on the benefits and incentives of their processes, they will be more willing to adapt to that process.

5. Complacency

Processes have a lifespan and cannot be designed to last forever. Your business is constantly evolving and changing, and your process designs must change and evolve as well. If you and your team simply accept a process or worse, begin to ignore it, then the process will no longer deliver the results that it was initially designed to do.

Teams should adopt a continual improvement attitude and regularly ask “Is this process still working?” Teams should identify which parts aren’t working and play a role in improving and adjusting the process so it works “as designed.”

As an added bonus, including teams in continual process improvement, empowers them to create processes that they will want to implement and use.

What can IT organizations do to ensure that processes work “as designed”?

For a process to work as designed, it should be part of the culture. Just like anything else in business, the process should fit the culture.

If your culture is broken, no process will fix it. Your organizational culture must encourage communication and collaboration for any process to work correctly. By working with other leaders to encourage interdepartmental collaboration and empowering teams to take control of their processes, you can begin to improve the culture so that every process works as designed.

If you are truly not sure if your processes are working as designed, then a process audit will show you how to evaluate your processes. This is the first step to addressing your processes “as is” state and identifying gaps in your process or your culture.

Start improving your team’s effectiveness – download our free Process Rescue Kit to start improving your process designs with your team.

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Why Service Management must move out of IT

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Is your IT service management “future ready”?

A recent MIT Sloan Management Review article[1] discussed how organizations must become “future ready”.  The article stated that becoming future-ready requires change to the enterprise on two dimensions:  the customer experience and operational efficiency.

Of these two dimensions, the customer experience will drive competitive advantage for businesses.[2]  Is your service management ready to enable and drive that differentiating customer experience?

The Future’s Impact to today’s (IT) Service Management

For many organizations, service management continues to be narrowly focused on the day-to-day operations within IT and follows a “service provider/internal customer” approach. To become “future-ready”, this approach to service management must change.

The organizational mindset of an internal service provider/internal customer construct must change to an enterprise service management approach.  The business exists to serve customers, not just others within the same business.  In other words, all parts of the business must work together to drive business success.

Value streams are the threads that link the parts of the business together for producing and delivering products and services.

Every part of a business is part of one or more value streams that delivers products and services to customers.  Technology underpins those value streams; by itself, technology doesn’t provide value to a business.[3] But because technology use is so ubiquitous within businesses, the line between technology (or IT) and business functions have become blurred.  In some organizations, the line does not exist.

This has two implications for service management.

  • Service management processes must be “waste free”. Any bureaucracy or non-value-added work within processes must be eliminated. Eliminating waste, bottlenecks, and manual intervention in processes help facilitate a good customer experience – things just “work”.
  • Service management processes must reflect and support the entire value stream, not just the IT portion. IT’s contribution to enterprise value streams, while important, is only a portion of those value streams. Having good enterprise service management processes facilitates good handoffs between contributors within the value stream, enables measurability, helps drive effective workflows, and promotes viewing value and outcomes from the customer perspective, not an internal perspective.

This means that service management must move out of IT and into and across the enterprise.

What is the impact to IT?

When service management moves into and across the enterprise, what does this mean for IT?

First, having strong business acumen becomes critical for IT.  Some IT organizations are too focused on technology and lack business acumen. Business acumen must be a core competency of the IT organization.  Why?  Because the business is about the business first, not technology.  Technology only enhances or enables what the business wants to do.  Having a strong business acumen helps IT understand why, not just how, technology can help.

IT can then become the trusted advisor for exploiting technology for business advantage.  IT must help its business find the right balance between “leading edge” and “tried and true” technologies; again, dependent on business goals and objectives.  To do this, IT must internalize business goals and objectives to understand and develop competencies and awareness of current and emerging technologies.

Lastly, “order taker” IT organizations will be outsourced.  If an IT organization cannot demonstrate or promote how it delivers true business value, IT will appear to be a commodity.  And commodities can be obtained from anywhere.

But if your IT organization is practicing good service management, IT can take a leadership role in expanding service management across the enterprise.

Get Service Management “future ready”

To get service management “future ready”, here are four things you must do:

  • Service management must be (re) envisioned from the customer perspective – the true customer. The true customer is found outside of the organization, not inside the organization.  This means that you have to understand how value is created and flows through the organization (or value streams).  Service Management must underpin the entire value stream – from the customer through the business and back to the customer.  Service Management must take an “outside in” approach so you can understand how work is getting done – and where obstacles and bottlenecks may exist.
  • Shift the service management focus to the entire organization. – The objective is to ‘float all boats’ in the service management ‘harbor’, not just the ‘IT boat’.  Why? The customer does business with the business, not with an individual component within the business.  Siloed business operational models must end.  If one part of the value stream fails, the entire value stream fails. This means that service management must expand to include all parts of the enterprise so you can work transparently and deliver an outstanding, consistent, and repeatable customer experience – as an aligned, integrated organization.
  • Automate. Humans have better things to do than call a service desk to reset a password or request products to which they are already entitled and eligible to receive. Now take this idea one step further – do you really want to irritate your customers with such tediousness?   Drive toward automating those day-to-day operational activities so you can free up people to do what they do best – innovate, imagine, and problem-solve.
  • Invest in knowledge management. Knowledge management must become an enterprise-wide capability.   In the “always connected, always on” digital economy, organizations can ill afford to spend time rediscovering what is already known within an organization.  Neither can there be siloes of knowledge within an organization.  Effective knowledge management is a key enabler of a “future ready” service management approach.

Service management can no longer be about just IT.  Service management has never been about this or than methodology – frankly, there is no “one-size-fits-all” methodology – it is about delivering business value and results.  The future-state service management approach is a blend of several methodologies and practices from all parts of the business (including IT) that enable the whole business to deliver value and results.  Get “future ready” now by moving service management beyond IT and into the enterprise.

Need to expand  service management into the enterprise, while still leveraging your existing investments?  With our Next Generation ITSM consulting service, Tedder Consulting can help you get the best of both worlds – contact us today!

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Picture credit:  Shutterstock

[1] Weill, Peter and Stephanie L. Woerner., “Is Your Company Ready for a Digital Future?”. MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter, 2018.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Westerman, George. “Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy”. MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring, 2018.

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