Tag Archives: VeriSM

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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How to Defeat Silo Mentality

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There’s a beast lurking in many organizations. It can tear an organization to shreds from the inside out, quietly and quickly.

No, I’m not talking about some horror movie. I’m referring to silo mentality. It’s a growing problem for many organizations. A recent study of senior executives showed that “only 25% of respondents described their organizations as ‘effective’ at sharing knowledge across boundaries.”

While silo mentality may be common, it’s not healthy. It’s a problem that could drastically slow business growth in the digital age.

But there is a solution to silo mentality that is accessible to every organization and leaders across the globe. Before we get to the solution, let’s discuss the problem.

What is Silo Mentality?

Silo mentality is the mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not want to share information with others in the same organization.

Just like at a farm, silos in organizations hold resources that are separated by types. In the farming community, it’s important to protect resources from the outside elements but in business, silos end up causing delayed projects, low morale and increased costs.

Most leaders want to blame silo mentality on the employees themselves. But silo mentality is often to the result of poor leadership, communication and management.

Most silos form when employees develop a greater sense of loyalty to their individual team or department than loyalty to the organization. While team loyalty is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be disruptive when the needs of the company as a whole become secondary to the needs of the closest team members.

Managers and leaders must encourage a culture of collaboration, communication and ownership. If managers and leaders spend their time pointing fingers, hiding information or not taking ownership of their mistakes, then that mentality will trickle down into their teams, as well!

Silo mentality has many disruptive side effects. It can cause groupthink, stereotyping, redundancies and duplicative efforts between departments, and a misunderstanding of strategy. These effects can cause increased project costs, missed deadlines and low morale.

But the most damaging side effect is that the customer suffers when silo mentality exists in an organization. Most jobs within organizations have specific roles and responsibilities. When a task or issue occurs that “doesn’t fit the job description” in a siloed workforce, the task is usually tossed to the next person. This can occur several times over and the person who suffers the most is the person who had the issue in the first place: the customer.

Companies that suffer from silo mentality will lose customers and therefore profits due to the inefficiencies caused by it. Organizations have started trying to eliminate silo mentality by encouraging a service-oriented approach and cross-functional collaboration. And luckily, there is a more formal method to these tactics that leaders can take. It’s called Enterprise Service Management and it might sound a little bit familiar to you.

What is Enterprise Service Management?

Enterprise service management (ESM) describes the application of service management principles and technologies beyond just IT and across an organization. ESM applies service management principles to other areas of an organization to improve performance, measurability, effectiveness, responsiveness, and efficiency.

Does this sound familiar to you? Well, it should if you’ve been around this blog before! ESM mirrors what good ITSM practices accomplish, except on a larger scale.

Of course, you may be thinking that you can just take your existing ITSM processes and systems and simply apply them across the organization. It doesn’t exactly work like that.
ESM is much more than applying IT processes and principles outside of IT. It’s a holistic way of including and blending individual departmental approaches into common and shared processes, systems and technology across the organization.

It requires organizational change just as much as a technological change. It requires strong leadership, clearly articulated vision and business goals, and clear communication and collaboration between departments.

With ESM, the organization develops a holistic approach to integrate, connect and work together to leverage technology by creating processes, systems and workflows that benefit both the company and the customer.

How Can ESM Defeat Silo Mentality?

This is where silo mentality will begin to break down through ESM. By implementing ESM, the organization doesn’t need to just adapt to IT processes and systems. It’s not about IT (or any part of an organization for that matter) having its own set of processes and systems and expecting the rest of the organization to align to those processes. Rather, it’s about getting all parts of the organization having a shared understanding of business value and how the parts of the business interact to deliver value to the customer.

With ESM, every department must be represented in the development of more efficient workflows and processes that better enable the use of technology and eliminate any obstacles that exist between departments. Including each department in these activities develops buy-in to what will work best for the organization. This buy-in makes it easier for ESM implementation and it also correctly positions IT to understand how each department uses technology, how they view it, what they need from it, and align those needs to organizational goals.

For any of this to work, one of the first things the organization needs to do is to speak the same language. The problem many departments run into is that they don’t understand the specific terminology used within each department. For example, an “incident” for IT is very different than an “incident” for facilities.

Leaders need to work with their managers and teams to integrate their teams so they can begin to understand one another. One way is by incorporating job shadowing days where team members can spend time learning about another department. Another way may be to host knowledge sharing meetings where departments share their current projects and its impact on the business and effect on customers. Increasing communication and transparency between departments helps everyone begins to understand how each team contributes to the organization.

Once your team speaks the same language and you being to implement shared practices, processes, and technology across the organization, silo mentality will begin to fade. After all, the barriers that resulted from having separate practices, processes and technologies will be blended into a shared approach, which is how the organization should interact anyway.

How To Implement ESM into Your Organization?

One of the best ways is to start small with a single workflow that involves different departments.

For example, the workflow that supports onboarding a new employee involves the human resources, IT, corporate security, and facilities departments. Pull together representatives from each of these departments and agree on the critical success factors for onboarding a new employee. Map the work that is done by each department when a new employee is hired. Review what information is needed by each department as they do that work. This will begin to identify the dependencies and sequences of work between these departments. Map the flow of work among these departments that would result in the best result for both the new employee and the impacted departments. Identify and define measures that indicate that the workflow will meet the agreed critical success factors. Now map how and where technology supports this workflow. Small projects like these can create an environment that is open to organization wide enterprise service management roll outs.

Remember ESM won’t be rolled out overnight and it may not be met with open arms by everyone in the organization. Continue to identify supporters who are open to new projects, learn to speak the language of the business and keep your ears open for feedback and ideas from other departments. Remember, ending silo mentality starts from the top!

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What Digital Transformation Looks Like for Small Businesses

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Digital transformation is a top priority for most organizations today. Across the world, CEOs and COOs are starting to shift their budgets and their organizations to be more digital-friendly. But what does that mean for organizations that don’t have massive IT budgets or multiple departments?

digital transformation

Can small businesses take part in digital transformation and if so, what will it look like?

For us to be able to answer these questions, let’s first define digital transformation. Digital transformation is how businesses exploit technology to create new business processes, culture and customer experiences to meet the changing needs in today’s technological world. In short, it’s about adapting your business to the changing digital landscape.

While digital transformation can become quite complex, it’s actually uniquely suited for small businesses. Small businesses must be agile and quick to adapt in order to survive. Most small businesses owners are constantly looking for ways to improve their processes because they need to be as efficient as possible.

So it’s not surprising that small businesses are already embracing a digital future. 48% of SMBs plan to transform their business for a digital future. In fact, many small businesses have already started their own digital transformation journeys. An IT research firm’s most recent survey of 1,600 small businesses found that 82 percent of SMBs are already on their digital transformation journey.

One of the biggest complaints about digital transformation is that it is an enormous initiative that takes time, money and manpower. But SMBs are showing that even the most time-strapped business owners can find the resources to address these initiatives and embrace a digital future.

During digital transformation, organizations must take a step back and ask themselves if they are using technology in the right way and for the right solution. It’s about being intentional with the way you use different technologies across the organization, no matter how large or small the organization.

These initiatives can be many different things for small businesses including:

  • Collaborative tools
  • CRM systems
  • Marketing automation
  • Accounting software
  • Communication tools and processes
  • Hiring processes

From chatbots to cloud accounting software, digital technologies can improve every area of a small business. But a small business owner needs to thinks strategically when it comes to implementing digital transformation initiatives before just diving right in.

Here’s how to get started with digital transformation as a small business:

Before you start any digital transformation project, perform an internal assessment to identify gaps, problems and threats in your organization.

  • What’s key to your business’ survival?
  • What’s your biggest problem?
  •  Where are the gaps in your processes?
  • What are your competitors offering that you are not?
  • What are your customer expectations?

When creating your roadmap, it’s important that SMBs do two things:

The first is to pursue a holistic approach to digital transformation, which means to focus on the technology along with the needed business outcomes. Digital transformation is not about buying the most expensive, trendiest tool. It’s about solving the problems of the organization and improving its efficiencies. For each technology that is suggested, identify the desired business outcome and ways of measurement.

The second is to consider long-term and short-term goals. Digital transformation is not an overnight initiative. However, for SMBs, it’s essential that they implement initiatives that can be implemented quickly with specific and measurable ROI. There are no huge budgets in a small business, so these initial projects must free up resources and increase revenues so that they can help to fund bigger projects later on down the road.

As the digital transformation roadmap is created and begin to choose your digital transformation projects, there are three characteristics that you want to keep in mind. These three practices are the keys to a successful digital transformation initiative.

1.Clear communication

Business leaders must be able to clearly state the desired outcomes of the project in a way that your teams will understand. It’s also important that SMBs collaborate across stakeholders. Whether it’s a team of 5 of 200, it’s imperative that decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. Digital transformation blends processes, technologies and departments so that the entire business improves. Get buy in from all your team members.

2. Strategic prioritization of goals

The team must be aligned with the company’s shared strategic goals for digital transformation to occur. Digital transformation cannot be an “IT initiative.” It must be a company-wide initiative.  Each department or team member will be more willing to take part in projects when they understand how these projects will improve the company as a whole.

3. Rely on those with subject matter expertise

Empower team members to be part of the digital transformation by inviting them to have a say in the projects that align with their roles and their experience. Your IT manager or consultant should play a role in every project but if you are searching for the perfect marketing automation software, empower the marketing team to take lead in the business case.

As small businesses build out their digital transformation journey, they will see it is a blend of quick wins and long-term projects with one important thing helping to charge the path: data. Small businesses should begin to focus on the data they receive from each project. This data will help their businesses to better understand their customers, partners, and employees so they can design better digital initiatives, processes, and products as they become more and more digital.

Digital transformation is proving to be an unavoidable undertaking for every business but fortunately, it’s one that pays off. A Harvard study found that top digital transforming companies posted higher gross margins and more income filtering to the bottom line than slower digital adopters. And for SMBs, a study found that small businesses that invest in technology are 18% more likely to experience revenue growth.

SMBs should not shy away from digital transformation. In fact, they should be ready to embrace it more than anyone. With the right strategy and smart project management, SMBs can quickly move forward into a digital future, while seeing business growth, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.

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Warning: You Might Be Already Disappointing Your Customers

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We have bad news for some IT organizations. You might already be disappointing your customers. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has already occurred and customer expectations are higher than ever.

Most of these increased customer expectations are due to new technologies. Customers expect and want innovation from the brands they do business with and they are more informed than ever about the different options available to them. They want more and if they can’t get it from a certain brand, they will go to a competitor. 76% of customers now report it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere.

This means that brands and specifically, IT teams, need rethink how they manage their services and technologies. IT teams need to act more efficiently and be more in sync with the rest of the organization. Above all, they need to understand their customers’ expectations.

There are four things customers expect now that every organization needs to address.

1. Connected Processes

Customers see a connected brand, not an individual department. This is why connected processes are crucial and why every part of the organization must work together and technology must seamlessly link every piece of the customer’s journey.

70% of customers say connected processes, including seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions are very important to winning their business.

Device hopping is prevalent among most consumers. They jump from phone to tablet to computer and back to phone again. They expect to have the exact same experience with a brand, no matter how they are connecting with that brand. 60% of consumers change their contact channel depending on where they are and what they’re doing. So, if they have a conversation on Twitter with that brand, they expect the call center representative to know about it when they call in the next day.

For IT, that means they need to create connected processes that include every part of the organization.

2. Personalization

Personalization may be the most important customer expectation post-Fourth Industrial Revolution. Online, everything is personalized. Just look at the way Google personalizes search results! So, consumers expect their customer service experiences and buying experiences with a brand to be personalized as well.

84% of customers say being treated like a person and not a number is very important to winning their business. They expect personalized offers based on their purchase history, retargeted offers in ads or emails and user-generated content.

Companies now must design multiple personalized experiences for each single product or service. More importantly, organizations must end silo behaviors so that everyone in the organization has access to communication history, buying habits and customer preferences.

3. Innovation

If you’re not innovating, then you are already falling behind. 63% of customers expect companies to provide new products and services more frequently than before.

Just look at how expectations around cell phones have changed. The iPhone and Android competition have led consumers to expect constant innovation. If your phone is over a year old, it’s already considered “old”. If either one of these companies don’t put out a new model every year, they risk losing a huge chunk of the market. Customers expect new and better models all of the time. If you don’t meet customer expectation, you can bet that your competitors will.

For IT organizations, this means they must improve their processes so they can shorten product development cycles and complete projects faster than ever. This is not news for many CIOs as 65% of IT teams say innovation for competitive differentiation is a high priority.

4. Response Times

Social media revolutionized how buyers communicate with brands. Consumers are always on and always connected and they want to answers quickly. 77% of US consumers rank “Valuing My Time” as the most important part of online customer service.

Even when they can’t reach a call center using traditional means, customers are reaching out in different ways and they expect your customer service team to have all of the information about their customer journey and their needs. This, of course, brings us back to the importance of ending silo behavior and improving connected processes.

Customers also expect self-service options when it comes to their needs. They want self-checkouts and access to their data and accounts. IT organizations need to be prepared for the customer’s desire for data and provide the correct tools that consumers can use.

What can IT do to improve?

It’s clear that customers expect more. How can IT organizations change to support these new customer expectations? In a recent survey, 62% of execs said they had a management initiative or transformation program to make their business more digital.

Embracing VeriSM™ can help IT organizations lead their organizations into digital transformation. VeriSM™ stands for Value-Driven, Evolving, Responsive and Integrated Service Management. It’s a business-oriented approach to Service Management. It’s designed to keep the entire business connected and evolving so that it provides more value to the consumer.

VeriSM™ does away with the “one size fits all” approach and facilitates a tailored approach so the organization can focus on using the right practices that will fit the business’ needs. Not only will it keep the organization focused on business goals, but it will also help break down silos within the organization.

Whether you choose to embrace VeriSM™ or another service management approach, it’s clear that consumers are already in the digital age and IT organizations must keep up. IT leaders need to focus on faster project timelines, improved processes, better interdepartmental communication, and delivering a superior customer experience.

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Doug Tedder discusses ESM on The ITSM Crowd

August 8, 2018:   Doug Tedder, principal consultant of Tedder Consulting,  discusses Enterprise Service Management (ESM) with Claire Agutter on episode 45 of “The ITSM Crowd”, a production of ITSM Zone.

In the discussion, Doug discusses some of the challenges of ESM, along with how to best overcome those challenges.  Doug and Claire also discuss how VeriSM™ could be leveraged as an approach to ESM.

A replay of the episode can be found here.

 

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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VeriSM Pocket Guide published

Zaltbommel, The Netherlands,  March 15, 2018:  VanHaren Publishing announces the release of the VeriSM™ Pocket Guide, co-authored by Doug Tedder, Michelle Major-Goldsmith, and Simon Dorst.

The VeriSM Pocket Guide provides a summarized version of VeriSM: A Service Management Approach for the Digital Age, which was published in December, 2017.  VeriSM provides an approach for organizations to leverage capabilities, resources, and technology tailored to fit  within their specific environment to deliver valuable services and products.

“It was a real privilege and pleasure to work with Michelle and Simon in developing the pocket guide,” said Doug Tedder.  “I am excited about how VeriSM will impact service management in the digital age, and it is an honor to be part of this movement.”

Doug Tedder earns VeriSM™ Foundation certification

January 22, 2018 : Doug Tedder, Principal Consultant of Tedder Consulting LLC, has earned the VeriSM™ Foundation certification.

VeriSM is a Service Management approach from the organizational level, looking at the end-to-end view  rather than focusing on a single department. VeriSM shows organizations how they can adopt a range of management practices in a flexible way to deliver the right product or service at the right time to their consumers.  VeriSM allows for a tailored approach, depending on the type of business, the size of an organization, business priorities, organizational culture, and the nature of the product or service delivered by an organization.

Developed by the International Foundation for Digital Competencies, VeriSM was launched in late 2017.  Doug Tedder is also a contributing author to VeriSM.