5 Tips for Taking ITSM Outside IT

In the words of George Michael, “Let’s go outside.” That’s using IT service management (ITSM) outside the IT organization. As, unless you’ve been kipping with Rip Van Winkle, you’d have noticed that ITSM best practices and enabling technologies are making their way out of IT and into other parts of the business.

Of course it’s nothing new – ITSM tools have been used for non-IT scenarios for the last 10 years or so. It made sense, providing ticketing and workflow management capabilities for other internal corporate service providers, such as complaints management, where no suitable line-of-business alternative existed.

Thus my SysAid colleagues, and our competitors, have consistently sold to existing or new customers to support non-IT use case scenarios. In the same way that customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have also found their way into IT shops to complement, or even to replace, IT help desk tools.

But things have moved on …

The drivers for “outside IT” have changed in the last couple of years. With what was previously an occasional journey outside of IT, to more and more customer RFP/RFIs (requests for proposal/request for information) asking for capabilities that will allow for either the immediate, or future, use of the ITSM solution outside of IT.

It makes so much sense. Much of what we do from an IT support perspective relates to providing services and service relating to a “customer” issue, a need for something new, a change, or an information need. Most internal service providers – whether it’s HR, finance, legal, facilities, or another business group – also have similar service-based enablement needs, whether it be dealing with issues, requests for services or information, or changes.

So more and more organizations are looking to extend ITSM “beyond IT” – which is yet another term used to describe the trend. With outside IT, beyond IT, and enterprise service management all terms currently used to describe it.

Why is this happening?

I could just say that it’s supply driven – that more ITSM tool vendors are trying to market and sell their wares beyond the corporate IT organization. However, while this is the case for some of the larger ITSM tool vendors, I think that it’s actually more demand driven. That corporate IT organizations are being approached to deliver employee portals, for HR say, on the back of the success of their own IT user portals. The conversation can then extend to include the workflow and automation that can sit behind the employee portal as well as the benefits of being better able to manage the constant flow of employee contacts.

So the reality is that other corporate service providers, such as facilities, are asking for technology-delivered capabilities similar to what IT has long been using to manage employee contacts related to issues, requests, and changes. With the service catalog, or IT portal, merely showing the art of the possible to the other corporate service providers who are still probably swamped in telephone calls and emails, and managing each “case” using a mix of email inboxes, Excel spreadsheets, Lotus Notes or SharePoint, and Post-it notes.

So why not bring the efficiency and effectiveness of best practice IT support to other corporate service providers? It’s a win-win-win for the business, the other corporate service providers, and IT.

My 5 top tips

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you which ITSM tool to buy – I’m not an ITSM tool vendor puppet you know. Anyway, as always my answer would be “The one that best suits your ACTUAL needs, at the right price point (or the one the delivers most “value”), from a vendor that you feel you will work well with.” Rather than an automatic “SysAid!”

Instead, here are five practical tips for getting enterprise service management right:

  • Remember that it’s not about the IT. Sound familiar? Yes, the IT will help but as with ITSM the technology is there to support people and process. It’s also about sharing the collective experience of the IT organization in designing, creating, delivering, managing, and supporting services with other lines-of-business.
  • Understand that “one size doesn’t fit all.” Your HR or facilities colleagues won’t know, or care about, what an incident is. If they’re going to use your ITSM tool then it needs to be changed to not only reflect their processes but also the language they use.
  • Sell the benefits not the features. Communicate and demonstrate the opportunity of service management to your non-IT colleagues. Show how they can improve services, raise efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver a better customer experience through service management best practice and fit-for-purpose technology.
  • See enterprise service management as an opportunity to reposition IT. Not just as another business/IT project. IT has a chance to rise above the mantle of “infrastructure administrator” to regain a position of innovation through process improvement.
  • Plan for enterprise service management now, even if seems a far off, future opportunity. My IT industry analyst pals are always telling me that enterprises change ITSM tools every 3-5 years on average (yes, they all quote me a different time frame). So if you’re currently looking for a new ITSM tool, check out the ability to use it in non-IT use case scenarios. It might not be essential, but it’s worth listing as a nice to have.

I could go on for another five tips, but those Sophie Danby and Dena Wieder-Freiden ladies tell me off if my blogs are too long.

So what enterprise service management advice would you offer up based on your personal successes and mishaps?

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Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).


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