Self Service in IT

15 Tips for Getting Started with Self-Service – Part 2

In my previous blog, I offered up eight tips for getting started with self-service. Here I offer another seven.

9. Plan Ahead for Future Non-IT Use

If the new self-service capability works for IT, then end users will expect something similar for other corporate service providers such HR and facilities. Or non-IT use case scenarios might be business function driven, with HR, say, wishing to offer their services via a similar (or the same) portal. And in an ideal world, the IT department will extend what they already use rather than reinventing the wheel for these non-IT use case scenarios.

Thus, the self-service solution for IT needs to be capable of future modification to support the potential use across other lines of business.

10. Exploit Automation Wherever Possible

Self-service needs to be more than a surrogate for end-user phone calls to the service desk. If this is all it is, then it’s definitely a sub-optimal solution in terms of reducing costs and improving speed and quality of service.

Instead, self-service needs to exploit automation as it’s where the big benefits lie in terms of:

  • Workload reductions
  • Efficiency gains
  • Cost savings
  • Service improvements

And, ideally, the change initiative will link into the corporate automation strategy – using existing technology investments and people skills wherever possible.

Don’t worry though, I’m not expecting to be replaced by Joe the IT Robot just yet.

11. Understand the Value of Knowledge

A key part of self-service success is creating a platform for self-help that offers an immediate resolution to end-user issues. It’s a platform built on knowledge management; and not just the process of capturing, codifying, storing, and distributing knowledge but also the required cultural change.

To win with knowledge management, it needs to be an embedded part of business processes, plus an essential element of employee recognition and reward frameworks. Otherwise knowledge management will always be something to do after the day’s “real” tasks have been done.

12. Continue to Offer Choices

It’s important to offer end users a choice, as there will be circumstances when self-service isn’t the best option for service or support. For instance:

  • Some IT issues might require a more immediate response
  • Self-service might not be suitable for some company roles
  • End users will have personal preferences for support access and communication, and these might change dependent on their location or even the day of the week

And forcing end users to use a channel that’s not right for them is more likely to reduce adoption than it is to increase it.

“Choice” also includes the provision of mobile access to self-service capabilities – something that’s still not as prevalent as online portals despite employee use of both corporate and personal mobile devices at work.

13. Review the Status Quo

Before adding a new access and communication channel, it’s important to understand what end users are doing already. Without such investigations, there will most likely be decisions made on assumptions rather than facts.

Self-service will change the mix of issues and requests hitting the service desk, so it’s also important to spend time assessing the suitability of existing service desk targets and maybe the metrics themselves. For instance, with self-service hopefully addressing many of the simpler tickets, will first contact resolution still be a suitable metric for what will be on average more complex tickets being dealt with by service desk agents?

14. Don’t Overlook Organizational Change Management Requirements

To succeed with self-service, organizations need to change the behaviors of their people. They also need to manage the change professionally using a proven organizational change management (OCM) technique – and assuming that people will just start to use a new capability is just joining the queue for inevitable failure.

As well as doing the usual OCM elements such as selling the change, providing consistent and frequent communications, and offering the required level of education and training – start with a friendly pilot group of end users. As it doesn’t matter how well the project is planned, or how experienced the project team is, issues will still arise during testing and possibly even at launch. This way, mistakes can be made privately rather than in public.

15. Encourage, Encourage, Encourage

Following on from the above tip related to OCM – end users will require encouragement to adopt self-service. It’s a change from what they usually do and they will thus need to understand how it will benefit them more than the status quo. Importantly, it’s not enough to only communicate with end users once; instead there needs to be an ongoing program to encourage end users. It’s all about understanding what needs to be said and done to prompt change, having a plan to do these things, and then executing the plan. For instance, planning to provide in-person end user training the two weeks before go-live, then offering online training modules after go-live.

It’s also important to avoid “launch apathy,” caused by thinking that the delivery of the technology is the project’s end and success measure. Instead, the project team needs to actively seek feedback, monitor usage, and to offer additional end-user training where needed. In many ways the encouragement should never stop!

So that’s all 15 tips for getting started with self-service? What else would you add? 

If you want to read my earlier blog on service catalog and self-service success, then that’s here. 

Or you might find my other “Getting Started With…” blogs useful: 


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!).


One thought on “15 Tips for Getting Started with Self-Service – Part 2”

  1. Pingback: 7 More Tips for Getting Started with Self-Service - AITS

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