8 Ways to Break Through the Walls Around ITSM

May 24, 2021
8 Ways to Break Through the Walls Around ITSM Effective IT Asset Management During COVID-19 | Essentials for Productivity, Security, and Resilience

This is the THIRD blog in our series that that explains how Extending the Reach of IT Service Management (ITSM) can benefit your organization much like XaaS has helped companies like Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon turn shoppers into engaged subscribers. In our first blog post, we talk about What Sparks ITSM into “x Service Management (xSM),” where ‘x’ marks the next department that wants (needs) to utilize your system. In our second article, we explain how to recognize the 5 Key Trends that Indicate ITSM is Evolving Beyond IT. In this third and final article, we describe 8 Ways to Break Through the Walls Around ITSM so your company’s digital transformation can run its course.

When an organization grows large enough that personalized attention is no longer possible, but the need for additional internal services continues to grow, new departments tend to spring up naturally. Before you know it, Human Resources, Finance, Facilities Management, IT, and Department ‘x’ are all working for the same company—but performing their functions in silos. When this happens, multiple internal service providers incur unnecessary added expenses by running overlapping processes and systems. To eliminate duplication of effort and increase efficiency, IT teams often categorize and organize intradepartmental processes so they can be “repackaged” and offered as interdepartmental services capable of breaking through the walls.

Service desk process consolidation is an effective means of breaking down the walls that surround your IT Service Management (ITSM) system. By extending the reach of your ITSM system beyond IT and pushing people beyond their departmental silos, xSM has the power to create both cost savings and an opportunity to drive customer satisfaction. You can achieve service excellence by providing employees across your entire organization a single Self-Service Portal (SSP) for all requests that support cross-functional needs such as onboarding and facilities management. By running a pilot project with an agile department, you can prove the value of “x Service Management” and lay the foundation for your digital transformation road map. Here are eight steps to position your organization for success with xSM.

Step 1—Choose an Agile Department

Your IT department is accustomed to using service management automation, but other departments might find it difficult to embrace that concept. When selecting your first expansion team, run your pilot project with a department that welcomes change—you will save yourself a lot of time and avoid piling unnecessary stress on unwilling participants. Look for a department that is known for being innovative, with managers who are not afraid of the uncertainties that come with trying new technologies and implementing untested business practices.

Avoid pilot testing your initial project in a department where teams are afraid of making mistakes, as they are typically slower to learn and do not have the support and confidence needed to move your xSM initiative forward. Successful teams understand that progress often requires failure, which enables you to move forward. If an open-minded team fails on their first try, they will review what they did wrong and try a different approach. There is practical value in allowing one department to champion your xSM project. Their determination and experience will pave the way for other departments to adopt xSM and promote its benefits throughout your organization.

Step 2—Examine the Workflows for Service Requests

Your Human Resources (HR) department handles many requests from inside and outside of your organization. HR workflows are a perfect starting point for your xSM project because they are easy to implement and usually well-defined in terms of functionality and responsibilities. HR is also more in tune with the employee experience than most IT departments, which typically focus on the technical details.

A typical HR implementation involves setting up a Self-Service Portal (SSP) that uses automation and chatbots to handle the most common HR requests. This involves importing existing knowledge into your xSM’s knowledge base, and then implementing a chatbot that allows employees to submit requests and search for answers to their questions.

Facilities offers other workflows that you may want to consider, or you can look at other departments that receive and process requests from employees across your organization. If you can identify another department where requesters are currently using email or phone calls to obtain information or services, its workflows might be a good fit for your xSM project. As you progress, consider things like Purchase Orders, Procurement, and other Finance processes as excellent choices as well. We have seen tremendous success running these manual processes through digital transformation.

Step 3—Choose Workflows with Low Risk and Low Impact

Workflows impact everything about the life cycle of a ChangeGear entity—from the actions that are available to the state (i.e., condition) that is displayed in the process timeline. Workflows dictate what is displayed in the timeline, what actions are allowed, what states can be reached from another state, and what default actions can be taken when another action is currently in process.

Start your xSM project using simple internal processes before jumping into any customer-facing workflows. Simple in-house processes typically involve the lowest risk and impact if something unexpectedly happens, and internal processes let you learn from your mistakes and make corrections along the way. Customer-facing processes, on the other hand, are much less forgiving and can damage your company’s reputation if something goes wrong.

Your Sales and Finance departments are probably not the best places to begin because they involve sensitive data, which is much too risky for a pilot program. A best practice is to save the high risk/impact departments for last. As you successfully “transform” one department after another, beginning with the lowest risk and lowest impact departments first, the rest of your organization will gain the level of trust needed to join your digital transformation journey.

Step 4—Focus on Winning the Sprints, Not the Marathon

While sprints and marathons both end at the finish line, sprints are a better way to successfully implement your xSM system. Think in terms of small, quick iterations of work that do not require more than a few months to complete. Ideally, you should look at workflows that you can adapt and push through your entire organization in a month or two. Completing a series of small “wins” is much more effective than starting a marathon that you may not be able to finish.

Step 5—Leverage Your Existing ITSM System and Expand into AI

By leveraging your existing ITSM system and expanding its capabilities with Artificial Intelligence (AI), you will create a feeling of equality between IT and other departments through your implementation of an effective and efficient service management solution. Having a solid foundation of up-to-date, well-documented knowledge base articles provides a good foundation for a chatbot implementation. The other main component that you will need is a self-service portal where you can embed your chatbot so it can accept requests and pull relevant information from your knowledge base.

The primary benefit of xSM in any organization is being able to take service management and have it used (and managed) by individual departments without the involvement of IT. Employees are given the ability to raise issues quickly and easily—and have them managed and resolved in a way that works for every department involved. When implemented correctly, everyone can benefit from your xSM solution. Business processes can be created to help:

  • Human Resources manage onboarding and offboarding requests, company training requirements, and perform other tasks.
  • Finance and Accounting send out invoices, collect and process payments, track and approve expenses.
  • Marketing obtain the necessary approvals to make changes to your corporate website, manage document review cycles, and solicit feedback pertaining to advertising campaigns.
  • Facilities Management process requests for cleaning services, new office furniture, repairs, upgrades, and hundreds of other items.
  • Purchasing accept and process orders for anything and everything that your employees need to get their jobs done.
  • And so much more…

When your xSM system is powered by AI, your entire organization will realize cost savings across departments, improve requester satisfaction, improve quality of delivered services, reduce unplanned IT work, resolve incidents and problems faster, increase revenue by reducing downtime, and more.

Step 6—Integrate Security into Your Change Management Process

When your ITSM system advances beyond IT and crosses into the realm of xSM, integration with security tools such as Tripwire becomes a natural part of your organization’s evolutionary process. Tripwire is an intrusion detection system (IDS) that constantly and automatically keeps your critical system files and reports under control in the event they have been destroyed or modified by a hacker—or mistakenly changed by an employee. Tripwire allows your system administrator to immediately know what was compromised and when, so they can efficiently and effectively handle the situation. For xSM to work, everyone in your organization must be in sync with how information is entered and managed. It is critical to have processes in place to validate that the integrations with your service management system—such as ChangeGear Service Manager—are running securely.

Integrated security makes it easier to prove to auditors that all changes have been properly approved and reconciled. When you open a new request in your Service Management tool to make changes to an application on a specific date, for example, an electronic approval process expedites the ability for the documented change to be made. Tripwire then detects the change and asks the Service Management application to search for a matching request. If a match is found, the information contained in the request is used to promote the approved change to your security baseline. If the search results fail to find a match, Tripwire will open a new incident within your Service Management system and include a detailed change report.

Once your security integrations have been automated, you can verify their success by reviewing the change process compliance reports available in the Tripwire application. In cases where the changes match a request in ChangeGear Service Manager, Tripwire can extract information such as the request number and include it in a report. This provides internal teams and external auditors the cross-referenced data they need to do their jobs.

Step 7—Select a Pilot Project with a Measurable Impact

The goal of your xSM system is to make interdepartmental operations better, faster, and cheaper across your entire organization, so choose a pilot project that will allow you to collect metrics that can prove those benefits exist. Pick something that can deliver business benefits such as reduced costs or improved speed and efficiency by implementing workflow automations or self-service portals. This is likely to be where most of your financial savings can be easily identified and clearly shown in the Return on Investment (ROI). Be sure to capture all the relevant metrics before you make any changes, so you have a baseline to compare your improvements against. Relevant metrics will demonstrate how xSM has made your pilot department/project better.

Step 8—Get Started Right Away!

Once you have successfully completed Steps 1 through 7 above, you should have everything you need to get started immediately. Do not hesitate, as any delays will only raise additional questions about the reasons for your project. If (when) you successfully implement your first pilot project, you will begin to earn the trust of your entire company, build expertise in your team, and establish a foundation that can support your digital transformation to xSM.

If your current Service Management platform is not agile and flexible enough to meet these digital transformation objectives, then it is time to consider a change. Organizations like yours need to demand more of their core platforms and recognizing this need may be a best first step to reaching your goals. Finding and selecting the right Service Management tool can be challenging if you are solely relying on the information presented in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant (i.e., placement of blue dots in a quad chart). To gain a clearer understanding of the tools that are available and which ones really fit your organization, read Gartner’s special report, “6 Smart Steps for ITSM Tool Selection Success.”

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