As the role of IT evolves, your IT service desk is no longer just managing hardware and software, and reacting to help tickets. You manage services, interactions, expectations, and customer experiences.
Here, John Custy, founder and managing consultant for JPC Group, explains how the ITIL framework adds more value to your IT service management and changes the way you meet customer needs.
Tell us a little bit about your background and JPC Group.
JPC Group has been in business since 1999 providing service management education, consulting, and training to a variety of clients. Our business is helping organizations better meet the needs of their customers by improving their service management capabilities. Our primary focus is helping the service provider understand the need to ensure that the services provided meet customer needs and that improved employee engagement is necessary to deliver quality services.
What are some of the biggest ITSM challenges you are hearing from your clients?
Some of the biggest challenges I consistently hear from our customers are around meeting customer demands and ensuring that the funding is provided that will allow them to meet those needs. Lack of budget maturity, a service portfolio, and service catalog, impacts the ability of a service provider to demonstrate the value of the services they are providing. Another challenge is better understanding the business direction that allows the service provider to anticipate future needs. Business relationship management needs to mature in almost all organizations so that the service provider can deliver more focused services, faster, and with higher quality.
Engaging and motivating staff continues to be a challenge that comes up often for every organization. Often, this comes from a lack of clear goals with varying views of what delivering value actually means and how well the organization is meeting customer needs. Without objectives to target, getting staff to do what management needs and wants them to do will be difficult.
Security is another area that is impacting every organization. Not only IT, data, or cyber security, but the protection of the intellectual, physical, and customer assets as well.
Do you believe the ITIL framework is important to an IT service desk? If so, why?
One of the major advantages of the ITIL framework for the IT service desk is clarifying its role and recognizing that the service desk should be viewed as a strategic asset of the organization, not a necessary evil. The ITIL framework recognizes that the service desk is capable of adding more value than just responding to requests. The definition of functions can also help the service desk clarify responsibilities for technical management, applications management, and IT operations management. Most important, however, is remembering that the ITIL framework is just that, a framework. It is designed to provide guidelines, not rules. Each organization must determine how to apply the framework to their environment, so it works for their customers and business.
It’s also important to remember that the ITIL framework is a framework for IT service management as a whole and not just the service desk. The degree to which the framework is successful is based on the adoption of it by the organization, not only the service desk. While there is value if the service desk adopts the framework, the real value for the organization is when IT and all of the shared services adopt the framework together.
What are some of the ITIL best practices that are important to an IT service desk, but often overlooked?
Best practices most often overlooked or not fully understood include:
- Customer satisfaction surveys – Surveys should happen more often than just after an event. Understanding satisfaction with the services overall and the service provider is necessary.
- Analytics – Reporting on quality and performance of services shows the value of your services, and allows you to use the information to identify improvements.
- Incident documentation – The lack of a good categorization scheme limits the value of the reports generated and can be counterproductive when not used correctly.
- The customer must perceive that the service desk is providing value.
- Business process consulting/advice is typically beyond the scope of the service desk, but is needed in most organizations.
How do you see ITSM changing or growing in 2015?
IT service management in 2015 will bring the continuing maturity of of incident management, change management, and IT asset management processes and procedures. Where I expect to see more resources applied is around problem management and knowledge management. Both have the opportunity to reduce downtime (increase uptime) and reduce the amount of IT support resources needed to resolve issues. We’ll begin to see a better understanding of how problem and knowledge management can help IT provide more value to its customers. Probably most important, IT service management teams will move from a focus on cost-cutting to increasing the value of the services it provides. Knowledge management is core to maturing the processes and providing more value.
Security will continue to gain prominence, with breaches having greater impact on the ongoing business success.
We’ll see an increased value from IT service management and a focus on the development of an ITSM framework within each organization. These frameworks may begin with ITIL or ISO 20000 as the core, and add pieces of other standards to develop the ITSM framework for each organization. There will also be a deeper understanding that more education is needed to maximize the return on an ITIL/ITSM training investment and the involvement of the business.
You can follow John Custy on Twitter @ITSMNinja.