IT service delivery becomes more complicated every day, so how do you identify the essential components of good IT service management to continue delivering outstanding IT services?
The goal of ITSM is to make IT services align with the needs of the organization as well as its employees and customers.
This is more complicated than ever with the advent of mobile and social computing. Not only do employees in many organizations expect to be able to work anywhere using mobile devices, they’re also generating more data that has to be managed.
Hint: not by hiding from reality.
Furthermore, the increasing technical sophistication of employees raises the standards for ITSM. The IT service desk has to be prepared to deal with much more than just password resets and the like. Here are some ITSM best practices and how they help your entire organization.
Effective Listening and Communication
Not only does your IT team need to report on IT issues effectively, it needs to listen to end-users and engage with them, learning what’s critical for them to be able to do their jobs optimally. Asking and listening are particularly important during times when ITSM changes, like after a BYOD policy is implemented, or after a department switches to new software or hardware. Naturally, your IT team will encounter pushback during times of change, but when your team finds out what is causing this resistance, they can address end-user concerns and help ensure a successful transition.
Prioritizing With Business Outcomes in Mind
IT services should be delivered with a definable organizational outcome in mind. Establishing links between IT service delivery and business goals is an important ITSM best practice. Priorities shift, of course, but your IT team should know how to prioritize short term and long term tasks. Your team should also use metrics that are pertinent to overall business performance. For the most part, the overall organization doesn’t care as much about the percentage of incidents closed over 24 hours as it does about whether there was downtime, and whether that downtime affected business operations.
Developing Your Follow-Through
Good follow-through is important for accuracy and efficiency.
Tying up loose ends can be tedious, but following through on the details can result in further quality improvements. An accumulation of outstanding tasks, no matter how small they may seem, can sap morale and damage relations between the IT service desk and end-user. Following through with customers or end-users about the status of tickets, what remains outstanding, and when the problem will be resolved can go a long way toward building bridges between IT and the rest of the organization. It also helps IT hold itself accountable and be rightfully pleased when tasks are completed.
Not Allowing People to Become Indispensable
If your IT team has been around for a while, it’s easy for one person to be considered the house guru on a particular topic. While it’s great that you have someone with strong skills in a particular area, it’s dangerous not to have a qualified backup. Being overly reliant on a singular person for particular tasks can lead to big problems should that person be away due to illness, vacation, or business travel. But when there’s a secondary support person for each IT service, you won’t be left scrambling when the “guru” is out for three weeks and there’s a major problem somewhere.
Making Your IT Service Desk a Priority
You get from your IT service desk what you put into it. If your IT service desk has lousy tools and is treated as an afterthought, IT service delivery suffers. Your IT service desk is your IT storefront, and has the potential to deliver serious value for end-users and the organization overall. For that reason alone, the people running it need resources (both technological and human), and visible support by the department manager and the CIO.