In the post-pandemic era, substantial responsibility for business continuity and growth rests squarely on the IT organization’s shoulders. But unfortunately, IT’s traditionally unstructured, break-fix approach often keeps it stuck in firefighting mode - and stops it from evolving into the strategic partner its company needs.
In a Network Computing report, only half of end users report being “moderately,” “very,” or “completely” satisfied with IT.
The importance of adopting formal IT Service Management (ITSM) practices is more apparent than ever before, giving IT the tools and processes to evolve from technical experts into a true service-oriented organization – ready to help companies chart a new way forward in this new normal. The most widely used framework for delivering IT Services, ITSM ensures IT runs efficiently and moves in lockstep with business needs.
Implementing ITSM practices creates the well-run IT Department companies need to thrive in 2021 and beyond - infused with a strong services mindset, true business insight, and accelerated speed to market.
Let’s examine how.
ITSM establishes processes and procedures that optimize the use of technology and the services built around it. It covers everything that falls under the IT umbrella, from incident resolution to the implementation, management, and operations of hardware and software.
The critical importance of IT Service Management stems from its core objective of aligning IT services with a company’s greater strategic goals. ITSM focuses IT on delivering value to internal customers, with key targets that include:
- A proactive, process-oriented approach to service management
- Better alignment with business needs
- Increasing efficiency and effectiveness to lower IT costs and increase ROI
- Greater transparency and accountability
- Continuous addition of new functions that drive user satisfaction
- Driving digital transformation through ITSM tools that enable next-generation technologies like automation
ITSM typically goes hand-in-hand with an ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) framework, and it’s a common misconception that they’re interchangeable. Think of it this way: ITSM is the actual practice of planning and delivering IT services; ITIL is a highly regarded framework that generally guides how ITSM is implemented.
ITSM delivers IT as a service
ITSM is based on the idea that IT exists to deliver a service to the business. Its policies and procedures are carefully structured so IT professionals can work smarter, faster, and truly benefit the greater organization.
Instead of working in silos and reacting to incidents in an ad hoc manner that often feels frustratingly slow to end users, ITSM structures IT service models like a business. That includes repeatable and scalable best practice processes, clearly defined roles and responsibilities for IT staff, an easy-to-understand catalog of services tailored to organizational needs, and a method for measuring and improving operational performance.
As a result, the business perceives IT as a strategic partner that can improve organizational efficiency, deliver actionable insights, and proactively solve problems. ITSM also infuses IT with the flexibility to accommodate rapid change.
A well-run IT Department improves overall performance and productivity
In today’s digital world, a well-run IT department is a necessity, not a luxury. ITSM practices ultimately help the entire business function at its best by creating a more efficient, productive IT Department that delivers better-fitting services.
For instance, ITSM builds metrics for assessing IT performance, enabling quick adjustments that keep service levels high. It also utilizes ITIL guidelines to establish standardized processes for problem management so concerning trends are identified and addressed at an early stage before they significantly impact business performance.
Change management is another key area ITIL covers to minimize costly business disruptions. Managing change properly creates a nimble IT environment that can respond quickly to new requirements without impacting the availability of critical services.
ITSM also strengthens the relationship between the business and IT with structured processes for streamlining communication. Building a High-Performance Service Desk, for instance, creates a clear pathway for keeping operations running smoothly and boosting user satisfaction with an effortless technology experience.
ITSM tools drive efficiency and end user satisfaction through automation and self-service
With tools that enable next-generation technologies like automation, ITSM has become a conduit for business innovation and organizational change. Nearly 60% of respondents to a Forbes Insights survey consider ITSM solutions “extremely important” to their digital transformation initiatives.
Many ITSM processes are ripe for automation, involving mundane, repetitive tasks like onboarding employees that drain time and productivity from IT staff. Applying ITSM automation to these workflows drives efficiency in IT - lowering operational costs and freeing human staff for higher-value work. It also eliminates the human error that typically plagues repetitive activities and drives business satisfaction by speeding deployment.
Self-service capabilities are another way ITSM tools drive efficiency. For instance, ITIL knowledge management processes create a knowledge base that users can access to fulfill common requests or resolve simple incidents without involving IT staff.
ITSM establishes control and oversight for IT operations
Under a reactive service model, any IT professional might be tasked with any issue that comes in and multiple people might make changes to a project. Understandably, that causes confusion about priorities, roles and responsibilities, appropriate service levels, who should make decisions, and how colleagues should interact when resolving incidents.
ITSM builds a structure that creates transparency and accountability. Formalizing focus for IT staff and standardizing processes for basic IT functions threads a visible line of sight between individual contributions and business results.
When IT staff have clear roles, they become accountable for the services they are responsible for delivering. Standardizing processes also lead to more predictable results and faster, timely delivery of critical services.
Implementing ITSM practices can transform IT into a strategic partner for the business
The number of day-to-day operational activities IT must address is never going to diminish. Gartner says 80% of traditional IT budgets are consumed by tasks that “keep the lights on” but add little value, like supporting end users and managing infrastructure devices.
At the end of the day, perhaps the greatest ITSM value is the bandwidth it delivers to focus on activities that drive innovation and growth.
By optimizing time-consuming, routine tasks with standardization, more efficient processes, and automation – and routing them appropriately to junior team members - ITSM frees high-level IT staff to focus on strategic services that add commercial value
The importance of IT Service Management is clear - helping companies achieve greater efficiencies, reduce costs, and limit risk. But the severe IT labor shortage makes it difficult for companies to implement ITSM in-house.
Outsourcing your ITSM practices to a reputable managed services provider can instantly deliver the people, processes, and technology that lead to success. Exceptional outsourcers have deep experience implementing ITSM best practices, access to the latest technologies, and motivation to meet and exceed contractual service levels by driving efficient, continuous improvement in the organization.
In the post-pandemic world, IT services are more complex and integral to business success than ever before. Implementing ITSM with an exceptional managed service provider enables organizations to think strategically about what it takes to manage today’s unprecedented business technology needs. And that helps deliver the competitive edge they need to thrive in 2021 and beyond.