IT service management (ITSM) is a management approach that shifts the focus of IT from merely system-driven to customer-centric. Beyond running a new system or fixing bugs, IT is seen as a service that delivers value to the business. With value as metric, businesses can prioritize which tasks the tech team must pursue first, rather than blindly fixing one system or hardware at a time.
Even within the ITSM framework, IT is still limited to tech concerns. Truth is, businesses can derive even more value from IT by making it a key partner in developing business strategies that cut across departments.
In this article, you’ll understand how IT can, indeed, be a business partner, not just a troubleshooter of glitches, and how service desk software can help IT achieve this goal. This strategy has been gaining momentum lately as more ITSM professionals see themselves getting involved in other department’s concerns, reported ComputerWeekly.
If there’s one tool that IT should optimize, it’s the service desk. The software democratizes the delivery of tech service across the organization and, more critically, relieves pressure off IT’s back so the tech team can focus on more essential and creative tasks. Today, service desk solutions are a dime and dozen that don’t require heavy investment or high learning curve, thanks to SaaS.
So, beyond looking at service desk as a help desk tool or even an ITSM platform, you can start leveraging it to align IT with business. Here’s how.
1. Major issues should be addressed by cross-departmental teams
Companies traditionally look at problems from the department head’s perspective. This thinking has allowed CEOs to delegate responsibilities clearly. However, this thinking also forces departments to work in silos and create walls between each other. As a result, it’s more difficult to nurture collaboration in a hierarchical structure.
It’s not to say companies should start shifting to teal management, where a horizontal structure is in place. In this scenario, employees do not answer to a specific departmental head but to their team leader, who in turn, can be from another department. This style may not work in the more traditional and complex business.
Instead, companies can initiate a limited teal structure, where issues are resolved by an interdepartmental team that reports directly to management. With technology affecting almost all aspects of the business today, IT will be a key player in resolving company-wide issues.
For example, IT can direct how the company can shift workflows to real-time and automated processes. But it needs to understand the core deliverables of each department; hence, a cross-departmental team is an ideal model here. The team can share each other’s insights, data, resources and more, resulting in a holistic solution. But where does service desk come in here?
Best service desk software centralizes all these shared information in one place that is accessible to all parties. It’s the platform that bridges the knowledge divide among departments. For example, sales can quickly retrieve customer service group’s reports to check for common complaints, so sales can anticipate questions in their next cold calls. Or marketing can post a request for ideas for the next campaign. Many of these tasks and activities are handled specifically by another system like CRM or project management, but the service desk can catalog all these requests as a central repository of company-wide information requests.
2. Create department-specific self-service support portals
IT has more pressing tasks to do, such as, product testing and system development. Repetitive issues, localized problems and administrative tasks are better resolved at their local level, meaning, within the department. For example, password change and welcoming of new employees can be done by the department instead of bothering IT.
Service desk solutions allow companies to create these self-service stations. You can have an umbrella service desk with department-specific desks underneath. There’s another benefit to this structure: issue resolutions across the companies are consolidated and management can have a quick access to this organizational-wide perspective. Likewise, with service desk pulling together these mini self-service portals, workflows become more efficient and productivity increases.
Most service desk solutions let you create knowledge base and communities to share problems and solutions. They also allow you to create catalogs of service requests, which you can use to list available shared services between business units.
3. Help departments build their self-managed platforms
IT as a business strategist can also work with other departments to build their self-managed workspace and content platforms. These platforms can be used internally or externally. Content today has a leveraging power that engages customers (external platform) or acts as a conduit to spread knowledge (internal platform). For instance, marketing can create a crowdsourcing platform to solicit ideas for campaigns, or HR can build a library of skills workshops for any employees.
On its own IT is hardpressed to deliver and manage content platforms for all departments. But by instituting self-service management the departments can start leveraging content to improve their team knowledge and increase their productivity. Meanwhile, IT is free to focus on its own content platform.
Service desk can centralize leads to different content management solutions, including their SLAs and terms. The service desk can also host guidelines on how to use the platforms, a useful tool to onboard new users.
4. Make IT a creative partner
IT shouldn’t be limited to resolving tech issues. This team offers tons of creative thinking and project management skills that other departments can leverage. For example, tech can contribute to training sales on standardization protocols and use case archiving to improve sales workflows. Tech’s goal-oriented processes can also be applied to other business aspects.
But IT cannot perform all these creative collaboration if it’s busy with day-to-day tasks. The solution? Service desk automation features. The software can unburden tech team of repetitive tasks by automating processes, such as: knowledge base management; ticket management; and reporting and notifications. Many service desk solutions offer all or some of these tools that free up much of tech team’s time.
5. IT as lead player to chart company’ new direction
Technology will disrupt how you conduct business soon, if it hasn’t yet. The disruptions are accelerating as new advances are made in AI, cloud computing, big data and more, whose impact cuts across industries.
Faced with these massive shifts, not just in workflows, but in business models, companies must rely on their IT to make the right steps through the changing landscape. This is where IT can truly become strategists.
It isn’t just their tech knowledge that makes IT a key partner in making major business decisions; this team understands how much impact technological shifts bring with them. They can lay down the pros and cons of different scenarios to help management make the better decision.
Clearly, this role breaks away from IT’s traditional space, but that’s the point. IT is versed in risk-calculations and is process-driven, skills that are critical in these times of momentous changes. They can use service desk change management tools to plot the least risky route, track milestones, anticipate glitches and configure real-time updates.
As technology impacts on every aspect of business, IT also must expand its role. From merely troubleshooting glitches, it must now play a strategic role. Often, IT will be counted on by other departments to lead the way as the company implements change measure to adapt to the new landscape.