IT Service Management, or ITSM for short, may have IT in its name – but service management is not just about IT. If we take a few steps back, traditionally users have contacted IT departments for one of three reasons; wanting something fixed, wanting another kind of assistance or wanting something new. This means that the IT team has become adept at putting in place processes to address enquiries with speed, efficiency and accountability. These typical reasons for getting in contact are no different for other business departments.
This means that when people contact HR or the facilities department, for instance – it is to fix something, for help with a question, or for something new. Therefore, service management principles can be used outside of the IT department. At a time of stretched IT budgets, demonstrating the value of holistic service management can protect IT’s position and, more importantly, deliver cost benefits to the whole business.
Over the last 15 years or so, we have seen the global adoption of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) as the guiding principles of the processes that underpin ITSM. This has been very successful; the combination of process consulting, technology and the success of cloud-based solutions means there are a large number of customers successfully using similar platforms for servicing and supporting IT functionality across the organisation.
The key here is that these systems are now also able to drive changes in the way businesses think about what is possible when they take the IT out of ITSM. The processes at the core of the ITIL library can be used outside IT to great effect. Although there has been nothing stopping that adoption, technology solutions on offer haven’t always presented a logical and simple way of translating the theory to the rest of the business.
Now that cloud-based technologies are so widely available, there has been a significant shift in what businesses feel they can achieve when it comes to using ITSM for other lines of business. The three interactions IT consumers have with IT support – for a fixed, for help, for something new – can be addressed simply with cloud-based service management platforms.
Today’s service management solutions include workflows, user experience elements, approvals, escalations, security and configuration management functionality that support these processes. For example, the workflow sitting behind a request for a new device, will provide the approvals, ordering process and tracking that will have the device delivered to the requestor, with full transparency and visibility.
Disregard the IT ‘content’ of the request, and it’s not too big of a leap to see how this workflow process can apply to other functions. As a result, organisations can deliver the same efficiency, transparency and user experience to other parts of the business by translating their IT service management processes into, simply, service management. Some examples include; business continuity planning, HR case management, facilities management, vendor management, project and demand management.
Many organisations around the globe are beginning to see that non-IT functions are stealing a march on their IT colleagues by implementing service management solutions at the same time, or sometimes even before, they are applied to IT support. This marks a huge positive step in how service management is perceived so perhaps we should be asking ourselves whether ITSM really needs those first two letter when it comes to its acronym.