At its most simple the basic principle of Service Management is the ability to respond quickly and effectively to a customer demand requesting something, reporting something is broken or searching for information to enable a task or action.
These working practices have been adopted successfully in IT for a number of years and we, as IT people, are conditioned to a level of process formality and rigour in our operations that should, in most cases, make us more effective. Process improvement and automation feature in our every-day vocabulary.
The question we now ask ourselves, especially with the success of Enterprise Automation platforms like ServiceNow, is can we apply the same working practices across our entire organisation? The answer is a resounding yes, from a service perspective the work we are handling is either a request, a fault or a need for information, no matter what department we are in.
If we can take Service Management beyond IT by improving and automating processes in Customer Services, HR, Facilities or Finance, to name a few, then we have a very compelling and repeatable model for moving work around the business in the most effective way.
IT Service Management
The ITIL set of best practices for IT service management were created in the 1980s with the aim of delivering better quality, client-focused services while also driving more efficient use of IT resources. The best practices are considered as a process framework to be adopted and adapted by an organisation dependent on their priorities and objectives.
The IT Service Management Processes haven’t changed a great deal over the last 10 years but the drive to increase efficiency and speed delivery continues. Technology solutions look to capitalise on this by automating the provisioning of services and management of work across the organisation.
This has resulted in an explosion of Service Management related applications, initially focused on specific processes, sometimes bolted together to provide an ITIL or ITSM toolset but rarely offering a seamless employee experience or single system of record.
ServiceNow, conceived as a flexible development platform, was initially targeted at IT and was the first to take the ITIL best practices and build applications natively on the platform. The ability to request, receive, assign, manage and measure work across the IT organisation; to understand how services were performing (and costing) and to provide total visibility across the Enterprise, all within a cloud-based single system of action set the bar across the industry.
These principles for managing work across a department and for providing customers with the ability to self-serve were then taken beyond IT and across the organisation to HR, Facilities, Finance and now outside the organisation with Customer Service Management.
Beyond IT – HR
One of the earliest contenders for expanding beyond IT was HR. Originally driven from the desire to better manage the employee onboarding process and provide an overall better experience to a new employee, customers began to build case management solutions to handle other HR-related requests. ServiceNow recognised this demand and through several iterations now offers a world-class system of engagement for employees interacting with HR.
Beyond IT – Customer Service Management
ServiceNow has recognised that these same principles can be applied to Customer Service Management. Traditional approaches to Customer Service have focused on the Call Center model; responding quickly and hopefully effectively to each question or complaint as it is reported however it is reported, better still deflect those interactions completely with a customer self-service model to reduce cost. The speed of which the question or issue is resolved is paramount as is the provision of friendly, high-quality response to elicit high customer satisfaction. Identifying the reasons why the issues are occurring in the first place so that they can be permanently resolved requires joining customer support with business operations and applying the same Service Management disciplines to Customer Service. Doing this on a single platform gives ServiceNow customers the ability to resolve customer issues at lightspeed.
Beyond IT – Custom Applications
In our experience once our customers have successfully implemented ServiceNow across IT and have extended the ServiceNow experience into some of the shared service departments demand from the business to automate processes on ServiceNow starts to snowball. Provided there is the capability to respond to this demand and effectively it is possible to stand up a new application to manage work or automate a process in a matter of days or weeks. Stop saying no and start saying yes.
So the opportunity to deliver Enterprise Service Management is greater than ever before. We’ve been pragmatically fulfilling, fixing and providing information in IT for years so let’s take all of that experience and apply it across the entire organisation today!