This is the SECOND blog in our series that explains how Extending the Reach of IT Service Management (ITSM) can benefit your organization much like XaaS has helped companies like Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon turn shoppers into engaged subscribers. In our first blog post, we talk about What Sparks ITSM into “x Service Management (xSM),” where ‘x’ marks the next department that wants (needs) to utilize your system. In this article, we explain how to recognize the 5 Key Trends that Indicate ITSM is Evolving Beyond IT. In our third and final article (posting on May 25, 2021), we describe 8 Ways to Break Through the Walls Around ITSM so your company’s digital evolution can run its course.
Many of the core principles and best practices of IT Service Management (ITSM) have proven relevant in business applications that extend far beyond IT. Large enterprises have taken on monolithic efforts to deploy huge Enterprise Service Management (ESM) systems. These systems often take years to fully establish themselves and even longer to adopt into the culture of an organization. For small to midsize businesses, this requires too much effort and, in most cases, is overkill for what they need.
When a business leader is seeking the benefits of process standardization, automation, unified employee experience, and other streamlined improvements, they can stop short of full ESM systems. Adept Service Management solutions that start as ITSM platforms should be able to move beyond the IT department. Other departments such as Human Resources, Finance, and Facilities can leverage the same capabilities and reap the same benefits that their IT counterparts have been seeing for years. This is where the concept of xSM begins to shine. Instead of taking on a huge project to identify, select, budget, and implement a large ESM system, you can focus on maximizing the investment already made in your ITSM solution. If your current ITSM platform does not support this flexibility, a better use of your energy might be to look for an agile Service Management solution that solves 80% of your needs for 20% of the cost of most ESM platforms.
Mature ITSM organizations are well-positioned to evolve into “x Service Management (xSM),” where ‘x’ marks the spot which, in this case, can be any department in your organization. The team at SunView Software has observed five key trends that indicate when an organization is ready to make the leap from IT and begin paving the road for xSM.
Trend #1–People are Coming Before Technology
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, one of the top key trends that we have seen along the road to xSM is that companies are now valuing people above technology. Rather than focusing on the technologies that employees are using, executives are realizing that devices, networks, and connectivity are not the things that really matter to the success of their businesses. What really matters is what your employees can do with that technology. Companies are realizing that xSM is a business enabler—not something that stands on its own. The concept of xSM cannot be successful unless employees and customers embrace it, and it contributes to business value. If you continue to make employees and customers a top priority in your organization, xSM will become a long-term strategy that can add significant value to your business across many dimensions over many years.
Trend #2–Chat is Becoming an Integral Feature
Adoption of chat tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams continues to accelerate as companies transform their remaining onsite departments into remote workforces during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once a chat tool has entrenched itself into the fabric of your organization, it has significant ramifications on all other internal tools and processes that your employees use. Like water flowing down the side of a mountain, employees working from home will take the path of least resistance when seeking help with something.
An effective xSM solution seamlessly integrates with your chat tools, making it quick and easy for your employees to find the answers they are looking for. As employees continue to work from home (and revolt against returning to “traditional” offices), self-service via xSM will become the norm rather than the exception for every department, where the ‘x’ in xSM will eventually engulf your entire organization.
Trend #3–AI is Playing an Increasingly Important Role
Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a critical role in xSM in 2021 and beyond. AI’s ability to complete tasks without human interaction and reduce cycle times makes it a particularly good fit for xSM. AI is completely changing the way that some organizations save money in overarching areas of Facility Management such as electricity, HVAC, security, and more. AI algorithms analyze historical data and use that information to build neural networks that mimic the way the human brain operates and learn how to perform specific tasks. In this case, the AI’s task would be to improve the efficiency of a building. Google is a great example of a company that has been using AI to monitor its data centers for years, saving money on cooling costs while optimizing the energy efficiency of its buildings. But one of the best things about AI is that it keeps learning and improving.
Trend #4–Hybrid Customer Service is Evolving
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to transform the workplace for quite some time, and those changes will constantly be reflected in the way that xSM is implemented. Customers can enter service requests using a web-based Self-Service Portal (SSP), which allows them to easily check the status of their requests and receive notifications when their jobs have been completed.
While less human contact with fewer interactions (Trend #4—Hybrid Customer Service) seems to directly contradict Trend #1—People Before Technology, they are working in harmony with each other because companies are focusing more on the user experience when designing their SSPs. Remember, xSM is a business enabler that requires people to help make it successful.
Trend #5–Chief Services Officer (CSO) Jobs Are Created
While the title of Chief Services Officer (CSO) is still relatively new, we foresee that position changing in 2021 as more companies mature into xSM. When you consider all the services that your company provides to its employees and customers—Service Management, Purchasing, Human Resources, Facilities, and Finance, just to name a few—it becomes apparent that the role of a CSO requires a very wide skillset.
Many CSOs enter their roles with an ITSM background, simply because xSM systems are all-encompassing. This means that candidates need many years of experience servicing all these areas to truly qualify for this position. Ultimately, an effective xSM system requires the CSO to be responsible for everything in service management.
So, what exactly does a Chief Services Officer do? A CSO acts as the bridge that your company needs to bring disparate departments together. The span of this “bridge” differs from one company to another, but on a high-level, the CSO’s responsibilities as they pertain to “services” are the same regardless of the company or industry:
- Develop processes and tools, both internally and externally, for producing maximum value to all stakeholders with intelligent and efficient use of fluctuating human resources.
- Own the technology rollout for all services across all departments.
- Work with product management to define the parameters for service execution.
- Develop benchmarks, roadmaps, and dashboards to measure each service’s impact on your entire organization, including its internal and external customers.
- Own the xSM platform and connect it to all areas of enterprise resource planning, asset management, and the overall customer experience.
The CSO’s job is by no means a silver bullet for businesses crossing the boundaries of ESM into xSM, but with the right person and the right level of organizational maturity, the CSO could be what sets your business on the right track to complete your digital transformation.