This is the FIRST 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 this article, we talk about What Sparks ITSM into “x Service Management (xSM),” where ‘x’ marks the next department that wants (needs) to utilize your system. Our second article explains 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.
The Evolution from ITSM to xSM
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit personal interactions, more companies are turning their IT departments “inside out” to provide services to their employees—and customers, while reducing their dependence on external resources. Many companies have expanded their IT Service Management (ITSM) systems, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to automate manual processes and increase productivity across key departments. But what happens when one of these “key” departments suddenly decides to “break the mold” by requesting customized access to your services? Is your team equipped to handle their request, without having to make, test, and deploy code changes? If you happen to be running a low-code/no-code platform like ChangeGear Service Manager, you will find yourself in a strong position to allow your workflows to organically evolve beyond ITSM to the next level—something that we call “xSM.”
The ‘x’ in xSM represents every department in your organization that demands more features and functionality than your Service Management (SM) solution is currently configured to deliver. Each department ‘x’ in your organization wants (perhaps, more likely, needs) its own unique solution. Your Marketing department, for example, needs a solution capable of tracking advertising campaigns, dollars spent, and changes made to datasheets. Your Facilities department needs a system that can handle requests for everything from setting up a new data center to relocating printers, granting access to rooms and buildings, controlling air temperatures, and performing hundreds (or thousands) of other tasks. Simply taking your existing ITSM system and duplicating it in each department without customizing fields, labels, forms, and workflows would create a very poor user experience. A more efficient and effective solution is to apply a unique self-service portal to every department ‘x’ within your organization, which results in a specialized portal for everyone.
The Benefits of “x” Service Management (xSM)
The concept of xSM utilizes a service-oriented approach to improve the way an organization operates, internally, by applying a specialized solution to each functional area. Think of each department as a subunit of your company that offers its own unique services to employees throughout your organization. Each department provides solutions to all the other internal departments. This, in turn, assists your entire company with the delivery of improved services to internal and external clients. In short, the idea is to give companies with independent departments a cooperative workflow that boosts productivity, efficiency, and the overall quality of its products and services.
Your implementation of xSM needs to be easy for everyone to use, which implies the ability to make changes without any special coding skills. If the Marketing team wants to change what they track or how they keep track of it, they should be able to do so with very little, if any, help from IT. In fact, every department ‘x’ should be able to manage to their own xSM self-service portal without having any special training and minimal assistance from outside of their own group. That is the power of a platform that offers low-code/no-code configuration. Additional benefits of an xSM system like ChangeGear Service Manager include:
- Reduced Operational Costs—Running multiple departments on an xSM system allows you to streamline workflows and share data across those departments. When a new employee begins the onboarding process, for example, the request begins with Human Resources setting up payroll and health insurance, moves to Facilities to set up a new office or cubicle, goes to Security for a new employee access badge, and finally asks IT for a new computer and network account credentials. While the steps in the process may vary depending on your company and industry, the final goal is the same—reducing operational costs.
- Total Visibility—You know that each department in your company adds value in its own way, but how can you see where the output of one department ends and another one begins? With xSM, you can clearly define the boundaries of your organization and use this information to create a “map” (i.e., graphical workflows) that shows which departments are more heavily involved in which processes. This map also allows you to pinpoint bottlenecks and address areas of inefficiency within your organization.
- Fewer Interdepartmental Silos—Lest your company is set up as a matrix organization that has the support of senior management to operate as one giant team, most departments typically function independently unless they require each other’s services. As a result, interdepartmental silos are created that lead to compartmentalized thought processes. An xSM system breaks through these walls by clearly showing the paths of cooperation, introducing transparency, and fostering innovation.
- Improved Self-Service Efficiency—A Self-Service Portal (SSP) is a website that offers information and resources to help users find answers to their questions and resolve their issues. The purpose of an SSP is to help users address common questions and problems themselves, without having to involve live support agents. A well-implemented xSM system maximizes self-service efficiencies by allowing users with the proper credentials to search for information, submit interdepartmental requests for products and services, and address a multitude of other needs.
- Improved Communication and Collaboration Across Your Company—A low-code/no-code xSM system makes it easy for work to be distributed among individuals or to be worked on collectively. An xSM system allows every department in your company to benefit from ITSM principles and best practices, while also providing an opportunity for your IT team to prove its own value through the wealth of service management skills, knowledge, and experience that you demonstrated during its implementation.
- Better Customer Experience—When employees spend less time searching for answers inside your company, there is potential to improve the experience for customers outside of your organization. Suppose, for example, a light bulb that normally shines high above your hospital’s parking lot burns out. With a low-code/no-code xSM system in place, any hospital employee is empowered to quickly and easily submit a Facilities service request to have the faulty bulb replaced and the progress can be tracked by everyone involved in the process—from the employee who submitted the request to the contracted maintenance worker who changed the bulb to the finance person who paid the invoice. As a result of this collaborative workflow, the light is promptly repaired, and the parking lot is adequately illuminated to help ensure visitors and patients can safely walk to and from their vehicles at night.