3 Non-Negotiable IT Service Management Features

Over the last few years, IT Service Management (ITSM) technology has rapidly evolved to meet the demands of an ever-evolving digital service environment. As a result, many of the features that used to be considered cutting-edge are now standard. To help you identify the vendors and software that can help you take your IT maturity to the next level we’ve pulled together three features that should be non-negotiable for any ITSM platform.

Comprehensive Support for ITIL

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library and refers to a specific framework for ITSM that was developed in the UK in the 1980s. The ITIL framework bases itself on the five phases of the service life cycle:

  • Service Strategy – This is the start of the ITIL life cycle, and it sits at the center because a stable and precise service strategy is necessary for better service management. This stage determines what capabilities will need to be developed or implemented, including the definition of markets, development of assets or the necessary preparations for deployment.
  • Service Design – Ideas become plans in the second ITIL life cycle stage. It is here that services and processes bear out the primary goal of providing a better service management environment.
  • Service Transition – The third stage of the ITIL life cycle is where the preparation of services and strategies that will be implemented in the live environment take place. It is here that organizations test and implement new designs.
  • Service Operation – Following the launch of services and processes to customers and peers, the operation stage of the life cycle begins. Service owners must be prepared and available to report any issues as they arise, and make sure that customers are satisfied with the services and process.
  • Continual Service Improvement – This last stage of the ITIL framework directs organizations to search for potential improvements in all the previous steps. By looking at what is measurable versus what is not, and by processing and sorting the data into quantifiable findings, the cycle starts all over again.

Any organization wanting to mature its ITSM should start by making the move toward ITIL adoption. By using ITIL, you can mitigate ongoing service gaps.

Yancy Philips, IT Team Director for Indiana State University, explained how their old basic ticketing system that was used to manage the delivery of IT service “served its purpose for many years, but as we started to adopt more ITIL best practices and worked to improve our service delivery, we knew we needed something more.”

That’s why ISU made the move to TeamDynamix, “People are thrilled with our service now,” Philips said.

Likewise, in an ever-connected world state and local governments need to provide new services and keep up with changing needs while often balancing tight budgets. Implementing IT service management (ITSM) best practices enables organizations to standardize and optimize the way they respond to the ever-increasing demand while keeping operational costs low and customer satisfaction high.

Dusty Borchardt, Business Systems Manager for Oklahoma City, says that they adopted the ITIL framework more than 15 years ago. He explains that they’d had effective processes in place for a while, but they “haven’t had a decent toolset to manage them” until they utilized TeamDynamix’s ITSM platform. “TeamDynamix has brought simplicity to our operations,” Borchardt says. “This is the first IT service management platform we’ve implemented that everyone loves to use.”

Easy-To-Use, Functional Service Portals

Reputable ITSM vendors should offer an out-of-the-box self-service portal with a knowledge base that can be easily configured and personalized with your branding WITHOUT any coding or scripting. In addition, the portal should be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant and fully accessible. Self-service holds major significance in organizations because it can dramatically reduce the number of tickets that are submitted to IT. And reduced ticket volume can do two things.

First, it decreases the per-incident cost incurred by IT as fewer resources are used on each issue. The cost of a support call, on average, costs an organization $22, while a self-service incident costs $2.

Second, it saves time because help desk employees don’t need to waste time addressing smaller issues that they get a call for. Rather, they can spend their time resolving more complex issues that a self-service portal is unable to fix.

Another benefit of self-service portals is higher satisfaction throughout the organization. Users like the independence and favor a ‘do it yourself’ system over one where they need intervention by someone else.

Lastly, self-service portals lead to an enhanced overall user experience, because less of users’ time is consumed by IT issues. Self-service doesn’t decrease the number of issues that arise for any single person, but it does greatly decrease the amount of their time that is allotted to dealing with those issues. 

“Creating an employee self-service portal was a pivotal step in streamlining IT service for the city,” Nathan Ignatz, system support analyst for the City of Buffalo, NY, said.

Powered by TeamDynamix, the portal allows city employees to find answers to their IT questions online. This provides instant gratification for employees and eliminates the need for further assistance in many cases. 

If employees can’t resolve their own IT issue, they can submit a service request through the portal by choosing from an online service catalog. Their request is then routed automatically to an appropriate IT staff member for a response, based on the nature of the problem or request. 

Aided by the dynamic workflows built into the TeamDynamix platform, a small team of IT staff members create and maintain knowledge base articles for the city, ensuring that this information always remains relevant and up to date. 

“Before the service portal existed, employees would call or email the help desk to ask questions or request service,” Ignatz says. This tied up IT staff time in fielding questions, creating service tickets, and getting them into the hands of the correct team members. Having employees enter service requests directly through the portal ensures a faster resolution to their issue and frees up IT staff to work on other tasks instead. 

“It allows us to provide service quicker,” Ignatz observes. 

"We saw an 18-percent reduction in time logged to service tickets. What would you do if you had an additional day a week?”

A Knowledge Base That Promotes Knowledge-Centered Service®

Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) should be part of your ITSM processes as a complementary strategy to self-service. By employing KCS across your organization, you will be able to crowd-source content to keep your knowledge base accurate and functional. A solid knowledge base is the core of self-service success, and it really brings results.

When the University of South Dakota implemented KCS and built out their knowledge base they saw a huge ROI, “Early on, we saw an 18-percent reduction in time logged to service tickets,” said Paula Cottrell, USD Knowledge Manager. “What would you do if you had an additional day a week?” 

In addition, collecting all information in a single, easily accessible knowledge base has allowed IT staff at the university to avoid a lot of repetitive work and improve their problem-solving capabilities. It’s also reduced the amount of time it takes to train new IT employees, and it has eased the burden on staff by shifting a significant amount of their work to self-service by helping customers find solutions to problems themselves. 

There’s a reason TeamDynamix ranked first for IT Service Management in the 2022 ITSM data quadrant from SoftwareReviews. You can read the full report and see how TeamDynamix stacks up against other ITSM vendors by clicking here.

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™.

This article was originally published in April 2021 and has been updated with new information.

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