Best Practices to Improve Service Management in Mid-Market, Public Sector, Healthcare & Education

Organizations across almost all industries tend to experience challenges stemming from bandwidth issues, the ever-increasing number of service requests, the increasing use and demand for technology and the ongoing usage of disparate systems across departments. These issues tend to cause resource constraints, gaps in service and overall end-user grief.

Take something that is seemingly simple: onboarding a new employee. This overall function typically involves IT, human resources, security and facilities. Usually, this means multiple requests into different platforms, perhaps a series of emails and maybe even phone calls. Under normal circumstances, the process is can be very manual and can take days or even weeks to complete. And while an enterprise service management (ESM) platform can help mitigate the back and forth – an ESM platform with enterprise-level automation and integration is better.

Across so many industries, from financial services and utilities to the public sector, education and healthcare, the prevalence of disparate systems and workflows tend to cause unnecessary gaps in service, time lags and poor use of resources. This is why IT leaders are moving toward a single platform approach.

One Portal. One Platform. One Enterprise Solution.

Imagine that instead of entering requests into multiple systems, there is a single portal that will take the initial onboarding request. Once the request has been submitted, it will parse out the tasks and assign the appropriate task to the various departments, such as requesting equipment from IT, clearance from security, badge processing from facilities and benefits onboarding from human resources.

IT teams also benefit and can manage the rollout of new software and servers, automatically route tickets and enable employees to submit requests via self-service tools. The possibilities are endless and will become even more sophisticated as states and municipalities develop smart city projects, integrate with the Internet of Things (IoT) and implement innovative mobile services.

For organizations looking to improve service and project delivery while battling limited resources and tight budgets, a one-platform approach to managing services and projects could be the answer. Here’s why – by using a single platform for IT service management (ITSM)/ESM and project management (PPM) you can better understand your resource capacity and plan accordingly.

Resource capacity planning allows you to get a big-picture view of your entire IT organization, allowing you to balance workloads across projects and support; and to see the different types of work that need to be done at any given time.

For example, if you have three IT technicians that need to cover three functional areas of business – like service, projects and operations – you can engage in resource capacity planning and optimize each technician’s workload based on their skill set and their availability. As a result, the work can be completed more effectively and efficiently as each technician is focused on work that plays to their strengths. And because you have a full view of the work and the time it will take, you can avoid overcommitting or underutilizing your resources.

The benefits of a one-platform solution for ITSM and PPM are enhanced even more when you can include an integration component. By combining iPaaS (integration platform as a service) you’re your ITSM/PPM platform you can automate both complex and simple tasks, as well as connect disparate systems throughout your organization.

Employees no longer need to spend time on the repetitive, mundane tasks they normally have to complete before working on bigger projects – things like system name changes, resetting passwords, or granting certain permissions to software. All of these, and more, can be automated with workflows using iPaaS.

If you chose a codeless platform for this, you get the added benefit of anyone being able to use these tools – not just IT. By allowing lines of business to create their own workflows you can free up your IT resources to work on larger projects and eliminate the logjam when it comes to integrations within your organization.

Here are a few other ways iPaaS can supercharge service delivery and reduce the IT drain on an organization:

  • Facilitate enterprise integration by using a single hub with pre-built connectors to systems that you use every day as well as a connector concierge for the creation of specific connectors. (Imagine being able to automatically change a username, add someone to a distribution group, or onboard an employee)
  • Expedite creation of automation and workflows with a visual flow builder (codeless) that is easy to use, own and operate; allowing you to reduce IT’s backlog of integration and workflow requests.
  • Optimize resources across IT to allow for improved output and a higher level of service delivery to your internal and external customers by removing redundant data entry and manual processing.
  • Reduce API risk with a single connectivity platform that will offer increased oversight and control.

5 Best Practices for Improved Service Management

  1. Establish a Comprehensive, User-Friendly Knowledge Base: A well-built knowledge base promotes self-service and allows people to easily access the information they need. Think about how you will present, index and categorize information so users can easily find and use it. Crowdsource knowledge (judiciously) from multiple departments to make the knowledge base as comprehensive as possible.
  2. Create a Centralized Portal for Universal Access: If you build out a single centralized portal that crosses over all areas such as IT, Facilities, HR and more, then end-users can use it as a centralized access point. Once in the hub, the knowledge base will be available to answer any self-service inquiries while there will be quick access to ‘service requests’ – these could be basic IT requests such as “WiFi is not working” or it could be to initiate a process such as onboarding a new employee or to make an inquiry such as ‘requesting parent/teacher meeting’ or ‘schedule appointment.’
  3. Consolidate Service and Project Management: This allows organizations to obtain a unified, accurate view of what tasks need to be done and what projects are assigned to who. It also helps optimize resources, allocate workers’ time appropriately and improve project performance.
  4. Choose the Right Tool for the Job: Users can become frustrated when they are asked to follow methodologies that are unwieldy or unnecessary for a given task or project. To encourage broad adoption of a project management methodology, consider the scale and complexity of each project, and then choose the model that best serves the project.
  5. Make Project Management a Discipline: Create a Project Management Office (PMO), appoint a certified project management professional to lead it, and establish policies and procedures to help standardize and enforce best practices. In a survey of U.S. government IT leaders, respondents reported that their PMO had contributed to a 23 percent drop in the number of failed projects, a 35 percent increase in the number of projects that were delivered under budget and a 20 percent improvement in productivity.

Want more ITSM best practices? Check out – ITSM Best Practices: Automating IT Service Management.

This article was originally posted in October 2019 and has been updated with new information.

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