Business leaders are constantly on the lookout for anything that can give their company an edge over the competition. Many of them need to consider how effectively their company leverages its technology because often, these companies’ IT utilization is not actually as good as they think.
They may be stuck thinking they have to apply a cost-containment strategy to their technology. In other words, they’re not treating IT as a business asset and potential competitive advantage.
Business leaders at these types of companies should consider an IT service management framework. So what is it exactly, and why should businesses of all sizes consider adopting this management practice? We have answers.
A digital transformation is when a company integrates digital technologies into all areas of its organization. The goal is to change the basic infrastructure on which the company runs and change old habits and corporate culture. In addition, the goal of a digital transformation is also to encourage many of the principles commonly found at digital-native companies, such as encouraging experimentation and a greater tolerance for failure. The desired outcome of a digital transformation is to make the company more agile, opening access to new business models, and especially to new customers and revenue streams.
Adopting an ITSM framework for IT and business management can be a critical component of a successful digital transformation. The ITSM software you adopt can be the foundation on which the rest of the transformation can occur.
For example, those new customers and revenue streams will depend on the use of technology. IT service management practices help ensure every piece of technology the company needs to use is working in alignment to achieve those outcomes.
What is IT Service Management?
IT service management (ITSM) is a business model that organizes information technology and other business activities into services to improve how you provide those packaged services to customers. Technology is managed end-to-end under ITSM. That means everything from the design to development, delivery, and support of those services is tracked, controlled, and organized.
That description may sound abstract, and it is, on purpose. However, at its core, an IT service management framework is just a set of best practices that cover how your company should think about and interact with its technology.
End-to-end tracking is one necessary practice you’ll find in any ITSM framework, though. Tracking helps generate valuable data for business analytics. The analyses you generate feeds back into your next ITSM design phase so that you’re constantly improving.
Good ITSM practices should always be self-sustaining and self-improving like that. They should automate and streamline what historically have been clunky and inefficient hand-offs between business units inside and outside IT.
How ITSM, ITIL, and Digital Transformation Fit Together
IT service management is often discussed alongside ITIL frameworks and digital transformations. These concepts are all related but are not the same thing.
ITIL and ITSM are related but separate concepts. ITSM is a means for structuring IT into services, independent of any particular process or best practices.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of best practices that define roles and responsibilities and how an organization can efficiently deliver IT services. In addition, various agencies provide certifications and publications to support businesses that wish to adopt the ITIL model.
ITIL is often mistaken as a set of requirements or rules for providing IT service. It is not. ITIL only presents a series of best practices that you must adapt to fit the particular workflows and ITSM technologies that you wish to use in your organization.
4 Ways IT Service Management Can Power Your Digital Transformation
1. By reducing your operating costs
One of the main drivers for many businesses to adopt an ITSM framework is to cut costs. IT service management principles are inherently about standardizing as many tasks as possible. Forbes conducted a recent survey on ITSM practices and found that 28 percent of companies using a service management model had already seen operating costs drop, even among recent adopters. That figure jumped to 49 percent among mid-stage adopters.
2. Improving your customer service
It’s right in the name. Another inherent quality of IT service management is service. In an ITSM model, all your IT and business resources are aligned to provide better service to internal and external customers.
The endpoint of applying an ITSM model is to automate as many different service requests as possible. Ideally, customers will be able to help themselves during as many standardized service requests as possible. For example, when they need a simple password reset, provisioning a new laptop, or receiving an update on a larger ongoing project.
Automated service is a win-win for both customers and the service team. Customers get an immediate response to their needs, and IT can reallocate staff to more productive work. The business also wins through efficiency gains and in the performance data collected during the automated transaction. That data feeds their analytics and can allow for further optimization down the road.
3. Simplifying your workflows
A service management model requires you to consolidate and organize your IT-related activities, processes, governance structure, and technology into a unified program. Building that program takes work upfront, but the result will be a streamlined and simplified set of business operations.
You’ll have eliminated redundant processes, identified staffing that can be reduced or redirected, and gained better insight into how your IT systems interoperate. As a result, you’ll have simplified every part of your organization that is touched by IT. Which, as we know, means everything.
4. Improving your strategic decision-making
Adopting an IT service management model also allows you to make better-informed decisions. You will be able to integrate ITSM software that can provide insights from one end of your organization to the other because every process and technology is connected. In addition, you’ll be able to use the reporting and analytics features to inform your strategic decision-making.
For example, you’ll have the performance metrics you need to determine whether a particular service needs additional hires to support it. Or you’ll know whether a specific cloud server implementation is underperforming.