By Tom Palmieri, Director of Operational Intelligence and Service Management
Service requests can flood and easily overwhelm an IT department. If IT didn't have to deal with those types of deluges, imagine how innovative it could be.
IT service management is a comprehensive solution that is much more than simply support. ITSM can certainly help handle standard requests — such as password resets — by automating the service, thereby providing an extraordinary level of responsiveness to any business. It can also do so much more to automate the interaction between IT resources and internal and external customers.
Many of our clients use small solutions that are less holistic and comprehensive; they're basically ticketing systems. We look to replace those. Some organizations also lack tools for project management, communication and coordination, let alone a methodology. For many years, operating IT teams in the best proven way with the best outcomes has been relegated to large companies. Such businesses might have tens of thousands of employees, and providing workers with the ability to communicate and work together is a hefty, yet necessary, investment.
It used to be that only big companies needed such large-scale solutions, and they were generally the only ones that could most easily afford them. Small to midsize businesses believed those systems were not really built for their needs, and besides, they probably couldn't afford them. In reality, SMBs were flying by the seats of their pants.
However, as ITSM solutions matured and became more well rounded, they also became increasingly tailored for the SMB market. While they may not be as full featured as those used by enterprises, they are robust enough to get the job done well.
ITSM comprises activities such as planning and managing changes, fixing things when they go wrong and managing the IT department annual budget. Large as well as small companies face those same challenges. We talk to companies that are midsize and that need and understand the importance and complexity of project management, financial planning, and coordination of roles without things falling through the cracks. They need ITSM solutions — and today's solutions that fit their needs.
The maturity of these solutions has lead to increased SMB use, but the cloud has really helped to speed up adoption as well. As companies work with smaller budgets, they have, in the past, cut qualified staff, or what I consider the organization's "muscle." But cutting too much muscle obviously hurts companies. They're now realizing that making hardware and software cuts, rather than laying off staff, can result in greater efficiency. It can also give them the opportunity to introduce solutions with the flexibility to accommodate an increasingly complex IT environment. Cloud-based ITSM tools lower costs, improve flexibility and easily accommodate ITSM framework principles.
Our major partner in ITSM is ServiceNow, a San Diego-based service management company that we selected exactly because of their ability to provide cloud-based services for automating IT operations -- even for SMB companies. ServiceNow applications automate, predict, digitize and optimize business processes and tasks. Those capabilities help to create a better experience for your employees, users and customers while transforming your business.
Of course, in the end, the most important metric is how your IT environment is faring. Customers tend to remember the 2 percent of times they did not have service, rather than the 98 percent in which they did. Understanding the true impact of your customer's outage is paramount. Remember, just because your end of the canoe is not sinking does not mean everything's OK. One system being down for one day could be inconvenient, or it could be devastating for a company. A solid ITSM solution not only offers reduced IT costs and a better quality of service, but also improved customer satisfaction.
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