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What’s IT got to do with enterprise services? Well, just about everything. IT Service Management is now a mature discipline. It has been around for almost 50 years! Moreover, the best demonstrated practices of ITSM are directly applicable to any other enterprise function that provides a service. This goes for services to employees (e.g. HR, payroll, accounting); services to customers (e.g., orders and returns); and services to vendors (e.g., accounts payable and supply chain management).

If you have spent any time in an HR call center, or a facilities department, you have probably concluded that their customer service processes and procedures are ad-hoc at best. But you have also undoubtedly seen the parallels between the services they provide for their enterprise customers and the technical support provided by the IT service desk to their customers. In fact, I will submit that the only difference between the customer service provided by HR and the customer service provided by IT is the obvious one: non-technical support vs. technical support. Aside from that relatively minor detail, and it really is a minor detail, virtually everything that goes on in an IT service desk can be adopted, and adapted, by other enterprise services.

Let’s take the human resources use case. HR departments handle all sorts of inquiries on a daily basis. They handle calls about payroll, new employee onboarding, vacation, retirement, benefits, health insurance, and a host of other issues. Many HR call centers are multi-channel, handling customer inquiries by voice, chat, and email, just as most IT service desks do. Moreover, much like calls to a service desk that can be categorized as incidents or service requests, the same holds true for HR calls. An inquiry about a timekeeping error, for example, might be handled as an incident, while new employee onboarding is more complex and is likely to be handled as a service request.

Just think for a moment about what IT service and support has to offer non-IT enterprise services. A short list is likely to include:

  • Standard operating procedures such as incident, problem, and service request management
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Metrics, reporting templates, and performance targets
  • Scorecards and dashboards
  • Expertise in multi-channel support
  • Self-help, self-service customer portals, and AI
  • Service catalogs
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training practices
  • Workforce scheduling expertise
  • Technologies such as ticketing tools, knowledgebases, and remote control
  • Call and ticket quality monitoring

Why would any non-IT service want to reinvent the wheel, when they can leverage decades of institutional knowledge embodied in IT service and support? The very essence of enterprise services involves adopting the (more) mature practices of IT service management. This bypasses an otherwise evolutionary process. What took IT service and support decades to achieve can be accomplished in a matter of months by non-IT services that are willing to adopt and adapt the proven best practices of IT service management.

ESM Is Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new, or modify existing business processes, culture, and customer interactions to meet changing business and market requirements. It began in the 1960’s with the introduction of mainframe computers and has accelerated in the 2000’s as computing tools and technologies have become ubiquitous and low cost.

Digital transformation is all around us. When you purchase a product from Amazon, catch a ride from Uber, or interact with friends and family on Facebook, you are benefiting from digital transformation. As a business owner, I benefit from digital transformation because I can reach a global market through our website.

In fact, there is very little we do today that hasn’t been improved or disrupted in some way by digital transformation. The promise of enterprise service management would not be possible without digital transformation. Indeed, enterprise service management is enabled and empowered by digital transformation!

In my last corporate job before starting MetricNet I can remember how time consuming it was when the hard drive on my laptop failed. Although I had been diligent about backing up my computer, it was still a two-day ordeal to replace the hard drive, reimage the computer, and then restore all my files to the hard drive. It was a cumbersome, multi-step process that I personally had to oversee and manage. It was inefficient to say the least!

By contrast, many of my clients now have vending machines that are stocked with pre-imaged laptop computers. When a laptop fails the user simply brings it to the vending machine, swipes their ID badge, and swaps their broken laptop for a new one. Since the laptops are pre-imaged, and every user’s data is stored in the cloud, the process of restoring a failed computer has been reduced to a non-issue. The user might lose 15 minutes of productivity.

While much of digital transformation has been consumer led, the digital transformation that has been going on inside the world’s major corporations has been less obvious. Part of this is because corporations are by nature secretive; why share your proprietary knowledge and expertise with the world if it gives you a competitive edge? Enterprise services is no exception, as it has led to demonstrable improvements in the financial performance of organizations that have fully deployed ESM. This series takes a deep dive into the business discipline of enterprise service management. It shines a light on the best demonstrated practices of ESM, so that you can avoid some of the more common pitfalls of the ESM transformation, while accelerating your path to ESM maturity.

Stay tuned for the next part in this series where I will discuss ESM Strategy.

Jeffrey Rumburg

Jeff Rumburg is a co-founder and Managing Partner of MetricNet, where he is responsible for global strategy, product development, and financial operations for the company. As a leading expert in benchmarking and re-engineering, Mr. Rumburg authored a best selling book on benchmarking, and has been retained as a benchmarking expert by such well known companies as American Express, Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, IBM, and Sony. Mr. Rumburg was honored in 2014 by receiving the Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the IT Service and Support industry. Prior to co-founding MetricNet, Mr. Rumburg was president and founder of The Verity Group, an international management consulting firm specializing in IT benchmarking. While at Verity, Mr. Rumburg launched a number of syndicated benchmarking services that provided low cost benchmarks to more than 1,000 corporations worldwide. Mr. Rumburg has also held a number of executive positions at META Group, and Gartner. As a vice president at Gartner, Mr. Rumburg led a project team that reengineered Gartner’s global benchmarking product suite. And as vice president at META Group, Mr. Rumburg’s career was focused on business and product development for IT benchmarking. Mr. Rumburg’s education includes an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, an M.S. magna cum laude in Operations Research from Stanford University, and a B.S. magna cum laude in Mechanical Engineering. He is author of A Hands-On Guide to Competitive Benchmarking: The Path to Continuous Quality and Productivity Improvement, and has taught graduate-level engineering and business courses.

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