Tracking the service desk, from IT to the rest of the enterprise
Since the emergence of the first desktop computers in business environments in the late 1960s, IT’s role in the organisation has been increasing in importance.
As the foundation layer on which most business functions sit, providing a service is what IT is all about – empowering, simplifying and automating. To keep on top of the changing demands of the IT department, many began to develop their own ITSM solutions (IT Service Management). This step was a logical one: the skills required to build an application that helped the department were already in the department or could be acquired reasonably rapidly. ITSM platforms started to appear on the market, many of them emanating from this situation, all with something unique to bring to other companies purchasing the platform.
However, because of the service-oriented nature of the IT department, several other areas of the enterprise have begun to adopt similar technologies, and in some cases, ITSM’s functions have broadened to include HR, buildings management, asset management, and quite a few more areas.
This new, more diverse platform type is known as ESM – enterprise service management – and it’s two providers of ESM that we are considering here at Tech Wire Asia. The progression from ITSM to ESM is, again, perfectly logical. The technological underpinnings of many business functions mean that requests to alter processes, or request changes in, for instance, buildings management, involve changes made in the IT systems. IT equipment, software and networks no longer exist as a separate entity; they permeate the whole enterprise.
So why use ESM, or indeed, why is the whole concept of ITSM so valuable in today’s organisations? The answer is that poor service management practices and legacy ITSM systems create problems that are not compatible with the agile, disruptive and speed that successful businesses need to run today. Poorly executed change management procedures can cause catastrophic events in a software application; by the same token, bad alterations to, for instance, HR processes produce events that are just as costly as ill-conceived changes in code.
Good practice in service management does more than cope with changes; it also means that new products can be brought online quickly following a strategy that’s built on speed and responsiveness. Today’s ITSM platforms should be able to cope with new platforms becoming part of the stack, such as quickly deployed cloud computing, off-site storage practices, and flexible network infrastructure. Project and portfolio management systems are similarly needing the same degree of malleability, so ESM solutions extension across the organisation is perhaps reflecting that agile mindset spreading to all departments.
Of course, digital information has challenges, but these are any more the territory of IT department oversight. If a project planning team can spin up a niche cloud-based service at will, then issues like cyber-security, data governance and compliance with legislation come with it.
Legacy ITSM may not be able to cope with modern compliance requirements, putting the company at risk of fines, PR damage or loss of intellectual property. Furthermore, if companies can’t quickly deal with local legislation, there’s little hope of international expansion, as data security complications will multiply with each new territory. It seems logical, therefore, to expand out any ITSM platform to include other business functions, because although not technology experts, other departments’ staff need the same facilities that have been, traditionally, managed by IT.
The ubiquity of software, hardware, networking and cloud services mean that issues like software license mismanagement and hardware downtime affect every department in ways measurable on performance. A good ITSM platform (or one that’s moving towards an ESM role) will help the company to alleviate the risk of being under-licensed or paying for software licenses that aren’t used anymore. Hardware downtimes can also be avoided by ensuring that procurement of equipment – undertaken outside IT department control – is well-guided and fit-for-purpose.
At Tech Wire Asia, we’re looking at two providers of ESM systems which have their roots in ITSM platforms but have broadened their offerings to reflect the changing shift in the way that technology is deployed today. Perhaps one of the most indicative elements of both providers’ platforms is low-code or no-code extensibility. This means that other departments and divisions can extend and make bespoke their solutions, but also, that if undertaken by IT staff, low-code development methods mean faster production schedules and vastly more throughput in development projects.
ESM (enterprise service management) describes the use of a service management platform to handle requests for both IT and non-IT functions. HR and facilities, basic customer service management (CSM), security incident management, and IT project tracking are commonly included as ESM generally applies to any department or area that is “handling tickets”.
For many service desk organisations, providing IT service management is challenging. Often HR, facilities, and other requests are handled via mailboxes, spreadsheets, or maybe even sticky notes. Adding more structure to processes can improve the service’s visibility and accountability. As requests are submitted via self-service, it simplifies end-user life to present multiple functions in a common portal, improving productivity and associated satisfaction.
As IT teams look for ways to increase productivity, optimise costs, and modernise the service experience, they discover how ITSM technology successfully supports departments outside the boundaries of IT.
Cherwell empowers organisations to improve service experiences and automate workflows using data that stretches across contexts and business units. The result is meaningful and measurable digital service transformation, delivered faster.
To read more about Cherwell, click here.
Ivanti Service Manager has its roots, as does Cherwell’s offering, in ITSM, and it is expanding its remit in the enterprise through acquisitions, a process that reflects its background in LanDesk and Heat Software. It offers IT service desk management as a core, but the platform is easily capable of ITIL-based processes in larger businesses. The solution is particularly suited to integration with third-party software in use in the enterprise, and from the Ivanti stable, companies can deploy software asset management, contract management, IT security oversight and supply chain management capabilities.
Asset and service performance can be measured empirically, with MTBF (mean time between failures) and similar stats available as a larger business process reporting facility that allows tracking of provision against SLAs. ITIL methods like release management, change management, and production roll-outs can be applied right across different departments, and the Ivanti platform provides a canonical source on projects, assets, procedures, and progress.
Ivanti solutions can be bought directly from the US-based company, or through local resellers and partners. The platform can be deployed in-house on companies’ bare-metal provision or deployed as a full SaaS from the company’s data centres direct.
*Some of the companies featured on this editorial are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia
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