By Sumit De, TOPdesk
As market challenges seem increasingly difficult to overcome, the need for better, more robust IT services continues to tick up. For service providers and internal IT departments, improving IT services is a crucial step to keeping up with market challenges.
There are many things you can do to improve business IT services, too, but there are steps to take now to immediately gain competitive advantages for your business.
While the focus of IT service improvement may be IT infrastructure and solutions, the first step you want to take is improving team members within the organization and preparing them for any challenges ahead. This infrastructure is established only when every part of the organization is involved in building and maintaining that infrastructure.
IT training should be provided not only to those in the IT department but to teams throughout the organization. This can include essential solutions training to advanced IT and information security courses. Ultimately, this will help to increase the business's readiness in implementing advanced solutions and when relying more on information technology.
Training should be given to strategic decision makers, too, particularly those who affect how decisions related to IT services are made. Creating an environment where there is a proper understanding of IT services can help keep the policies of your business's information technology in line with future goals and long-term objectives. Your team is the foundation of the rapid growth of your IT infrastructure.
Unified IT Service Platforms
Delivering IT services is easy when your business is relatively small and straightforward. Add complexity to the mix – additional team members, for example – and significant hurdles can come into place. Complex IT infrastructure can support the business but should reduce the complexity of operations. Unfortunately, many organizations make managing IT services more complicated than they need to be.
Self-Service Service Management
Solutions like IT service management (ITSM) provide an additional, vital benefit – creating IT service organizations that are more independent and better able to serve those in the organization.
For example, instead of relying on a handful of support officers, you can easily create a self-service IT portal for the entire team and external stakeholders, which can contain an extensive knowledge base and other resources that automate IT support. Self-service portals can help the organization serve its own needs and eliminate the need to use other's resources to do so.
Making IT services more independent while centralizing your support is how to increase customer satisfaction. Utilizing the business’s IT services to identify internal and external stakeholders, whose satisfaction level needs to be maintained, can drive focus on excellence and make IT services, as a whole, a priority. This is a priority because of the value delivered.
Another benefit of a self-service portal is efficiency. Many services for users can be passed over to the users themselves which increases the business's IT capability in general.
Better Monitoring Required
Monitoring and evaluation of IT services are required. Monitor Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the effectiveness of all IT services. Look into user satisfaction with the services offered. KPIs are clear indicators of continuous improvement. For these to be useful, set targets, and measure performance to assess improvements throughout IT services.
KPIs are great as goals, of course, but the primary focus should be on overall organizational improvement. Some goals will be missed, but as long as you are improving, missing targets can be a source of valuable lessons.
When monitoring your performance, you'll begin to see goals and repetitive tasks and service requests (through the ITSM platform), and you can begin to take steps toward shortening lead times and ensuring requests are fulfilled. These patterns help you improve IT services based on usage patterns.
Constant monitoring brings plenty of insights that can be used to improve processes further and the way you develop IT services. Automating these repetitive tasks, such as reporting incidents and updating IT services, are ripe for the taking in this scenario. Thus, refining processes first then automating is a key step as you don’t want to automate inefficient processes because doing so only creates clutter.
Automation also allows employees the ability to increase their productivity. For example, through automation efforts, you can deliver more services to more users without expanding the IT service team. Automation also minimizes errors and mistakes commonly caused by employees.
Automating IT also brings about scalability. IT infrastructure can grow or contrast with the business without complicating operations. As the challenges you face increases, you’ve got to identify better, more robust IT solutions and automate service operations whenever possible.
For service providers and internal IT departments, improving IT services is a crucial step to keeping up with market challenges. Still, there are many things you can do – as outlined above -- to improve business IT services to immediately gaining competitive advantages for your business.
About The Author
Sumit De is head of U.K. consultancy at TOPdesk.