by Niamh Lynch
Published on 3 October 2014
When I sat down to write this article, I was going to call it "Your First Steps in Enterprise Service Management." Then it occurred to me that if people didn't know what Enterprise Service Management actually was, they were hardly going to commit to taking steps in it! So instead, I give you: Enterprise Service Management, what it is, and how it can improve your business.
You've probably heard of ITSM - or IT Service Management. If you have an IT department, it's probably how they work, using an information management protocol on which they base decisions, leveraging the power of a comprehensive tool that supports the framework, like Kayako or Freshdesk. What's more, I'd wager that by working within the ITSM framework, and automating and managing with a solid tool, your IT department is a finely-tuned machine.
So far, so good. Now, what if I told you that ITSM can be applied to other parts of your organization , like the facilities management module, human resources, the legal department or even the finance guys? When an organization takes ITSM beyond the IT function, and uses the same theories and tools in other parts of the business, you've got yourself a foray into Enterprise Service Management. See, not such a complicated concept, right?
The complicated part is actually applying it to your business! Here are a few steps to get you started.
Good places to start include:
The general idea is to imagine what business departments have needs that can be managed, more or less, in terms of requests. So, for example, this could be in facilities management, where a user could request a faulty air conditioning vent be fixed, or a new desk be added for a new employee. In human resources, someone might need a job offer to be created, or a new employee to receive a welcome pack. In legal departments, contracts may need to be drawn up, or notices replied to, while in finance departments, invoices need to be sent and expenses approved. The use of ITSM in customer service departments is already well-established, and provides handy proof that it's a concept worth looking into.
The precise method of introducing Enterprise Service Management throughout a company varies but some basics remain predictable. It all centers around the idea of "issues" (or requests), "tickets" (alerting the relevant people to the issue) and ticket management - escorting the issue to the very end of its life cycle. Added to this is often some description of service catalog, where users can see all of the types of issue they might expect to encounter in their line of work, easily enabling them to alert agents to the problem. Finally, there is often some kind of self-help aspect, where solutions and advice on determined problems can be sought out by the user without going via an agent.
To see this in action, let's take a look at some of the types of tools that might be employed for the job.
As the name suggests, Samanage is a service desk app. It contains a help desk module, but also takes care of more "executive functions." Don't let the IT part put you off, though - it's a flexible tool that can definitely cope with the change!
Kayako's a classic with lots of features that is perfect for your employees. The live chat function integrates with Jabber, and it has an API that you can integrate into your existing backend. It also has a great knowledge base function, giving your service agents even more freedom.
Jira is considered by many to be the granddaddy of ticket support software. It's got a reputation for being a very technical tool, and it's definitely aimed at IT support, but it's user-friendly and can be rolled out to employees all over the company, no matter their skill set.
Salesforce is a huge tool that is specifically recommended for large, heavy-hitting corporations. It's got built-in billing and sales options, so it's already no stranger to making the leap out of the IT department and into the rest of the company.
This app covers all the basics but is perfect for smaller teams, with mobile access and quick integration. Users also point out that it's great value for money, which is always a good thing if it's being used all over the company!
These apps - and this article - are just a taster of enterprise service management, but I hope it has opened your eyes to some new possibilities, or even alerted you to a new use of a help desk software you've already got implemented. If you have any questions or doubts, be sure to ask in the comments!
Image courtesy of Pedro Szekely: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrosz/5173748531/