It is time to break away from the status quo when developing ITSM processes.
Most organizations view the various processes associated with IT service management (ITSM) as internal IT related processes meant to help the IT department be more structured and efficient. They implement processes without considering how they impact the customer and the company. The adoption of best practices isn’t linked to an overall strategic plan and the value of the processes being implemented is never fully recognized. In many cases, the processes may help IT but they become detrimental to the broader organization and they negatively impact customer satisfaction.
When developing processes, it is fairly standard to identify the process purpose and description, inputs, activities, outputs, roles and responsibilities, and policies without really considering the true opportunity that exists and how all of the associated work can benefit the customer and the larger organization.
A significant opportunity exists when you step back and take the time to look at the problem that needs to be solved rather than following the standard practice of developing and implementing ITSM processes. Consider how the processes may change if you first approach the problem in the context of the overall business. This creates an opportunity to find innovative solutions that contribute to the business achieving their objectives which will ultimately improve customer satisfaction with the IT organization.
Rather than merely focusing on processes from the perspective of IT, reevaluate the problem you are trying to solve in the context of your corporate objectives and your customer objectives. Defining a problem statement is a good place to start and it will change how you go about determining the solution and ultimately, defining ITSM processes.
Let’s look at an example for incident management. What is the problem you are trying to solve? Many organizations will say the problem is reducing downtime for the customer. Is the problem we are trying to solve reducing downtime? This is an objective. It isn’t the problem. Why do you want to reduce downtime? The problem could be that technology challenges and outages cause a lack of productivity or loss of revenue. When looking at the problem, look at the bigger picture in terms of the broader organization and the customer.
If the problem statement is too narrow or if there are assumptions made about the problem, the resulting solution will be fairly stagnant. The opportunity to find a new or innovative solution is significantly diminished. If the problem statement is incorrect, the solution will not have the anticipated impact.
The conversation and solution associated with reducing downtime versus technology challenges and outages causing a lack of productivity or a loss of revenue will vary greatly. Framing the problem statement from the corporate and customer viewpoint will open up the opportunity to find a very different, innovative solution. As a result, often there are changes to the activities associated with a process, new roles and responsibilities identified, additional processes implemented, and existing process deficiencies illuminated.
Many IT organizations struggle with the concept of framing the problem based on the company and the customer. They worry that the solution will not be based in the reality they face relating to resource constraints, technology, or funding. Every department faces similar challenges. If boundaries are noted when defining a problem, the opportunity to be innovative is immediately eliminated. A bit of realism can easily be applied as your processes are being developed but it should not be used as a limitation when defining the problem statement.
Beginning your process development work by defining a problem statement for each process will result in an overall stronger process set that supports business objectives and improves customer satisfaction.
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