Guest Contributor: Isaac Sacolick, President | CIO, StarCIO
It’s time for IT to spread their wings and bring service management, workflow, and integration capabilities to other enterprise business functions, including facilities, legal, HR, and other departments that service employees.
Today, many requests, issues, and questions employees have in doing their jobs require tasks and collaboration across operational and service-oriented departments. Inefficiently designed workflows and services lead to delays and add to employee frustrations.
It shouldn’t take days, if not weeks, for new employees to be completely onboarded and receive the equipment, training, and system access to do their jobs. A marketer should know where their contract sits in the legal team’s queue, and all employees want notifications when HR makes changes to vacation policies.
Most IT departments address workflows for requests, incidents, and changes with IT service management (ITSM) platforms like Jira Service Management (JSM). So, IT should have the technology to help departments become service-oriented, and yet, many businesses and enterprises have a hodgepodge of SaaS, homegrown, and other solutions to support operational services.
Three Approaches to How Departments Support Employee Needs
There are three types of approaches service-oriented organizations use to support employees.
One type of organization allows their departments to select their own SaaS and other technologies for managing services. These organizations have department-specific tools to make requests or report issues to IT, legal, HR, or facilities management. There’s often a dreaded portal telling employees where to go for help and services, and the related documentation is rarely updated. Unfortunately, organizations struggle to integrate these tools and workflows, so it takes many steps and handoffs to complete a multi-function request.
Translation – this approach may work well for the department’s leaders and staff, but having too many tools complicates the employee experience and often hinders service delivery.
The second type of organization has few tools and formalized service workflows in place. Employees must email an HR inbox that multiple people working in human resources use to access, review, and manage questions and requests. Service teams handle task lists and statuses in spreadsheets or other documents, and there are loosely defined rules on how the team prioritizes tasks. What about metrics and KPIs? They are either calculated manually or not done at all.
Translation – Many service organizations can operate this way until there’s growing employee needs and more complex tasks requested. At that point, the lack of transparency, defined process, and operating metrics frustrate leaders and block employees from getting their jobs done.
The Impact of Using an Integrated Service Management Platform
The third type of organization realizes the value of using a service-oriented platform for workflows across departments, including IT, facilities, HR, and legal. These organizations value lightweight, easy-to-use, integrated platforms to bring service management capabilities across the organization.
If you’ve deployed ITSM platforms like Jira Service Management (JSM), then other service departments’ implementations have similar workflows and configurations. Here are several examples of service workflows that IT can implement using JSM:
- Requests for office upgrades, legal document reviews, or onboarding employees
- Incidents such as plumbing leaks, vendor issue requiring legal review, or problems with benefit providers
- Changes to policies, services offered, and documentation available
- Questions or requests for information on the department’s services, policies, and processes
- Service levels so that department leaders can improve employee experiences, address process gaps, or prioritize new services
- Workflow, notifications, and auto-generated information portals so that employees know the status of their requests, incidents, and questions
- Integrations and automations to simplify steps in completing tasks, enable collaboration between departments, and connect information from different systems
While IT teams understand service management terminology, it can be new to the business and operational leaders and staff. In fact, some SaaS tools that specialize offerings for these departments elect to use alternate terminology to help market and sell their platforms. So before rushing off and trying to get these leaders onboard with using JSM, it’s a best practice to introduce service management solutions by following these steps:
- Learn the department’s objectives, pain points, and opportunities
- Present a vision around what a technology solution should address
- Gain an agreement to develop a proof of concept on one or two uses cases using a technology that IT already supports
- Present the POC, which is the best opportunity to include a short presentation on how JSM and service management practices can address the vision, opportunities, and challenges
- Discuss next steps, which might including rolling out a pilot or further developing a complete solution
I suggest POCs focus on priority use cases that can drive a significant impact on the organization. Your goal is to “wow” a sponsor by selecting a request type that’s performed frequently and requires a few steps to complete. Then, show off JSM’s depth and ease-of-use by implementing a complete solution showcasing custom fields, workflow, service levels, reports, and integrations.
Start Enterprise Service Management with Human Resources
When seeking new partnerships, consider reaching out to underserved departments that are ready to partner. In the days before COVID, that might have been facilities management, a department where a partnership around end-user computing, onboarding, and collaboration likely has business benefits.
But today, I would recommend reaching out to human resources to see where there’s an opportunity to co-create timely services and experiences. Consider these COVID and remote working services that are needed by employees:
- Questions for HR on work-life balance questions
- Requests to sign up for learning and development programs
- Issues if a family member has a positive COVID test
- Applications for home office equipment that requires HR approval
- Changes to remote work policies as vaccinations become more widely available
What stands out is how personal these requests, issues, and changes can be to the individual employee. So while some of these needs can be addressed with self-service capabilities, such as portals, search engines, knowledge bases, and virtual assistants, HR should still have tools to service employees that request assistance.
Enabling HR services is also a very timely requirement. As conditions change over the next two years, IT can help HR create and update services rapidly and as required.
The secret ingredient is the alignment on terminology, tools, and the need for departmental collaboration. Leveraging JSM and extending service management practices is a foundation IT can use to help departments respond to employee needs.
Isaac Sacolick, President of StarCIO, guides companies through smarter, faster, innovative, and safer digital transformation programs that deliver business results. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation through Technology, industry speaker, and blogger at Social, Agile, and Transformation. StarCIO offers three agile planning courses for stakeholders, teammates, and certified StarCIO Agile Planners.