14 Benefits of Enterprise Service Management

This is blog two of a four-part enterprise service management blog series. The first blog – The Perfect Storm Driving Enterprise Service Management – can be read here.


While the use of IT service management (ITSM) by corporate IT organizations – to improve efficiency, effectiveness, control, and insight – has gained nigh-on global acceptance, many enterprises have yet to recognize that ITSM thinking, best practice, and technology is equally relevant to other corporate service providers.

If we jump back ten years, what is now known as enterprise service management was often little more than the use of the potentially-costly corporate ITSM tool in other business scenarios to get a better return on investment. These days, however, there are a number of compelling reasons for enterprise service management, with the IT organization assisting other business functions – such as HR, facilities, finance, and legal – to improve efficiency, effectiveness, control, and insight.

Selling enterprise service management to other business functions

Enterprise service management shouldn’t need to be a leap of faith by either the business as a whole or other business functions. Instead, the business benefits of enterprise service management should be articulated and sold.

These include:

1. Improved efficiency and reduced operational costs

Optimized processes, workflow, automation, and alerting can remove unnecessary manual effort and rework. This is added to when self-service and self-help capabilities are used by employees.

2. Self-service efficiencies and workload reductions

Employees can get to the solutions they need more quickly through self-help. Then this and the ability for employees to log issues and requests via self-service means fewer telephone calls to the service desk or the business function equivalent. The automated delivery of solutions and requests further adds to the potential labor savings.

3. A better ROI on the corporate ITSM solution investment

The more the people, and business functions, that use the ITSM solution, the better the ROI and per-user ongoing management costs. Also, depending on the business function systems that can be phased out, there is the potential for additional technology cost savings through business-function application rationalization.

4. Improved effectiveness

Using a fit-for-purpose ITSM solution for enterprise service management can help to ensure that all employee issues and requests are dealt with and, where possible, to agreed service levels. No more losing requests in personal email accounts or delays through the inefficiency of individuals.

5. Improved visibility into operations and performance

The use of ITSM technology lets staff and management understand what has been achieved and what hasn’t. It ultimately gives insight into the value that each business function provides and makes it easier for this to be communicated to customers and other business stakeholders.

6. Increased control and governance

Enterprise service management processes and enabling technology can be used to implement much needed internal controls and to provide insight into who did what when as well as higher-level reporting.

7. Better service and customer experience

Enterprise service management ups the corporate service provider game to better deliver against employee expectations across ease-of-use, self- service, service request catalogs, knowledge availability, and self-help, social or collaborative capabilities, anytime and anyplace access (to services and information), and people or customer- centric support.

8. The opportunity for improvement

Firstly, the increased visibility into operational performance from enterprise service management allows improvement opportunities to be identified. Secondly, the ITIL continual service improvement capability provides the mechanism for improvements to be managed and delivered.

9. Improved access and communication channels, plus more effective communication

Enterprise service management and a suitable ITSM solution bring a choice of access and communication channels including telephone, email, chat, self-service, alerts, and a broadcast channel via the self-service portal. Escalation and alerting capabilities also help to ensure that no ticket or communication goes unactioned.

10. Improved accountability, even across business-function boundaries

Not only does enterprise service management technology make it easier to assign and see responsibility and accountability within business functions it does the same across business functions. For example, some business services, such as the onboarding of new employees, require multiple business functions to work together to ensure that everything is delivered on time.

11. Better understanding of what services are needed and provided

Enterprise service management doesn’t have to be limited to support and change management. The ITIL service lifecycle can also be used to manage business function services from service strategy through to service operation, allowing greater insight into the services provided.

12. Standardization

This is not only business-wide, optimized processes but also a common way of working, a common look and feel, and a common service model for employees. It also offers the potential to provide a single point of service, no matter the service provider, companywide.

13. Improved collaboration within and across business functions

Not only does enterprise service management make it easy for work to be passed between individuals or groups, or to be worked on collectively, it also makes it easier for work to pass between different business functions.

Finally, there is also a benefit specific to the corporate IT organization. Not only is enterprise service management an opportunity for other business functions to benefit from ITSM principles and capabilities, it’s also an opportunity for IT to further demonstrate its business worth through its wealth of service management skills, knowledge, and experience and the provision of the technology to support business-wide service management.

This post originally appeared on the Freshservice ITSM and customer service blog site


Index for my ServiceNow ITSM Blogs

Improving IT Operations 

The Future of IT, ITSM, Service Desk, and ITIL

Thinking Differently And The Need For IT Change

Enterprise Service Management

 Custom Apps


Social Media

My Forrester Blog Index – The End Of A Blog Roll

As I have posted my last blog to my Forrester blogroll I thought I would update my index of last August …

To view the blogs in chronoloical order please go to: http://blogs.forrester.com/blog/28357


Practical ITSM Advice: Defining Availability For An IT Service

People In IT Love Stats But They Probably Won’t Love These

The Capita ITIL JV Wasn’t “Big News,” So What IS Important To Real-World IT Service Delivery?

So Capita Gets ITIL But Will People Finally “Get” ITIL?

ITSM Goodness: How To Up Your IT Service Management Game In 7 Steps

ITSM And The itSMF In Norway – Different In So Many Ways?

IT Service Management In 2013 – How Far Have We Come Since 2009?

Man Alive, It’s COBIT 5: How Are You Governing And Managing Enterprise IT?

The Cult Of ITIL: It Has More Followers Than You Think

ITSM, ITIL, And Enabling Tools In The Middle East

It’s Time To Realize That “ITIL Is Not The Only Fruit”

ITIL Adoption: 5 Steps That Can Help With Success

“We Need To Talk About ITIL”

ITIL Global Adoption Rates, Well At Least A Good Indication Of Where It Is At

ITIL: What Constitutes Success?

Top 20 (OK, 50) ITIL Adoption Mistakes

The Applicability Of ITIL Outside Of IT

What Next For ITIL?

2011: An ITIL Versioning Odyssey

Getting Started With ITIL – The 30-Minute Version

ITSM – Tools and Vendors

ITSM Tools: Is What You Pay Linked To Value?

The Importance Of Customer “Choice” In ITSM Tool Selection – “Hybrid ITSM”?

12 Tips For Moving From An On-Premises To SaaS ITSM Tool (From A Customer)

The Forrester SaaS ITSM Tool Market Overview: Who Is Where With What

Automation: Is It The Only Way For IT To Really “Do More With Less”?

“BMC You Later” — BMC Pushes The ITSM Tool Envelope With MyIT

More ITSM Tool Bells And Whistles, And Where The Real Focus Of Vendor Attention Should Be

50 Shards Of ITIL – The Bane And Pain Of ITSM Tool Selection

SaaS for ITSM: Getting Past The Hype

ITSM Tool Verification: A Good Or Bad Thing?

ServiceNow Finally Goes Public: Which Way Now?

BMC To Acquire Numara Software: A Few Thoughts From Your Favorite ITSM Analyst

Why Is Buying An ITSM Tool Like Buying A Car?

How Do You Value ITSM Tool Verification Or Certification Schemes?

ServiceNow Knowledge11: ITSM And Social Learning For Us All

Newsflash For The ITSM Community: “SaaS” Is A Red Herring

Sharing The ITSM And ITAM Goodness Of CA World: 20+ Presentations To Download

Are You Happy With Your ITSM Tool?

ITSM – People

Squeezing The Value Out Of ITIL, Or Any Other IT, Training

How Gremlins And Vanilla Ice Can Help Us Deliver Better IT Services

How Not To Make Friends And Influence People: A Personal Story Of Customer Experience At Its Worst . . . And What IT Can Learn

Staffing For IT Service Delivery Success: Think Employee, Think Customer, Then Repeat

Prepare Your People For The Future Of IT Service Delivery

A Killer Disease? IT’s Unhealthy Obsession With Itself

ITSM And ITIL Thinking – Brawn, Brains, Or Heart?

The ABC Of ICT – The Top 10 People Success Factors For ITSM

The ABC Of ICT – The Top 10 People Issues

ITSM – Service Catalog Getting A Service Catalog: So Much More Than Buying A Tool!

ITSM – Strategy & Futures (Cloud, BYOD, Mobility, Social, Automation)

IT? How about I&T?

ITSM in 2013 and Beyond: The Webinar Link And Audience Poll Results

The Top 10 IT Service Management Challenges For 2013 — But What Did You Achieve In 2012?

What’s Your ITSM Strategy (If You Actually Have One)?

ITSM In 2012: In The Words Of Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On?”

ITSM AND Automation: Now That’s A Double Whammy Of Business-Enabling Goodness

Defining IT Service Management – Or Is That “Service Management”?

Enabling Customer Mobility: Why Current Mobile Device Management Thinking Is Flawed 

Social IT Support: Didn’t We Do This In The 1990s?

Are You Sleepwalking Through Twitter?

My 2011 Blog Of Blogs: Hopefully The “Important” ITSM, ITIL, People, ITAM, SAM, ITFM, Etc. Stuff

Top 10 ITSM Challenges For 2012: More Emphasis On The “Service” And The “Management”

Have You Considered BI for ITSM?

Social? Cloud? What About Mobile?

ITSM – Service Desk

Is Your IT Service Desk Customer Experience Up To Scratch?

What’s The Real Cost Of Poor IT Support And Shoddy Customer Service?

12 Pieces Of Advice For IT Service Desks – From A Customer!

Paging The IT Organization: You Need To Support The People Not The Technology

IT Support: IT Failure Impacts Business People and Business Performance. Comprendez?

How Not To Deal With IT Service Failure

What’s The Problem With Problem Management?

Benchmarking The IT Service Desk – Where Do You Stand?

Where Is All The Incident Classification Best Practice?

ITSM – Metrics

IT Service Management Benchmarks – For You By You

Is Customer Experience Important To Internal IT Organizations? With Free Statistics!

“We Do A Great Job In IT, Our Metrics Dashboard Is A Sea Of Green.” Really?

Where IT Metrics Go Wrong: 13 Issues To Avoid

Why Is IT Operations Like Pizza Delivery?

ITSM Metrics: Advice And 10 Top Tips


Giving Back To The ITSM Community: We Move, If Slowly, But With Purpose

From The Coal Face: Real World ITSM And ITIL Adoption Sound Bites

ITSM Practitioner Health Check: The ITSM Community Strikes Back

Giving Back To The IT Service Management Community

Support ITSM Tool Vendors That Support The ITSM Community


Software Asset Management in 2013: State Of SAM Survey Results

The Rise, Fall, And Rise Of Software Asset Management: It’s More Than Just A “Good Thing To Do”

Cover Your Assets; Use IT Asset Life-Cycle Management To Control IT Costs

Software Asset Management Part Deux – “Try Harder”


Warning: Your Journey To “Demonstrating IT-Delivered Value” Passes Through The Quaint Little Town Of “Understanding IT Costs”

Five Steps To Improve Your IT Financial Management Maturity

“Run IT As A Business?” Do You Really Know What This Means?

IT Value, Like Beauty, Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

DevOps Will It Be “DevOps” Or “DevOid” For I&O Professionals?

Supplier Management

5 Tips For Getting Ready For Service Integration

A Late New Year’s Resolution: Be Nice To A Supplier And See What Happens

Effective Service Desk and Incident Management Metrics

Under the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) v3 Best Practice Framework, the service desk function and incident management process are closely intertwined within the service operations environment, with the efficient and effective operation of both the function and the process vital to the delivery of highly-available IT services. Consequently, their performance needs to be monitored and tightly managed to ensure that IT can deliver against critical success factors such as ‘Quickly Resolve Incidents’, ‘Maintain IT Service Quality’, and ‘Improve Business and IT Productivity’. Effective metrics are key to this and should be considered an IT organisation’s navigational compass on the proverbial journey to IT Service Management (ITSM).

Whilst nearly every organisation has, or has access to, a service desk for the reporting of incidents and logging of service requests, how many service desks are viewed as responsive and customer-focused (by the corporate users of IT services)? From an IT provider perspective, how do their service desk and incident management process perform against business requirements? Are incidents consistently resolved within SLA targets and with the required level of priority? Only a well-thought-out and flexible set of performance metrics can ensure that the service desk and incident management process are delivering value to the business.

As with many other corporate functions, IT management often espouses management rhetoric such as “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, “if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it”, or “a process is not truly implemented until measured” but, whilst the sentiment is right, implemented metrics often end up being for the sake of having metrics rather than serving a practical purpose such as supporting process assurance and improvement, and informed decision making. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for IT functions to fall under the misconception that tracking metrics and beating targets is enough and for the utilisation of inappropriate metrics to adversely affect process and individual performance causing misalignment with IT, and ultimately business objectives.

So why does it go so wrong? The list of potential metric pitfalls is long but common factors include taking the easy option – basing metrics on easily accessible data (“what can we measure?” rather than “what should we measure?”) or simply using performance metrics that the corporate ITSM tool(s) can readily deliver. Or the reverse, overcomplicating matters such that it costs more to derive metric information than the benefits realised from its utilisation; potentially compounded by not having the right tool(s) to collect, report, and analyse the metric information. It is also easy to focus on quantity over quality, with too many metrics in play – the average service desk tracks more than twenty metrics – possibly a symptom of the ‘what can we measure’ approach.

Metric suitability and effectiveness is further eroded by being parochial (looking at particular subsets of activities rather than the whole) and by being inwardly focused on IT, rather than business, needs; potentially neglecting the fact that an inappropriate mix of metrics can adversely influence employee behaviour. A good, and oft quoted, example of this is the tension between two common service desk metrics – Average Call Handling Time and First Contact Resolution. Scoring highly against one metric can adversely impact the other, and the utilisation of just one of them (without a balancing measure) for performance measurement can be at best worthless, and at worst dangerous.

With just an Average Call Handling Time focus, service desk agents are encouraged to adopt a ‘quantity rather than quality’ approach – taking as many calls as possible with little emphasis on incident resolution – passing the majority of calls onto level 2 support. With just a First Contact Resolution focus, service desk operatives can be reticent to pass a call onto level 2 support and can spend an inappropriate amount of time trying to resolve an incident that is probably beyond their level of knowledge and expertise. In both instances, the metric has inappropriately driven employee behaviour at the expense of the user, Service Level Agreement (SLA) targets, and the continuity of business operations. So, when selecting a metric, an IT function should always consider the negative behaviours it might encourage.

Lack of understanding is another cause of metric misery. This can be a lack of understanding in one or more of the following areas: the need for metrics (at both an organisational and employee level), business needs and expectations, or what measured performance actually means in the context of business impact – potentially resulting in metrics that are not used, are inappropriate to the intended recipients, or are just not understood by the recipients. An IT function should not report metrics that do not contribute to management thinking and decision making.

With the above in mind, whilst there is no silver bullet in terms of a basket of service desk and incident management metrics that fits all IT functions, there are good practices that can be used to focus metric selection and utilisation for business benefit. The first is that metrics should be aligned with business requirements, dovetailing into Service Level Agreement (SLA) targets, with the ability to demonstrate both the value that IT adds to the business, and the business impact of improvements in IT delivery. Metrics should also be reported in context – a good example being that 99.9% availability looks great until the reader sees that the 0.1% nonavailability affected a business-critical process during a period of critical business activity.

Chosen metrics should not be viewed in isolation. IT functions should understand the correlation between metrics such as First Contact Resolution and Customer Satisfaction or First Contact Resolution and Service Desk Operative Utilisation. Metrics should also be viewed across time periods, with metric trends at least as important as static values, given that a persistently exceeded target when trended may show projected failure in the next six months as performance slowly declines. The core performance metrics can also be supplemented by more internal, trend-based ‘Top 10s’ that facilitate problem management activity such as ‘Top 10 used incident classifications’ or ‘Top 10 applications by incident volume’.

Metrics must provide a launch pad for improvement. With the ability to identify both IT and business opportunities such as improving service quality, cost reduction, increased customer satisfaction, people capability enhancement, or technical innovation. The adoption of industry standard metrics allows for the benchmarking of internal performance against industry standards or the service desks of other organisations, e.g. cost per call. Finally, IT organisations should not underestimate the value of softer measures and appreciate that metrics are never a substitute for ongoing service-based conversations with customers.

Traditional service desk metrics include number of calls received (via all channels), number of calls handled by service desk operative, number of service requests and incidents, number of calls handled within and outside SLA targets, number of tickets resolved during first contact, number of tickets escalated (by cause), average caller waiting times, caller abandonment rates, and customer satisfaction. Traditional incident management metrics include number of incidents, number of incidents resolved within SLA targets (for each level of priority), number of incidents escalated (to each level of support), average time to resolve incidents by priority, number of incidents incorrectly recorded, and number of incidents incorrectly assigned to the wrong resolution group.

Unfortunately, the number of incidents received (say) is not a good indicator of service desk and incident management performance. For example, a service desk might be tasked with lowering the volume of incidents received but in doing a better job at resolving incidents, they might actually increase volumes as more users choose to contact them. Conversely, incident volumes might drop the poorer the service they provide, as users either struggle on or seek resolution through alternative channels.

In Butler Group’s opinion, service desk and incident management metrics should focus on how the service desk and level 2 and 3 support add value to the business – through the minimisation of the impact of user (and business) productivity-affecting incidents, at an acceptable and ideally optimal cost. Metrics should also reflect the entire process, not just a subset of activity and, when it comes to the number of service desk and incident management metrics, less is definitely more.

So Butler Group recommends a small basket of weighted metrics that have been agreed with key business stakeholders. As stated earlier, there is no magical out-of-the-box set of metrics that applies to all IT functions. There is, however, a common core that can deliver greater insight, and consequently greater value, to both IT and the parent business. It should be no surprise that these relate to the traditional business goal of achieving the best possible quality at the lowest possible cost.

The first metric is Customer Satisfaction, which is still probably the best indicator of the quality of IT support – both on a transactional and a periodic review basis. The next metrics are key drivers of Customer Satisfaction – First Contact Resolution and Average Speed of Answer – these are also good indicators of IT’s ability to maximise employee and business productivity. In terms of Service Desk efficiency, there are two key metrics – Service Desk Operative Utilisation and Cost Per Call – with the former strongly influencing the latter. The final metric – Service Desk Operative Satisfaction – is easily forgotten or neglected by IT functions. But without it, the persistent drive to deliver higher levels of Customer Satisfaction and Service Desk efficiency may take a heavy toll on Service Desk staff resulting in higher levels of sickness, absenteeism, and ultimately turnover. This can have a knock-on effect that new, less experienced staff will probably adversely affect performance against other key metrics such as Customer Satisfaction, First Contact Resolution, and Cost per Call.

To summarise, in implementing service desk and incident management metrics, an IT function should firstly identify the users of the metrics and their purpose, identify and agree the desired metrics, and set up an appropriate measurement system that allows them to easily monitor performance. The volume and type of metrics used will vary by organisation but a focus on quality, rather than quantity, of metrics is recommended. It is then only through the continual review of such metrics that an IT organisation can demonstrate business alignment and value, and continue to improve its operation – tweaking processes, filling human capability gaps, and improving inter-team communications and co-operation. This ongoing review should also encapsulate the metrics themselves, as there will be occasions where an IT function should not only change its targets, but maybe the metrics themselves.

Republished from http://www.butlergroup.com