Collaboration has to be more than a bolt-on

In my last post, I discussed why collaborative ITSM is such a strong response to current user needs and expectations. This time I want to talk about what’s involved in implementing it. As before, I’ll be drawing on a recent report, Building the Connected IT Service Organization by Jim Rapoza of Aberdeen Group.

At Hornbill, we’ve been arguing for some time that you can’t introduce collaborative ITSM just by adding a couple of collaborative tools such as live chat to your existing ITSM platform – a credible collaborative ITSM solution has to be built on a platform that has collaboration at its core.   Aberdeen has conducted research that bears that out, and in addition demonstrates that collaboration has to become part of the fabric of your business.

Aberdeen’s approach was quite interesting. First, they identified best-in-class ITSM organizations using criteria that most of us would agree with: on-time, on-budget completion of IT projects, number of downtime events, and average response time for an IT service request.

They then looked to see how the top 20% of companies (selected using these criteria) implemented  collaborative IT support (or “social” ITSM as Aberdeen calls it). They found that these organizations “were more likely to integrate social into key service processes, such as workflow and project management… self-service support options, and for training purposes” – with some quite startling differences in some cases. I recommend you download the report and look at the statistics on p4.

To me, integrating collaborative elements into key processes means two things.

•    First, it means choosing an ITSM platform that has collaboration at its core, not as a ‘bolt-on’.  . It should provide the ability to quickly capture, share and leverage information, expertise and knowledge. It needs to facilitate a collaborative approach amongst all service delivery and support teams that utilizes crowd-sourcing to capture tribal knowledge from within both IT and the user community.  It  should allow individuals to ‘follow’ any number of social objects, such as incidents, documents or individuals, to ensure information comes to staff in the form of social-style news feeds. IT processes should be enhanced with in-context collaboration and powerful business process automation and orchestration to enable collective action.

•    Second, it means adapting your working processes to be more collaborative both within the IT team and with your end users. For example, the support desk team should be encouraged to get involved in the user community’s conversations – for example to identify common issues, endorse proposed solutions, and move useful content to knowledge repositories so that it is available to others.

Next time, I’ll be looking at the relationship between adoption of collaborative ITSM and adoption of best practice generally.

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