Collaborative ITSM – is it really worth the effort?

In this blog series I’ve been looking at some findings from a recent report, Building the Connected IT Service Organization by Jim Rapoza of Aberdeen Group. I’ve reviewed some of the arguments in favor of collaborative ITSM and suggested some things to bear in mind when implementing it.

No doubt some of you are wondering whether it’s worth all the effort. According to Aberdeen, the answer is a resounding – and fact-based – yes.

Aberdeen compared organizations that have adopted collaborative ITSM with others and found that the collaborative organizations scored higher in a number of important dimensions:

• Faster solutions for incidents
• Faster delivery of services
• Increased end-user satisfaction
• Fewer support calls and tickets
• Lower IT service costs

These results may look a bit startling but they are backed up by Hornbill’s own experiences with customers who have implemented collaborative approaches. As reported in our smart guide Harnessing the Power of Peer-to-Peer
Support, we have found that a collaborative approach can:
• Increase efficiency and reduce costs: When users help themselves and colleagues, many issues are resolved without even reaching the service desk. When the support team needs to assist, the ability to quickly identify expertise and leverage existing knowledge that often sits in people’s heads leads to faster resolutions.
• Relieve pressure on the service desk and free ITSM resources to devote to growing the business: Peer-to-peer support enables end-users to work together to solve problems and generate reusable information through collaboration with IT. This way, the service delivery team can focus on more value-adding projects.
• Improve the customer experience: The organization gains the ability to capture tribal/federated knowledge, augment it, and share it, which facilitates faster resolutions. Near-instant peer-to-peer solutions can be found in customers’ own language.
• Bring ITSM closer to the user community: Service desk teams participate in conversations, identify common issues, endorse solutions, and move useful content to knowledge repositories made available for others.

What’s more, Aberdeen found an interesting correlation between collaboration and best practice.

According to the report, “Organizations that have built connected and socially enabled IT service management systems are nearly twice as likely to implement and follow key ITSM principles (such as ITIL).” They are also more likely to track support quality, provide self-service, and integrate ITSM systems with key business applications and processes, the report says.

There is room for debate about the relationship between collaborative ITSM and these other practices. Aberdeen thinks there may be a causal relationship – for example, collaboration enables “instant feedback from users and increased transparency”, making it easier to track quality.

However, I would argue that the main reason the correlation exists could be just that collaboration is an aspect of best practice in ITSM, and is likely to be found where other best practices have been adopted.

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