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What does “social” technology have to teach ITSM?

It’s a truism that “millennials” have grown up with social media – and many older employees also spend an increasing proportion of their leisure time in this world, much to the chagrin of students who encounter their parents on Facebook.

At work, these platforms can look to managers like a distraction – of relevance, at most, to the marketing department or whoever is responsible for the organization’s social media “presence”.

However, there is one respect in which social media is highly relevant to the workplace. The social media style of interaction – with technology and with other people – is what users now want and expect from business applications. It makes no sense to sit a graduate recruit in front of an old-fashioned screen that has as much relevance to their university experience as a typewriter. By doing this, you’re chaining workers to working habits that they’ll see as outdated. To attract, and keep, the brightest and best employees, enterprises must offer applications and capabilities that meet their expectations.

At Hornbill, we’ve found that people’s enjoyment of Facebook, Twitter and so on can teach us a huge amount about their preferred working styles. In particular, there are great results to be had from transferring social styles of collaboration to business.

Social features that make business sense

It’s this application of principles and features from social technology that makes Hornbill Service Manager our most powerful product yet. The most important of these features is support for collaboration. We promote sharing of information, joint problem-solving, peer-to-peer advice and help, and a whole range of other styles of group working. This is the way people like to work in their spare time – for example when they need to resolve a technology problem at home – and they love it at work as well.

We’ve incorporated advanced features that they may or may not get from their usual social platforms, such as a real-time translation facility for online and offline conversations. This makes it easy to work with people in other parts of the company even when there’s no common language.

Other features in our product that echo social technology include a simple user interface. We’ve given Service Manager a familiar look and feel that users will instantly be comfortable with.

Benefits from social interaction

These “social” features make your users feel at home, and help them achieve maximum productivity. They also pave the way for a number of additional benefits. For example:

• It becomes easier to introduce Bring Your Own Device or Choose Your Own Device strategies, because users can support one another.

• As people get used to collaborating across organizational boundaries, the functional silos that inhibit effective working start to break         down, making the organization more effective and agile.

• You forge closer links between IT and its internal customers, so that IT is seen as an integral and value-adding part of the business.


We’ll explore these possibilities further in later blog posts.


Gerry Sweeney

Written by Gerry Sweeney

Our CEO, Gerry Sweeney, founded Hornbill in 1995 and launched our very first product Supportworks, a Helpdesk tool used by IT teams. Gerry is an industry beacon for innovation, ensuring the Hornbill platform has the fastest release cycles to deliver the market with the latest in workflow automation, service management and collaboration.