How to Turn Your ITSM Into a Pillar for Digital Transformation

Sebastien Adjiman | February 10, 2021


Every business is a software business”.


Two decades ago, the pioneer of software quality Watts Humphrey predicted the state of progressive companies, highlighting the role of software technologies and their impact on IT operations. More recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella famously repeated the message, arguing that business organizations “have to start thinking and operating like a digital company”.


Years on, and industry laggards still consider IT as a mere enabler to business operations instead of a source of innovation. Many organizations lagging behind their digital transformation journey have assembled complicated technology deployments that make transformation efforts equally complex, resource consuming and ineffective for modernizing business operations. Changes in the form of new technology investments are a haphazard at best. Instead, organizations must pursue activities within their IT Service Management (ITSM) frameworks systematically by taking advantage of the vast volumes of insightful information and insights using their existing ITSM tooling. 


Digital Transformation is ITSM Transformation

Since many organizations are pursuing digitization efforts, it’s important to first understand what digital transformation really means. According to Sloan MIT, digital transformation refers to “the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises”. The performance refers to customer-facing interactions as well as internal operations that are inherently driven by technology as part of the ITSM framework. The latter determines the state of an organization to prepare for the digital disruption — to build up the knowledge and capabilities necessary for keeping pace with digitization efforts as an agile organization.


Organizations need to bring a new perspective on their digitizing ITSM capabilities with its potential to drive business performance, growth and transformation in the right direction. It can be seen simply as an advancement in technology capabilities; perhaps more importantly a new perspective in the digital age should also focus on how ITSM can emerge as an enabler to innovating business models and backend IT-enabled operations. As such, ITSM can constitute a pillar for digital transformation in the following ways:


How ITSM Derives Future Value in Digital Age

In traditional organizations, IT provides capabilities for business enablement and operational support. In the digital age, organizations rely on IT for its contributions toward business innovation and creating a direct impact on business performance. In context of ITSM, it’s important to provide the technologies that empower internal users with the right insights and capabilities for proactive decisions across several fronts: to reduce operational risks such as IT downtime and operational bottlenecks; to shift priorities and resources to areas of maximal business improvement; to establish a customer-centric and agile IT service capabilities.


Consider the use case of digital technologies for IT Service Desk use cases. Organizations deploy several technology solutions to address a range of feature functions. Traditional organizations may only enable individual teams to solve various support requests across disparate categories and service levels.


The future of IT Service Desk strategy is not just about reducing ticketing volumes, but focus on customer journey through customer-centric business operations. By taking advantage of intelligent technology solutions, IT can help find answers to key questions such as:

Finding Priorities: Which components of IT are prepared or need to be optimized to scale business operations without risking service disruptions?

Filling the Skills Void: How to leverage the vast knowledge base available to complement the limited skill set in solving current and expected IT issues based on?

Optimizing Resource Distribution and Cost Effectiveness: How to distribute time and HR resources in resolving mission-critical support issues while decoupling dependence on the limited personnel?

Intelligent load balancing between onshore, near shore and offshore teams depending on many parameters such as ticket complexity or severity, represents a significant source of improvement in efficiency and cost reduction. 

Business IT Alignment: How to ensure that IT investments positively impact business revenue and operational excellence?

Automation and Shift Left Opportunities: How to optimize shift left ticket resolution?

The process of resolving tickets at initial support levels involves automating simple repetitive processes, offering self-serve capabilities to users and training Level-1 agents on resolving a variety of repetitive issues.


How the Intelligent IT Service Desk Can Deliver

Once the role of existing ITSM tooling investments is understood, it’s important to align them with the intended business results of digital transformation projects. The IT Service Desk is a key component of the wider ITSM organization as it supports timely and effective service delivery. Here’s how the IT Service Desk serves as a pillar for enterprise digital transformation in addressing the questions sought by IT executives and business decision makers as highlighted above:

Service Availability and Reliability: A digital operating model requires IT systems to be dependable when organizations rapidly expose their services and products to a large user base across new markets and geographic locations. An intelligent IT Service Desk organization is not limited in time and HR resource availability to solve problems at scale. Intelligent service desk support is fully capable of resolving repetitive problems, and in fact, exposure to large data sets enable AI-based support solutions to deliver solutions with higher accuracy.

Data and Insights: Since critical data is hidden inside non-structured data , IT leaders struggle to properly leverage the huge source  of knowledge and insights hidden within the vast deluge of information produced in the form of ticket requests and resolution activities. This information can help IT find prevalent challenges in their hardware and software deployments, identify solutions that generate a lot of tickets and therefore with a very high TCO;  as well as identifying inefficient operational workflows and processes that require expensive upgrades to keep pace with digital transformation initiatives.

Intelligent Ticket Routing : Routing every ticket request to the appropriate resolution team and agent based on their skillset, availability and load can greatly positively impact KPIs such as Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR). Traditional technology solutions focus on categorizing ticket requests for accurate assignment using the “classifier” approach. In practice however, most ticket requests remain uncategorized because the number of existing categories is always limited. An unsupervised clustering approach, however solves this problem and creates an infinite number of clusters of similar tickets (based on structured and unstructured data), therefore creating a very granular skillsets mapping  An intelligent solution connects the right team to the right request from both ends: the organization maps skills across the organization for optimal HR resource utilization; and the ticketing system maintains clusters of problem categories and the historical knowledge base.

The end result is that the IT Service Desk actively contributes to solving business problems associated with IT issues. Therefore, the modern IT Service Desk that leverages intelligent technology solutions is not limited to serving internal users, but actively contributes to continuously improving business operations in the digital age.

This is why we created Swish.ai

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