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Getting the most out of your Service Management software

Software should be simple if you want users to actually start using it. Service management software was previously focused on operator usability. Since this target group works with the software the most, it offered the most room for improvement.

In 2016, user experience is not limited to the operator. Now it’s time for end users to come first. Consumers have grown accustomed to ease of use and we expect nothing less as professional users. Service management should therefore be accessible, easy to understand and suitable for several devices. 

Moreover, companies want to be able to customise the user interface to meet their needs.

Knowledge is shifted left

Making it easy to resolve problems can help you relieve a lot of organisational frustration, but it’s even better if you can resolve problems before they’re even logged in. In the years to come, more and more organisations will invest in what is known as “Shift Left” and “Shift Left Left.”

Shift left means that experienced operators make their solutions available to less experienced colleagues, by using a knowledge base, for instance. This helps them answer more difficult customer questions: The answer is shifted left in the chain. We’ve used this strategy for a while now and have noticed that it does save time and makes users happier.

Shift left left takes this a step further: it lets customers find answers to their questions by making knowledge available to end users. The strategy makes it easier to share and find knowledge. When a user fills out a form, he or she is immediately shown the relevant knowledge items, manuals or FAQs. This lets them quickly solve their own problems and help each other, without having to call the service desk. It gives operators more time for other tasks as well.

Automatic software updates

At the start of this century, releasing a new software version meant not being able to improve it once it left the building. That’s why the software world introduced large, time-consuming test programs. The releases on floppy disk are history, but many organisations nowadays still think in terms of releases. In the years to come, more and more organisations will change their mindset and make the switch to continuous deployment.

The advantage is that it is easier and cheaper for both software suppliers and users to make small changes on a daily basis. This new method is the next step in user-friendliness: Users don’t have to wait a year for an update, but can always use the newest technology. They don’t have to spend time on technical management, but can focus on their core tasks – like helping customers.

Supporting departments working together

Supporting departments like HR, IT and facilities management are constantly trying to professionalise their services, but they don’t do this together. That’s why the organisation’s application landscape is now fragmented, and doesn’t meet the user’s expectations.

End users don’t want to think about where they can find their services. Instead they expect to find an answer to their question easily, quickly and in a central location – like they do with Google. Supporting departments can’t live up to these expectations alone. That’s why organisations will have to focus more and more on shared service management: Combining the efforts of support departments to improve their service quality. You don’t necessarily need to integrate the back office in this process, but you do need to offer end users one starting point.

In addition to facilities and IT departments, I’ve noticed that many organisations improve their services when departments like HR, property management and catering also standardise their services. I believe that collaborating in one service management tool is the future and fully support this development. A single self-service portal contributes to this effectively, because it gives you one portal for creating a service portfolio that is relevant to several user groups.

Supply chain integration is crucial

More and more organisations are outsourcing part of their services to other organisations. For this reason it’s becoming increasingly important that these services are well organised. The challenge in this is that supplier’s service management systems aren’t often transparent, making it impossible for organisations to track the current status of their calls.

In the future, organisations will no longer accept this. Instead they’ll expect their supply chain to grant them insight into their services; for example, a portal that enables quick and easy communication between the service management environment and the supplier. This lets organisations communicate with suppliers directly from their service management system. Suppliers – with or without a service management system – can respond immediately as well. 

Through a platform where different organisations can easily and securely work together to help the end user, this can help connect the entire chain, from end user to manufacturer, across organisational borders. As a result, the end user doesn’t have to repeat their question, the supplier can respond more easily, and the manufacturer can share relevant knowledge.

These five developments – standard and simple, shift left, continuous delivery, shared service management and supply chain integration – will determine the future of service management. The services that organisations provide will have to respond to the changing wishes and expectations of the end user.

They have to offer one integrated service across the entire chain, be easy to use and include a custom interface that lets end users independently solve as many of their problems as possible. The common factor in this is using the right service management tool.

Wolter Smit is CEO and co-founder of TOPdesk

Image source: Shutterstock/niroworld