How Does a Pandemic Affect IT Service Management?
16/11/2020 |

How Does a Pandemic Affect IT Service Management?

Everyone is talking about IT service management. What influence does the corona crisis have
on this trend, and why could ITSM become more popular or even more important as a result of the pandemic?

Many companies are facing new challenges due to the effects of the Corona crisis. Often, it is a matter of bare survival, i.e. keeping their business running. It also means that working in the home office is increasing, and we are forced to follow strict rules: This includes keeping our distance from our colleagues and business partners. This affects the way we work and also means new working conditions for employees.

Nevertheless, you can still work productively together, communicate effectively and do business. Digital transformation, or rather the changes and improvements in working methods that come with it, can be the key to achieving this. So anyone who has not yet taken action should now, at the latest, take a big step towards digitalization.

Budget cuts may be unavoidable, especially in these times, but savings should not be made in the wrong place at any price. Cost-cutting measures at the expense of innovation and digitization will only have a positive effect in the short-term.

A Structured Approach to Problem Solving Is Required

COVID-19 presented a dilemma for IT service management. Instantly companies had to catch up on something that had been missed completely in the last years, namely the implementation of an infrastructure that allows all employees to work in a decentralized way.

From the lessons learned, IT managers must derive medium-term strategies and fight the causes of too little digitalization and the lack of mobile infrastructure. A structured approach to problem solving is needed.

The fact is that companies that have already pushed ahead with digitalization and modern work in recent years are now at an advantage. For others, now it is the time to use the changes or challenges as an opportunity.

The fact is that companies that have already pushed ahead with digitalization and modern work in recent years are now at an advantage. For others, now it is the time to use the changes or challenges as an opportunity.

bitkom President Achim Berger said:
“The Corona crisis has shown us very clearly the importance of digital technologies for business, administration and society. The crisis is a wake-up call to push digitalization on a massive scale. We have not been fast enough with digitalization in the past. Now we have to build a digital infrastructure, comprehensively digitize business processes and develop new, digital business models.”

EIn these times of a pandemic, there is a consensus that technical aids are an indispensable tool for mastering the crisis and emerging from it with as little damage as possible.

The Corona Crisis Accelerates The Digitalization of The Economy

Just imagine if the current crisis situation had occurred about 40 or 50 years ago, and we had to go to the home office at that time. What would that have looked like? We would have used landline phones, and data transfer would have taken place by sending documents by mail.

With technology of that time, it would have been unthinkable to move office work to the home office. Banking transactions could not have been handled online, and applications for short-time work could not have been submitted via the Internet.

The corona pandemic is once again significantly accelerating the digitalization of the economy.

The home office became the new standard virtually overnight; conferences and events are being replaced more and more by virtual experiences. Customers are increasingly buying online and requesting information via digital channels and social media.

The focus now is on supporting and optimizing workflows and processes. What counts now is functioning ITSM. And, that has been on everyone’s lips for a long time anyway.

What Exactly Is ITSM?

The abbreviation stands for IT Service Management and is generally defined as the sum of operations that best support business processes through the IT organization. First and foremost, it covers everything that is connected to the provisioning, support and administration of IT services. A characteristic feature of ITSM is that it is an interplay of people, processes and information technology, and not a purely technological approach. ITSM focuses on service optimization and the utilization of IT services.

Users primarily think of “IT support” as ITSM. In fact, ITSM goes far beyond this to the solution of daily business problems. IT teams must have a holistic view of all technology services and components, managing them as optimally and effectively as possible.

ITSM is much more than the efficient and optimally structured provision of IT services.

ITSM is not just about technology, i.e. the development, implementation or maintenance of hardware and software. ITSM is much more than the efficient and optimally structured provision of IT services.

The ITSM approach focuses primarily on successfully achieving the business objectives of the company. And these are, of course, particularly at risk in times of crisis like these. Therefore, the importance of well-functioning IT service management is more important than ever.

Today, in fact, applied frameworks, such as ITIL®, that make up ITSM processes and disciplines are no longer limited to IT but can be used to improve support in all departments.

To put it in a nutshell:
ITSM helps your company to function better, respond to structural problems and ultimately increase customer satisfaction. In times of a pandemic, this can make all the difference to the survival of a company.

What Is ITIL®, And What Does It Have to Do With ITSM?

It won’t be long before you hear ITIL® when it comes to ITSM. ITIL® stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. In principle, it already defines itself very clearly.

ITIL® is a library or collection of best practices, i.e. predefined processes, functions and roles, that have been outlined to properly implement and run ITSM in your organization.

ITIL v3 extended the focus of the service-oriented approach to include a service-oriented life cycle. In ITIL v3, services were viewed as a continuous process for the first time.

The ITIL standard is constantly being developed and defined by the different versions. With the release of ITIL v4, the focus is on supporting ITSM teams in adapting their services to current software development methodologies. The latest ITIL version has been supplemented with best practice recommendations for the application of Agile, DevOps and Lean in service management.

With ITIL v4, the ITIL framework has been fundamentally modernized and a holistic approach has been adopted. It focuses on “end-to-end service management from demand to value creation.” Since 2007, ITIL v4 was the first major update for ITIL®. It extended the predecessor version, ITIL v3, and provided a flexible basis for organizations that are repositioning themselves in the course of digital transformation.

The most frequently used ITIL practices include:

  1. change control
  2. incident management
  3. problem management
  4. service desk
  5. service level management

What Are The Concrete Benefits of Using ITSM Software?

ITSM software is used to digitize the processes that support service delivery. This benefits the company by offering:

  • Structured, organized processing of requests
  • Resource optimization
  • Increased efficiency
  • Fast elimination of errors
  • Increased process quality
  • Minimized downtime
  • Long-term cost reductions
  • Rapid risk identification
  • Perfect documentation and reporting
Intelligent service management has a positive effect on business processes. However, individual requirements should definitely be taken into account.

Intelligent service management has a positive effect on business processes. However, individual requirements should definitely be taken into account.

An ITSM tool such as OTRS is the solution for customer and service-oriented work. It can be individually adapted, because every company has its very own, home-grown IT structures and processes. That is why our consultants customize OTRS ITSM software to be exactly suited to you.

The advantage:
OTRS has the almost unique ability to link existing processes and structures in a meaningful way, to change and improve them piece by piece and to raise your entire ITSM effort to a new level. By mapping your service scope through OTRS, your ITSM ticket system remains functional even if problems or malfunctions occur, like today’s pandemic.

Make Your IT Support Smarter And Your Customers More Satisfied

Most companies are working full steam ahead on the automation of standard service requests. This is the only way to avoid productivity losses — even when working from the home office. Today, employee and customer satisfaction are more in focus than ever before. Experience shows that there are clear correlations between employee and customer satisfaction. Easy access to resources and coordinated support of employees, for example through modern technology, improves the culture — with correspondingly positive effects on sales.

Modern ITSM/ESM tools are of great importance in this context and support your teams and customers at the same time.

With OTRS as an ITSM solution, your customers do not have to search in the customer portal for long to get in touch with your team. This has the value of gold in times when circumstances change much more frequently than they normally would. Customers’ need for information increases and in return, patience or understanding for, e.g. long waiting times, decreases.

An ITSM tool such as OTRS can also be of great advantage here. Inquiries, complaints, incidents or other concerns can be easily sent to the responsible employees via customizable input masks. The input mask can be designed with the necessary request fields as required.

Working with your ITSM tool is even more efficient because OTRS automatically delivers employee, service and infrastructure information, which is automatically assigned to the appropriate department or agent. With its countless configuration options, OTRS gives your IT and all business units unlimited freedom and saves time – which can be used to expand your core competencies.

The quality and profitability of your service is easily tracked by KPIs – the clear and combinable reports provide valuable information that can be generated with just a click of the mouse. This allows you to react quickly and make adjustments at short notice, even in turbulent times with constant changes.

Even In Difficult Times, Think of The Intellectual Challenge

Mindlessly managing and processing incidents or creating reports are tasks that are not very motivating in the long run and also waste valuable resources. This is one of the reasons why companies should invest in technology that uses automation functions in order to relieve their staff of repetitive tasks and use them for more creative work.

Since Corona, many companies have become increasingly interested in an integrated self-service that can be used not only for IT services, but also for other departments, such as HR, facility management or accounting.

Where Is The Journey With ITSM Heading?

Since Corona, many companies have become increasingly interested in an integrated self-service that can be used not only for IT services, but also for other departments, such as HR, facility management or accounting.

So, the use and deployment of ITSM software will definitely spread even more to all service departments of companies. In fact, it is much more efficient and ultimately more customer-oriented if work is done across departments and there is a continuous exchange of information. Here, we speak of Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

In addition, today it is increasingly important to understand customers instead of focusing exclusively on technology or the fulfillment of SLAs. Workforce enablement, DevOps and Conversational Agents, for example, are trends that can help businesses achieve this.

And What Can We Say For The Future in General?

Teams today are made up of global and local, internal and external employees. This requires structures and models for smooth cooperation and coordination. ITSM/ESM tools enable the management and coordination of complex processes involving several departments, teams or even organizations.

In general, ITSM requires that IT be more involved in decision-making and not just act as a fire extinguisher in problem cases. Our exceptional pandemic situation underlines this once again: IT and business solutions must go hand-in-hand. And, we are still a long way from achieving this. Achieving this requires rethinking and a commitment from all parties involved.

An Optimistic Outlook

Imagine it’s November 2022, and companies have evolved according to the lessons learned from the current situation. Now, a new pandemic or similar disaster would not cause any more chaos. At least not on the scale we experienced in 2020. The conditions for working from any location will have been fulfilled. IT service teams would be in control of the situation, because responsibilities would have been clarified and defined and, in any case, fewer challenges would determine everyday work, because the causes had long since been eliminated.

Optimistic? Too optimistic?
Perhaps.
But we need hope, and hope is the last thing to die.
Stay healthy.

Text:
Photos: Csaba Pap on Unsplash

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