IT service management (ITSM) is not just a “big company” opportunity – as both the need and the benefits are not solely dependent on the relative size of an organization’s IT estate, employee numbers, and/or budgetary power. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) should also look to ITSM as a route to better quality IT services and support, increased efficiency and effectiveness, reduced costs, and a better employee/customer experience. Plus, ultimately for better business outcomes, enabled through the delivery of better IT.
And while the economies of scale might mean that there’s greater potential for financial savings in larger organizations, the limited resources (money and people) of SMBs means that ITSM might actually have a more significant impact. As ITSM empowers SMBs to “do (and deliver) more with less.”
This has already been touched on in my opening section, but it’s worth taking a closer look – for example, that SMBs potentially think:
I could go on, as it’s easy to offer many reasons – or excuses – as to why SMBs don’t need ITSM. But many of these reasons are shortsighted, overlooking the fact that ITSM investments can be as big or as small as you need them to be. And, as with any reasoned investment, the returns will outweigh the costs when scoped, planned, and executed correctly.
Most, if not all, companies now need IT just to operate, let alone for competitive advantage. But many do need IT to differentiate themselves and to win and retain business, with IT a valuable part of the overall business jigsaw puzzle. And this is regardless of size – from large enterprises to SMBs. The IT organization/capability, whether a cast of thousands or just one person and their cat, plays an important role in keeping the business operating – from employee productivity to customer-facing IT systems. Investing in ITSM best practice helps to ensure that IT services are designed, delivered, managed, and changed in an optimal way – providing the best quality of IT service at an acceptable, maybe even optimal, price.
Without ITSM best practice, SMB IT capabilities are at risk of “blowing in the wind” (usually where the loudest voice gets attention first), or failing to prioritize workloads correctly, i.e. the easiest things get done first to keep work volumes low. In either scenario, IT and particularly IT support isn’t bringing its A-game – no matter how talented the involved people are. ITSM best practice helps SMBs to best structure their ways of working such that the most important needs/issues are dealt with first through to the least important service requests. Plus, if applicable, the use of a fit-for-purpose ITSM tool not only supports this through priority matrices, workflow and automation, and knowledge management – the introduction of a self-service capability can allow end users to help themselves with the simpler issues and information requests. Thus, freeing IT staff up to focus on more complex, and potentially more important, things.
ITSM isn’t just about the service desk. Although some of the other ITSM best practices do link in with, or affect, IT support – a good example being change management. Why? Because failed or poorly executed changes can place an additional burden on IT support staff through high levels of change-related incidents. And working in IT support is hard enough without colleagues creating even more IT issues to deal with! So, look to change management best practice to understand:
Without ITSM best practice or, more specifically, a fit-for-purpose ITSM tool enabling ITSM best practice, it can be hard to ascertain individual and team performance. For instance, people might seem busy as they run around fixing things – but are they really making best use of their time and performing well? It can be hard to gauge performance when issues and requests are “managed” in email inboxes, spreadsheets, and people’s heads. There’s no way of knowing how long things took to resolve, whether IT support productivity is high enough, or – probably even more importantly – whether resolutions were delivered in line with service level targets and end-user expectations. ITSM best practice and tooling can help considerably here, allowing management as well as IT staff to understand where improvements can be made (at both an individual and team level) and to help ensure that limited IT resources is used optimally across the SMB’s spectrum of IT service delivery and support needs.
So, that’s my four reasons as to why SMBs should invest in ITSM. Would you agree? What would you add?