I think we can all agree that the best thing about 2020 is that it’s over. I for one am embracing the “new year, new mindset idea,” so this blog is about ten things you can do to make life in 2021 a little bit easier IT service management (ITSM)-wise. Let’s look at them as ten ITSM resolutions for 2021. Of course, there are likely more improvement areas that you’re thinking about. But, for me, these are ten ITSM quick wins that’ll not only make your life easier, but they’ll also contribute to making your business stakeholders happier.
Resolution #1: Address your IT service desk’s aged tickets
Best practice “went out the window” for a lot of organizations during the global pandemic. Meeting service level agreements (SLAs) gave way to supporting frontline services and vulnerable employees and keeping the lights on. The upshot of this is that many IT service desks now have too many tickets that are older than, say, the usual 30 days.
So, take the time to look at your aged tickets to see where you can make inroads. And report on them so that you know what the key issues are and where they’re happening. In my experience, this is best done by scheduling specific chunks of time in the day to work on aged tickets.
Resolution #2: Revisit your stock levels and inventory management practices
In the halcyon days before the pandemic, we all had ideas about safe stock levels and how to store equipment. The pandemic has changed the game for inventory management though.
In early 2020, IT service desks across the world had equipment struggles in the form of interrupted supply chains, low stock availability, or even how to get laptops delivered to homeworking employees in a way that kept everyone safe.
Now is the time to review how to source and manage stock and new assets in a way that works best for your organization.
Resolution #3: Review your contracts
The world has changed, so the key question to ask re your key contracts is does this still represent value for money (and are suitable volume discounts being received)? For example, while the need for spending on office space may be reduced, more people will be using mobile phones and devices, so make sure your mobile service provider is giving you everything you need in terms of data services. Another thing to look for could be the licensing implications of using more cloud-based services and in higher volumes.
Resolution #4: Make relationships matter
Are your SLAs still fit for purpose? One thing the pandemic gave us was a renewed sense of focus on which services are actually critical. So, review your list of services and work with business colleagues to make sure anything critical is flagged as such. There’s no point in meeting all your agreed on SLAs if they’re now all for things that don’t enable and support the business in 2021 and beyond.
Resolution #5: Up your ITSM game with problem management
It’s very easy to get into a reactive mindset when working during a crisis. However, the more you consider the root cause(s), the better chance you have of preventing a recurrence of an issue/problem.
So, as a minimum, look at your most frequently occurring incidents and if there isn’t already a plan in place to understand what happened and how to fix it, then start one. It’s that simple. Just do something, however small, to prevent pain further down the line and you have the beginnings of a problem management practice.
Resolution #6: Update your IT support knowledge base
Your IT support knowledge base is your secret weapon in the face of lockdown restrictions, illness, and colleagues who are shielding or looking after other family members. Now’s the time to make sure that your knowledge base has an overview of all key services as well as the common issues and how to fix them.
The way end users work has changed during the pandemic, so when updating your knowledge base please make sure that there’s a section for remote working and connectivity FAQs. Plus, changes made to older knowledge articles that assume the end user is office-based.
The effective knowledge base will help end users and your IT support staff – for whom it means that they can identify and resolve issues whether it’s their fifth or 500th day on the IT service desk.
Resolution #7: Conduct a server and service rationalization initiative
Be honest. How many servers are in your data center gathering dust (or services sat in the cloud gathering virtual dust)? In my experience, there’s always at least one server or application where no one knows what it’s for and who uses it. But it’s harmless, right?
Wrong. If something is sitting around unused, it’ll be taking up space in your data center and using power (or will be wasted cloud-based subscriptions). As well as the environmental impact, unused devices can cause network contention, storage issues, or take up licenses causing additional work across your infrastructure teams.
So, review your data center and if there’s a device that has no traffic or isn’t being used look for ways to retire it from service. The same is true for your cloud services – ensure that what’s being paid for is being used (and legitimately), canceling the services and costs where appropriate.
Resolution #8: Invest in service resilience
One of the biggest IT industry learnings from the global pandemic was the importance of maintaining services. In 2021 and beyond, we need to collectively up our game when it comes to resilience.
A big bang approach may be too expensive, time-consuming, or risky for some organizations. So, look for small, incremental ways to build resilience in your IT services and IT support capabilities. For example, having multiple channels to contact the IT service desk. For example, to ensure that end users have a backup way to log tickets such as email, chat, or self-help in the event of voice services being lost.
Resolution #9: Make it easier to work with third-party support
One of the biggest causes of delay in the interactions between internal and third-party support teams is a lack of consistency in the information being shared. To prevent this, create a standard form for capturing information for raising tickets with external organizations. Things to include are:
- Name of the service affected.
- Internal ticket number and company identifier
- Brief description
- What has been attempted so far, including any screenshots of system logs
- The name and contact details of the person escalating the issue.
By standardizing the information you submit to third parties you’ll prevent any misunderstandings or de-escalation due to missing or incomplete information.
Resolution #10: Make it easier to onboard new hires
When things are busy, and when are they not these days, it’s easy for the IT support basics to be missed. One of the best opportunities to prevent this is when you are onboarding a new colleague from an “IT needs” perspective.
So, check your employee onboarding process and create templates for everything you can to make it easy to ensure that all new hires have the right access rights, equipment, and licenses (and when they need them, i.e. on day one of their employment). This should include a welcome letter template, that can be tweaked for each new colleague, with key information such as how to locate log-on credentials, how to contact the IT service desk, and how to use their IT equipment.
What do you think of these ITSM resolutions for 2021? Do you have any other ITSM resolutions you’d like to share with others? Please let me know in the comments.