IT service management (ITSM) best practice is all about delivering IT services that bring value to the business while removing operational blockers and constraints. Now, in many regions, as the world recovers from the impact of the global pandemic, the need for more efficient business operations and better outcomes is more critical than ever. One element of this that is commonly overlooked relates to IT waste, or wastage, where money is being spent or scarce resources are being employed unnecessarily. Importantly, these areas of waste can be addressed quite quickly by proven ITSM best practices but only if the necessary knowledge (of their existence) and motivation are there. To help your organization, this blog offers up some quick ways to remove waste to both make your ITSM practices more efficient and to free up the wasted resources for more productive uses.
Make your organization’s “problems” a force for good
You should already know the drill here – that service desks are held back by the time spent on repeat incidents. ITSM best practice has long offered the solution – using problem management to get ahead of the game.
By systematically looking at the root cause of common incidents, your IT department can better understand what’s driving them as well as identifying both permanent fixes and workarounds. Importantly, problem management doesn’t have to be daunting. For example, one way to make an immediate impact, in both wastage and service quality terms, is to investigate your top ten most commonly occurring tickets. If you can fix just some of them, you’re reducing the load on the IT service desk (as well as improving service quality) meaning that it can focus on more important work. For instance, making service improvements and moving toward a more proactive model of support.
Optimize change success
Wastage can appear in change management practices (or change enablement as ITIL 4 now calls it) in multiple places. For example, the unnecessary use of change advisory board (CAB) time and the rework required after failed changes.
To improve, make your change enablement process more efficient by using Kanban boards to increase flow and the change authority model to reduce the need for formal CAB meetings. Standard changes should also be used for routine, low-risk work to prevent delays and backlogs (as well as wastage).
Take better financial care of your IT assets
Organizations commonly overspend when it comes to hardware, software, and third-party services – it’s a big area of IT wastage. So, work with your IT asset management (ITAM) teams to review IT asset usage. For example, look at software usage and investigate if any unused licenses can be re-harvested rather than buying new ones. Sadly, too many organizations buy additional licenses “just in case” or fail to remove software from the devices of employees who are no longer using it. Another key waste-reduction task is to build in some process steps such that if someone leaves the business, their hardware is collected/reassigned, software licenses are redeployed as appropriate, and subscription services are ceased or transferred.
Check-in with supplier management
This follows on from the previous point – because many organizations are paying for rolling third-party subscriptions that haven’t been sufficiently used in years or services that are no longer required. So, spend time with your supplier management team looking at your IT department's external expenditure to help ensure that you’re not paying for things you don’t need.
Forecast the future with capacity and performance management
Forecasting can be used to identify peak service usage periods to help services be resourced effectively. This applies to the IT service desk as well as individual IT or business services. In terms of the latter, the use of cloud orchestration and load balancing tools will enable your IT department to continually adjust cloud resources to better meet demand and make service delivery more efficient (and less wasteful).
Finally, don’t assume that your IT service desk is immune to waste
The IT service desk, including the incident management practice, is commonly the most improved upon ITSM element (and there are many reasons as to why). But don’t let this fool you into a false sense of security in respect of IT service desk wastage. To help, here are three areas of service desk operation that should be considered from a waste perspective:
- Make it easier for end users to log their requests or service desk analysts to log incidents by templating the most common ticket types. It saves time and effort plus when most of the form is pre populated, the ticket is more likely to be given the correct priority and fix information, saving even more time and effort.
- Get proactive with your outstanding tickets to remove the need for handling “chase” calls that could have been prevented. As a minimum, make sure your working practices provide regular updates on outstanding issues, so the end user doesn't have to chase the service desk for news.
- Aim for higher levels of first-contact resolution (FCR) and to reduce the “bounce count.” This is when a ticket keeps getting reassigned and no one takes ownership. Have a flag in your ITSM tool such that if a ticket gets reassigned more than x number of times, the service desk manager is notified to help.
That’s our take on reducing IT wastage. What else would you add to this list? Please let us know in the comments.