You might read the title of this blog and wonder about two things. First, “What? Our IT service management (ITSM) tool is an investment, not a necessity?” And second, “IT support cost savings – surely we need to improve our IT support capabilities right now?” You’re not wrong on both counts but please bear with us. First, your organization’s ITSM tool is a necessity, but it’s also a business investment in achieving better operations and outcomes. Second, while IT support is more valuable than ever for technology-dependent businesses, it’s still possible to achieve cost savings as well as delivering better IT services and support.
So, this blog isn’t aimed at reducing costs per se. Instead, it’s about improving operational efficiency such that any cost savings aren’t because something has been stopped, they’re a result of focusing your ITSM operations and tool use on all three of “better, faster, cheaper.”
Assess the impact of missing ITSM tool capabilities
These are the things that your organization isn’t doing or can’t do easily because your current ITSM tool doesn’t offer the capabilities to support them. It might be seen as an opportunity cost, but the reality is that there’s a real operational or business cost that’s incurred because of each missed opportunity.
This could relate to various things. For example, your ITSM tool might not offer IT asset management (ITAM) capabilities. Leaving ITAM and software asset management as something for your organization to do later – missing out on the ability to identify and address the likely hardware and software asset wastage and improvement opportunities within your organization.
Or your ITSM tool might lack enterprise service management capabilities, this time preventing the extension of ITSM capabilities, including the ITSM tool, to other business functions as part of a corporate strategy to improve their operations and outcomes through intelligent workflow automation and other modern ITSM tool capabilities.
The bottom line here is to ensure that your current or next ITSM tool can do everything that your organization needs – in terms of right now and its future growth plans.
Minimize manual operations
In most companies, labor is one of the largest costs. It’s therefore one of the most commonly attacked costs when an organization is looking to make cost savings. However, a line needs to be drawn between changes that are made to simply save costs and those that are aimed at improving efficiency.
For example, the chopping of positions (and costs) from an organizational template that results in the remaining people needing to work longer hours and for some tasks to no longer be undertaken (and services no longer provided). Versus the improvement of the existing ways of working to improve the employee or customer experience, to deliver faster outcomes, and to reduce the manual effort needed and the associated costs.
Plus, some manual operations force the duplication of effort and result in rework caused by manual errors. For example, “swivel chair” operations where the outputs of one tool or system need to be manually inputted into another. Which is likely not going to be better, faster, or cheaper than getting technology to undertake the task.
To help minimize manual operations, automation has long offered the ability for IT operations to be all three of better, faster, and cheaper. Whether it’s the technology handling high-volume, low-value tasks such as incoming ticket triage or automated provisioning via self-serve, there are many ways in which the technology-facilitated capabilities of modern ITSM tools can reduce the need for manual effort and thus the associated costs. Which could mean the freeing up of people to work on higher value-add activities for your organization.
Thinking of your ITSM tool as a business investment
For both of the above cost-saving examples, it’s important to recognize that a dollar saved in ITSM tool licensing might incur an additional ten dollars in labor costs. So, when looking at your ITSM tool investment, ensure that any licensing or subscription cost savings aren’t suboptimal at a capability-delivery level – i.e. that the “upfront” saving is far outweighed by the increased operational costs that follow.
The technology is there for a reason, to improve IT service delivery and support and the business operations and outcomes that these IT capabilities enable. And like any other business expenditure, it’s important to ensure that your return on investment (ROI) from your ITSM tool is optimized.
What else would you add to the above two points as key ways in which to optimize your ITSM tool’s ROI? Please let us know in the comments.