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Practical Tips for Self-Service Success

By | July 20, 2015 in Service Desk


Many IT organizations see employee self-service as a ‘knight in shining armor’, ready to solve all their service desk issues in one quick project.

However, for many organizations, their investment in self-service often results in a white elephant rather than a white knight, i.e. it’s a possession that is useless or troublesome and which soaks up money and other resources without delivering much return on the investment. A self-service white elephant typically has low rates of adoption and utilization – often due to an overemphasis on the technology.

There’s a Webinar for That

Sadly, these suboptimal self-service projects are a common issue, and consequently my good friend Stephen Mann and I are running a free webinar this Wednesday, July 22 that will offer practical tips for self-service management success, based on what some organizations have done to get self-service right.

UPDATE: This webinar is now avaiable on-demand here.

We’ll show you how these organizations have succeeded, by:

  • Understanding the common challenges and potential pitfalls with self-service.
  • Offering practical advice on how to design, launch, manage, and encourage the use of an employee self-service facility for IT (or any other corporate service provider).
  • Providing sensible actions that will help you to either get started with, or to improve upon, self-service within your organization.

Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll be covering.

The Benefits of Self-Service

The main beneficiary of self-service is the business people who need to engage with, and rely on, IT but there are also benefits for the service desk and for the whole of IT.

We will outline how the customers and end users will benefit from employee self-service through:

  • Faster access to help for users
  • Improved user communication
  • Increased service hours
  • Support for more languages and time zones
  • Faster incident resolution
  • Faster request fulfilment
  • A better user experience

Whereas the IT organization will not only benefit from happier customers, they will also benefit from employee self-service through:

  • Improved efficiency and/or reduced cost
  • The ability to leverage automation for even greater efficiency and cost savings
  • A better ability to handle high volumes of incidents when problems occur

So that’s some of the upside we’ll cover, but self-service is a game of white knights versus white elephants. The benefits are there to be won – but IT organizations need to ensure they don’t end up as the owner of a white elephant, a self-service capability that nobody wants and nobody uses.

How to Avoid Common Self-Service Mistakes

In the webinar, we’ll go into the detail of where organizations commonly fall down with their self-service initiatives, and the best practice that should be adopted to dramatically increase the chances of self-service success. For example:

  • Involving customers and end users in the design, and then keeping them involved
  • Defining the scope or purpose of the project very carefully
  • Making as much use of automation as you can
  • Focusing on user experience rather than cost saving
  • Making sure all stakeholders, including the end users, understand “What’s in it for me”
  • Providing high quality knowledge (articles, videos, etc.) and making sure it’s accessible and comprehensible to the people it’s aimed at
  • Providing encouragement and incentives for end users to adopt self-service
  • Giving end users a choice

This blog is just a tease for the webinar. It’s a mere 600+ words compared to the free 5000+ word “Self-Service to the Rescue” white paper that can be downloaded while you listen.

So please listen in to hear us talking about all this, in far greater detail, as well as:

  • What to include in a self-service capability – there’s more than you think when you start to list things
  • How to run a self-service project
  • The stakeholders to involve in self-service design through to delivery
  • How to avoid confusion over self-service, service catalog, and service request catalog
  • Whether you actually need self-service at all

Please join us for our webinar on Wednesday, July 22 – we don’t think you’ll regret it, that is unless you’re a fan of white elephants.

It’s about time that IT organizations viewed self-service as a capability not a technology – come hear how to do it.

Stuart Rance

About Stuart Rance

Stuart is an ITSM and security consultant, working with clients all round the world. He is one of the authors of ITIL 4, as well as an author of ITIL Practitioner, ITIL Service Transition, and Resilia: Cyber Resilience Best Practice. He is also a trainer, teaching standard and custom courses in ITSM and information security management, and an examiner helping to create ITIL and other exams. Now that his children have all left home, he has plenty of time on his hands for contributing to our blog - lucky us!

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