It’s common for IT staff to cite the importance of people and processes, but it’s especially true in service management, where employees provide face-to-face service and cumbersome processes can grind business and care delivery to a halt.
“The technical skills can be taught,” says Shannon Kalvar, research manager for IT service management and client virtualization at IDC. “But that empathy and that willingness to challenge existing processes to do the right thing and get the clinician working with the patient as quickly as possible, that’s hard to teach.”
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Providers Improve Services with Automation and Intuition
San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare is in the midst of switching to Ivanti Service Manager. Aaron Ortiz, manager of enterprise device architecture for the organization, says the Ivanti solution was attractive because it allows for automation based on IT infrastructure library standards.
“We can set rules in place to say, ‘After 20 calls of this type, automatically escalate to an incident,’” Ortiz says. “Those processes are all manual at this point. Everything is delayed. A human has to determine that there’s a larger pattern, and that decision is hard to put on the shoulders of one person.”
The new system is also more intuitive than the organization’s previous solution, Ortiz says.
“It’s a lot more streamlined. If you’re trying to work in a system and you have no idea where you need to go, it’s going to be harder to get the job done.”
Similarly, two years ago, AdventHealth in Altamonte Springs, Fla., switched to ServiceNow. James Muir, director of IT service management, calls ServiceNow user friendly and flexible, allowing for tasks such as adjusting ticket types on the fly.
“Before, we did not have a good mechanism to change tickets or carry over data,” Muir says. “Now we have that ability. If a help ticket walks through the door and it turns out it’s really a larger incident, it’s easy to change it to the right kind of workflow.”
To Find the Best Fit, Determine Business Needs
Muir advises IT leaders to select a service management solution based on the processes they want to implement rather than the other way around. “The real key is defining your processes and your business needs, then mapping those to the tool,” he says.
“It’s process first.”
One motivation for switching to ServiceNow, Muir says, was that it allows the organization to bring more consistency to its change management processes — the steps employees need to take when making infrastructure updates. “Before, there were different workflows for different changes, and it wasn’t all done in a consistent way,” he says. “We consolidated the process so that everyone now has to get certain approvals and take the same testing steps. The reason for that consistency is so we understand the risk to the systems, make sure we’re in regulatory compliance and protect production systems as much as possible.” As Sharp transitions to Ivanti, officials are working to standardize processes as much as possible.
“Standardization is one of the biggest challenges in IT,” Ortiz says. “It’s hard to standardize when end users want their way and want their specific requests to happen in a certain order, with a certain look and a certain feel. We have to try to accommodate that, but how do we also make sure when we support a system that we’re not wasting hours and hours of manpower on something that was customized to just one specific requester?”
To that end, IT leaders at Sharp are working to make sure new processes are based on service delivery objectives rather than individual users’ desires to do things a certain way.
“The best practice is to try to understand the value and what we’re trying to provide,” Ortiz says. “You really have to understand what is needed by the customer versus what is wanted.”