How’s your IT self-service portal doing? You’d not be alone if you introduced it based on the promise of “better, faster, cheaper” IT support but, in reality, found it challenging to get employees to use it. Even back in 2017, Service Desk Institute (SDI) research found that “the number of organisations that have realised these benefits and have achieved the anticipated return on investment (ROI) are few, less than 12%.” In 2021, ITSM.tools data found that while self-service success was higher, only one in five organisations (21%) reported that the expected ROI for their IT self-service investment was achieved.
To help, this blog looks at what commonly goes wrong with IT self-service introduction projects before offering six practical tips to improve your organisation’s probability of self-service success.
What’s Harming IT Self-Service Initiatives?
If you’ve seen the movie “Field of Dreams,” you might remember the quote, “Build it, and he will come”. One could argue that a similar “Build it, and they will come” approach is taken with IT self-service. Where self-service technology is delivered on the basis that employees will automatically use it because they use self-service in their personal lives.
Sadly, this approach is built on flawed assumptions. For example, that work-related IT support needs have a similar urgency and impact to employee personal-life needs. Or that the corporate IT self-service capability offers a similar experience quality, especially in terms of ease of use, to the consumer-world equivalents used by employees.
However, an omission – rather than an assumption – is a significant root cause for the lack of employee self-service adoption. This mistake is not understanding that introducing self-service capabilities is a change to employee ways of working, not simply introducing new technology. This change of lens brings in the need for organisational change management (OCM) tools and techniques to help gain employee buy-in for, and then use of, the new self-service capabilities.
Finally, the IT “positioning” of IT self-service can adversely affect employee uptake. Common mistakes here include:
- Making cost reduction the primary driver – it’s not motivational for employees and likely to adversely affect the delivered experiences (that fuel adoption).
- Not sufficiently understanding end-user demand – such that the offered capabilities reflect what IT thinks employees need rather than what employees actually need.
- Creating the self-service portal based on how “someone in IT” wants it to work rather than how the end-users expect it to work.
If all this seems familiar, and even if it doesn’t, what should your organisation do to avoid making the same mistakes?
6 Tips for Winning with IT Self-Service
In describing a series of things to do, and not to do, to succeed with IT self-service, it’s hard (and perhaps foolish) not to re-tread some of what has already been said. But this time, from a success rather than failure perspective. Hence, some of the six tips shared below might seem somewhat familiar.
1. Don’t start (including any improvements) without investment in OCM tools and techniques.
Introducing an IT self-service capability is a people change, not simply a technology change. OCM tools and techniques help gain employee buy-in, reduce resistance to change, and provide the necessary communications and education to help the new capabilities succeed.
2. Focus on improving the employee experience (or another employee-related area).
Because a primarily focusing on cost reduction will likely not deliver the anticipated cost savings when employees don’t use the capabilities. So get employees to use and benefit from self-service first, and the better financials will follow.
3. Design the self-service capabilities around the employee, not IT “thinking”.
If your IT self-service capabilities don’t align with employees’ ways of working and expectations, then it’s highly likely that they won’t use them. Ultimately, if employees are unhappy with their self-service experiences, they’ll likely stick with the proven IT support channels such as the telephone.
4. Don’t overlay new self-service capabilities over poor processes and knowledge.
If the back-end self-service capabilities aren’t optimised, it’s likely that the delivered experiences – across incident logging, self-resolution, and service provision – will have issues too. In the case of adding self-service automation, if the technology is applied to a suboptimal process, employees will likely simply arrive at a suboptimal outcome faster.
5. Measure self-service success appropriately.
Ensure performance measures are introduced at the outset to monitor performance and identify improvement opportunities. Think hard about what self-service success really means – it might be the employee experience and the time saved or lost when accessing IT support via self-service versus other channels.
6. Include enterprise service management needs in your IT self-service plans.
Self-service capabilities are the most commonly adopted ITSM tool element when service management is extended to other business functions. So, please don’t ignore this current or future need in their design and delivery. Also, ensure that the self-service capabilities are optimal before sharing them. Otherwise, it’s not a great advert for enterprise service management when the first initiative or phase shares capabilities that people don’t use as much as they could and should.
If you would like to learn more about winning with IT self-service and how HaloITSM can help your organisation to do so, book a demo with our team by clicking the button below!