ERM and Self-Service 2.0: Because Actions Beat Words

Self service 1.0 focused on empowering users with knowledge. It included knowledge bases that provided detailed instructions for completing a variety of tasks, and service catalogs with rich service item descriptions. While by no means unhelpful, self service 1.0 didn’t give users what they really wanted: the ability to get broken things fixed, and to order new things.

What enterprises learned from self service 1.0 was that the lack of an actionable system required manual request management processes which wasted money and frustrated internal and/or external “customers.”

Based on experiences across hundreds of large organizations, Kinetic Data president John Sundberg recently spoke about the transition from self service 1.0 to 2.0, and the role that enterprise request management (ERM) can play, at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.

As defined in this presentation, self service 2.0 is focused instead on empowering users with process. It provides actionable services and automated processes to accelerate service fulfillment, reduce costs and improve the customer experience. Because the customer benefits (for example, through a single intuitive request interface and the ability to track the status of requests), self service 2.0 is more likely to actually be used than its more static predecessor.

The lesson of self service 2.0 is that having an actionable system in place saves money and delights the customer.

Having learned these lessons, organizations sought to implement self service 2.0 across the enterprise. But service catalogs were specified in ITIL and therefore focused on IT; they didn’t extend well to other shared services groups like HR. And HR applications lacked the flexibility to accommodate IT services.

The ERM approach is ideal for taking self service 2.0 out of “silos.” It combines a single, intuitive web-based portal for any type of request (IT, HR, facilities, finance, cross-departmental) with automation through existing enterprise systems (ITSM, ERP, HR,  etc.) to simplify request management for users while reducing service fulfillment time and costs.

An ERM approach to self service 2.0 provides several benefits, including:

  • Agility: there’s no need for a “big bang” cutover or long implementation process; the ERM approach can be used to pursue the “low-hanging fruit”—processes that are particularly painful or just the most common—first, enabling “quick wins,” then expanded to additional services.
  • Popularity: once users and managers begin to see successes in other departments, they want to implement and use it for their own processes. And because ERM is “function agnostic,” there is less “protectionism” or NIH (not-invented-here) syndrome at play.
  • Efficiency: ERM is designed to leverage existing processes and systems wherever possible. New technology and training investments are limited to “filling the gaps.” HR, IT and other departments still utilize their familiar, existing software to support service fulfillment.

ERM improves the customer experience by providing a single web-based interface for any type of request, eliminating redundant manual data entry, accelerating service delivery, and freeing user from manual request management “babysitting.” But it also reduces costs for the organization and provides a framework and reporting data to support continual process improvement.

The end result of taking an ERM approach to self service 2.0 is a shift from static (information gets shared) to a dynamic (stuff gets done) orientation, reduced service delivery costs—and delighted customers.

To learn more, download the Enterprise Request Management Overview white paper, and join the conversation in the Enterprise Request Management Group on LinkedIn.

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