Your Next ITSM Tool Should be Neither

TL,DR; decouple IT operations from customer service and development. Then realize the incredible savings and benefits thereof.

The term “ITSM” has always bugged me, and I think I know why.

The primary customer of ITSM is IT; everything else is lumped into “customer service” and “customer experience”.

ITSM_WikiEven Wikipedia says there are too many “fluff words” and that ITSM has an unclear definition.

But in IT, we know better. We understand what we’re talking about when we say Service Management. It’s a standard way of operating so we don’t fail.

So why would any business person buy Service Management?

To keep the lights on.

“But that’s what we hired you for! We don’t care what you call it. We don’t want to buy it, we want you to DO IT!”

Then I’ll need $1.5m every three years to replace my tools, redesign processes and…

Wait, $1.5m? Don’t you remember when last year we were managing changes via email? Don’t you remember the spreadsheets of Assets? Why $1.5m?

Technology has become complex and our colleagues want to reduce risk. Some also want to understand the value and depreciation of assets. ITSM is just IT Operations Management + Customer Service.

DING DING DING DING DING DING – we have a winner! Here’s your $1.5 million. But why every three years?

Think of ITSM tools like a car lease. Three years comes along, and it’s time for a fresh smelling one, the latest one with all the bells and whistles.

Do the bells and whistles keep the lights on?

No.

Then why keep upgrading and rebuilding your operations empire?

The tools and practices that surround Service Management change, and they change often.  Have you considered who benefits from that change?

Consider separating your systems of operation from your systems of service. It gives you the freedom to change platforms without impacting your customers.

The impact of this is far greater than you realize. We believe in building systems of engagement separate from systems of record. To understand the nature of this problem:

 

systems-of-recordDoes this image describe your problem? If so, you’ll be interested in understanding our approach to enterprise software. Read more here, or just call us directly: 1-651-556-1030

Should We Stop Calling it IT? The Case for Business Technology

Now that cloud computing and the consumerization of technology enable non-technical business process owners to address many of their own data needs—and digital technology is finding its way into a vast range of products (i.e., the Internet of Things) —is the term “IT” still useful and accurate?  Or is the abbreviation for “information technology” now too limiting, even counterproductive, in describing this function?

Should IT be renamed Business Technology?That’s the intriguing question raised by Robert Plant in a Harvard Business Review post. Plant writes that IT as a term “is no longer appropriate in a business context” and continues:

Continue reading “Should We Stop Calling it IT? The Case for Business Technology”

Six Questions When Choosing an IT Vendor – from CIO Magazine

Selecting a new IT vendor is about more than just checking off boxes for product features and functions. Functionality is important of course, but it’s table stakes.

When you’ll be relying on a software application to help fundamentally improve your business operations and the working lives of employees, it’s imperative to get to know the vendor behind the product.

six key questions to ask IT vendorsIs the company reliable? Are they the kind of people you’ll enjoy working with on an ongoing basis? Are they committed to helping you achieve your professional objectives—or just out to make a sale?

In a recent CIO magazine article, Rob Enderle provides an outline for such an evaluation. Continue reading “Six Questions When Choosing an IT Vendor – from CIO Magazine”

Virtual War Rooms: Collaborating to Solve Big Problems Fast

How can organizations solve complex enterprise problems as quickly as possible? Timeliness is essential to minimize lost revenue and productivity, and in some cases even damage to the corporate brand image.

Resolving urgent, multi-vendor, mission-critical types of problems requires collaboration. But coordinating the input and effort of employees—along with, in some situations,  partners,  suppliers, consultants or others outside the organization—who work remotely, are traveling, or are based in other cities (or countries) is challenging.

While there are a range of online collaboration tools (for functions like project management, voice/Web conferencing, and file sharing) on the market, most aren’t designed for in-the-moment, team-based problem solving. Nor are they focused on the most critical type of problem management from a business value perspective: restoring a service or operation as quickly as possible.

Usig virtual war room software for problem collaboration

A new white paper, Virtual War Rooms: Resolving Enterprise Problems with Collaboration Tools describes the current collaboration technology landscape; situations requiring real-time collaborative problem resolution; and the capabilities needed in an online tool to provide effective and efficient enterprise problem management.

Lost Productivity is Very Expensive

For critical business services in large organizations, every minute of downtime equates to lost productivity, which can be measured in real financial terms. When orders can’t be processed, products can’t be shipped, employees can”t answer phone calls or emails, a production line shuts down, or any other situation where people are unable to do their jobs due to a technology issue—the business loses money. For example, Gartner has calculated that the average cost of network downtime across industries is $5,600 per minute.

Solving Big Problems Require  Collaboration

Large enterprise problems can take many forms, including customer issues (e.g., a shipment fails to arrive on time); a public relations or social media crisis; business impacts from natural disasters; and information security breaches. But a not uncommon (and expensive if not fixed quickly) category is key enterprise systems going down, such as ERP, ITSM, supply chain, factory control, or email.

When such a system stops functioning, rapid problem resolution and system restoration is vital to minimize the expense, disruption, and interruption of vital operational processes. Identifying the source of the problem, correcting, and restoring service often involves communication and coordination of efforts between IT, business function or unit managers, and external consultants or vendors.

Using Virtual War Rooms to Coordinate Action

Online project management tools are generally designed for administering long-term endeavors. Solving large, urgent enterprise problems requires a different type of tool, one designed to enable teams to quickly formulate and execute action plans. Such a “virtual war room” tool should:

  • Enable internal and experts to quickly get up to speed on what’s known and what’s been done.
  • Allow tasks to be assigned and tracked.
  • Permit documents, images and other vital information to be uploaded and shared.
  • Provide real-time communication from any connected device, anywhere.
  • Maintain a record of communications and activities for later audit, diagnosis or training purposes.

Ideally, the tool should also be easy to implement, and even more importantly, intuitive to use: there’s no time to train anyone on use of the software when the enterprise is in a crisis situation or dealing with a mission-critical system outage.

Implementing a virtual war room tool enables organizations to make better, faster decisions in difficult circumstances; restore vital services or resolve other significant problems more quickly; and minimize the costs of lost productivity, revenue,  or opportunities. Download the white paper Virtual War Rooms: Resolving Enterprise Problems with Collaboration Tools to learn more.

Enterprise Request Management: How Kinetic Data Products Support ERM

Enterprise request management (ERM) is a business efficiency strategy that combines an intuitive Web portal interface with integrated business process automation to improve delivery of business services and ensure first-time fulfillment. ERM enables organizations to implement actionable self-service to accelerate business service delivery and reduce costs while dramatically improving the customer experience.

How Kinetic Data products fit in the ERM modelShared services groups (IT, HR, facilities, accounting, etc.) typically design their services and delivery processes around their own preferences and convenience. As a report from Interactive Intelligence Group puts it, “Many firms perform their business processes with no attempt to delight the customer.” Typically, each functional area has its own systems and processes in place for delivering services.

These approaches are function-centric rather than customer-centric. They require users to learn and use multiple methods for requesting the services they need, and to “manage” their own service requests (e.g., following up with emails and phone calls to “see where things are at” and keep needed approvals and processes moving along). The result of these inconsistent and manual processes is frustration and lost productivity.

The negative impacts of this “siloed” approach to service management are multiplied for complex requests that require services from multiple departments—for processes such as onboarding a new employee or coordinating resources for a development project.

Requiring employees to learn and use different systems, forms, and workflow processes delays fulfillment and increased training costs. And if these disparate functional systems don’t communicate with each other, error-prone manual data re-entry is required, leading to further inefficiencies, as well as to redundant and potentially mismatched data in different systems.

A new white paper, How Kinetic Data Products Support Enterprise Request Management, describes the technology components required to implement an ERM strategy, and more specifically how Kinetic Data software applications support key operations in the ERM framework.

A previous white paper, The Technology Behind Enterprise Request Management, defined the software components required to implement ERM in generic terms. This new white paper covers much of the same ground, but focuses specifically on how Kinetic Data products support an ERM strategy and where each of the company’s products fit within the end-to-end ERM model.

How IT Pros Can be Like X-Men (Instead of Ex-pendable)

IT leaders and their teams are often called upon to do things that are, almost, in the realm of super-heroes: protecting the company’s confidential information from malicious threats and villainous hackers; saving vital files from (inadvertent) destruction; guarding against (data) corruption; and performing amazing (technological) feats like connecting a mobile app from 2014 to a legacy enterprise management application from the 1970s.

How to be an IT superhero
Image Credit: Pat Loika / Flickr

And who wouldn’t want to think of their team as being like the X-Men (well, in the superhero sense, not the mutant part), the Justice League or the Fantastic Four—a group of individuals with complementary powers working together in pursuit of truth, justice and all that is good! Or at least in pursuit of more efficient business processes, new capabilities and happy users.

But too often, IT pros are viewed more like the Dark Knight or Hellboy–misunderstood, under-appreciated, separate. Different. Isolated.

In a recent CIO Insight article, Why CIO Tenures Aren’t Longer, author and executive coach Larry Bonfante notes that the average tenure of a CIO is less than five years, and contends this is due primarily to “dissatisfaction with the way IT organizations are perceived by their internal stakeholders.” Though the article focuses on the CIO role, it’s points apply more broadly to IT leaders and teams.

Bonfante details three reasons he believes IT professionals are viewed as less than heroic.

Bad Reputation

Like Hellboy—who has a serious image problem because he’s a demon originally conjured by Nazis (though he rises above this to become a good guy) —many IT teams have an undeserved negative reputation. In Bonfante’s words, there is “a general perception of IT as a business ‘disabler.’ IT is viewed in many companies as the ‘Land of No and Slow!'”

Bonfante helpfully recommends IT pros combat this perception by helping their business peers “understand the business implications of issues such as compliance and enterprise security so they see that you are trying to keep your brand safe from danger.”

And there are four more ways to fix IT’s bad reputation (such as making cost and decision processes transparent) in a previous post here.

Technology- (not Business-) Focused

Bonfante writes that CIOs and their teams are frequently viewed as technologists who spend “most of their time performing hardware and software upgrades as opposed to enabling their customers to have a more productive experience.”

A key weapon for battling this perception is self service 2.0. Whereas self service 1.0 focused on empowering users with information (e.g., knowledge bases and FAQs), self service 2.0 is action-oriented; it gives users what they really want, which is the ability to get broken things fixed, and to request new things.

Another way to defeat this misguided view is by offering schedule-based services, along the lines of the Apple Genius Bar. This approach is superior to the traditional help desk or IT service queue for supporting today’s mobile and (often) remote workforce.

Not Team Players

According to Bonfante, “many CIOs have not taken the time to develop their relationships” with their executive peers or “made the effort to be viewed as team builders.” They are seen instead as focusing “on their own agenda as opposed to working on being a key part of creating a cohesive leadership team that works across all siloes.”

While a non-traditional superhero (and somewhat extreme metaphor), Hancock suffers from a similar difficulty. Though he unquestionably tries to do good, the local police are less than supportive of his methods of crime-fighting and saving innocent lives, which often involve excessive and expensive infrastructure destruction.

To defeat this nemesis, CIOs and other IT professionals need to look for opportunities to extend IT tools to other functional groups across the organization; for example, by expanding the concept of an ITIL-recommended IT service catalog into what Forrester Research terms a business service catalog, which serves the needs of all shared services functions.

ERM to the Rescue

In an enterprise request management (ERM) approach, a single web-based catalog-like interface can be used by employees to request virtually any type of business service, resource or equipment. Even more importantly from the teamwork perspective, it enables business function managers and process owners—with only modest IT assistance—to build their own service items and fulfillment workflow processes. It gets people in all of those “siloes” sharing the same tool and speaking the same language.

Business users are beset on all sides by challenges to expand capabilities and increase the efficiency of business processes. They need (almost superhuman) help from technology experts. IT professionals have the opportunity to transform themselves from workaday schmucks to heros, not by stepping into a phonebooth to change into tights and a cape, but by embracing approaches like schedule-based services, agile service delivery, and ERM.

Release your inner hero. To learn more:

Expanding Beyond IT: Strategies for Extending Request Management Across the Enterprise

Presented by Bill Harter and Matt Howe

Kinetic Data’s director of consulting Bill Harter and sales engineer Matt Howe are presenting “Expanding beyond IT — strategies for extending your Kinetic Request investment″ today at the 3rd annual KEG (Kinetic Enthusiasts Group) Conference. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Denver event, or just want to review the session, here are some highlights of their presentation.

In many enterprises, each department or function (sales, accounting, HR, IT, facilities, etc.) has its own systems. This leads to very siloed thinking about business processes.

Enterprise Request Management (ERM) is like a company having its own internal version of Amazon.com, where employees can order any type of service or equipment, from any department (or group of functions), from a single web interface. Employees can also check the status of their requests at any time, similar to package tracking.

Though the scope of ERM is broad, implementation needn’t be excessively difficult, time-consuming or disruptive to operations.

ERM is not a product in itself, it is a framework with a new way to approach service request management.

A few specific comments on why we are doing this session:

  • You (or your IT groups) have tools, Kinetic Request perhaps being one of them. (If you’re not, and you’re curious, you can check out product details here.)
  • This isn’t a sales pitch. ERM is, as noted above, a concept–not a product. There are many approaches to implementing an ERM strategy.
  • What we want is your WHOLE organization (not just IT or one other business function) to take full advantage of the tools you have.

If I were to boil it down to a few simple goals for this session they would be as follows:

I hope that you each, in your own way, for your own situation, can increase your “focus on Expansion” (What might expansion look like for me and my organization?) of your current service request catalog approach.

As part of that we strive for you to walk away with some “new ideas” that you can action when you return to the workplace (What else can we do / try out to reach our vision?).

More specifically, this presentation will address:

  • ERM concepts: a few of the ERM concepts that will hopefully strike a nerve on your paradigms / perceptions of the deployment of request services — again with the goal to get you thinking about expansion.
  • Implementations: implementation strategies which certainly play a role in the set-up for expansion.
  • Expansion strategies: specific ideas on how to think about and position expansion.
  • Real-world examples of companies expanding their service request (ERM) approaches.

What is ERM?What I want to do here is highlight some of the ERM concepts that will hopefully resonate with the concept of expansion, starting with: What is ERM?

It’s a holistic approach, that centralizes service requesting, most likely involving some automation…. Self-Service 2.0.

As noted above, ERM is like a company having its own internal version of Amazon.com. It ensures first time fulfillment, lowers costs and makes for happier end users (internal or external customers).

Service Catalog Maturity LevelsThere are a few ERM concepts from that worth highlighting here. Forrester Research describes three levels of service catalog maturity:

(1) IT services (or subset of IT services)

(2) utilizing some automation of enterprise services

(3) acts as “services broker”

ERM thinking is of value regardless of an organization’ service catalog maturity.

In many enterprises, each department or function (sales, accounting, HR, IT, facilities, etc.) has its own systems. This leads to very siloed thinking about business processes.

The Six Sigma approach requires thinking across departmental or group barriers, to improve cross-functional business processes. It’s not always easy thing cross-functionally; but if processes are already optimized within functions, it makes sense that the largest remaining opportunities for improvement exist in the “white spaces” between different business functions.

The ultimate target is for Service Catalogs to mature from IT service catalogs to business (enterprise-wide) service catalogs.

Focusing on customer-centric fulfillment eliminates need for employees to manually manage their requests, deal with multiple departments, systems and processes, obtain approvals and schedule deliverables. With ERM, most processes are automated by software, and employees are shielded from the complexities of the underlying processes. Fulfillment is faster, more accurate, and requires much less employee effort.

ERM: Start by Thinking SmallThough the scope of ERM is broad, implementation needn’t be excessively difficult, time-consuming or disruptive to operations.

ERM is not a product in itself, it is a framework with a new way to approach service request management.

ERM projects should never end. The goal of employing an ERM strategy is not about ‘turning it on and being done’. It’s a framework for supporting improvable service strategies that can evolve with the ever changing need.

A key concept of ERM is using process automation tools to orchestrate back-end systems of records in many different departments or functions. That allows an easy move from narrow and shallow to wide and deep, automating complex requests that may span multiple parts of the enterprise using lessons learned from earlier and simpler types of request management.

You want to improve your on-boarding process?… Start by tackling the process at a macro level. You can always version it forward and improve things at a micro-level later. Automate and improve the things you can do immediately. If you have a part of the process that requires inputting data to five different systems, use the ERM system to collect the data once and input it where it can go. Even if you don’t have access to automate all of the inputs and fulfillments in the first phase, solve what you can. It will improve the process from where it is today setting up future versions of a process that continue to improve granularity.

During our scoping with new clients and as part of our delivery during implementations, we often find ourselves trying to convince organizations to take things on in bite size chunks.

It’s great to think “Big Picture”—but do it in small pieces. Rome wasn’t built in a day (or even a decade).

What is the long-term impact and how can we get there with short term wins? Start by adding services in the portal, even if they are not perfectly defined; they can be improved over time. No service is 100% perfect from inception. Get people using it, gather feedback, evaluate results, and continually improve things over time!

A good analogy is Facebook. Ten years ago, Facebook had a few features. You could “like” and “poke” people and send messages. Today it has thousands of features. They got people using the platform and had a vision to continue to roll out new content/features and integrations. Once people were using it—they were hooked.

Lots of little improvements make for big improvements across the entire organization. As you have success, you can take a foot out of the apple tree (we often talk about low hanging fruit, well let’s make more low hanging fruit).

The ERM Implementation ProcessAs a reference, here is a proposed guide for how to implement ERM process. As an organization identifies new services to expand into their catalog, this is a way to do it and evolve. This also shows the core technology components required for an ERM implementation.

LEGO Model 1

 

 

 

 

Thinking about it another way—because Matt Howe likes to build LEGO models—here’s an assemblage that’s impressive on its own, recreating an actual scene. But it is part of a larger picture…a larger “vision” if you will.

LEGO Model 2

 

 

 

 

Now we’re exposed to “more people”, more things are happening here.

LEGO Model 3

 

 

 

 

The whole picture…or is it?

LEGO Model - Full View

 

 

 

 

 

An entire section of Washington DC. (at LEGOLAND, not in Matt’s front yard room).

This wasn’t built in a day either—it started from a single brick. What’s the point?

Think of technology like request portal software (such as Kinetic Request) and workflow automation software (such as Kinetic Task) as key components—like LEGO building blocks—for creating an enterprise-wide process automation strategy which accelerates your business and drives innovation. Automation frees people from manual actions to focus on other—higher-value—activities. Activities that are core to your business, that enhance the “secret sauce” that makes your company different and special.

Why expand the use of service catalog tools beyond IT?

  • To leverage existing investments. Continue telling your company how smart it was that you bought them, and how they can be used in a myriad of ways.
  • Migration to the cloud. These tools provide integration with legacy/internal systems and processes (such as the new hire process)
  • To make other functional groups aware of what’s possible.
    • facilities (an underserved area of the corporate life that really matters to employees!); other IT areas [operations, NOC, service desk] lots of options for streamline and automate;
    • business groups [business-to-IT interactions, paper forms]; and
    • complaints – where there’s a complaint, there’s an opportunity!
  • To improve the business. Success leveraging your tools means success for the business. Realize their potential and change your business with them.

Start by taking stock of current situation.

Don’t limit your thinking to how your tools are used today; try to thing about using them for more generic business purposes.

When new product features are released, try to apply the concept to something in your business/organization/environment.

  • Review your current system and resources/staff.
  • What is the “vision” of your current portal/implementation? Are you meeting it?
  • Will new “stuff” be part of the current design, or separate? (Remember that what you have today is just one chapter, not necessarily the whole book!)
  • Do your staff have the necessary skills to help you “sell”? To back up “the talk” with technical know how?
  • Are new team members getting necessary training? Do they bring “extra” skills with them you can leverage (e.g., CSS, HTML, JavaScript, etc.)?

Share with the business where you are currently, and continue to do so. Put yourself in a position to offer a solution.

Set goals for expanded/enhanced use of your tools, such as:

  • Speeding up support ticket entry
  • Call scripting
  • Creating and analyzing surveys
  • Reducing costs (or avoiding costs) in other ways

Here are half a dozen strategies for expanding service request management across your organization.

Service Catalog Expansion StrategiesStrategy #1 – Expand in your current framework

For a majority of Kinetic Data customers, a “Service Catalog” project is what started our relationship. A lot of initial interest from a few years ago centered around ITIL’s service catalog concepts. There has been less discussion of ITIL lately, but the “service catalog” concept can be applied to many areas of the business: Marketing, Operations, Customer Service, Finance, Research & Development, Accounting, Legal, Facilities, HR.

So while there is less buzz about ITIL, there is much more about consumers, consumerization, customers (the “age of the customer” as Forrester Research phrases it).

Strategy #2: Create a portal—or expand your ownto include services for these other groups.

People are creatures of habit. Cultural changes take time and diligence. As explained in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, people adopt ideas and practices that are “sticky” and accessible. Don’t be afraid to help “tip” the culture from one of “I need help!” to a culture of “I’m going to help myself!” Ecommerce has already conditioned people to use the web for ordering products/services in their daily life. Why should work-life be any different?

If you want people to use a portal of services—make it EASY, available and seamless. Remove the barriers for self-service and make the user experience ‘sticky.” If it’s a great experience and it “sticks” in someone’s mind that it is easier to request something from a portal than from calling for help—they will use it.

Once you get people using the portal, you can continue to expand service offerings and improve things over time. Design it in a way that will support a long-term vision and is iterative. Don’t worry about being perfect out of the gate!

Business groups will be reluctant to adopt the system unless they can improve their productivity by receiving better business services.

Service Request Expansion Strategies - Beyond the OrdinaryStrategy #3: Think beyond the ordinary; use the capabilities of the tools.

Think beyond traditional service requests, to any business process/system with the need to request something (a triggering request submission) that will require others to take actions (fulfillment and in some cases pre-approval, etc.) . The workflow may be paper today, may be part automated, may be email only, etc.

Paper doesn’t support a mobile workforce; you have to store it; it’s bad for the environment. If you are still using paper, or if the term fax still exists within your organization…offer an automation engine tool for systems that don’t have one.

Automate. Don’t just enable self-help for creating help desk tickets. Can you solve the problem? Are you trying to solve the problem? Make self-help actually help.

Extend Service Request Ownership Beyond ITStrategy #4 – Partner with others and “the business.”

As a team you can achieve MORE…..FASTER! Distribute the management of the system. Don’t be afraid to empower groups within the organization to take ownership of their parts. It’s the concept of “self-help” again.. If HR wants to have a portal, encourage them to use the system and build it out.

By including others in the vision, new ideas will be introduced. Service catalog software like Kinetic Request is designed to allow for distributed management. If you want thousands of services built in the system, you will get there faster by having more people participate in building the service items they require.

It doesn’t have to be an “IT solution” that HR uses. Make it an HR solution that IT supports.

Strategy #5 – Show value.

Explaining value is easier with facts! Track, Measure, Improve. An ERM strategy allows you to empower users to help themselves with self-service. It also provides a scalable, repeatable and auditable framework for continuous improvement. To define key areas for improvement, it helps to break down processes to understand where automation can improve service and reduce cost.

ERM provides measurable cost savings through self-service.

Evangelize Request Management SuccessStrategy #6 – Socialize and celebrate

Success is many things—not just a completed catalog. Celebrate that you are changing your business, cost effectively. You are directly correlating to the bottom line

Don’t be afraid to sell or socialize your success! Ongoing evangelism is critical to making people aware of the power of the system. What people don’t know they don’t know. If you want people to take an idea and run with it, they need to know about it.

Thank you!

Next steps?

How Retailers can Cut Costs and Improve the Customer Experience with ERM

The world of retailing has never been easy, but retailers today face unprecedented challenges: product commoditization, “showrooming,” short product lifecycles, margin compression, and the challenge of meeting increasing customer expectations while reducing costs.

Improving Retail Service Request ManagementSelf service is one way to reduce costs, and hardly a new idea. The problem is that while it saves money, self service has too often diminished the customer experience, leading to frustration rather than delight. That’s because, as noted previously here, self service 1.0 was focused on providing information; it “didn’t give users what they really wanted: the ability to get broken things fixed, and to order new things.”

Self service 2.0, on the other hand, is focused on action. It provides customers (internal or external) with actionable services, enabling them to make specific requests, track the progress of those service requests at any time, and provide feedback on the timeliness and quality of service received. It automates processes to accelerate service delivery, eliminate redundant and error-prone processes, and reduce costs. But just as important (if not more so), it’s designed to improve the customer experience.

Actionable IT service catalogs are one example of self service 2.0. But while useful and efficient, their focus on IT services limited their value to retail (or other types of) organizations, and made them yet another department system to be learned and navigated.

Enterprise request management (ERM) is an ideal strategy for taking self service 2.0 out of department silos and extending it across the enterprise. It provides a single intuitive web-based portal for requesting any type of service. External customers can access a public-facing portal for ordering and checking the status of various types of services. Retail employees can access an internal portal for ordering services from HR, IT, facilities, or even complex services involving multiple functions.

For example, no retailer wants a customer to have to wait for attention from an employee who is on-hold with a technician, trying to resolve a problem with a point-of-sale terminal. With ERM, the employee can order the repair online (from a PC, tablet or smart phone), and get an instant estimate of the expected repair time (as well as the ability to track request status). Spending less time resolving such service issues not only reduces costs, it makes life better for both the employee and the customer.

While implementing an ERM strategy generally requires some new technology investments, most global retailers already have many of the pieces in place (such as HR, ITMS, supply chain and other departmental and enterprise software platforms). ERM is designed to leverage existing technology and training investments. And it empowers departmental managers to create, manage and optimize their own business processes—with minimal technical assistance—speeding adoption across the organization.

To learn more: