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The End of the End User in ITSM

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What is an end user?

In the world of IT service management (ITSM), the end user is an employee within your organization submitting tickets or requests. Traditionally, the end user is characterized with limited technical capability. But, in today’s organization, the definition of end user is changing. The modern end user, in many cases, possesses a more advanced set of technical skills. Millennial employees make up a large (and growing) percentage of the workforce. They’re used to navigating dozens of applications on their smartphones. They want to find their own solutions within a few clicks, taps, or swipes. They have no patience for waiting on hold, or repeating their problems to multiple service providers. So, as product users diversify, we suggest a new term to better capture their service needs. End user is impersonal and generic. We want to think of them as who they are: sales executives, developers, graphic designers -- employees in the organization.
The end user is a number in the system, just like everyone else, and must wait his/her turn for service. The employee is an account manager with an important meeting, or a nurse that needs to assist a patient, or a developer fixing a bug that impacts customers. The modern digital transformation should specifically address the variety of needs for different employees, giving them all a place for quality service and full visibility, and this starts with a service management platform.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the term end user (and the traditional definition). In fact, many of these principles remain in tact. The description of the end user emphasizes the need to focus on user-friendliness. It has been a driving force for vendors to focus on a product experience that satisfies the largest number of people, which means placing a premium on basic ease of use over back end bells and whistle. All of this is great. This new type of product user creates an opportunity to leverage the same types of technology that consumer applications and services use to enhance user experience, but it also diversifies user demands, presenting new challenges to service providers. Today, all departments within an organization must provide service to this new, demanding, technologically-savvy employee AND the traditional end user, who simply wants to communicate an incident and wait for a solution. Of course, service management still requires a strategy that satisfies the widest variety of people. To achieve this in today’s organization, we suggest a new frame of mind: employee service management.

Employee vs. End User

Internal services help shape the perception of working for a particular company or organization. It starts from the moment a new hire signs on the dotted line with the onboarding process. From that moment, the goal is to make everything easy and frictionless for an individual, so that person can perform to his/her maximum ability. The employee experience can often define success for an organization. Just look at the lists of “best places to work.” Whether they’re national, local, or industry-specific lists, those companies are usually the most successful in this particular context. Defining a requester as an “employee” instead of an “end user” helps paint the picture of a “best place to work.” We think of employees as a diverse set of individuals with different needs and different skill sets. This helps broaden the scope of service management, while at the same time offering a wide array of specific resources that can assist all of the individuals with their jobs.  What’s it like to work at your organization? When an employee needs something, do they feel like just a number on the assembly line, or do your service providers offer tailored solutions and processes to find answers efficiently? The employee experience has never been more important than it is today.

Digital Transformation

The cloud adoption phenomenon has swept through the business world. As companies, government agencies, and even not-for-profits have moved toward cloud-based applications and digital resources for employees, it’s important to carefully strategize the employee experience for all of these resources. It’s especially important to consolidate wherever possible, limiting the avenues through which an individual employee must process information or requests. Departmental silos can create service hang ups, especially when requests require tasks or approvals from multiple parties (think about IT, finance, and facilities approvals for new equipment setups). One of the most frustrating things for employees is to wonder how to communicate a need. Even worse is to stay in the dark as their requests move across different lines of communication between departments. A service management strategy should include a service catalog with specific requests for all of these employees in one place, and a platform equipped to handle that variety of needs. It should include a robust set of self-service solutions that allow the tech savvy employee an opportunity to resolve an incident quickly, and on their own. It should feature all of the new back end technology that helps your service desk process requests efficiently, provide satisfactory solutions, and roll out effective changes to business tools and technology. There are a lot of changes happening in service management. Much of the discussion in 2018 will center around automation, AI, and self-service, but it’s important to remember why these topics are essential to the modern organization. The employees need answers, solutions, and resources from the service providers in your organization. Their needs are more diverse. Their demands are higher. Service providers need the most efficient ways to satisfy these needs and ensure your organization is a desirable place to work. The first step is to treat the “end user” not as a generic number in a group, but as a specific employee whose role is vital to the organization!
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Chris McManus
Chris McManus is a multimedia content producer at SolarWinds. He works with Service Desk customers on case studies and video stories, and he’s the go-to…
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