ITSM

8 Questions to Ask Non-IT Departments About Their Services

April 30, 2020

8 Questions to Ask Non-IT Departments About Their Services

IT has goals around restoring service and powering internal operations for employees. As an IT pro, this is well-known to you, but you aren’t the only one who has customers within the organization.

IT service management (ITSM) helps facilitate service delivery within IT, but many of the best practices can be applied within other departments. Asking organizational leaders these eight questions can help them see through lenses.

Would you consider yourself a service provider?

Resetting passwords and fixing headset connectivity issues aren’t the only things qualified as a service. Services can include onboarding new employees, reviewing legal contracts, ordering business cards, and even repairing a light fixture in the restroom. Every department in the business has a responsibility to ensure employees are well-equipped to do their jobs. Although IT plays a big part in how well the business runs, other departments have just as much of a hand in the business’s success.

Are you tired of email chains?

Everyone has disdain for emails. Think about the number of times you’ve been copied on an email request that has nothing to do with your job? Your colleague unwittingly volunteered you for a service that you’re ill-prepared to deliver, and worse, you have no idea whose job it actually is.

It can be difficult for an employee to know who to ask for help, which is why IT introduced the service portal. The portal helps create great user experiences by giving service providers a single place to obtain vital service metrics, automate workflows, and collaborate across departments on requests.

How do you track open requests?

Email does not produce the data you need to keep services moving forward without a lot of back and forth. A form built into a service desk allows service providers to collect all of the required information upfront for requests or issues. For example, HR gets a request for an employee to move departments, a form built into a service catalog workflow will collect all of the information up front regarding the employee’s new department, manager, salary, application needs, and so much more.

Service level agreements (SLAs) are also a powerful way to ensure requests are fulfilled in a timely manner and at the expected level of service for the requester. This is something IT is regularly held accountable to, but most other departments do not have stringent turnaround times. At minimum, SLAs should include details of the service requested, its level of urgency, the time it will take for it to be resolved, and the people responsible for handling the request. SLAs can hold all service providers accountable and help keep requests prioritized.

Do you work with other departments to deliver services?

Onboarding new employees is common for any successful business, and this process involves multiple stakeholders. The HR manager ensures all new hire paperwork is completed, IT provides the equipment and helps set up passwords, and facilities sets up the workspace and security keys.

“Our admin, HR, and finance teams are saying using a shared inbox is not the way to do things anymore. We’ve had SolarWinds for about a year and it’s working well for us. People are starting to understand that there’s a better way to do things than how we used to do them and maybe we should embrace something that’s working already,” says Chris Sanchez, sr. manager of end user support at Zoro.

Do you measure CSAT?

For service providers, there is no performance metric more valuable than customer satisfaction (CSAT). It tells you the level of satisfaction your current customers are with the entire interaction—from finding your contact information, to the actual conversation, to closing the ticket.

“It’s important to listen to the customer. We can put all the tools and mechanisms in place but if we’re missing the mark then we’re doing a disservice to the customers,” says Desktop Support Manager and SolarWinds customer Jason Thompson of the Town of Gilbert, Arizona.

IT departments should have this down to a science, so share that practice with other departments in the organization.

What’s the best way for an employee to get in touch with your team?

If an employee needs something and doesn’t know who to ask, should they call your department? Is there a manager or team member getting inundated with random asks? IT often utilizes knowledge articles that allow employees to find their answers with a simple search in the service portal. In the event that what they’re looking for isn’t in the articles, they can submit a ticket and a service desk solution can help guide it to the right person.

“By training employees on how to use the service desk, we’ve seen less ‘hall yanks’ and direct messages to people on our team and more people going through the proper channels. This has helped us track the work as effectively as possible,” says Aronson LLC IT Director Azunna Anyanwu.

Could automation save your team time?

If the same types of tickets are submitted repeatedly and there’s a specific way they’re resolved, automation may be something to consider. Automation rules clear the technician’s plate of tedious steps, speed up resolution times, help create accurate SLAs, and give some time back to technicians to handle other tasks. This same automation concept can be applied to other teams. For example, a team member in HR can be the point person to sign off on every new hire, another is designated to grant all security clearance requests, and so on and so forth.

Do you get repetitive questions?

Repetitive questions can be time consuming, and if we’re being honest, unnecessary. There’s value in being able to recognize common issues customers may encounter and having a resource that allows them to solve the issue themselves. An AI-powered knowledge base stores guides and how-to’s customers can refer to when they need a solution.

“One thing we’ve concentrated on is trying to empower the end user. Things like the knowledge base have become even more powerful. With the adoption of that tool, we’ve probably tripled the number of documents we’ve published just because we want to empower the customer. If we can help them help themselves then everyone wins in that scenario.”

IT isn’t the only department that provides for its internal customers and can take advantage of service management. By incorporating other departments into service management, you’re giving the customer one place to go for anything they might need.


Sean Sebring is a Solutions Engineer at SolarWinds ITSM, and is a technical resource for SolarWinds Service Desk customers and prospects. His ITIL certifications include IT service management and IT service strategy, including  ITIL 4.