IT Service Management insights from across the globePart 2: Regional gulfs in service management beyond IT

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Written by:

Patrice Burnside, Industry Commentator, Axios Systems

Efi Nioma, Research Manager, Axios Systems

 


Introduction: startling variations on regional uptake of service management beyond IT

Is your team part of the movement?

 

Across the world, three in five organizations have adopted service management beyond IT within at least one non-IT department. This insight comes from a larger body of research commissioned by Axios Systems this year—the first installment of which compares regional IT maturity levels and budgets.

 

Discovering that the majority of organizations have begun pursuing some level of service management beyond IT (also known as Enterprise Service Management, or ESM) is truly inspiring. But it only tells part of the story. The rest of the story will concern anyone who wants to see service management beyond IT become a universally recognized business process.

 

So what’s the situation? In sum, the volume of uptake is starkly unbalanced across regions. A regional divide has emerged, with the US and UK pulling ahead of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH), as well as Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux).

 

What’s influencing this divide? Our research indicates a variety of reasons, including concerns about process and cultural change. You’ll find more insights on the main concerns cited in each region below.

 

But for as many sources of resistance, there are just as many sources of motivation and, by using these insights, you can create actionable talking points to promote the time-saving, revenue-boosting benefits of service management beyond IT within your organization.

 

By the end of this paper, you’ll be equipped to make a regional comparison of your organization’s progress towards promoting ESM.

 

But why does it matter? Even if you’ve already developed your own theories and opinions as to why we can and do work smarter when supported by service management beyond IT, it’s important to ensure your response aligns with the wider business priorities of your organization. At a basic level, there are probably three key points not to be overlooked:

 

  • To survive and indeed thrive within the global marketplace, each internal department must align strategies to become cost-effective, efficiency-generating service providers.
  • Enterprises that adopt strategies for service management beyond IT will gain competitive advantage over those that do not. They will prosper from the opportunity to reallocate resources from time-consuming, manual tasks, directed instead towards value-adding innovation.
  • Once scaled across a wider cross-section of the organization, they will also achieve greater Return on Investment (ROI) from their original service management investment.

 

Is your organization best-positioned to be regionally and globally competitive? See what you think after checking out the research.

 

Service management beyond IT: can you guess who’s leading the way?

Impressively, three in five organizations worldwide use service management in IT and at least one other department. Only 42% of organizations use their service management tool for IT alone.

 

So, who are the most prevalent adopters of service management beyond IT? Our research reveals the following departments:

  1. Facilities Management (13%)
  2. HR (11%)
  3. Finance (10%)
  4. Procurement (8%)

 

Services supplied by HR and Facilities Management, for example, are likely to enjoy significant interactions at all touchpoints of the business, and with all colleagues. In that respect, teams that process highly visible, frequently tangible service requests on a recurring basis tend to be early pioneers of service management beyond IT. This is a logical first-stage extension of service management in other areas of the business; after all, it makes sense to identify easy-win opportunities for service automation. Keep this perspective in mind as you look for ways to gradually introduce service management across your organization.

 

For more tips on introducing service management beyond IT, explore the human dimension of service management, as discussed by service management experts Stephen Mann and Rebecca Beach.

 

Observation: Worldwide, the majority of organizations have started rolling out service management beyond IT.

 

Implication: If your team hasn’t yet trialed service management beyond IT, now’s the time. The competitiveness of the global marketplace necessitates that each internal department aligns strategies for becoming the most cost-effective service provider possible.

 

Action: Reach out to colleagues in one of the main departments listed above, to identify pain-points that could be improved with better service management. Remember to use simple business language and avoid technical terms that could cause confusion.

 

Region by region, which non-IT departments are most invested in service management?

When it comes to regional experiences of service management beyond IT, a striking divide reveals itself with the US and UK on one side, and DACH and Benelux on the other. The largest uptake is seen in the US and UK. DACH and Benelux are more sluggish.

Here’s a region-by-region breakdown:

 

UK: Within the UK, two in three respondents report that their organizations are using service management beyond IT. Finance leads the way with 13%, followed by HR and Facilities Management at 11%.

 

 

US: Worldwide, the US shows the largest percentage (76%) of uptake for service management beyond IT, with three in four respondents reporting that at least one non-IT department is engaged. In equal measure, HR, Procurement and Facilities Management show significant participation, followed by Finance and other departments.

 

 

Benelux: In Benelux, just under 50% of respondents report that service management is used in at least one non-IT department. Facilities Management shows the highest participation (17%), followed by HR and Finance.

 

 

DACH: DACH sits at the other end of the spectrum, with just 32% uptake outside IT. Of the participating business units, HR leads the way, followed by Procurement and Facilities Management.

 

 

Observation: The largest uptake of service management beyond IT is seen in the US and UK. DACH and Benelux are more sluggish.

 

Implication: As the gulf between parts of Europe and the UK and US widens, organizations that adopt strategies for ESM will gain competitive advantage over those that do not.

 

Action: If you’ve not yet rolled out service management beyond IT, begin by focusing on a single project for a single team. Build trust and garner stakeholder buy-in as you demonstrate greater efficiencies from easy and visible wins. Procurement and HR are good starting points. Within these functions, collaborate to identify a range of opportunities to streamline processes, with the benefits being observed by a wide cross-section of the business.

 

Cultural change and other reasons for resisting service management beyond IT

Regardless of where you’re based, one of the most difficult challenges in rolling out service management to non-IT professionals is bound to be the natural pushback that comes with pitching such a concept, for many reasons. For example, there’s the misconception that service management belongs strictly in the realm of IT. It’s an outdated notion but, while it exists, you’ll need to communicate that the business benefits of modern service management will be only a fraction of what they could be, until each business unit actively shapes the delivery of services in which they specialize.

 

When it comes to identifying the individual concerns you’re likely to face, it’s interesting to compare regional perspectives. Again, the research reveals an interesting contrast between the UK and US, vs DACH and Benelux. Cultural and process change present the biggest challenges in DACH and Benelux, while budget and costs are major concerns in the UK and US.
If we review the findings about implementation concerns in greater detail, we see that region by region:

 

  • The UK is most likely to cite budget/costs or technical concerns, followed by security and training/knowledge.
  • The US also reports budgets/costs as a main concern, followed by training/knowledge, security and technical concerns.
  • In Benelux, change in culture or business processes is a primary concern, followed by a variety of reasons that include non-IT acceptance and buy-in, technical concerns, etc.
  • In DACH, respondents are also predominantly worried about cultural and business process changes, followed by the difficulty of gaining non-IT buy-in.

 

 

Observation: Colleagues in DACH and Benelux say that change in culture and business process is the leading concern when implementing service management beyond IT. Conversely, change in culture and business process hardly dent the list of concerns for organizations in the UK and US, where the leading challenges are technical concerns and budget/costs, respectively.

 

Implication: The core messaging around the service management beyond IT proposition should be organizationally and culturally sensitive, particularly in Europe. One of your responsibilities as a champion of service management is to actively address the concerns of your unique business environment.

 

Action: The opportunity to address these concerns starts with the very first conversation(s) you have with stakeholders and colleagues at all levels. Don’t wait until the business plan. But don’t forget to address them there, as well. Get advice on how to communicate better service management from Stephen Mann and Rebecca Beach.

 

Dealing with resistance: tap into the motivations that drive service management beyond IT

It can be easy to think of reasons why change is not practical, feasible, affordable, etc. One of the hardest things for us as humans is to allow our habits to be challenged by new ways of working. This exposes processes, and can create feelings of vulnerability among the people who own and participate in them.

 

Consider, then, how you can help people feel safe in the midst of change. One way you can achieve this is by tapping into the motivations and aspirations of the people who are accountable for service delivery. As anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of a sales pitch knows, this approach is often more productive than trying to sell a new solution on the basis that the current methods are less than ideal.

 

To help identify some of the leading sources of motivation in service management, additional research was carried out in the UK and USA to discover some of the reasons why non-IT teams are embracing service management beyond IT.

 

What do the findings reveal? The desire to increase operational efficiency is the most common motivation for adopting service management beyond IT, followed by the commitment to improve service quality. Responses also signify a strong desire to increase customer satisfaction and to integrate the available information.

 

 

Although no data are currently available for DACH and Benelux, these findings are still relevant for professionals throughout these regions and across the world. The universal business objective to improve operational efficiency and service delivery transcends locations, languages and business units.

 

Equally universal, however, is the challenge we each face, which is to convey the benefits of enterprise-wide service management for anyone who doesn’t have an ITIL® background, or who still regards service management as an IT issue. Or really, anyone who’s already got a pile of projects competing for limited attention and scarce resources.

 

This issue is not insurmountable. We can help you build an effective business case for IT investment to deliver innovation for your business.

 

Observation: The desire to increase operational efficiency: this is the primary reason driving teams to adopt service management beyond IT.

 

Implication: Understanding motivations and desired outcomes is instrumental to introducing the benefits of service management to non-IT specialists.

 

Action: To launch a business-wide discussion around service management beyond IT, seek to understand the motivations, fears and priorities of each potential partner team. Localize the opportunities for more effective business processes to the individual departments. Repeat this exercise for each source of motivation that resonates with your colleagues.

 

What’s next? Regional priorities for service management beyond IT

Across regions, we’ve seen which business units lead the way in engaging with service management beyond IT. We’ve also discussed the concerns that tend to dominate each region, and scoped motivational strategies for dealing with these points of resistance. Now let’s review each region’s priorities for extending service management in the coming year.

 

UK
Current trends: You’ll recall that Finance, followed by HR and Facilities Management, has been the biggest provider of non-IT service management strategies in the UK.
Predicted trends: In the coming year, Finance is likely to be pipped slightly by HR. Facilities Management, Procurement and Legal are also expected to play significant roles.

 

US
Current trends: In equal measure, HR, Procurement and Facilities Management have largely comprised the non-IT providers of service management across the enterprise.
Predicted trends: Over the next year, expect growth in this area fueled by these same players, especially Procurement and HR.

 

Benelux
Current trends: Facilities Management is the most represented provider of service management beyond IT, followed by HR and Finance.
Predicted trends: In the coming year, Facilities Management is likely to continue as the region’s main focus, followed by HR and Procurement. Finance is also represented, but to a lesser degree.

 

DACH
Current trends: Priorities here have focused predominantly on HR, as well as Procurement and Facilities Management.

Predicted trends: HR will continue to be this region’s leading driver of service management beyond IT, followed closely by Facilities Management. Finance and Procurement will also play important roles.

 

 

Observation: Across the regions, HR consistently stands out as a key growth area for service management beyond IT over the coming year.

 

Implication: This is a logical business unit to focus on, because service management opportunities in HR are likely to get noticed by a large portion of your organization, if not by everyone.

 

Action: When you focus on a department such as HR, you create the opportunity to showcase enterprise-wide service management with highly tangible use cases and benefits. Start small. When you promote best practices and produce noticeable results, you’re likely to win more supporters for service management beyond IT, and get the chance to add greater value across the business. This further anchors IT’s role as ‘supplier of choice’ within the organization.

 

Case study: see how ESM improves Finance, HR, and even Health and Safety

 

Want to get more ROI from your service management solution? Discover how Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has improved service management across Property and Estates, HR and Finance. SRUC shows you how ESM can also benefit Health and Safety, as well as Marketing and Communications. Read the full case study.

 

Conclusion: how you can capitalize upon the growth of ESM

There’s good reason to celebrate the progress and future of service management beyond IT. Worldwide, the majority of organizations have started rolling out ESM.

 

The largest uptake of service management beyond IT is seen in the US and UK, more so than in DACH and Benelux, where change in work culture and business process has become the top concern about implementing service management in the wider business. This concern is markedly different from budget and cost considerations, which are most often cited in the US and UK.

 

In your opinion, do these concerns resonate more strongly than the benefits of service management beyond IT?

 

As with any business challenge, you’ve got to weigh the benefits of implementing a new service or process against the costs of implementation, maintenance, etc. You might consider cultural or process disruption to be a business cost as well. Reviewing all these factors, a balance must be struck to achieve the desired returns from your investment.

 

But let’s not forget the fundamental realities of today’s competitive economy, which in many ways doesn’t acknowledge regional borders:

 

  • To survive and indeed thrive within the global marketplace, each internal department must align strategies to become cost-effective, efficiency-generating service providers.
  • Enterprises that adopt strategies for service management beyond IT will gain competitive advantage over those that do not. They will prosper from the opportunity to reallocate resources from time-consuming, manual tasks, directed instead towards value-adding innovation.
  • Once scaled across a wider cross-section of the organization, they will also achieve greater ROI from their original service management investment.

 

Service management beyond IT: still wondering where to begin? Start by reviewing this popular guide to implementing Enterprise Service Management. Focus first on a single project for a single team. Easy and visible wins allow you to build trust and foster stakeholder buy-in for bigger opportunities and more complex projects. In terms of specific departments, consider prioritizing or expanding upon a partnership with HR, which is expected to be the biggest area of opportunity to expand ESM in the coming year.

 

As a service management champion, you should actively address any concerns within the organization. Relay the opportunities, as well, starting with the desire to increase operational efficiency. After all, our research shows that this is the primary reason driving teams to adopt Enterprise Service Management. Understanding motivations and desired outcomes is instrumental to introducing the benefits of service management to non-IT specialists.

 

Concerns are real. So are motivations. Bridge the two in conversation about a shared business vision. With empathy and partnership, thoughtfulness and commitment, the benefits of service management beyond IT can be realized on a meaningful level across your organization.

 

What do you think? Do these insights resonate with the challenges and opportunities you see in your organization? Or have you got an entirely different story to tell? Tweet us @Axios_Systems or email IM@axiossystems.com, mentioning ‘research’ in the subject line. No feedback will be published without your permission.

 

Research background

We make a continual investment in research. This paper showcases research undertaken in partnership with one of Europe’s leading business schools. The research spanned across the US, UK, DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg).

 

The research methodology enabled statistically robust insights across verticals and I&O maturity levels. The sampling strategy focused on ITSM professionals from large enterprises with a range of 500 to 5,000 employees. Directly in line with research guidelines, respondent confidentiality has been maintained and results aggregated.

 

Fundamentally, the research objectives were to:

 

  • Provide meaningful insights which resonate with senior ITSM professionals
  • Reveal trends in service management
  • Identify key differences between regions, segments, industry, company size and maturity level
  • Stimulate a blue-sky discussion within your organization about developing better service management, based on observations around your industry, region and organizational size

 

The insights from these on-the-ground perspectives have also helped identify relevant and timely topics of interest to the service management community. Many of the themes have been converted into additional C-level briefing papers, which we continue to make available free of charge via our service management resources. From how to leverage user feedback, to implementing a successful service catalog, these resources are designed to address the challenges you face and opportunities you seek for better service management.

 

The service management market is mature, but the constant is innovation. At Axios Systems, we embrace our duty to innovate, which means giving you the guidance and tools to allow your organization to flourish and be an industry leader.

 

We constantly monitor best practice and seek to identify and address the real challenges faced by ITSM professionals. As such, the thought leadership we offer must translate into tangible and usable benefits to the market. We are passionate about being at the forefront of innovation, which is why we bring you this exclusive insight into the state of service management as it corresponds with IT maturity, budget levels and regional differences.

 

But it’s not just about offering you statistics. We’re here to help you align your organization’s current challenges with the untapped potential of a more robust service management framework, one which is tailored exclusively to your needs, your objectives, your reputation. And, ultimately, your ability to remain competitive and relevant.

 

Recommended reading

If you’d like to discover how an organization made service management work not just for their IT department, but for multiple departments including Finance, HR, Facilities and even Accommodation and Agriculture, check out our service management case study featuring The Scottish Government.

 

We’ve also produced how-to guides to help you build a business case for IT investment, successfully migrate to a new ITSM platform and learn how to integrate ITSM and ITAM.

 

If you’re looking for third-party analyst guidance on selecting a service management solution, we recommend you review Info-Tech’s Service Desk Software Report and the Gartner Magic Quadrant 2015.

 

View more whitepapers, videos, presentations and case studies in our service management resources section.

 

About us

Axios Systems
For more than 25 years, Axios Systems has been committed to innovation by providing rapid deployment of Service Management software. With an exclusive focus on Service Management, Axios is recognized as a world leader, by the leading analysts and their global client base.

 

Axios’s enterprise software, assyst, is purpose-built, designed to transform IT departments from technology-focused cost centers into profitable business-focused customer service teams. assyst adds tangible value to each client’s organization by building on the ITIL® framework to help solve their business challenges.

 

Axios is headquartered in the UK, with offices across Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia Pacific. For more information about Axios Systems, please visit us:

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