Self-service success: 5 things to do for greater adoption – Part I

Previous self-service blogs have covered its benefits and capabilities, how to get started with it, and how the level zero solvable (LZS) approach can help to ensure the success of self-help and self-service initiatives. However, there are a number of areas that, if ignored or given insufficient attention, can derail and potentially wreck an organization’s self-service initiative. Five of which I list in this part of the blog for greater self-service adoption.

5 things that will reduce your chances of self-service success

The LZS blog explained how the lack of accessible and suitable knowledge articles can be a big stumbling point, but there are other potential issues that need to be addressed in order to increase an organization’s chances of self-service success. These include but are not limited to:

  • Not learning from the mistakes of failed self-service initiatives. These might be those of industry peers or previous internal attempts. While it’s generally bad news that there have been far too many self-service “failures,” there is at least a lot of learning to be had. With the IT industry awash with self-service mistakes that a motivated corporate IT organization could learn from. So ensure that those involved with your self-service initiative consult with peers in other organizations, and seek out other industry best practice, to better understand what to do and not to do.
  • The self-service initiative is treated as a technology, rather than a business project. It’s the “same old, same old” – the “let’s buy a tool” approach – where technology is introduced as the “end” rather than as “the means to an end.” Self-service won’t deliver the required benefits – across costs, efficiency, customer experience, etc. – if employees don’t use it or even if they don’t use it enough. So understand what self-service success is in business terms and think “self-service capability and management” rather than just “self-service technology.”

Learn how M&C Saatchi achieved 300% increase in self-service adoption.

  • A lack of end user involvement. This is where end users are unintentionally, or deliberately, kept away from what should really be a business and people-change project. Extending the previous bullet, a big part of why technology-driven projects fail is a lack of end user and customer involvement. With the delivered self-service capability either not meeting end user needs or being too difficult for them to use. The IT organization might also fall into the trap of creating the self-service capability that THEY would want to use. It’s the unfortunate result of not understanding end user wants and needs, and how they think and work.
  • The purpose, scope, and desired outcomes of self-service are misjudged. Ask “What’s the purpose of self-service?” If the answer is something akin to “To implement self-service technology to allow end users to help themselves” then the IT organization in question needs to revisit the justification stage of their initiative as the desired outcomes shouldn’t be “self-service technology” or “end users helping themselves.” Instead the initiative should be described and driven by a future end state that delivers a portfolio of IT and end user (and ultimately business) benefits. With its objectives identifying the issues and opportunities that need to be addressed through the introduction of self-service.
  • Insufficient planning for day-to-day operations. This is where the self-service capability, or most-likely self-service technology, is delivered by the project team without the people and processes required to make self-service an ongoing success. Whether this is to support the gradual increase in end user adoption, to continually improve existing or future self-service capabilities, or to merely manage the existing capabilities and content.

And more in the next part of the blog. How do you think organizations should improve to succeed with self-service?