The previous blog listed a few potential issues that need to be addressed in an organization to increase its chances of success with the IT self-service portal. Here are five more things that will reduce your chances of self-service success:
- Not addressing people-change issues.
It’s the “usual suspects” for organizational change management from communication, involvement, buy-in, education, and training to more communication and training. With self-service, unless a company has an autocratic leadership style, end users need to know “what’s in it for them” before embracing the change. And, of course, if that change makes it harder for them to do their jobs, or to get what they need to do their jobs, then the change won’t be embraced.
- Self-service is viewed solely as a cost-saving replacement for telephone access.
Of course, self-service could be this – but only if people use it. And for people to use it, the self-service portal has to be better and easier than using the telephone channel. Unless of course the telephone channel is removed, for some or all issue types, with end users “forced” to use self-service. Sadly, this forced approach still might not deliver the promised benefits of self-service, other than reducing the service desk’s workload – and at what cost? Is IT support costing the business more under forced, and potentially inefficient, self-service? Or are end users simply just “carrying on regardless” and working around their IT issues?
- Insufficient use of automation.
Just using self-service to replace end user phone calls to the service desk is sub-optimal in terms of improving costs, speed, and quality of service. Instead, workflow and automation are what will help with much of the workload reductions, efficiency gains, cost savings, and service improvements.
- Launch “apathy.”
The self-service capability is made available by IT, maybe even with somewhat of a fanfare. But it’s more about the technology being successfully implemented, and now being available, than about having a capability that end users want to, and do, use. It’s as though the “IT project machine” has merely ticked off that the self-service technology has been delivered and they can move on to the next technology project. Not only does this approach commonly fail to reap the promised benefits of the self-service investment, it also casts a long shadow over future attempts to deliver a self-service capability – as the launch apathy is replaced by end user apathy.
- A one-off attempt to encourage adoption.
A self-service capability is a “living thing” – it will flourish or die based on continued nurturing. So organizations need to continue to involve customers, actively seek feedback, and be open to criticism. Plus, to monitor usage, to continue to improve knowledge articles, and to offer additional end-user coaching and training where needed. Finally, they need to consider and try, different ways to increase self-service use and to improve ease of use. As we say in the UK, it’s like painting the Forth Bridge.
So that’s my list of ten potential barriers to self-service success. What would you call out as the things that IT organizations need to address, or to avoid, in order to succeed with self-service?