10 years, 11 months ago

Improve ITSM by Visualizing your Existing Data

How can we improve both the service we deliver and the end user’s experience with technologies and data that exist today?

One of the problems we frequently find in IT Service Management (ITSM) is that customers have rich data available but it is not leveraged properly. We see this problem present itself when a user calls for support and the helpdesk doesn’t know what assets or applications that user is connected to. We also see it when management wants to execute a simple report and has to submit a technical request instead of running it themselves.

This disconnection is frustrating because the information is there, but it is not being utilized to its full potential. In fact, sometimes we see that the data is fed into related systems, but it is not presented in a way that can be easily consumed by end users or IT. The root of this problem is that an essential piece of data is missing: what is the relationship between the data and how it is useful in this context?

This issue is really part of the “Big Data” concept of data analytics and aggregation. In short, it almost doesn’t matter where data sits, as long as we can get to it, analyze it, and then provide an intuitive interface to visualize the aggregation. Tools are doing this today, every day and on the web. Look at the massive amount of information about you and millions of others a site like Facebook processes while providing an engaging interconnected experience. Why can’t our ticketing tools do that?

Granted, this problem is not unique to ITSM, nor is it necessarily ITSM’s problem to fix. However, if we focused on defining those relationships and showing them as visual objects in our ticketing system, life would be easier for both the technician and the end user. You would literally see a picture of the user’s IT life, the relationships, and what is relevant on an Interaction or Incident. Can you imagine typing in a contact name then seeing the following?


IT Service Management - ITSM - Richard Webner - Intact Technology Blog

Conceptualizing the user in these terms instead of a collection fields is much more engaging and powerful. You are literally visualizing how their world is affected by Incidents and Requests and simultaneously seeing how ALL of the data relevant to them is interconnected (contact info, related records, CIs, CI relationships, support articles). This would help Support and IT make better decisions because they could see the “big picture” and then be able to drill down into any part of it they wanted.

But is this currently possible? Most market leading ITSM tools are already doing this for CI relationships and outages. In most cases, the data is already there to do it for the user; it just isn’t being conceptualized this way. On a small level this could be done for showing ticket relationships, but on a larger scale this could be done for most things in the IT ticketing system.

Perhaps the larger benefit would be re-injecting the human element back into IT. Seeing the user this way instead of just data points would put yourself in someone else’s world and enable you to provide a better service. So if a user calls the helpdesk and they already know the environment that user works in, their role, and what their concerns are likely to be – wouldn’t that give the user a sense that IT is on top of their problem? If the data was aggregated properly and the manager could run his or her own report wouldn’t that give them a sense of value from the service IT is providing? And really isn’t that the point of ITSM?


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