Expertise. Empathy. Automation. Availability 24x7. Composure under pressure. Collaboration. The list could go on when describing the ingredients needed when implementing an IT service management (ITSM) platform. I have been working in ITSM for the past 15 years from help desk to product development and now implementations working with clients. What I have learned is this: the attributes of a team are really as important as the capabilities of any ITSM technology.
When it comes to helping healthcare organizations become more efficient, building trust with a client is as much of a requirement for success as deploying automated workflows in ServiceNow. You have to have both technical prowess and soft skills.
Recently we sat down with a one of our non-profit hospitals to talk about what we had accomplished over the past year and where we were headed in the future. From our partnership together on level 1 support to ServiceNow implementation and continued optimization of workflows, here are five lessons (a few I have learned and a few our client shared) that helped us inch closer toward the goal of improving IT support.
1. Explain the “why”.
We work with several healthcare organizations to help make life easier for their level 1 support teams by implementing and designing workflows in ServiceNow. Often hospitals find it difficult to have the in-house expertise required to fully integrate ServiceNow. That’s where we come in.
Improving healthcare is our mission and we specialize in using ServiceNow so that healthcare IT workflows can be as efficient as possible. When we come to clients with advice and recommendations during a ServiceNow implementation, explaining the “why” behind an idea or recommendation is key to building trust in a relationship. We try to clearly explain the facts – what we can do, what we’re good at, and why it will deliver success.
While it doesn’t happen overnight, we have been able to establish an open, honest dialog with our clients. Being an experienced sounding board for clients helps them make informed decisions as they move through a ServiceNow implementation and navigate change management.
2. Listen and learn from the start.
As with any implementation project, you hold the kickoff session to discuss the business needs and requirements. How the conversations go in these early meetings are likely to shape the relationship going forward. As you talk through approaches and recommendations, share and ask for feedback openly so that each side of the partnership can become comfortable with that give and take approach. These meetings are opportunities to better understand specific business processes and operational requirements so that ServiceNow workflow modifications or customizations along the way will fit the needs of clinicals and IT team members alike.
Here’s a red flag: one-sided conversations or recommendations being overruled without a “learning moment” are going to stymy collaboration. A partnership will flourish when both sides can brainstorm, provide feedback and challenge each other in in a good way — those conversations will help prepare each side to take on a ServiceNow implementation and work toward goals like efficiency, satisfaction, and work-life balance for IT teams.
3. Think automation.
Our non-profit client says they are just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to taking advantage of the automation available to them through ServiceNow. First, you have to make sure that what the previous system was handling is being taken care of in ServiceNow, too. Then, think automation. How can you make things easier for people from caregivers to the IT team?
Automation can begin to make the service desk more touchless, especially when it comes to level 1 and routing tickets with the appropriate information. This non-profit hospital has seen automation increase first call resolution and reduce the number of follow up calls.
Process changes often go hand-in-hand with ServiceNow implementations and the pursuit of automation. One of the biggest processes changes this hospital made was removing the email box that people had used to get support. The problem was that email often lacked the correct information needed.
Now, they use ServiceNow to generate a ticket and automation either calls or routes to the employee service center. Instead of incident or a request sitting with the team, logic behind the scenes helps route the ticket where it needs to go right away.
We are continuing to work with the site to add additional functionality for even more automation, which will help with the work life balance for all parties involved and will help ensure the right people are working on the right thing at the right time.
4. Think differently.
You know deep down that implementing an ITSM platform like ServiceNow will require changes in processes. And yet, there’s still the assumption in the back of everyone’s mind that things are going to work the way it used to. But that’s not how it works.
Our client says that even though they didn’t make drastic changes, in hindsight, they believe spending more time on their change management process and education related to it would have paid off in the end. They would have taken time to catalog items based on the needs of caregivers and providers and prioritize those items more.
Also, they had to think differently about how they used groups and assigned people in ServiceNow. Previously, they had many groups assigned to the same kind of incident or request, but in reality, it needed to be more task driven. Dedicating more time to education around ideal standards and trying to set expectations could have prevented a few bumps along the way.
5. Plan for after go-live.
Going live on ServiceNow is a big accomplishment, but it barely scrapes the surface of what ServiceNow can do. The non-profit hospital says when people in their organization heard about the improvements made with ServiceNow then they wanted to take advantage of it, too.
From a strategic roadmap, take a look at your organization and determine what’s the next area who could benefit most and what’s the level of effort required. From providers to other departments like HR, governance, risk, compliance and others, what should be the next area of integration with ServiceNow? What are the budget considerations versus the potential operational efficiency gains? What will make the biggest difference to patient care? How could ServiceNow help your IT support desk have more work-life balance?
Implementing an ITSM platform like ServiceNow demands expertise and cool composure. Those days when the brain trust from our team and the local non-profit hospital IT team were working together to make IT support better was a great feeling of camaraderie and a lot of fun. Of course, we are ready to roll up our sleeves and partner with you and your IT team, too.
Director, Enterprise Service Management, CereCore
Director, Enterprise Service Management, CereCore