How do I find my service management needle in the organizational haystack?

Guest post by Hagar Dinur, HPSW IT Operations Mgmt

 

Save time. Use a model.

 

hay.jpgIn the IT service management world, we may find ourselves performing the same (or very similar) procedures again and again. ITIL proposes that instead of recreating each procedure ticket from scratch, your IT management system should offer ready-set models which hold much of the procedural knowledge and automatically fill out the ticket accordingly.

Generally, this is a great idea to re-use organizational knowledge, for structured procedure processes, and of course, increasing agent time efficiency. By selecting the correct model when I open the ticket, I can save time and reduce mistakes in filling out the form and tasks. In the end I receive the agreed-upon procedure already filled out. 

 

Where is the needle?

 

However, as an organization moves toward using models, the list of procedures to choose from can become endless… Trying to figure out whether my issue (be it a new incident, a change etc.) already has an existing model in the system, and finding it, can become an exhausting search. So how do I find my needle in the haystack?

The immediate instinct is naturally to perform a keyword search. What could be simpler? After all, there are only two basic rules for a successful search:

1. Hope that the person who created the model named it using clear, obvious and relevant keywords

 2. Know the right keywords to search for

I don’t know about you, but in my organization, I can’t really count on either of those…

However, the IT team and I do have some values we agree upon in the system. The values I select to classify my issue, values like Service or Category. After all, wouldn’t these be the first keywords I would try in my search?

 

Think. Classify. Now search

 

I propose a form layout and logic that promotes a gradual progression, which would help me and the system focus the model search. In prompting the user to classify the issue before trying to select the model, he is guided to perform an initial assessment of the issue, before addressing its details. In addition, using those Service and Category selections as a filter for the model list, the system can quickly cut the model list down to the relevant items only, shrinking the haystack down to a bushel!

This automated filter would then allow the user to search and choose from a shorter, focused list. At this point, hopefully the user can easily find the correct model to use and in the end increase efficiency.

 

In HP Service Anywhere (V3) this logic is put to action when opening a new Change ticket. Change processes are often re-used (as it is preferable to follow a pre-approved plan rather than re-create a plan every time), so use of models in these tickets is highly valuable. In the Service Anywhere “New Change” screen, the user is prompted (though not forced) to choose the Service and Category of the ticket, before selecting the model for the ticket. Each model is linked to the Services and Categories it serves. Once a Service and Category are selected in the form, the options for model selection are automatically filtered according to the values.  This auto filter allows the use of an easy-to-use drop down picker, as the list of models is manageable (and not endless). A more detailed list is available in a dialog, should the user need it.

I’d be glad to know what you have done to help your users find the proverbial needle in the ITSM haystack. Please feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below.

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