Getting over 700 responses to our survey on IT Self-Service was great, and provides a vast amount of information from people who have already implemented a system, and from people who are planning to do so.
The responses made very interesting reading, and I’d like to discuss a couple of issues that struck me as surprising.
Firstly, over 55% of IT staff had concerns that their users wouldn’t be confident or competent enough to use a Self-Service system. In an increasingly on-line world I find that amazing; surely, logging a call is as easy as buying a book from Amazon, or ordering your shopping from Tesco’s?
Or maybe the problem is ours; unlike amazon and Tesco, perhaps we’re just not very good at designing easy to use systems.
A number of respondents suggested that they had involved the users in the design of the system. Now I’m not clear whether this refers to the look and feel aspects of the design, or the actual functionality and operation. Either way, I think this is a good move. Not only can the users provide a unique perspective on how the system should work, they will also have a greater sense of buy-in.
Should we extend this principle out further, and, for instance, ask users to review our change management procedures? Should we have user representation on the CAB? I’m sure that there are organisations which already do this, but I’d bet that it’s the exception rather than the norm.
What other areas of IT operation could we usefully bring users into? I’m guessing that this isn’t a question that most us ask very often – more likely, we’re trying to find a way of keeping them at arms length!
Maybe IT Self-Service is a way to change this. Instead of thinking of Self-Service as a mechanism which reduces our contact with users, we should use it as a catalyst to get them more involved, and to build better relationships.