Customer service and the user experience includes internal clients. From managing requests to improving information flow, departments outside of the technology organization struggle with keeping track of an increasing avalanche of email inquiries, work orders, status reports, and data updates. MeriTalk sat down with Andrew Graf, chief product officer at TeamDynamix, an IT service management and integration platform-as-a-service software solutions provider, to discuss how enterprise service management solutions can help internal departments organize requests, improve service levels, and save time.
MeriTalk: What is driving IT leaders in the public sector to seek out enterprise service management vs. IT service management alone?
Graf: One of the main drivers is to improve efficiencies across several departments, not just IT. Technology leaders understand that most departments provide services, either internally or externally, and therefore accept service requests – things like name changes, software or file access requests, and document requests. Those requests have to be managed from the initial intake to the resolution. Without an enterprise service management platform, each department has its own solution – which comes with licensing fees, maintenance needs, etc., that are typically overseen by the technology teams. Adding to the complexity, now more than ever, many service requests require multiple departments to contribute to the response. An enterprise service management platform helps teams across departments manage service requests, automate tasks, and ultimately provide better service through faster fulfilment. It also reduces the time technology teams spend supporting individual department solutions.
MeriTalk: What benefits do agencies realize when adopting an enterprise service management solution?
Graf: The primary benefit is a better and more consistent end-user experience. With an enterprise service management platform, internal and external customers have an easier way to engage with the agency. Another key benefit is improved collaboration across teams that have historically been siloed, which created service bottlenecks. They can work more efficiently due to improved workflows and task automation. Agencies can also realize significant cost savings because they don’t need to pay multiple licensing fees, maintain multiple solutions, or integrate those solutions. A single platform also delivers economies of scale. It’s easy to add more people and services as the agency’s needs grow. So, when an employee has an IT issue, wants to update their address, or needs to report an HVAC issue, they go to the same place and from there the request can be routed and triaged appropriately.
MeriTalk: What should IT leaders look for when considering enterprise service management tools?
Graf: Beyond finding solutions that have the capabilities that match their needs, technology leaders should consider their ongoing total cost of ownership. This includes things like the cost to implement the platform across multiple departments and the resources they need for ongoing operations and maintenance. IT leaders should look for a platform that is easy to implement, and one that is not intimidating for end users. A solution that doesn’t require writing new code is also significant because it saves time and frustration.
IT leaders also need to consider how well the platform performs in key areas. The first is self-service. They should look for a platform that has a knowledge base and catalogue of service requests that can answer questions automatically for customers. Having conversational AI capabilities integrated on the platform is a significant benefit. Leaders shouldn’t have to go to another vendor for that capability.
Another key area is automation and integration. IT leaders should look for a platform that reduces the number of steps teams have to take to satisfy their customers. I read a study that noted that 58 percent of people are spending five to 10 hours a week on tasks that could be automated. That’s nearly three months a year of people’s time. Finding a solution that gives that time back will give teams a lot more people power, and it will improve employee morale.
MeriTalk: We often think of enterprise service management as benefiting internal customers. How can citizens benefit from enterprise service management solutions?
Graf: Every citizen at some point needs something from their state and local governments. Whether it’s getting a parking sticker or reporting a downed tree, the services that government provides touch all of our lives. When people interact with government, they just want their questions answered. They want a timely and thorough response. That leads to a good customer experience. With an enterprise service management solution, government teams have a robust – and automated – way to answer customer questions and fulfil requests. With a platform that integrates conversational AI capabilities, customers can ask complex questions and get answers in real time. They don’t need to wait on the phone to talk to someone during regular business hours. They aren’t left wondering when they’ll get answers.
MeriTalk: What departments are most likely to adopt enterprise service management tools and why?
Graf: That’s a great question. In the private sector, the answer would be departments like IT, human resources, recreation services, and facilities. Enterprise service management tools aren’t needed by every department. State and local governments are different. They are some of the largest service organizations in United States. They have a broader need because most of their departments exist to serve constituents – transportation, utilities, maintenance, etc. I think it’s probably easier to check off the departments that wouldn’t need it. State and local government is the ripest industry for adopting an enterprise service management solution.
MeriTalk: How can IT leaders gain buy-in for enterprise service management tools?
Graf: Because of the service-oriented nature of state and local government agencies, they are used to providing service – and a lot of it’s time consuming and manual. They are dealing with old technology, they usually don’t have the capabilities they want, they are waiting for service requests from stretched IT teams, and they are dealing with customer complaints. Department teams just want their problems solved. They want tasks to be easier.
To gain buy-in, IT leaders need to demonstrate that the enterprise service platform will resolve those pain points and that it will not further drain IT resources. This is why it is so important to look for no-code technology that will not require a heavy involvement from IT for each team added to the platform.
Leaders can create a business case for each part of the organization. Then it’s a matter of demonstrating how the enterprise service management platform can resolve those pain points. While IT people typically don’t like to play the role of a salesperson, this really is a sales initiative.
MeriTalk: Why is an integration and automation hub so critical for an enterprise service management strategy?
Graf: When somebody requests something, a large majority of the time that data is available someplace, or that request can be filled in some way. The issue is how easily and quickly it can be done. That’s where an integration and automation hub comes in. It makes fulfilling those requests fast and easy. Building integration and automation can be hard unless you have the right tools. It’s critical that the tool doesn’t require developing new code for each new integration or automation. Many tools fall short today because developers have to write new code to achieve the desired results. The TeamDynamix integration and automation tool includes out-of-the-box connectors to many software systems, requiring no code, which reduces complexity tremendously. A no-code tool also makes the enterprise service management platform solution realistic for agencies because they don’t need to add resources. They don’t need more budget or more software developers. It’s critical to select an enterprise service management solution that has no-code integration and automation tools in order to get the full value out of the platform.
MeriTalk: What makes the TeamDynamix enterprise service management solution different from other solutions on the market?
Government agencies are complex organizations. TeamDynamix includes robust features to meet the needs of complex organizations, but we are also incredibly easy to own and operate, which makes a significant difference in resource-constrained environments like state and local governments. For instance, each department is going to want their own forms, fields, and workflows that make sense for the types of requests they get. With TeamDynamix, this can be handled directly by those groups – they do not need to involve IT. Easy to use, no-code enterprise service management is critical to adoption.
We also offer an incredible mix of enterprise service management capabilities, which help governments realize the full potential of enterprise service management. Our platform includes conversational AI tools, robust knowledge and service request catalogues that can be shared across services, good service management software and workflows, and no-code integration and automation tools that are the strongest in this space. We also meet WCAG 2.2 accessibility standards and government compliance requirements.