For government agencies of all sizes – the goal of IT Service Management (ITSM) is to support the external services agencies provide to their constituents. And while ITSM maturity might vary depending on the organization – providing the best service is always the goal.

“Most agencies are doing ITSM whether they know it or not,” said Center for Digital Government (CDG) Senior Fellow William Rials, a former public sector CIO, CTO and CISO who is now associate director of the IT and Cybersecurity Program at Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement.

Managing IT services in the public sector remains a challenge for multiple reasons, according to a new national survey of state and local government officials conducted by CDG for TeamDynamix. Government IT teams often face staffing and resource constraints. The survey found that many city and county governments have 10 or fewer full-time IT employees. These staff members also spend much of their time on manual tasks. Only 20% of survey respondents said they’ve fully automated common ITSM functions. Finally, ITSM workloads are going up for government IT teams. Almost half of survey respondents said their organization manages more than 50 applications and services.

“A decade ago, a government was more likely to manage about 10 applications,” Rials said.

“The diversity of systems in a state or local government IT shop is just staggering,” Andrew Graf, Chief Product Officer at TeamDynamix, said. “They are probably more burdened than any other industry or sector.”

Considering the unique challenges public sector organizations face, automation and AI may seem out of reach, but that’s not the case. In fact, many agencies are investing in ITSM tools with automation and AI capabilities to manage tasks like tracking help desk tickets, resetting passwords, provisioning software, giving network permissions and more.

Newer ITSM tools tend to provide easily configurable workflows and integrations, which allow IT staff to spend more time on higher-value ITSM tasks. Modern ITSM solutions also enable workflow automation, a critical goal for most government IT organizations.

More than half (59%) of CDG survey respondents said they are automating ITSM workflows now or plan to do so over the next 12 to 18 months.

“Not everything can be automated or should be automated,” Graf said. “But using automation the right way can relieve the burden on IT staff and improve service for users.” Along with automation, agencies are planning a range of other ITSM improvements, according to the survey. Top priorities include software asset management, integrations with enterprise systems and improving IT self-service portals.

Investing in the Right Tool with Automation and AI

The first step toward improving service delivery through the implementation of enterprise ITSM is assessing your organization’s IT maturity and identifying areas where service improvements can be made, Rials said.

According to the CDG survey, about half (53%) of agencies have implemented incident management processes that standardize and strengthen their response to IT service issues. But fewer organizations (38%) have developed strong change management systems to document and track new or modified applications. And fewer still (34%) have adopted self-service capabilities that let employees reset passwords and solve other common IT service issues themselves.

“These aren’t weaknesses; they’re opportunities,” Graf said. “There’s an opportunity at every stage to ask if a good tool in the space will help the organization mature.”

When it comes to AI – a great entry point for organizations is to use conversational AI chatbots as part of the self-service experience. Modern ITSM solutions make it simple to configure user-friendly self-service resources for internal staff — and these resources are becoming even more powerful with the addition of AI.

Conversational AI chatbots trained on an organization’s own documentation and self-service information can respond to as many as 80 percent of routine IT service queries, according to Graf. Together, self-service portals and chatbots can also address a longstanding organizational issue — efficiently sharing institutional knowledge.

“Every agency has an employee who has been there forever and knows everything,” Rials said. Modern systems can preserve this institutional knowledge and free up those employees to handle other tasks. “It provides the power of institutional knowledge from day one,” he said.

Evolving Beyond IT

The core business of government isn’t IT, and an enterprise ITSM platform can do more than manage technology services. In addition to ITSM, many of these platforms can handle other time-intensive internal service processes, such as human resources and procurement functions through something called Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

With the low-code/no-code capabilities in modern ITSM platforms, HR and finance departments can work with IT to automate manual workflows and then, in many cases, manage them on their own. These capabilities can also be used to support services for residents.

“The same philosophies and tools we use to track internal services can be used for anything public-facing,” Rials said. “A constituent may need to figure out what form they need to fill out. That’s not a technical problem, but the same [self-service] flow can help them navigate.”

In addition, enterprise technology platforms address a longstanding problem residents face in navigating government services: knowing which agency or website pertains to their specific needs. “With AI-powered support, a chatbot or self-service page can take into account what a resident is trying to do and integrate with other departments to deliver the service they need,” Rials said.

City of Avondale Achieves Greater Efficiency with Enterprise Service Management

For the City of Avondale, the TeamDynamix Enterprise Service Management (ESM) platform plays a critical role in helping multiple branches of city government with service delivery – not just the IT department. The government for the City of Avondale consists of 14 departments serving nearly 100,000 residents.

Avondale CIO Jeff Scheetz said his department has created workflows and automation to handle help desk service requests and it’s transformed the way they deliver IT service for the city, “With the portal, IT has been able to create workflows and automations, rather than managing the many email and tickets requests. The workflow ensures that the requests are handled efficiently and provides additional reporting capabilities.”

And that visibility has been critical to the improved success of service delivery, “We have much better communication now, and tickets are getting handled much faster,” Scheetz said.

Outside of IT, Human Resources, Facilities and Finance are using TeamDynamix to streamline their processes.

Before TeamDynamix, Scheetz said onboarding new employees was a multistep process that was quite cumbersome, involved a lot of paper shuffling and often took a while to complete. Now, the entire workflow can be initiated with a single service request that is routed to the various departments needed, automatically.

TeamDynamix has not only helped streamline workflows and improve communication among city employees; it also provides key insights that help leaders manage their departments more effectively.

“We can see trends and patterns that help us deploy our limited resources more intelligently,” Scheetz explained. “Everybody [in government] has a limited staff, having a system like TeamDynamix makes a huge difference.”

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