Social media in ITSM

Social media as an important communication channel in ITSM is an emerging new concept.  Social media has been popular for many years, but for many people, it is for the private life. The situation is an opposite of the early years of telephone and also the SMS. Then it was thought that the telephone would be only for business and official use. The developers of SMS thought that its main use would be for secretaries to send messages to their bosses during meetings. In both cases the social use was a surprise and overwhelmed the original planned use.

It is high time to wake up to the use of social media in ITSM. It supports two important areas: communication and collaboration. Social media is different compared to traditional ways of communication and collaboration. Communication is often seen as one-way street; the IT management pushes out information but does not receive feedback. Collaboration is considered to require physical meetings which are hard to organize.

The problem is that the customer may not see ITSM matters as very interesting and consequently do not read communication and do not attend meetings. Social media combines communication and collaboration. Communication is two sided as customers can raise issues and star discussions. Discussions are open and in many cases searchable, so that people can find discussions and return to them when it suits them.

Social media can lead to deeper collaboration as it may open new forums for discussions.

 

Guiding principles

Here are some guiding principles for the use of social media in ITSM.

Don’t try to control

You cannot control social media. You can only manage your own presence and contribution. If you do it well, you can almost manage your profile in social media.

Select your forums

Your customers will choose which forums they frequent and you can choose which forums you frequent. It is good if they overlap.

Be interesting

You need to be visible, you need to be interesting and useful. Share useful information and be active. Respond to questions and complaints.

Be open

When you share valuable information privately, only one or few persons will see it. When you share information openly, many people will see it.

Be positive

Social media can easily degenerate to forum of insults and threats.  Stay calm and send positive messages. Accept critical comments as constructive if possible. Delete or ignore stupid comments.

Create forums for experts

There is a lot of valuable knowledge of IT related matters outside IT department. Encourage specialists to share their knowledge in an expert forum. The discussions can be enormously valuable for those who are seeking knowledge in a special field.

 

Social media for communications

Social media can support communication. It should not be seen as the only channel; you need to use many channels. Social media is good for publishing frequent updates and for getting feedback. Social media can be used both in small and large scale activities. It can help with projects, large and small changes, service disruptions etc.

For example, most service desk communications should be in open forums. Instead of contacting the service desk, customers can check if anybody has had the same problem or question. Quite often it is possible to find the question and the answer without contacting the service desk.

Social media for collaboration

Collaboration across traditional boundaries can be very valuable and social media can help to cross various barriers. Collaboration requires communication, exchange of ideas can lead to deeper cooperation and collaboration.

Service improvements can be a good area for social media collaboration.

Don’t try to compare ITSM metrics.

It is a waste of time to try to compare typical ITSM metrics. All depends on the definitions and these can vary a lot. Here are a few examples where the same reality but different interpretation.

Number of incidents:

Case A: All user calls are logged as incidents. There are of 10.000 incidents per month.

Case B: Service requests and incidents are logged separately. There are 7.000 service requests and 3.000 incidents per month.

Case C: Some events are logged as incidents. Event management generates 10.000 incidents per month. There are 7.000 service requests and 13.000 incidents per month (or no service requests and 20.000 incidents).

 

Successful changes:

Company has 200 components which it decides to upgrade. The components are in 10 locations in racks of 20 components. It turns out that four new components fail and need to be replaced.

Case A: There are 200 changes with 98% success rate as each component is considered to be a separate change.

Case B: There are 10 changes with 60% success rate as each rack is considered to be a separate change and all failures occur in different racks.

itSMF Moskova 2012

Terveisiä Moskovasta. Kirjoitan tätä itSMF konferenssin näyttelytilassa lounastauolla.  Toisella puolella pöytää kohotetaan maljoja konjakilla. Oho, nyt minullekin tuotiin konjakki, hmm olisiko tässä jotain Suomen itSMF:lle.

It-palvelunhallinta kiinnostaa Venäjällä. itSMF:n konferenssiin ilmoittautui yli 1000 osallistujaa ja tungos on melkoinen. Isäntäni Roman Jouraviev matkustelee Murmanskista Vladivostokiin kouluttamassa ITSMn perusteita. Täällä ei olla kovin kiinnostuneita pitkäjänteisestä suunnittelusta, tulosta pitää tulla nyt heti. Venäjällä tulevaisuus on tupla-arvaamista, ennustaminen on toivotonta.  Itse puhun täällä aiheesta The Art of Survey.

Käytännössä IT palvelunhallinta on pääosin Service Deskien perustamista ja tyyli on kovin tutun oloista. Ykköstasolle valitaan osaamattomia henkilöitä, joiden tehtävänä on kirjata tiketit. Kakkostason asiantuntijat taas eivät välitä sulkea tikettejä. Valtuuksia ja tietoa pihdataan tiukasti. Toisaalta käyttäjien osaamistaso on matala ja SD ratkoo hyvin rutiiniasioita.

***

Tapasin Moskovassa Stuart Rancen, joka on yksi itil-kirjojen kirjoittaja. Hän oli yllättävän hyvin tietoinen joistakin itil-kriittisistä kannanotoistani ja meillä oli mielenkiintoinen keskustelu aiheesta. Olimme monissa asioissa samoilla linjoilla. Hän mm. mainitsi esityksessään, että olisi halunnut jättää yhden prosessin pois 2011 versiosta, mutta hänen ei annettu tehdä sitä. Olimme myös samaa mieltä sertifiointikoulutuksen kahlitsevasta vaikutuksesta IT palveluhallinnan kehitykseen.

Mielestäni on tärkeä ymmärtää että it-ala elää hyvin voimakasta kehityskautta ja parhaat käytännöt kehittyvät kaiken aikaa. Siksi olen itse päättänyt keskittyä taas uudestaan asiakastuen kehittämiseen. Tule työpajaani 30.10. kuulemaan ja keskustelemaan siitä, minne Service Deskit ovat matkalla.  Olen päivittänyt työpajan ohjelman.

%d bloggers like this: