Service Desk Improvement – 5 Steps to Drive Collaboration

5 Steps to Drive Collaboration
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If you want to drive up employee collaboration on your IT service desk, within wider IT operations, and across your organization, then this article is for you. Within it, I outline five key steps for improving your operations and outcomes through the creation of the right environment for effective collaboration. Step 1 starts with collaboration on the service desk, with the following four steps talking to enterprise-wide collaboration.

This article by @patb0512 outlines five key steps for improving your operations and outcomes through the creation of the right environment for effective collaboration. #ITSM #Collaboration Click To Tweet

Step 1: Reduce the pressure, and make the room for increased collaboration, with self-service

When implemented effectively, self-service is arguably one of the most effective ways to significantly reduce the burden on the service desk. In Hornbill’s experience, when self-service is designed with the primary objective of improving the employee service experience, with rich knowledge, FAQs, and instructional videos coupled with the ability to automate simple tasks, employee adoption soars. Such that the service desk benefits from reduced ticket volumes and the ability to deal with incoming incidents/requests in order of business priority.

If self-service is working well, and helping you triage tickets effectively, you can enable teams to swarm and collectively address issues that are higher priority. By openly discussing issues in collaborative workspaces, your IT support personnel can draw experts into discussions, share information and expertise within tickets, and capture vital knowledge as work gets done. Extending collaboration beyond the service desk.

Step 2: Acknowledge the barriers to collaboration

Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review – that’s documented in How Collaboration Wins – highlights a series of barriers to successful collaboration in organizations. Importantly, collaboration is not just about technology. In fact, technology being difficult to use is at the bottom of the list of barriers.

Collaboration is not just about technology. In fact, technology being difficult to use is at the bottom of the list of barriers – @patb0512 #ITSM #Collaboration Click To Tweet

The top three barriers to successful collaboration identified by the research are:

  1. Siloed organization and lack of inter-departmental working (67%)
  2. Risk-averse culture (35%)
  3. No clear vision from leadership (32%).

Step 3: Recognize that the role of leadership is critical

The Harvard Business Review paper “Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams” highlights the behavior of the senior leaders in an organization as one of the most important factors that drives success in adopting collaboration. In short, behavior sends a far stronger message than other mediums. Execs need not only to articulate a clear vision of what’s required, and the benefits of adoption, but they must also “walk the talk.”

The behavior of senior leaders is one of the most important factors that drives success in adoption collaboration. In short, behavior sends a far stronger message than other mediums – @patb0512 #ITSM #Collaboration Click To Tweet

The most successful leaders are those who – in the early stages of shifting their organization towards collaboration – are task-orientated, communicate clear goals, engage in debates, and clarify the responsibilities of team members in the transition. As the organization shifts to new ways of working, leaders need to provide good feedback, often. The new culture needs fostering and reinforcement.

Step 4: Technology must be the change enabler

Research from McKinsey, Accenture, and Deloitte emphasizes that automation and the ability to painlessly adapt business processes and realign business models around collaboration are fundamental. Collaboration is not, and cannot, be a separate “thing.”

Today, as the world recovers from the pandemic, IT needs to respond to two questions: (1) How can we facilitate the digital translation of meeting rooms and common areas for socializing to replace the physical environment? and (2) How can IT work with senior management to ensure the ecosystem of collaboration tools provides consistency of use and process?

Importantly, collaboration needs to be embedded into operations – and the technology that’s employed – to ensure it plays an integral role in supporting business processes.

Collaboration needs to be embedded into operations – and the technology that’s employed – to ensure it plays an integral role in supporting business processes – @patb0512 #ITSM #Collaboration Click To Tweet

Step 5: Watch out for the common pitfalls of collaboration

We frequently hear of IT teams, and the wider business, rolling out collaboration platforms with an initial surge of adoption, which fails to stick, then quickly fades away. Whether it’s Microsoft Teams, Slack, or another of the numerous collaboration tools that are commonly used, the challenge is the same. These tools are not ‘destination applications’ i.e. they’re not the tools that employees open first when they arrive at work. For most people, the primary destination application is email. This is just one of the five key pitfalls of collaboration that we explain in the paper that’s linked-to below.Hopefully, this has helped with your thinking about improving collaboration. If you have any opinions or questions, then please let me know in the comments. Plus, you can find out more by downloading the Hornbill Creating effective collaboration in the remote working organization paper from which this article has been created.

Chief Evangelist at Hornbill

Patrick Bolger, Hornbill’s Chief Evangelist, is an active contributor to strategic groups and partnerships that influence the service management industry.  An industry veteran, with first-hand experience of the issues facing IT, Patrick is a recognised authority in the service management arena and a compelling and popular speaker at events worldwide.

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