IT Service Management – setting new standards for outsourced IT service providers

By Dawie Bloomberg, Managing Director, Green Apple IT

As IT solutions commercialise and plug-and-play becomes the order of the day, IT resellers and outsourced IT solution providers are being challenged to adapt their services to remain relevant. This is seeing a surge in demand for IT Service Management (ITSM) – the linking of IT support to business processes and procedures to drive the effectiveness and performance of the organisation.

For outsourced IT service providers, understanding a customers’ business intimately enough to add value is a resource intensive exercise, especially when the businesses they serve are smaller organisations. However, in a rapidly changing technology-driven business environment, ITSM has become as relevant to small, medium and micro businesses as it is to large enterprises. These organisations want IT service providers that are willing to commit to the success of the business rather than just the smooth running of technology.

ITSM can benefit organisations by actively assisting businesses to improve their performance, boost productivity and increase the cost effectiveness of their operations. But it takes an IT service provider with both the necessary technology experience and skill and business savvy to achieve these benefits.

Removing complexity, fully exploiting technology

While technology is easier than ever to purchase, implement and use, it’s become increasingly difficult to ensure that the multitude of components that make up these systems such as user devices, platforms, application and networks, etc., are fully exploited and can work together to the best advantage of the business. This is where ITSM can add significant value.

ITSM encompasses a number of services. These may include:

  • Monitoring and managing the performance of servers, applications and networks.
  • Proactive intervention to ensure the business exploits all opportunities such as new features of an application or service that may arise.
  • Identifying and addressing challenges such as the need to scale up server capacity as the business grows before they impact the business.
  • Co-ordinating between third-party service providers including an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and application vendor to ensure customer needs are satisfied.
  • Ensuring licensing and system updates and backups are up to date.
  • Ensuring Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with third-party solution providers are met including time to respond and repair.
  • Taking care of first-line support to bridge the gap between the business and a third-party provider to dramatically shorten time to resolution.

Adding assurance with ITSM software

To keep track of crucial information relating to its customers’ businesses, it is vital that the service provider employ ITSM software. In the selection of a service provider, their use of ITSM software should be a key consideration. Quite simply, when a number of businesses are being serviced by a single ITSM provider, having key information on hand when attending to the customer’s systems or being actively prompted to implement scheduled maintenance or updates, provides some assurance of quality service.

ITSM does for smaller businesses what CIOs, IT directors and in-house IT departments do for larger organisations. It helps the business get a grip on IT requirements, the performance of its systems, and the potential future opportunities that technology presents for the business and the best route forward for the business given their budget and business objectives. Most importantly, however, it helps the business optimally exploit technology to remain competitive.

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IT Service Management – setting new standards for outsourced IT service providers