Sometimes it takes a monumental event to force companies to change their “iron” business practices and delivery models. The events on September 11, 2001 are one clear example for the sheer number of changes companies were forced to make to adjust to the new normal. The COVID-19 Pandemic will be another.
The current pandemic has forced many previously reluctant companies to adapt by having a greater percentage of its workforce operate remotely as they are ordered to stay at home. While the technical and security challenges of a growing remote workforce can be a concern, the real challenge may not require any major changes at all – just the application and adherence to solid Service Management support processes – that is, those processes used to maximize the availability and quality of critical business support services. But are the existing ones used currently by a company really solid enough for teams that are being remotely scattered?
Each critical business service with its associated support teams could usually rely on some existing set of Service Management processes (e.g. Incident, Change, Service Catalog to name a few) when obtaining or providing support. But it was usually augmented by some set of informal processes as well - such as “swivel -seat” support from their neighbor, “drive-by” support where they knew a team was located or even overhearing of an upcoming major change that might impact their service. But with many critical support teams now (and possibly for long term) segregated and remote, the reliance on more formal processes becomes ever more critical.
Companies with strong and compliant Service Management processes (usually modeled on ITIL best practices) will be challenged with ensuring adherence and strengthening communication. Companies that may have immature or poorly defined/adhered to processes will find the new “norm” very challenging. In either scenario, there would need to be an immediate proactive evaluation on the current state and its ability to support the new delivery model. Some very basic questions to review:
- What is the strength of current Service Management processes (to include global adherence and compliance)?
- How well are the Critical Business Service Levels defined, documented and (compliance) managed?
- Is the Service Management organization and supporting tools properly scaled to handle the increasing greater reliance on and volume of processes for supporting dispersed Critical Business Service teams?
- Are the standard lines of communication defined and adhered to?
- How are the current processes “exposed” during the recent rapid move to remote support?
Be it continuing health concerns or some inherent cost savings of a remote workforce, concentrating and condensing company personnel into a single (or minimum number of) company locations is going to become less of an ideal option. Strong Service Management processes that are reviewed and scaled properly will make any shift to remote delivery less painful and easier to manage. Some of the best organizations never see or meet in person – but they know and trust exactly what they can expect of their fellow support team.
About John Sheehan:
John Sheehan is a certified ITIL Master, ServiceNow Administrator and leads the practice for Service Management and ServiceNow implementations for Morris Technology Solutions. John has more than 25 years in the IT Services industry.