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James Ferguson | August 24, 2021

3 Use Cases for Employee Self Service (ESS) Software Beyond IT

Employee Self-service technology is dominating the workplace world-wide. The global self-service technology market size was valued at USD 28.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% from 2020 to 2027, according to Grand View Research. This unilateral growth is due to varied technological advancements like remote management and wireless communication.

This technology creates a solution to the age-old problem: how do you help employees stay productive enterprise-wide when communication, knowledge sharing, and processes between teams is so different.

If you’ve already gotten an IT self-service portal, you may be able to expand this technology beyond the borders of IT self-service to provide employees the ability to access valuable knowledge without interdepartmental silos and gatekeeping.

What is Employee Self-Service (ESS) Software


If you have a modern IT service management tool, ideally you will already have some form of self-service available (and if you don’t make sure to check out our comprehensive self-service portal, EV Self Help).

The ESS portal can be in the form of a webpage or an app that allows employees (or internal customers for externally facing support providers) to assist themselves when it comes to their need for help, information, or service. It’s one of many ways to provide self-service, self-help, and ideally self-care capabilities to those who need assistance, with that assistance often not requiring any input from support personnel. It’s also a key component in the “shift-left” idea, which you can read all about here. But the basic idea is that service desk agents will experience a lower call volume because a greater number of those seeking Tier-1 support are able to help themselves.

If you’ve ever worked in HR, facilities, legal services, or even marketing, however, you know that a business doesn’t only need answers from IT. They need help from a variety of departments, including help from coworkers in their department (which is made more difficult with remote and hybrid work changing the way we interact).

So what can help? An employee self-service software portal with access to an intelligent knowledge management database and the ability to submit interdepartmental requests. Just as you can take ITSM out of IT, you can also make self-service an enterprise-wide initiative.

Benefits of Employee Self-Service (ESS) Software

The benefits of self-service have a cascade effect. To start, when you empower employees to resolve their own problems or enter their own requests, you streamline efficiency. This frees up agents who resolved their own problems to serve external customers while giving service desk, HR, marketing, facilities, legal, and other teams more time to focus on higher-level issues that can impact the business as a whole.

This all amounts to less down time for everyone involved, and creates the ability to be more proactive in the resolution of problems that can impact external customers down the road.

In other words: time is money, and when you optimize time through self-service technology you also positively impact the bottom line.

3 Examples and Use Cases for Employee Self-Service Beyond the Service Desk

The uses for employee self-service (ESS) technology connected to intelligent knowledge management and service management software are numerous. In nearly every department that handles requests from other business units, there is at least some degree of benefit to using self-service technology. Below are three of the use cases for self-service software beyond the service desk that can help organizations recognize a more immediate ROI on the technology.

1. HR Tasks Including Recruiting and Employee Onboarding

When anyone mentions expanding technological programs beyond IT, the natural first business unit you might consider is Human Resources (HR). Outside of IT, you could argue that HR has the next highest number of employee requests and need for knowledge articles. This could range from needing answers about benefits, time-off requests, and employee onboarding and off-boarding.

For example, think of the onboarding process, which is the first impression employees get when starting with a new company. Forbes explains that according to The Bureau of National Affairs, “U.S. businesses lose $11 billion annually due to employee turnover”—and part of this is due to poor onboarding experiences. However, if you provide ESS technology with a user-friendly knowledge base and make that an integral part of the hiring and onboarding process, you arm and empower new employees with knowledge from the start, ultimately instilling confidence in them as they enter their new roles.

Another way for HR to utilize an ESS portal is through the recruiting process. The creation of a portal to handle everything from job applications to FAQs, testing information, and other resources can dramatically reduce the amount of time that potential employees spend on the recruiting process, while also freeing up HR representatives to review the most qualified candidates.

2. Real-Time Knowledge Sharing Between Business Units

An ESS portal gives employees the benefit of sharing knowledge between business units, in real-time, without disruptions. Using an intelligent knowledge management database, employees can make suggestions to knowledge articles, ultimately creating a better user experience for every employee, and it is all accessible through the ESS portal.

There are numerous benefits to utilizing an ESS portal with access to an intelligent knowledge management database. Customers who can share knowledge between units reduce the amount of time spend tackling each task, ultimately boosting their productivity, which translates directly to cost optimization. Furthermore, it empowers employees to solve their own problems and gives them a place to learn and contribute their own knowledge through real-time editing and suggestions.

For example, think of a financial institution with hundreds of employees across the globe. Now, imagine you work in the loan department, but need to find information about a process or rule in the business banking department. Rather than calling and sitting on hold with someone from that department, your loan officer can instead access the ESS portal and search for information on the procedures and policies they need to find, saving the customer time in the end. If the loan officer finds that this information is not valid, he can then submit feedback on the knowledge article so that it is updated immediately. The customer leaves happy and the employees feel empowered.

3. Product or Service Orders Between HR, Sales, Facilities, Legal, and Marketing

In the IT department, employees may already have access to a self-service portal wherein they enter their own tickets, track ticket progress, and even order items from the IT service catalog. An employee self-service portal taken outside of the IT department can have similar functions to improve the employee experience.

For example, just as you might enter a ticket for an IT request or new piece of equipment, an ESS portal can also allow employees to request building services or order physical supplies. As another example, think about an employee from the sales department who would like a piece of marketing collateral created. Using an ESS portal as part of an enterprise service management solution, the salesperson can enter a request for the materials needed without having to spend time on the phone explaining what they need. They can attach examples and include a detailed request, all while the ESS portal shares possible pieces to use in the meantime. This can make the job of both the marketing person and the salesperson much simpler.

This is especially helpful in HR, where employees may need to request things like time off or medical leave. Using an ESS portal, the employee can find information on policies relating to these requests before deciding whether they’d like to enter a ticket for help, saving time for the HR team and the employee alike. Additionally, employees can submit information pending review to the legal team in an organization, creating an easily trackable queue for anyone who needs status updates.

How to Choose an Employee Self-Service Vendor or ESS Tool

Now that you see the benefits of utilizing an employee self-service software tool both in and out of the IT service desk, you might be curious how to choose the right vendor or solution for your business. You’ll want to make sure to consider the following capabilities and vendor considerations:

  • Ease of use for employees
  • AI and automation integrations
  • Knowledge management database
  • Usage analytics
  • Feedback mechanisms and loops
  • Continued investment in self-service by the software vendor
  • Integration with existing software, such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other places where employees may seek answers
  • Ongoing vendor support
  • Onboarding and implementation assistance
  • Stability and growth of the vendor

At the end of the day, choosing the right employee self-service tool is all about employee engagement. By choosing a tool with these critical capabilities, you will increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

It’s important to note that even the best ESS solution must be marketed to employees in order to boost employee engagement. It is not a case of “if you build it, they will come.” Self-service adoption has a few critical components to get the highest ROI of your solution. You can read more about these components and tactics to increase self-service adoption here.

If you’re ready to learn more about how to scale your business and boost productivity with employee with an employee self-service solution that can be used both in and out of the IT service desk, click here.

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James Ferguson

James Ferguson joined EasyVista as the VP of Sales in 2021 and is responsible for leading innovative change in the customer experience in North America. Before joining EasyVista, Ferguson served as the VP of Sales and Revenue, as well as the VP of Regulatory Compliance for Fintech at CSI. In his extensive history in the tech industry, Ferguson was responsible for driving profitable growth and more than quadrupled revenues during his tenure with a focus on innovation in ARR retention. Through his collaborative leadership and strong focus on training and team enablement, he led a large team and targeted major players including the leading search engine, major social media networks, and leading tech companies specializing in payment processing.