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Bob Rizzo | November 16, 2021

How Automation Enables Proactive Service Management

Proactive service management is the future of service delivery. 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technology by 2022, according to IDC, but that creates a gap between the current state of service delivery and the service management needed to support that accelerated use. Proactive service management can help bridge that gap. But what does that actually mean and how do you create a proactive service management experience? In this post we will cover the basics of proactive service management and why automation is the key to building the proactive service management bridge.

EasyVista 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for ITSM Tools

What is Proactive Service Management?  

You’re probably familiar with service management, if you haven’t please take a look here to learn everything you need to know. Proactive service management takes service management a step further, transforming your service delivery from proactive to reactive.

It has been said that the best service is one that a user is not aware has been provided. By that I mean that the best way to provide excellent service when you’re in the business of IT is by keeping things running so smoothly that customers don’t need to come to you to fix their issues because you are aware of them and have worked to resolve them.

Most service desks currently operate on a reactive model. For example, a customer has an issue with a system or software and submits a help desk ticket for the incident. That ticket is routed to the service desk agent who works on the ticket to find a resolution and the interaction stops there.

Proactive service management flips the script. In this model, your service desk and service management software are constantly linking incidents to problems to identify the root cause for faster resolution, or that your technicians are continually documenting and sharing their solutions in an internal knowledge base to make it easier for other agents to proactively search out and fix issues before the end-user even notices. This is a key part of incident and problem management.

If you currently operate on the “run-to-failure” (in other words, you wait to fix something until it is broken or allow something to run until it fails on its own) concept, proactive service management might seem like it’s far too much of a change to implement. However, you can quickly change from a run-to-failure model to proactive service management with automation, which takes the stress and pressure off of the service desk agents and augments the user experience as a whole.

In this case, the automation being discussed is in the form of a self-service portal that is tied to the service management platform, both of which work together with your knowledge base to provide solutions quickly and easily while still tracking other elements in the background. 

It bears mentioning that there will always be a mix of both proactive and reactive service going on at your help desk. As much as we want everything to run smoothly all the time, sometimes it just doesn’t -- but that is not an indicator that your proactive service management strategy is failing.

80/20 Rule in Service Management

Part of the idea of proactive service management powered by automation comes from the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is part of the shift-left movement, and essentially states that 80% of issues coming to IT should be resolved via self-service, while the other 20% should be resolved by agents.

By moving the bulk of the tickets to self-service through the use of automation and self-healing technology, you free up agents to solve problems, proactively prevent incidents and problems in the future, and create more of an opportunity to think outside the box on the tickets they are working on. This also makes it easier to be agile at the service desk, which can propel your team forward into a more proactive style of work.

Benefits of Proactive Service Management with Self-Service

So why bother switching from a reactive to proactive service management strategy? Simply put, you can prevent downtime for the end-user, which adds up to major cost savings for the business as a whole.

Further, proactive service management with the power of automation can:

  • Reduce both cost-per-ticket and cost-per-contact and lower operating costs by hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.
  • Empower agents to solve problems on their own because they have the ability to access, diagnose, and connect incidents with additional knowledge available to them.
  • Reduce downtime for users which results in better customer service.
  • Increase customer satisfaction.

We sing the praises of self-service automation and its role in proactive service management often here at EasyVista because, quite frankly, we know that it can transform the way you work.

Technology for Proactive Service Management  

The 80/20 rule, or shift-left, are important parts of the bridge between the growing need for service and excellent service delivery. But that bridge is gated, and you need the key to that gate. The key lies in automation powered by AI to enable self-healing and high-level monitoring of all IT systems.  

Let’s take a moment to break down these technologies. These are a few of the elements of proactive service management:

3 Tips to Implement Automation for Proactive Service Management

Now that we know the technologies that will help create a proactive and predictive approach to service management, we can talk about the ways to implement them and move from a reactive only to a blended or proactive model.

1. Get Agent and Customer Feedback on Which Processes are the Most Time Consuming

A major complaint we hear time and time again is that automation is implemented in places that don’t actually need it. Think about it, it might be easiest to automate a process, but does that mean the process should be automated? Not necessarily.

Instead, get feedback direct from the agents and customers who will be benefitting from the automation to find out which processes are most time consuming for them, and which would have the biggest impact on their jobs. By prioritizing these tasks or processes and automating them, you can better support the change to proactive service management because you will be delivering what is needed to the people who need it most.  

2. Consider Remote Background Monitoring 

Remote background monitoring can be a game-changer for those who want to solve issues for a remote or hybrid workforce. We mentioned earlier a little bit about this type of technology, but how do you actually implement it?

It starts with the right technology, but it goes beyond that to create the processes surrounding background remote monitoring. You’ll need to delegate who is in charge of reviewing the findings of remote IT infrastructure monitoring and creating action plans based on that monitoring. You’ll also need to create a strategy on which elements should be monitored by humans and which elements you’ll entrust to automation.  

You can take it a step further with remote access support, which will allow you to manually solve problems on a user’s computer without disrupting their workflow. However, this is separate from the type of remote monitoring we are talking about here.  

3. Understand Self-Heal and its Role in Self-Help

Self-service technology is another game-changer in creating a proactive service desk, and we already mentioned its role in the idea of the 80/20 model. But how can you take self-service one step further with automation? By implementing self-healing capabilities.

Self-heal is still largely in development for many ITSM tools, but it presents a unique opportunity to solve problems for users before they even know they will have them. This is largely done by integrating the remote monitoring technology we mentioned in the previous point with self-service automation.

In practical application, that looks like having remote monitoring indicating which problems the user is likely to be facing, and then providing solutions to those problems or incidents automatically in self-service for either the customer or agent. Although this might be something you consider implementing later, it’s worth thinking about ahead of time.

Getting Started with Proactive ITSM

If you’re ready to unlock proactive ITSM with automation, your ITSM tool is the best place to get started. Making sure you have a tool that enables you to automate what you can while balancing proactive and reactive service delivery models is the most important piece of the puzzle.

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Bob Rizzo

Bob Rizzo is the Product Marketing Director at EasyVista. An accomplished sales and marketing professional focused on helping customers, he serves as the product evangelist, both internally and externally, for the Easy Vista Self Help product. Rizzo has vast experience working with customers and partners in the IT service management software industry and understanding the challenges they face. Outside of work, he is an avid sports fan and enjoys playing golf, billiards and soccer.