6 Ways to Unlock the Value of ServiceOps
ServiceOps is on the rise. Thanks to AI-assisted automation and a growing need for high-quality IT service to fuel innovation, organizations are looking at newer, smarter ways to deliver excellence for their customers. Bringing together IT service and operations teams in this way already makes sense to a growing list of organizations. In fact, new research reveals ServiceOps is a hit: 62% of ITOps and IT service respondents say it equally benefits both teams.
As it hits the mainstream, it pays to understand the challenges and drivers combining to kickstart ServiceOps initiatives and how enterprises can nurture their own projects.
What Is ServiceOps?
ServiceOps is a people-centric, technology-enabled, management-supported approach to unifying IT service and operations. The goal is to use technologies like automation and AI to reduce waste and costs, enhance the productivity of IT staff and improve the quality of both IT service and the end-user experience. ServiceOps often starts life as a grassroots initiative, born out of frustration of duplicated effort, friction and silos between the two functions. Yet, because the aims of ServiceOps align with those of business leaders — like cutting costs, improving communications and the user experience — it also gets C-level buy-in and funding.
Awareness of the term is growing as it hits the mainstream, just as DevOps did before it. ServiceOps can be hugely impactful, as its benefits extend across the enterprise, to DevOps as well as security, end-user management, GRC (governance, risk, compliance), engineering and product teams. It’s still in its early days, but 78% of IT leaders can identify efforts or initiatives for frictionless IT service and Ops collaboration in their organizations.
Why and How ServiceOps Is Taking Root
There are things that both ITOps and service teams can do better, which are in turn helping to accelerate ServiceOps adoption. On the operations side, it comes back to incidents and outages. If poorly handled, these can affect team members’ effectiveness, add cost and negatively affect the customer experience. Research reveals that two-thirds (66%) of IT leaders believe such incidents and outages cause a productivity impact of 10% – 25% or more on their operations teams, depending on the severity. Additionally, 57% believe these outages affect all employees.
Whereas reducing incidents and costs are top of mind for operations teams, for IT service functions, it’s more about improving processes for interacting with other teams and automating cross-departmental workflows to make this happen. Reducing cost is also important, as is enhancing self-service and change management, and automating request and problem-ticket management.
Interestingly, the same study highlights how ServiceOps is taking root in many organizations: 42% of organizations are using platforms for IT service/operations collaboration, nearly double the figure from a year previous (24%). Service desks are being used as a new hub for bidirectional sharing. This strikes at the heart of what ServiceOps is all about. Unifying platforms is essential to delivering the kind of efficient cross-domain workflows and automation that initiatives need to grow. The key is to align systems of action with systems of record.
Six Ways to Enable ServiceOps
So what’s the path to ServiceOps success? ITOps and service teams should consider the following:
- Ensure your teams have sufficient experience and skills: This is especially true for AIOps and automation technologies, which will demand new approaches to unify siloed functions. Focus on how to better enable the newest members of these teams to leverage technology to be more effective.
- Unify your team’s goals, priorities and objectives with the business: This is more easily achievable under a formal approach to ServiceOps.
- Ensure initiatives are adequately funded: This will require C-level buy-in, which should be forthcoming if projects are properly explained, because IT and business goals are commonly aligned under ServiceOps approaches.
- Build efficient processes and workflows: Consider the use of workflow automation tools to help unify service and operations once the right processes are in place.
- Invest in collaboration tools: These are most effective when used in concert with a platform for unified visibility and action, which can provide a common data model and vehicle for autonomous action.
- Get organization and management support in the form of executive-level endorsement. The same support can be used to release funds for cross-domain technologies like AIOps and automation.
With these steps in place, teams will start to see real benefits from ServiceOps initiatives, expanding beyond enhanced IT productivity, service quality and cost savings, to enterprisewide improvements in areas like security, revenue and innovation. In fact, some 67% of organizations with ServiceOps initiatives report the impact of these efforts has been “very positive” or “transformative.”
Time for Buy-in
ServiceOps will continue to evolve, formalize and standardize over the coming months and years, just as DevOps did before it. Part of the attraction is that it can make everyone’s job easier without requiring major disruption of day-to-day business operations. With the right methodology, initiatives could generate relatively high returns with relatively low effort — benefitting even non-IT functions like HR and finance.
However, to guarantee success, ServiceOps requires not only enabling technologies with the right experts, but also executive support. The key is for senior managers to back grassroots efforts with resources and enablement without killing the entrepreneurial drive that can be critical in the early stages.