Traditionally, large scale IT changes such as an operating system upgrade were a push from the IT team rather than a pull from the end user. IT departments made decisions when and how to handle migrations; users would be notified — and that was that.
Now, end users are more tech savvy than they have ever been before. They want to be in control of their surroundings. They wish to have a say in their work and home environment: At home, they schedule massage appointments, they set up grocery subscriptions and pay their bills, all online. At, work, they expect to be involved, if not in the decision-making process, but at least in the execution.
This cultural shift impacts how enterprises need to handle planned IT transformation projects and to get the needed buy-in and support from end users to create a demand for the project and help accelerate it.
Email communication alone will no longer suffice for end user engagement, since many IT related emails get skipped, are not read or acted upon most of the time. In contrast, self-service capabilities allow you to actively involve your end users in the process. This way, the end users take ownership and responsibility in shaping the IT landscape — almost to the point of self-management.
Self-Service Benefits for the IT Department
One of the biggest benefactors of self-service capabilities as part of your software management or migration projects is the IT department themselves.
As part of your Windows 10 migration, for example, you can ask your users to validate or correct the information you have collected from various systems. To start, they will see a screen like the one below before the system walks them through additional screens asking them about computer ownership, their department and location, applications, a preferred migration date and further questions.
By enabling the users to provide crucial information, your team can collect data points without needing to perform manual audits, rationalize the software estate to what is necessary and used and slim down the amount of applications that need to be dealt with during an upgrade cycle.
Ever schedule users when they were out on maternity leave, on a business trip or vacation? It is frustrating and creates more work for your planning team! Now your users can select their preferred date and enter an out-of-office time.
Also, users can provide useful context for applications they are using. For example, if a user has recently changed job roles and does not need Adobe PhotoShop anymore because now she uses a CAD system for technical drawings, the employee can flag this for retiring. On the other hand, whilst the system might not know that certain infrequently used applications, like financial systems, are only used every quarter, they are essential and can be flagged as such by the user.
Ongoing Maintenance Of Legacy Systems
Legacy business applications, such as SAP HR system, if not maintained fully, can be quite out of date. If used strategically, self-service allows you to collect vital information that will make your scheduling go without a hitch (e.g., the ability to group users together depending on which building or department they are in). Also, you can validate and improve your HR-type data by cleansing and updating the data stored in the legacy systems with the new information your users entered into the self-service portal.
As you can see from the screenshots above, our tool Dashworks becomes a central command and control center — for your migration projects and beyond as you move to more continuous software asset management. To enable the user to move through the screens as quickly as possible, we never start with a blank page but provide them with the information that the tool gathered from various data sources, which the employee then can validate and improve upon.
Improve User Experiences For Future Projects By Collecting Feedback
After your project is finished, you can use the self-service portal to collect feedback, ask for suggestions for improvement, and run user surveys to close out your project. This is yet another way to improve the user perception of your project and hopefully makes your next project even better.
In summary, self-service capabilities enable you to:
- Adapt to the cultural shift from the traditional IT push to today's demand driven pull situation,
- Improve the user perception of your migration project,
- Get end user project buy-in and support early on,
- Add another layer of intelligence and context to the system data to make informed decisions,
- Minimize your software estate,
- Make migrations more efficient.
Where do you see the biggest potential for this in your organization? Are you already using self-service? Please feel free to share in the comments below.