Multinational corporations (MNC) stretch their reach across regional and national borders, which poses numerous managerial challenges. As the evolving technologies get deep into the business nature and bring in new types of IT services and their consumers, one more task appears on the agenda of MNC executives - a global management of IT services.
Dozens of business units distributed around the world have their own IT support centers to ensure high-quality IT service delivery and smooth performance of IT infrastructure. And the problem that our ITSM consultants often face is that local IT support teams use different ITSM systems (like ServiceNow, BMC, Jira) at different maturity levels and in different languages. Logically, such a decentralized approach to IT service management blocks cooperation and knowledge transfer, as well as limits opportunities for optimizing ITSM itself and costs related to it.
One ITSM system for synergy between regional IT support centers
Being aware of the problem, many market-leading companies are taking a closer look at a centralized ITSM system. This approach implies choosing a single ITSM tool and encouraging all local IT departments to adopt a new technology. Let alone migration costs, regional business units normally perceive the idea with a lot of bias, for why change an application that is good enough for the purpose? Still, as cases like this show, investments pay off well. Let’s see now TOP-5 benefits of a centralized ITSM system for a multinational company.
#1. Maximized value at reduced costs
Global companies have locations in dozens of countries around the globe with every business unit requiring an IT support center. Adopting a centralized approach, a company can consolidate IT service desks situated in the geographical vicinity (say, those 10 service desks in Europe into a single European service desk) and this way cut costs related to their operation. One more bonus is that costs will get reduced while the quality of IT services will increase due to the following:
- extended support hours thanks to more effective shift planning within a consolidated service desk environment
- quicker resolution of issues with a high quality thanks to enhanced collaboration between IT teams and constant reinforcement of the global knowledge base
#2. Better management of IT staff
The same ITSM system in use by all regional IT support centers unlocks more opportunities for managing IT staff.
- Firstly, regional support centers can be complemented with virtual ones, extending the quality of IT service. This way, highly competent specialists are no longer locked in specific locations but can help to resolve service problems even in remote business units, which reduces the need to hire rare (and high-paid) specialists in every business unit.
- Secondly, all IT specialists can collaborate, update a global knowledge base and use the knowledge base inputs related to their tasks to quickly come up with high-quality resolutions.
- Thirdly, as the ITSM system can be tuned to assist in tracking the performance of IT support teams (for example, in a way that this article suggests), the management can easily observe the distribution of competencies of IT support staff by locations and can better plan staff development, including their mobility and performance coaching.
#3. Safe introduction of changes to infrastructure at a global level
With a single configuration management database for configuration items (e.g. hardware, software, services), changes to the technical environment (be it adoption of a new processing equipment or a change of an external service provider in a regional business unit) go smooth with timely detection and mitigation of the consequences of changes even if the involved configuration items are situated in different countries. Managing changes via a single ITSM system, a company insures against unexpected risks that are likely to appear if data is communicated between different ITSM applications maintained locally.
#4. Holistic view of IT services performance…
As the IT infrastructure and all the IT processes become transparent across regional centers, the company management can benefit from better reporting, performance and financial management regarding IT services delivery. Performance reports, including OLA compliance, can be generated for local and regional IT support teams, which gives a solid background for their transparent comparison and ranking.
That said, a company should make sure all the variables (e.g. a timely reaction of external suppliers and decision makers) are taken into account during evaluation. This way, performance reports per an IT support team will give a full picture of how well they stick to OLAs, by revealing those accountable for a breach (e.g. a time lag happens at the approval stage or before the first response). Such knowledge about the weak points will help to better plan investments into the improvement of IT services and in the end get a higher ROI.
#5. …and costs across regions
Coming closer to financial management, monitoring of the overall spending on IT support can be broken down by regional business units, which will provide more valuable data for financial managers. More detailed reports will bring visibility into the structure of IT services and their delivery costs, allowing for better planning and allocation of the required financial resources.
Overcoming resistance to change
To advocate a shift to a single ITSM system for all business units, a company should make sure that a new application is more convenient for both IT specialists and IT service consumers than the option they used before. Multi-language support, quick performance and the balance between standardization and customization of IT services provided – these are the basic points to keep in mind. Along with some standard workflows implemented globally, the new ITSM system should support customized workflows for the processes that differ at regional IT support centers (for example, if risk assessment or request approval takes a different number of stages). Likewise, the option to customize the look-and-feel of the software for regional users acknowledging the differences in cultures and the levels of maturity in IT service delivery will help to smooth the adoption of a new technology by all business units.
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