January 11, 2024

7 Practical Tips for Experience-Data-Led ITSM Improvements

It’s hard to ignore the growing IT-industry interest in and importance of experience data. Even back in Q4 2021, Axelos research found that 67% of survey respondents reported that their organisations understand the need to deliver better employee experiences.  

This, however, didn’t mean these organisations were actively measuring employee experiences and acting on the data and insights. Over two years later, much has progressed – with interest and action levels higher than in late 2021.

Industry tools and best practices have evolved, too, based on organisations’ issues and successes in using experience data for IT service management (ITSM) improvements.

One key challenge that remains, though, is the key step after experience data is captured and analysed – translating the experience data and insights into prioritised improvements and then successfully executing them.

To help, this blog offers seven practical tips for experience-data-led ITSM improvements. But first, you might need to understand the power of experience data and insights in improving ITSM operations and business outcomes.

The power of experience data and insights

Our partner, HappySignals, collects employee (or end-user) happiness and lost-time data. The aggregated customer data is shared in the Global IT Experience Benchmark Report with key insights from the latest report (The 10th Global IT Experience Benchmark: H1/2023), including the following:

  • The end-user perceived lost work time per ticket reassignment has increased. It was already an issue, but the latest HappySignals data shows that each time a ticket is reassigned, end-user happiness decreases by eight points, and end-users lose an average of 1 hour and 42 minutes of productivity. A ticket reassigned four times can result in a total end-user productivity loss of 8 hours and 22 minutes.
  • 80% of end-users perceived lost time with IT incidents comes from only 13% of tickets. This means that understanding where end-users lose the most time is important, as are the related improvement opportunities.
  • Perceived lost time correlates linearly with happiness scores, but the time-to-resolve doesn’t. It isn’t easy to explain, so I suggest you read the related section in the HappySignals report to learn more.

These three bullets only “skim the surface” of the insights and opportunities available through experience management. This employee experience feedback – both generic and organisation-specific – should be considered “free consultancy” for any IT organisation seeking to improve its processes, including increasing ITSM maturity in key areas.

But in my experience, one of the biggest challenges is how best to move from knowing where the IT service delivery and support improvement areas lie (and some of the root causes) to actually making the right changes to improve ITSM processes and maturity.

7 practical tips for experience-data-led ITSM improvements

I would recommend you approach making these changes in the following two phases.

Phase 1: Use the HappySignals IT Experience Platform to capture and monitor User Experience Data combined with ITSM Operational Data.

1. Capture suitable end-user experience data

It might seem obvious, but your IT organisation can’t improve employee experiences unless it knows what they are.

Unfortunately, traditional IT metrics are usually operationally focused and offer little or no insight into employee experiences. In fact, these traditional metrics – such as average handling time and first-contact resolution levels – are likely missing the employee issues by measuring the wrong things in the wrong places.

Even customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey data is unlikely to be suitable end-user experience data. So, there’s a need to capture suitable end-user experience data, along with operational data from your ITSM tool, to provide real-time insights into experiences.

2. Set experience baselines

The early insights into the experience your IT organisation delivers are also needed as baselines to measure future improvements.

They not only help show the improvements and the progress made but the positive changes can also be used to articulate the greater business value created by the IT organisation.

3. Focus on what matters most

IT organisations have been improving their ITSM capabilities for the last three decades, but how many improvements are focused on “IT priorities” rather than what will help end-users most? Capturing employee experience data is a great start, but what it’s used for is really important.

By prioritising potential improvement opportunities based on what employees tell you (in their feedback), not simply on IT industry trends and best practices, you can start to address what matters most to your users.

4. Use analytics to see more

The reported experience data is great, but to truly focus your improvements on the areas that matter most, you need to dig deeper into the data for a more informed understanding.

Having experience data and operational data accessible in a single platform will help you to identify not only the issues and their root causes but also the related processes (or process elements) where change is needed.

Don’t let analytics-related barriers limit or prevent your experience-data-led ITSM improvements.

5. Measure ongoing improvement

As already mentioned, improvements beyond the initial baseline can be used to articulate the greater value that the IT organisation is delivering to the business. However, the measurement of ongoing improvement offers even greater insight into your progress.

For example, identifying improvement issues (where the expected improvements weren’t delivered), justifying previous or future business cases related to experience-data-led ITSM improvement, or providing the foundation for creating and adopting experience level agreements (XLAs).

Then Phase 2 is all about using IT Experience data to drive Continual Service Improvement by involving People and reviewing Processes through a series of effective workshops.

6. Don’t ignore existing process information

To change the status quo, there’s a need to understand it first. The existing process information is invaluable in understanding where issues are and what needs to change. Of course, real-world process operations might deviate from what’s documented, but this will be highlighted in the workshopping mentioned next.

If there isn’t any (reliable) process documentation, this should be created before the improvement workshopping starts.

7. Involve affected personnel in process improvement

It might seem like an “organisational change management 101” point, but successful improvement is a collaborative effort. Once end-user issues are known, along with the IT processes causing them, there’s a need to hold workshops with the relevant people.

These workshops can be used to better understand the issues and what’s causing them before building improved digital process maps that highlight role responsibilities, system interactions, task processing times, and other relevant factors. This approach helps ensure the improvement addresses the underlying issues and does not merely apply a band-aid.

Watch our 3-minute explainer video:

Written by David Keen, CTMS Technical Services Director