Your business is only as good as the experiences it offers its customers. Despite that, many organizations need help to provide great customer experiences for several reasons. It could be a lack of alignment between internal teams or a lack of visibility into the infrastructure that powers your delivery process.
It is one of the reasons why organizations in almost every industry have made good customer experience a top priority for IT investments.
To resolve this issue, companies can employ an IT discovery solution to keep track of their organization’s network, systems, and services. The question remains: how does implementing such a solution impact the overall customer service delivery process?
This article will discuss what IT service delivery means, common challenges in service delivery, and how implementing a discovery solution can improve the service delivery process.
What is service delivery?
Service delivery is a broad term that encompasses many activities an organization undertakes to ensure its service is effective, efficient, and meets customer expectations. It is a subset of service management focused on once the service has been developed thoroughly.
Service management can be divided into two parts: service design and service operations. The former involves creating a new or modifying an existing service request. It also includes analyzing the business requirement and defining the technical specifications of the new or modified request.
Service operations involve managing, maintaining, and optimizing a portfolio of services through its lifecycle and related processes. It can include planning, providing, and monitoring the required level of quality and productivity for each service delivery process.
In this context, IT discovery focuses on understanding how IT infrastructure can support business requirements while driving cost efficiency in terms of IT infrastructure cost and usage.
Challenges of IT service delivery
Internal and customer-facing teams face several challenges when delivering an excellent experience consistently. Here are a few of these organization-wide challenges:
Data is scattered across multiple systems, and team
For internal teams to be effective, they need a way to view the entire process lifecycle in one holistic view. They need the data to help them understand and resolve an issue for customers—and they need it fast.
Suppose an internal team tries troubleshooting a problem with an internal system currently impacting their customers. It can take hours to find the root cause because the data is scattered throughout the organization.
Difficult to identify bottlenecks in the process lifecycle
When identifying infrastructure bottlenecks, internal teams may not know who is working on this process and how far they are from resolving it. Sometimes, they do not even know if they have bottlenecks in their infrastructure. They want to know about the state of their environment and how well it is provisioned to be proactive in addressing issues before they arise.
Such operational challenges could eventually result in a massive service outage—impacting customers for an extended period.
Lack of technical support for internal teams
As consumer expectations continue to increase, service delivery teams are left with a challenging situation. To provide their customers with the best experience possible, they need to have the correct data at their fingertips.
Unfortunately, IT teams often cannot give their customer service agents access to the information they need to do their jobs effectively. As a result, agents often have no clear path to follow when resolving customer issues, leading to poor customer satisfaction and even lost business.
Inability to meet service level agreements consistently
Customer support teams are held accountable for meeting their service level agreements (SLAs). For instance, SLAs that govern support timeframes require support teams to respond to user requests within a certain number of hours. Service level agreements are supposed to be met to ensure that customers receive the level of service they expect.
In reality, though, IT disruptions can have a significant impact on whether or not IT support teams meet their SLAs. Unfortunately, tracking and identifying the cause of those disruptions is complicated and time-consuming.
Issues arise when there is a lack of information about what went wrong with critical IT infrastructure. Support teams cannot implement preventative steps or take corrective action when there is no clear picture of what caused a disruption. It can lead to unexpected service outages and breached SLAs, ultimately leading to poor customer satisfaction.
The ITIL 4 service value chain
In ITIL 4, the basis of the ITSM framework, the service value chain is the centerpiece of the service value system. It forms the basis of excellent service delivery in the IT space.
The entire guide lists 34 management practices—out of which, here are a few practices that IT discovery can help you with:
The link between IT discovery and service management practices
- Service Desk Support: Customers rely on the service desk to report incidents they encounter or problems they notice and to get them fixed as quickly as possible. IT discovery is vital to ensure issues do not fall through the cracks or get missed by other teams. For the service desk—and other support teams—to be effective, there needs to be a process for identifying, investigating, prioritizing, and resolving issues as soon as they are reported.
- Incident Management: When you understand what is wrong, you can begin working on a solution. Discovery helps you gain knowledge about incidents—what happened, where, and who was affected—and about putting together a plan that will lead you to a resolution. So, IT discovery plays a vital role in incident management: without it, you cannot even get started on problem resolution.
- Demand and Capacity Management: DCM is increasingly essential for companies because the demands on your IT systems vary widely over time. You need to identify the demand and strengthen your systems for the changes. It helps you avoid frustration with slow and unresponsive applications and allows your employees to serve customers without delay. You can stay on top of your demand using an IT discovery solution at any given point.
- Security Management: Security management is a critical function of any business. In the past few years, data breaches and identity theft have been on the rise. The responsibility of keeping customers’ information safe falls on IT. A breach can be costly in both business and reputation; however, you can avoid it with proper security management. Security management is just one aspect of the IT discovery process that helps ensure your company’s systems run optimally and efficiently.
- Continual Improvement: The role of continual improvement in service delivery is critical. Through IT discovery, you can learn about your existing IT systems and identify areas for improvement. You can use this information to make small, incremental changes to improve your IT systems’ availability, performance, resilience, responsiveness, and security. The customer experience will improve over time as applications become more of a pleasure to use.
- Change and Release Management: New capabilities and services are only as good as the quality of their delivery. You may have the most impressive new feature, but if it is delivered poorly, customers might think you are less competent than your competitors. It can result in lost business or trust, which can take years to regain. It is essential to test whether a new feature will work with existing systems before it is released to users. You can see how the services and applications are affected using an IT discovery solution. If unexpected disruptions occur, you know exactly which application or server is malfunctioning—helping you manage the situation quickly.
Using IT discovery to improve the service delivery chain
From a service delivery perspective, IT discovery aims to identify and address issues in the service delivery chain. It is a continuous process, not an endpoint, so you will not reach “completion” by doing it once. You need to do it several times over as new technologies are deployed, or processes change.
It is also worth noting that IT discovery is not just for new projects—you can also use it to improve existing systems. When such solutions are integrated with service delivery, the entire process lifecycle is visible within one view. IT teams can create map tickets to the issues they have discovered and resolve them quickly.
It helps you understand the value of your customer’s data and how it is used in your organization. When you know what information your organization has, how it is stored, who has access to it, and why they need it, you will be able to better support customers and drive innovation.
Moreover, internal teams can quickly deliver information directly to customer service agents via a single source of truth that is always up-to-date. It allows them to be more proactive in resolving issues that come up before customers even notice them. It also provides clear pathways for agents by providing easy access to all the information required for each task. It means that agents can spend less time searching around for the correct information and more time resolving customer problems and earning customer loyalty.
When conducting IT discovery, you are trying to get a clear picture of what assets are in place and how they are used. You can identify areas where there may be gaps or overlaps so that you can make changes if necessary and reduce costs.
It increases IT accountability, enabling business agility and providing predictability. In this process, IT discovery becomes less about technology and more about recognizing when things are going wrong in the service chain to avert an outage or to make a crisis worse.
As we have seen, IT discovery is integral to any service delivery process. It can help organizations ensure that they are providing the right services and resources to their customers at the right time while ensuring the security of sensitive data.
Many companies today rely on technology to support their operations, but they may not have the proper processes to ensure everything runs smoothly. It means that there will always be room for improvement—and using an IT discovery tool can help identify these areas so that they can be addressed before problems arise.
At Virima, we have a complete IT discovery solution that includes features like agent-based or agentless discovery, multiple ITSM integrations, automated dependency mapping, and more.
Using our automated tool, you can scan your network for various devices, applications, and servers. However, suppose you need to enrich your asset data. In that case, you can manually input additional details, giving you the flexibility you need to monitor your asset inventory.
Our asset discovery tool automatically creates a business service map showing your interdependencies, making it easy to understand how your assets are connected. Moreover, these service maps update as and when any changes are made within your network—ensuring that you access up-to-date information at all times.
All these features help you gather data from a broad range of devices and monitor them continuously—even when you are not on call.
If you are looking for an automated IT discovery solution to improve your service delivery process, schedule a demo with us today.