Today, the IT organization is increasingly segmenting its supply chain. One hosting provider may be managing the network. An MSP may be hosting and managing your servers. A remote contractor may be doing application development. As our CEO, Chris O’Malley, has explained, this segmentation ultimately can be boiled down to a single choice: core or chore? If a service is integral to building competitive advantage, it’s core. If not, it’s a chore that’s better handed off to external cloud providers and MSPs.
Service desk platforms have to be seen in this light. IT management has to ask, does investing a lot of money, time, and staff on building and customizing an on-premise service desk platform make sense? Is this a core effort that will yield competitive differentiation, or is it a chore?
Make no mistake: service desk platforms support a critical endeavor. The important thing to keep in mind is that, even with this segmented supply chain, IT still remains the storefront for the rest of the business. Even though internal team members aren’t always necessarily managing the infrastructure themselves, they’re the ones responsible for brokering services, for managing relationships with providers, for ensuring high service levels, and for holding providers to their commitments. This responsibility for service levels is only growing more critical, and the service desk plays an integral role in this.
For many, this thought process may point to SaaS models, but this can present a mental hurdle. Technology leaders, trained to build and maintain on-premise applications and infrastructures, can wrestle with moving to SaaS models. It’s akin to buying a car. We (at least most of us) buy a car with the mindset that we’ll have it for years. We want it do everything we’ll need it to do over that time. Our kids are small now, but will they have enough legroom in 3 years? Our mindset is a lot different if we’re at a rental car kiosk: can it fit the number of people and bags I’m traveling with today, and not embarrass me in front of my clients? Done.
The enterprise software purchase mindset has traditionally been with a very long-term, broad-based focus. We need it to have all these capabilities, enable all this customization, allow all this integration. That’s why we see these requests for proposals (RFPs) that include 547 requirements. However, when you look back at the reality of enterprise service desk implementations, only a small fraction of all a platform’s potential capabilities ultimately get exploited. The reality is that, of the RFP’s 547 “requirements”, 80% fall into the “nice to have”, “may need it someday”, or “we think it would be cool if…” categories.
When it comes to SaaS, this mindset shifts. When you evaluate a SaaS platform, you focus on addressing core requirements. This mindset shift has implications for the expectations of administrators and users after deployment. Instead of laundry lists of extensive development projects, most of which may never get done, organizations using SaaS focus on fully exploiting the capabilities available. With SaaS, we know enhancements will continue to be made to the platform—and that new capabilities will show up automatically, without upgrades, testing, training and all the other efforts associated with implementing legacy service desk platforms. And, because it is only contracted for a time, if it doesn’t, you can move to a different platform without worrying about the icerberg of capital costs.
In the end, the proliferation of SaaS changes everyone’s expectations. When it comes to the service desk, moving to SaaS can usher in a range of benefits, not least of which is the alignment with the current mindset, and its focus on getting the job done quickly, efficiently and, yes, simply.
Note: This is the second in a five-part series of posts on the simpler service desk. In our first post, we looked at why simplicity is such a bedrock requirement today. In our next post, we’ll discuss some of the keys to achieving simplicity.