Recently I have had several conversations with businesses regarding the adoption of self help as a new service level within the enterprise. What continues to come as a bit of a surprise is that in many businesses the adoption rate remains somewhat low.
As always, the opinions expressed on my blog are mine and not those of my employer.
So the question to be asked is - why is the adoption rate low, or is the adoption rate really low at all? The answer has lead me to an observation that perhaps we in IT inhibit the adoption of self service since in many instances it may be a "going out of the business" line of demarcation. In most businesses the top help desk call is password reset followed by driver or connectivity types of issues. Self help has for years been available to address these types of inquiries. Despite this, there are many businesses that remain in the operational aspects of delivering this level of service. These are only an example of the calls, not intended to be comprehensive. There is a hesitancy in many instances to embrace self help. The reasons told to me include - an incident is IT's only person to person interface with the end user, self help is impersonal and does not represent IT, or that the end users really do not want it. To some degree these responses among others are of course correct. In this set of circumstances it may be IT that is an inhibitor by declining really to exit a lifecycle operation.
However, in the personal computing area, it is clear that self help is here to stay and will expand in the enterprise. Think about this context, conversations continue about BYOC, so does it not seem reasonable that as an initial step to convert those end users who are at that level of self sufficiency to the self service level as an initial step? The push back is interesting- "I will only accept self help as an SLA on my BYOC device and not the enterprise device". This on the surface seems highly illogical (with apologies to Mr. Spock from Star Trek). To some degree it seems to me that BYOC is somewhat held as hostage to self service when in fact self service should be one of the gates to see if that approach will work.
It would seem sensible that if an end user could be self sufficient then the overall adoption rate of of self service would be aparent. I think there is a linkage, but the train that is BYOC does not want to perceive the IT organization as an inhibitor.
What we just discussed is the push and pull of self help. IT not really sure if that low cost, low touch is really a good idea for a variety of reasons, and end users leveraging self help as a part of potential negotiation. This push / pull dilemma creates inertia to change. It will be interesting to see how this logjam created gets resolved. What are your thoughts?
Part of my approach has always been for IT to be an agent of change and not necessarily be on the bleeding edge of business practices. On the other side it seems that enbling the end users should begin with the end user being willing to change as well. Self help seems to be a small step in a direction that is not overly complicated, but perhaps I am underestimating how complex it really is.