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Want to make sure your self-service implementation is successful? Do these 5 things.

If you’re at the point of defining what success for the portal will look like and how to ensure positive user adoption, then you’ve already taken your first step towards making the project deliver real value. 

If you want to get serious about implementing self-service. You need to do these 5 things: 

 

1. Have a vision 

Have a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve.  

Share the vision, no, go further - totally “sell” the vision. Get your teams involved early, but also think about all your stakeholders – get them involved in your vision. 

Share with people, the what and why you’re investing time and money doing this. Always consider how the outcomes of the project are going to contribute to and support that vision, and how everyone will know it’s been a success. 

Sell those successes back to the organisation – not forgetting to focus on quick wins. 

 

2. Run self-service implementation as a project 

That’s right, the self-service portal is not simply one of the milestones on the implementation of a new Service Management tool. It is a project in its own right. It needs its own resources, plans, pilot, launch and communications. 

Most of the activities undertaken when implementing a new service management tool are back-office, or “below the line”. All those workshops and consultancy days will only really affect those staff that will be interacting directly with the tool. Maybe we will have a few other departmental “desks” but nothing as visible as a customer-facing portal. 

When we think about providing a self-service portal, suddenly the IT Service Delivery team will be under the scrutiny of our customers. 

If you are implementing the portal as part of a larger Service Management tool implementation, then the best approach is to break any customer-facing links between the two projects.  

Focus on the value that the portal will bring as a standalone piece, and then be able to communicate those benefits to the stakeholders. 

 

3. Focus on design 

Engage with your users, and design for probabilities rather than possibilities. Just bear in mind, it has to deliver the vision.  

There are many considerations when designing your portal, in fact Marval run a one-day workshop on this.

 

4. Develop a roadmap 

Plan on running a pilot phase in collaboration with your target user groups. Make sure you pick a friendly team to test on, but more importantly, ensure that you listen and act on the feedback you receive. 

It is also important to realise that due to project timelines, not all suggestions will be incorporated in the final release, so make sure you create a roadmap for the future of your portal. This roadmap will be a living document that will ensure the future continual improvement of your portal. 

 

5. Communicate communicate communicate 

Communication is by far one of the most important elements of ensuring that the portal will be utilised. Your staff will need constant nudging to encourage a change of behaviour - especially if you are one of those service desks that actively encourage customers to drop-in whenever it suits them.  

It is essential that you give your customers a coherent and compelling message as to why things are changing, and specifically why they should change their existing behaviour. It is therefore important that you encourage a collaborative approach: The feedback provided by the customer group will contribute to making self-service a shared success. Consider asking some of your key users to be ambassadors for the new initiative, perhaps the same people that were in your pilot group. 

In the weeks before launch you need to ramp-up communications. I suggest communicating in phases. The “before” phase, the “go-live” phase and the “after” phase.

 

Good luck!

User adoption is, of course, the key to fully leveraging the benefits of self-service. The points above can form elements of your strategy to drive adoption from the initial project stages through to go-live and beyond.  

Stick with it and with some hard work you will be able to embed your self-service portal into the culture of your organisation – whilst enhancing the user experience as well at the IT “brand” within your business. 

  

By Paul Smith, Service Management Consultant, Marval

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