It’s tempting to see IT self-service as the simple way to hand off responsibilities to end-users.
After all, the whole point of IT self-service is that end-users “get it for themselves”, without having to wait for IT department to intervene.
Thus, so goes the logic, the IT department spends less time, effort, and therefore money on end-user support, compared with traditional IT department-centric helpdesks and support teams.
Yet there are several reasons to believe that such a vision is short-sighted, to say the least.
- End-users may not want self-service. Some end-users would rather have the assurance that a helpful IT support engineer is available by phone or can even stop by to sort out a local IT problem. Acceptance of self-service can be boosted by appropriate education and internal selling, but that also takes resources. While computer and digital literacy is rising, many non-IT specialists take the point of view, understandably, that IT is not a core competence for them and that they should outsource it… back to the IT department!
- Self-service does not replace requirements for security, disaster recovery, etc. Remember those stories about perpetual motion machines that keep working without any energy supply? Just so much wishful thinking, unfortunately. It’s the same with self-service. IT departments will always need to monitor usage, ensure end-users are protecting enterprise data, etc.
- Setting up self-service is not free. Organisations that want end-users to work on data and applications within the corporate perimeter, instead of signing up with unknown cloud providers, will need to implement their own self-service functionality. Portals with single sign-on, automated password resets, online end-user training, FAQs, smart automated support engines for solving problems, and other tools may all be required to help end-users to get their jobs done.
IT self-service management can bring advantages, such as reducing first-level support and giving end-users greater flexibility and rapidity in meeting their IT needs.
However, it is often far from being the easy option for IT departments, which must still plan, execute, and maintain self-service environments with due care and attention.