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Knowledge Management

What does Shift Left mean for ITSM?

By Hannah Price on May, 2 2017

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Hannah Price

Consultant and knowledge sharing enthusiast

Shift Left as a trend keeps on growing in the industry, and as a company focused on service excellence and end user empowerment, we couldn't be happier. But why is Shift Left the trend? We put together what we think are the top five reasons, as an introduction for you who is still a bit out of the loop.

What is the meaning of Shift Left

The basic idea behind shift left is simple: IT brings solutions they provide closer to the customer. The way we have seen this manifesting does change from business to business, but the outcomes and trajectories remain remarkably similar.

It usually starts with a self-service function and when the benefits of that are realised, a greater provision of functions like Knowledge Centered Service (KCS), customer centricity and easy access to IT starts to progress very quickly. To learn more, watch our video on Shift Left.

The quick answer to why departments are moving towards this way of opearting is that it's a win-win situation for everyone involved. For a slightly longer answer, these are what we see as the five core benefits of Shifting Left.

1. Building stronger relationships with IT customers

A definite by-product of being closer to your customer is a steady increase in the personal interactions with the the rest of the business. This is two-fold. Customers will enjoy the way IT shares knowledge, and are open to their users, but they will as an extension also feel more connected with the IT-department and more likely to engage with them, which promotes further conversation.

2. Empowering IT users to solve their own issues

Bringing solutions closer to the customer restores balance to the force. Till now, the scales have arguably been tipped out of IT’s favour. Customers use traditional ticket logging technologies to throw any issue they like at IT. Outsourcing some of these problems to the customers decreases IT workload (see next point) and allows the customers to be the heroes in their own story.

Read more on focusing more on your customer in our Customer Centricity E-book.

3. More time working on the problems they enjoy solving

It doesn’t always have to be about the customer right? At the end of the day, the quality of your IT services highly depend on the attitude and motivation of the people delivering it.

This means the first line can take one work the second would normally do, who can then take on work the third line would normally do who can then start focus on the more on the strategic and supply related activities. The illustration below really makes it apparent why it is called ‘shift left’.

Shift Left example

4. Ensures IT knowledge is shared across the whole business

Shifting left is driven by a concept called Knowledge Centred Support (KCS), which is a simple but effective IT support methodology that places the creation and sharing of knowledge at the heart of every IT interaction.

Knowledge simply becomes power. The systems used to capture, catalogue and share that power become IT’s most significant offering throughout the whole journey towards shifting left. Watch our video on KCS to find out more.

TOPdesk’s internal service desk team have implemented the KCS guidance into their own support functions and the positive results seen from both sides of the service relationship are very encouraging.

5. Improves the perception of IT across the entire business

It's always a good idea to make sure your IT department has the proper visibility. CIOs and IT Directors will benefit, sincet they want positive IT stories to float their way up to the board. Not only does it reflect well on the work the department does, but it gives them far more leverage with negotiating for things such as more funding or head count.

For more shift left, see our Infographic or download the full version of this article, including tips on how your organsiation can start shifting left:
Download the Shift Left E-book

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