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Knowledge Management

What does Shift Left mean for ITSM?

By Hannah Price on August, 1 2019

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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 still gaining momentum? We put together the top five reasons.

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.

Usually, businesses start off with some form of self-service. When they start reaping the benefits, a logical next step is to start sharing knowledge through Knowledge Centered Service (KCS). After that, access to service departments becomes more and more seamless. To learn more, watch our video on Shift Left.

Why do most organizations follow a similar path? It's a win-win situation for everyone involved. So what are those wins? 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. Customers will enjoy the way IT shares knowledge. They'll appreciate your approachable attitude. As an extension, they will 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 at IT. Outsourcing some of these problems to the customers decreases IT workload and allows the customers to be the heroes in their own story. And they won't have to wait in line for you to fix minor problems.

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

3. More time for more interesting tasks

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

The idea of Shift Left is that you share knowledge to let each line of support, including the customer, solve more challenging issues than they did before. If you outsource your simplest tasks, you have more time for more interesting and challenging tasks.
The illustration below really makes it apparent why the concept is called ‘shift left’.

Shift Left for service management

4. 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 teams have implemented the KCS guidance into their own support functions and the positive results on both sides of the service relationship are very encouraging.

5. More positive 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, since 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 organziation can start shifting left:

Download the Shift Left E-book

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