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AppSense, the Ultimate Citrix BFF, Is Ready to Bring Your Partners’ Business and ROI to the Next Level

GettyImages-463425885AppSense has long been a Citrix partner powerhouse, helping its channel step up its ROI on Citrix deals.

AppSense has brought more to its Citrix partnership since becoming part of the LANDESK family in April 2016 and was recognized by Citrix as an elite contributor in November with its Citrix Ready Partner of the Month award.

Citrix Summit 2017 is LANDESK’s first, and we’re excited to connect with Citrix partners to show how you can leverage AppSense and LANDESK solutions.

There are three ways to maximize your time with AppSense and LANDESK at Citrix Summit:

  1. Stop by booth #603 for a breakdown of what AppSense and LANDESK have to offer, get a deep-dive demo, and enter for a chance to win a drone!
  2. Book a channel briefing with Jon Rolls, VP of Product Management and me to learn how to get the most out of a partnership with AppSense and LANDESK and get a product roadmap update, including:
    • Citrix Ready certifications for XA and XD 7.11 and NetScaler for AppSense products
    • AppSense DesktopNow v10.1 w Windows Server 2016 support
  3. Avoid the Citrix Summit partner reception lines and network with some of the top individuals within the Citrix partner environment by attending our cocktail party co-hosted with IGEL on Tuesday! Visit booth #603 to get the details.

Looking forward to seeing you at Citrix Summit!

Reza Parsia

Director of America’s Channel

LANDESK

P.S.  On Wednesday, February 8, Citrix Ready will host a webinar interview with a McKesson IT staff member with many years of Citrix implementation experience. Join us for a frank discussion about using AppSense and Citrix in a healthcare environment. Register here!

IT Lessons Ripped From the Pages of Aesop’s Fables

GettyImages-515834442Slow and steady wins the race. That’s the underlying message in Aesop’s fable of The Tortoise and the Hare. While the hare’s speed put him at a great advantage over his shell-sporting competitor, the tortoise’s steadfast focus on the task ultimately won him the race.

Imagine if your IT organization combined the hare’s speed with the tortoise’s drive and determination.

Agility versus stability is a paradox for service management teams who are more versed with the command and control environment. Concentrating on internal operations at the expense of an innovative, user-centered approach is when failure occurs.

Why organizations fail to support agility

Reasons why organizations fail to support agility include complex processes, functional silos that don’t communicate effectively, a lack of alignment with the needs of business users to maintain productivity, and the inability to understand and take advantage of new trends quickly. Business units become frustrated that their internal IT team is slow to respond and is not error free.

While business units don’t want to run their own IT, they believe they don’t have a choice.

Meanwhile, service management teams express frustration that users search out and purchase their own tools, which they still expect to be supported corporately.

To keep pace, service management teams must develop an “outside-in” approach that helps the business identify and understand signs of change and turn these into actionable goals.

Modernizing ITSM

The modern ITSM organization has become one of the most critical departments in the business, but it’s time it took a more active role. IT can lead out in identifying and applying value creation activities, process improvements, digitization, and service automation opportunities to enable greater effectiveness across IT and into the business, including finance, HR, procurement and supply chains, and facilities.

ITSM manages most of the services that run an enterprise and is already focused on building consistent, repeatable processes that reduce time to action and improve productivity. Initiatives that prove impactful within ITSM can be incorporated into the delivery and management of business services beyond the realms of IT. Service management teams become a consultative role model for the enterprise. An integrated, process-driven ITSM system becomes an effective enabler of enterprise agility. Many departments beyond IT are benefiting from this approach already.

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Get Your ITSM up and Running on All Cylinders

GettyImages-495569967Your ITSM organization may have everything needed to run at full speed and address a wide-range of problems, but a few missed steps could render all that preparation useless, leaving you crawling at a fraction of the pace.

To get started, you must understand what will make a difference to your business. The greater your understanding, the swifter and more preemptive your responses and actions will be to support the required agility to reconfigure your platform, fine-tune and automate processes, and measure business impact.

Understand your business and the users you serve

Know industry and compliance regulations. Understand who the ultimate customer of your business is (not IT), how the organization is solving its challenges, and how IT could help do it more effectively.

This isn’t necessarily the wholesale creation of a new market but potentially the recombination of services and technology in a different workflow—such as what Uber did with its transportation model.

As you understand your business more clearly, you’ll begin to better comprehend the changing needs of your users, how they prefer to communicate with your team, or when there are busy and quiet periods in the working year.

Understanding the seasonality of an industry helps avoid the risks, incidents, and instability due to changes. You’ll create stronger relationships as you offer the tools and services users need to do their job more productively.

Offer exceptional experiences to your business users

As you cement your relationships with your business users and learn the services they require, you can gain a more coherent view of how your users want to access services and support. This will help you craft the optimal experience to match your business users’ expectations.

Like any enterprise that creates a service or product for the consumer world, you can have the most compelling offering, but it will fail if it isn’t distributed correctly through the right channels, if it can’t be easily accessed, or if users don’t know it’s available. Adopt the same operating principles when creating your multi-channel interaction experiences to make your users their most productive.

Adopting automation

This will help you speed up all of your responses while optimizing your cost management. You’ll

be able to shift resources to react faster to changes in your enterprise’s operating environment. Enterprise agility is pervasive. Every department, not just IT, must be involved for the business to be more agile.

Through stronger relationships, better user understanding, and collaboration with other departments, you’ll be positioned to offer consultative advice to HR teams, facilities teams, sales and marketing teams, and others.

You won’t just advise on needed services, but also on how they can optimize their workflows through automation. Instead of being the tail end of an activity faced with supporting a Shadow IT service that increases pressure and reduces your ability to support business agility, you can craft and automate the workflows with other departments and suggest new services as you go.

Understand business value creation and demonstrate how you support it

Through better relationships, you’ll begin to understand the objectives and priorities of different business managers within the organization. Your effectiveness at tying IT performance, measurement, and reporting to business outcomes will improve. You’ll add value by revealing insights that better support, enable, and impact the enterprise.

Enterprise agility requires a single, consolidated view that anyone can access easily to spot trends, highlight areas to drive improvement, and communicate them so the enterprise can take action ahead of its competitors.

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Modernize Your ITSM With LANDESK

GettyImages-615822822A diverse IT service management operation is fast, friendly, and connects with users in the best possible format for addressing their needs.

LANDESK can help you achieve this within your own ITSM organization, saving you time, money and boosting your productivity.

LANDESK ITSM tools, processes, and interfaces help you deliver services and support today with the ability to respond to future needs. Let LANDESK serve as your expert guide on your journey to IT modernization.

LANDESK ITSM

LANDESK solutions for ITSM, including LANDESK Service Desk, help you optimize services, offer end users exceptional experiences, and support business agility to meet the needs of your digital enterprise.

Available on-premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid model, LANDESK Service Desk integrates easily with third-party systems and applications to provide the data and ability to take action. The solution delivers all the capabilities expected from an enterprise-class service management system, including ITIL®-verified incident, request, problem, change, and knowledge management, as well as market leading self-service to improve service delivery and IT support performance.

Xtraction

Xtraction from LANDESK brings together data from multiple vendors and multiple enterprise applications—each with its own reporting interface—into one consolidated business view instantly. In a single view, you can pull together and display data from enterprise systems like IT service management, IT asset management, client management, project management, and more.

Report daily IT operations activity such as incidents, changes, and requests, or roll up to business value dashboards, then drill down to focus on information important to your business managers. The Xtraction self-service solution enables anyone to view and create reports and business-value executive dashboards without coding. Even those with limited technical or analytical knowledge can quickly extract data, create dashboards, and view actionable insights.

Cut down workflow, gain speed and visibility, and start being more productive today with a free demo of LANDESK Service Desk.

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Enterprise Agility Isn’t Just About Speed

GettyImages-468796246When you hear the word agility, you think of track and field sprinters, or a running back darting through the defense at breakneck speed. Or what happens when you put jet fuel in your minivan. Well, maybe not that last one.

IT teams are learning the power of agility within their own environments and how that translates to better performance across the board.

Traditional IT service management (ITSM) is driven by stability and cost control. Detailed enterprise strategy and planning initiate requests for technical capabilities to support those plans in a waterfall style that is often slow-moving.

Although cost control remains important, the goal is now innovation and relationships with business users.

Enterprises today turn to IT as the primary means of help, and they expect IT to be at the forefront of strategy. From IT’s perspective, everything it does must be about creating business value and enabling greater enterprise agility.

What is enterprise agility?

Enterprise agility concerns the ability to react and adapt to expected and unexpected business changes and opportunities as they arise to gain leadership, market share, enter new markets, and operate in a competitive environment.

While agility encompasses numerous aspects, the constant is time. It’s the ability to identify new risks and opportunities and develop a strategic response quickly, with the flexibility to execute on the response.

The market leaders in today’s digital world are those who identify changes and respond to them with speed and agility. It’s an operational and competitive requirement for every successful enterprise. It should be no surprise that linking together IT execution and enterprise strategy within a flexible environment is the foundation of enterprise agility.

To accommodate this new operating environment, service management teams must be more responsive and adaptive to organizational changes.

IT teams must step outside the mind-set of merely supporting and maintaining email systems and such to become innovators who enable and shape business strategy. This requires changes in systems, processes, and the roles that people perform.

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Boom or Bust: What’s Your ITSM Operation Worth?

GettyImages-537624508There’s a popular TV show on PBS called Antiques Roadshow. The premise of the show is people bringing in items that they’ve either picked up at a yard sale or inherited in order to have them professionally appraised.

Every once in a while, an unassuming bargain hunter will find out that their thrift store painting (that looks like a horse made out of lasagna) is actually a Picasso. Or the vase they’ve been putting plastic flowers in is actually from the Ming Dynasty.

The bottom line is you never know what something is actually worth until you invest in getting it valuated.

Measuring the value of ITSM

One of the most significant challenges facing IT service management (ITSM) organizations is the inability to measure and find meaningful ways to communicate metrics around the value they bring to the business.

While many organizations have effective operational performance measures in place, a focus on demonstrating and maximizing business value often isn’t evident.

Traditional metrics

Traditional metrics focus on the performance of the ITSM team and tools, e.g., first contact resolution or number of service requests logged in a given day. They describe the current and past situation but don’t provide the necessary insight to predict what to do next, spot moments of importance, and make connections between them.

These traditional metrics are not the figures that business leaders use to make strategic decisions. IT performance and productivity reporting has its place, but alone doesn’t reveal how IT assists the business or business users presently and how it can drive future strategy.

Incident reports

Take a typical incident report. It might indicate there were 25 major incidents over a two-week period. But for the executive level, it’s difficult to understand the business impact of this number.

Showing how those major incidents translate into hours of unavailability for each service, coupled with financial cost, helps the executive level understand the business impacts and risks of a particular service outage, and to make appropriate decisions.

Dashboards and reports

Dashboards and reports are vital to modernizing IT service management, but to be most effective, it’s necessary to understand the required outcomes and priorities of different business managers within the organization.

The most valuable reports are those that offer accurate insights into performance and how that translates into business impact.

Valuable dashboards highlight areas to drive improvements. These reports and dashboards focus communication on what’s important to each business manager viewing the data—the CIO, VP of Operations, or the CEO.

Embracing a value-based approach

It’s time to embrace a value-based approach that ties IT performance and measurement to business outcomes. Only then can you add value by disclosing insights in a business-centric way. This aggregated business view requires inputs from multiple data sources such as incident data, service availability, and cost.

Market research firm IDC predicts that by 2017, 80 percent of CIOs will have a plan in place centered on using data to drive the business past its competition. The same IDC study found that more than 70 percent of organizations that have data valuation processes in place are primarily collecting and analyzing data manually.

Use reporting tools to avoid manual, time-intensive analysis. These tools roll up old-school metrics to dashboards in a way that individual systems and tools can’t achieve easily:

  • Offer the context of business impact alongside standard performance metrics.
  • Ensure that dashboard data can be filtered easily so any business user can dig into the results and make a fast decision that matches your modern-responsive ITSM operation.
  • Enable your service management teams to communicate effectively to business decision-makers and stay relevant to the business.

The foundation for value 

The value of timely dashboards with relevant data cannot be overstated. Using visualizations that are intuitive and easy to interpret, these dashboards help managers quickly determine:

  • The current state of where they are.
  • If they’re on track to meet objectives.
  • What changes or fine-tuning are required to stay on course.

Value-based dashboards and reports targeted at business users are a requirement for every modern ITSM organization to drive performance efficiencies, facilitate business strategy, optimize processes, monitor trends, and quickly identify new opportunities for growth.

These business-oriented dashboards create the foundation for demonstrating and improving value and effectiveness for your business by improving the speed and accuracy of decision-making.

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Fostering Business Relationships: Think Quick, Small, Forward & Fun

GettyImages-614961570When your IT service management team engages with business users wanting to make a request or resolve an issue, that interaction creates a lasting perception. At the operational end, there are several areas where small, fast, incremental improvements can enrich relationships substantially.

For example, when a business user interacts with your team or ITSM system, consider what information is already known or can be retrieved automatically to inform the team about the user’s current situation and state of mind.

This ensures a smoother, more pleasant interaction rather than adding to the frustration a user may feel when a service fails. You can build better relationships and achieve a faster, streamlined service that meets SLAs.

Here are a few recommendations for speedy improvements that LANDESK customers employ to ensure they maintain solid relationships with their business users and minimize frustrations that can fracture working relationships:

  • Don’t force your team or business users to re-enter login information when they’re already logged into your service management system.
  • Populate data fields automatically, and provide easy drop-down options to pick from.
  • Clearly label mandatory fields to prevent rework and try to minimize forms.
  • Consider the use of dynamic form displays to ensure your users are only presented with the questions they need to answer based on previous responses (the larger or more complex the form, the less likely the user will fill it out if it’s presented in one block, or the user will fill it out badly, slowing your response time).

Relationship building applies to your own ITSM team as well

Team motivation, engagement, and the ability to encourage the right behaviors when the team is under pressure are challenging.

Gamification can be effective in increasing engagement, reinforcing desired behaviors, and developing skills within your own team. This is a relatively modern phenomenon that is taking hold in the consumer world. For example, retail offers are employed to enhance loyalty to particular brands and drive consumers to certain purchases at fixed times of the year.

Gamification is unrelated to game design. It takes a non-game activity or task and integrates game mechanics to motivate participation and engagement. Your team earns points or badges as they complete tasks, and their scores are displayed on a leader dashboard to further stimulate performance. It plays to the intrinsic motivators of your team, such as sense of purpose, and extrinsic motivators through a dashboard that displays team scores and badges.

When employing gamification techniques, ensure the team is focused on the right outcomes, not earning points or badges only. Assign higher rewards or points based on tasks of higher value, such as the creation of knowledge articles or mentoring junior team members, over easier tasks, such as resolving a password reset, to avoid having a team cherry pick tasks to gain more points.

Communicate business value

Once you understand your users, the business, and the industry—and you’re offering the services and experiences that meet expectations—you should measure, communicate, and report the impact your team makes on the business regularly.

For positive, ongoing business relationships, you need an intimate understanding of the audience served to detect changes in satisfaction levels and take action.

Promoting and marketing your operation to the business may be unfamiliar to your team, but demonstrating your success impacts the perception and ultimately the relationship to the business and the users you support.

These simple tips for modernization can better equip your service management organization to develop strong relationships with business users and gain a comprehensive understanding of what they need to be productive. With this knowledge, you can respond in a way that fully supports business productivity goals, which is crucial to remaining relevant to the business.

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Fostering Business Relationships: Beware of Your Shadow IT

GettyImages-157672511Successfully modernizing IT service management operations is directly connected to how you’re engaging with the users who come to you with problems.

The risk of lack of engagement is already apparent through Shadow IT implementations when a business group or department acquires, builds, or implements a technology without IT’s participation.

This poses a significant security risk and creates issues of scalability and supportability since the system is standalone, not integrated and not scaling well. All of this translates to an increased volume of incidents to the service desk.

When you develop trust and build relationships with business users, they know they can come to you with questions. By having the conversation, IT helps the business understand its needs, and the solution will most likely be better overall because everyone is involved from the outset.

You simply can’t achieve success without the support and engagement of the business users, business leaders, and influencers you serve. Once identified, meet with them regularly and have clear objectives, whether through travel or in-person business productivity teams.

You’re more likely to be included in departmental decisions about new services and less likely to be supporting a Shadow IT service implementation that places your team in firefighting mode and casts doubt within the organization whether the ITSM operation is valuable and relevant to the business.

Remember that every interaction with your users is an opportunity to develop and improve relationships. Put yourself in their shoes as you evaluate each interaction they experience with the ITSM team. What little extras would enable you to have a better experience? This includes not only how users work and the services and experiences you need to build into your self-service, but also how they would prefer to engage.

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Fostering Business Relationships: Courting Your ITSM Users

GettyImages-533932939The secret to modernizing your IT service management operation can be a lot like courtship, specifically that moment where you’re smitten to the point that you’re willing to go above and beyond to meet the needs of the object of your affection.

For successful ITSM organizations, it boils down to showing the same level of affection to their users, the problems they need resolved, and the business environment they operate in. But many ITSM organizations fail to engage and add value to their business operations due to a lack of understanding beyond their own IT domain.

Old-style support is focused on solving specific technical challenges and problems as individual users bring them to the attention of the service desk. Modern ITSM incorporates the development of relationships with business units and their business users to ensure that service delivery and support meets users’ needs.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of building a service management environment that’s based on the internal workings of the IT department, its systems, and the structure of existing workflows. But the true value of the ITSM operation flows from enabling the business to meet its objectives quickly and completely. The business simply doesn’t care about nor understand the internal ITSM structure. Users only desire to stay productive and have any issues resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible.

At the operational level, users connect with IT teams for problem resolution, information, or access to a service. This could involve:

  • Creating a new incident: Someone reports an issue or raises an issue on another’s behalf.
  • Raising a new request: Someone requires hardware, software, or another service.
  • Seeking help: Someone is searching for information to solve an issue or feels that the problem can’t be resolved with self-service and is seeking a knowledgeable human being for assistance.
  • Employee request: Someone requires an HR services request for a new or leaving employee, or other non-IT service.

A business user’s ultimate goal is fulfilling the objectives of their role to support the wider enterprise mission. Any interruption along the path is an unwelcome distraction that the user expects to be dealt with quickly.

To do so, it’s imperative that you understand the business and the industry your organization operates in, the processes your users employ, the regulations they must comply with that affect the data, and the services they need to access.

While it may not be love at first sight, successful service management teams become trusted partners.

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Taking ITSM Automation to the Next Level

GettyImages-611996156In a previous post, we mentioned the benefits of automating small, repetitive tasks in order to deal with the tidal wave of workflow created by those more common user IT requests.

But many IT teams are taking automation to the next level, experimenting to boost productivity and save time.

Advanced maturity steps 

As you and your team master the basics of automation, you should search for opportunities for more advanced automation activities across the wider enterprise systems and accelerate productivity.

For example, if a user requests to download Adobe Acrobat®, you can add steps to automate not only the request workflow routing, approvals, and communication stages, but also the fulfillment stages.

By instigating closed-loop automation across service management through client management systems capable of deploying software, you can create zero-touch fulfillment for certain requests that improve experiences and return time to your team.

“Connected to request management” is the management of assets used to fulfill requests. The discovery, import, reconciliation, and synchronization of your asset data from asset management databases into your ITSM environment benefits from an automation layer. Your ITSM Configuration Management Database (CMDB) depends on the accuracy of the shared data imported from other systems.

Workflow integration and automation that brings in that data, paints a more efficient and accurate picture of your assets and services. Once that data is available, it enables visibility over the assets that make up your business services, such as license usage or the cost of licenses, for a faster response to requests, incidents, changes, or other processes that affect business productivity.

Imagine the creation of an efficient, self-healing environment where you can turn data into actions automatically that positively impact your operations.

By using your event management capabilities integrated with service management systems, you can detect and then route, record, and potentially correct issues within your IT environment before the business is even aware through automatic self-healing loops. You minimize reactive firefighting by team members when business users report issues.

Once you’ve carefully reviewed your internal IT processes, consider looking deeper, such as delivering a similar benefit to other service management teams such as Human Resources.

Automating the HR on- boarding process ensures that new employees won’t be waiting for their equipment, email box setup, or other tasks on their first day that could hinder productivity and motivation. Wasted time following up on requests and emails is avoided, and you provide business value across other departments so they can be more effective.

By automating processes within service management, you can attain higher levels of consistency and execution. In addition, the review you conduct prior to automation ensures that, in the future, your processes meet user needs, are easy to maintain, and are scalable. IT administrators and service management teams retain more control over IT maintenance and operational process flows while working more smoothly. Teams benefit from faster problem resolution and lower problem frequency. Bottlenecks, duplicated work, poor links, and interaction experiences between departments disappear.

By freeing up time, you can support new business initiatives and still offer the experiences your business users demand.

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