Social media essential for IT service management

As employees increasingly expect same level of interaction between corporate and online lives, failure to integrate social elements in business environments will create issues for IT departments.
Written by Jason Ng, Contributor

Companies that do not or have no plans to provide access to social media tools in their IT service management architecture will be making "a big mistake", according to research firm Ovum.

In a report released Thursday, lead analyst Mark Blowers said it is now essential for organizations to integrate social media elements into their IT service management to meet user expectation.

"IT users are coming to expect similar levels of interaction in their corporate lives as they do when conducting online life as private consumers," Blowers noted, adding that social software are now "a must-have" within the corporate environment. "Social media tools can work well in IT service management, especially in bringing about improvements in the service provided to users."

"Delaying an organization's participation in incorporating social media IT service management related functions could be a big mistake," he cautioned.

As IT service desks become an increasingly important component for businesses, the absence of social media integration could produce inefficiencies, for example, when employees find workarounds, and these would lead to compliance issues, he explained.

Some organizations are already using mainstream social media channels to relay information about IT issues, the Ovum analyst said, pointing to how Twitter is used to push out information about incidents and alerts. This is especially critical for small enterprises which typically do not have customized systems, he said, though larger enterprises such as Internet service providers also leverage social media for a wider reach.

Blowers added: "Integrating IT service management with Twitter feeds allows business users to turn a tweet into a customer support ticket, known as a 'twicket'." This will allow personnel from IT service desks to quickly respond to the Twitter account, or use the Twitter Message function to communicate privately with the user.

Ovum recommends that enterprises adopt such ad-hoc use and integrate their IT service management facilities with the appropriate social media.

According to a January report by XMG, more Asia-Pacific companies are expected to adopt social media tools for marketing and recruitment purposes. Some 30 percent of small and midsize businesses are projected to use social networks for promotional purposes by year-end.

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