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Appify IT management services

The Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) market is hitting a success-driven crisis point. ITSM has almost fully saturated its available IT services market! As a vendor you’re shifting product development efforts to non-IT use cases. Human Resources (HR), facilities, administrative, and finance are all in some ways support departments. This shift has been accelerated by the pandemic alongside the  move to remote and more flexible work practices. The best practices that were developed are evolving to support business services such as HR onboarding, travel requests, procurement, and other resources and people management functionalities.

People management needs more remote-capable software solutions than ever before

Employees are now more than ever dependent on technology to operate and deliver results. So organizations have realized the need for an ITSM solution to gauge, manage, and improve their employee experience. Organizations are also changing their strategy to be more “people-centric,” prioritizing employee well-being and providing their employees with a work environment that drives productivity, while offering work satisfaction and happiness.

IT experiences are no longer reserved for technical end-users

As your ITSM solution reaches new, not-just-IT, users the mobile experience becomes even more critical, and as a product manager for an ITSM product, how are the legacy workflows and technologies going to translate into a modern user experience? The shift is so radical that the category is also going through a rebranding and becoming Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

The expectations from employees of what IT can do for them has changed; they have now realized the true potential of IT as an enabler for their productivity. The increased interaction between employees and IT is one of the main reasons why ITSM professionals are focusing on creating a better user-experience.

In something of a twist to the story, more support departments—such as facilities, human resources, maintenance, and finance—are adopting IT processes. This makes the leap to an enterprise service management environment all the easier, especially for mature service organizations.

ITIL 4 release

ITIL 4 is an operating model for the delivery of tech-enabled products and services. In February 2019 ITIL 4 was released with a focus on helping IT organizations move at the speed that businesses need, while aligning the framework with other methods, such as agile, DevOps, and cloud computing.

Appify, the next generation No-Code enterprise app building platform, offers you an opportunity to change the game on your competition. This post will talk about how you can change the conversation with your customers and prospects, slash time to value, and significantly simplify the experience of an ever increasingly mobile workforce and easily embrace the challenges your business is facing while focusing on capabilities that are core to staying competitive! Appify helps break down one of the key reasons ESM projects fail, which is they increase siloed behavior due to lack of integration and lack of cross functional visibility.

Key product capabilities for your ITSM solution

Wherever you are on your product capabilities and whether you classify as ITSM or on the journey to ESM:

  • Ticket Management – Ability for any authorized user to log and track a ticket and its progress though the support service.
  • Knowledge Base – It takes time and costs more for service agents to address each ticket, and that reflects badly on the submitter experience.
  • Asset Management – Tracking personal equipment under business control, and information about the asset, warranty, and history. An Asset in this environment is typically less complex than where an EAM solution is deployed. 
  • Reporting and Analytics – Generate detailed reports on your IT performance, service quality, IT assets, project tasks, and more.

ITSM or ESM are primarily focused on Service which is a largely human centric activity. As a vendor you’re trying to focus your investment around broadening capabilities to reclassify from ITSM to ESM, trying to add AI and Knowledge management to help your customers reduce their service costs. However the human interaction and ability to integrate with other systems in the organization is critical. 

Challenges facing ITSM / ESM deployment

For every new customer you acquire you repeat the same implementation process, but the implementation itself is unique to that customer because their environment is unique and the details of what and how they service are unique. I’m sure you recognize the challenges below and know the implications of them to the implementation project you’ll propose. As the market broadens with the shift from ITSM to ESM these challenges grow:

  • Customers have thousands of employees and assets Asset data objects, organizational structures, warranty, service plans, and workflows that are unique to their business and tailored to departments, regions, and industry and regional compliance.
    • We’re going to need a large services engagement to scope, build, iterate and maintain this. Some will be configurable, but there will be customization.
  • There are business requirements that are not covered in the core product, requiring custom database tables and code to support.
    • We’re going to need a large services engagement to scope, build, iterate and maintain this. I’ll need developers that can build data objects, and all supporting code.
  • ITSM doesn’t live on an island, it must integrate data with a number of other systems that are related to the services the employee provides. ITSM needs to be integrated to multiple systems of record, including multiple variants of key data sources such as ERP or HCM. ITSM / ESM is crucial to removing obstacles to the success of costly human resources. 
    • We’re going to need an external services company to do the integrations, rationalize the data models. The customer is not going to like that business data is getting duplicated, where is the source of truth? Now the customer needs a middleware solution, and that is going to at least double our project timeline and implementation costs.
  • The customer operates in multiple countries and all their processes are slightly different, and each country has its own regulatory and compliance rules, it all needs to be in local language.
    • Do we implement different solution variants in each country, or do we try and drive cohesive service practices globally? So now we have the pre-project to figure out how to do the project! More services, more cost, more time. 
  • Customer has de-centralized employees who need to receive a level service as if they are in a single corporate office, but those in North American have iPhones and iPads, but in Europe they’re mostly on Android and the back office is on the web.
    • So now we need to build multiple mobile experiences! We need local services and language skills, and that’s going to drive up time and costs.

It is not hard to see why complexity grows exponentially, costs to customers continue to grow, and there is technical debt for every project but also in the core product supporting all the variations and innovation. It is reasonable to hear stories of global deployments that are far from complete after multiple years and have lost steam to progress.

No-Code and No Middleware: Appify is the modern solution to bridging legacy technology with new solutions

In the decades ITSM has been evolving so have other technologies, and the next generation of No-Code platforms, Appify, can solve these fundamental challenges, freeing your precious and expensive resources to focus on innovation of the core product capabilities such as extended use cases and AI. You can also give your customers a better experience, faster time to value, and significant reduction in implementation costs and risk.

With the simple addition of Appify on in between your existing stack and integrating with your data, these challenges become extremely manageable.

Appify platform for IT service management
How we bridge your legacy technology with modern solutions

Appify Flex, an extremely powerful data modeling platform, is at the heart of this solution:

  1. Define the data model for the mobile or web experiences you need to create
  2. If the data object exists in an existing ESM solution, then connect to that object via API. No middleware, no integration, no data duplication.
  3. If the data doesn’t exist anywhere already, then it can live in Flex. 
  4. If an object lives in your ITSM product, but lacks a field you can store the field in Appify Flex – essentially extending the data model.

With the data model in place:

  1. Define business core processes and screens once, and build Apps for the different usage personas.
  2. See #1. Yep. That’s it.

All of this is done through drag and drop in Appify Studio, configured once and works across multiple mobile devices on or offline and on the web. 

Your best of breed field service foundation now has world class user experience – all in a matter of just weeks of configuration!

What about my customer deployments?

It’s exactly the same process that built the core offering:

  • Appify Studio to configure the solution, business logic, and screens
  • Extend existing data model to include customer specific data sources, connected via API to the Flex model
  • Country specific variants, simply configure country specific Apps with own data and logic as extensions to existing model in Flex

What were the challenges again?

  • Customer has thousands of employees and assets Asset data objects, organizational structures, warranty, service plans, and workflows that are unique to their business and tailored to departments, regions, and industry and regional compliance.
    • Configure in the Flex data model including regional or industry specific extensions.
    • Configure business logic in Appify so your Customer can manage it.
    • Configure a data model that reflects the user experience, obfuscating the underlying complexity if necessary
  • There are business requirements that are not covered in the core product, requiring custom database tables and code to support.
    • Flex is extensible, just configure the objects you need. If you don’t have an existing system to store them, then Appify Flex will store the data.
  • ITSM doesn’t live on an island, it must integrate data with a number of other systems that are related to the services the employee provides. ITSM needs to be integrated to multiple systems of record, including multiple variants of key data sources such as ERP or HCM. ITSM / ESM is crucial to removing obstacles to the success of costly human resources. 
    • Just configure the object to reference the object in the external system, no middleware and no integration required. 
    • Don’t worry about maintaining object consistency or foreign key integrity, Appify manages it.
    • Appify 100% respects the security, authorization, and integrity controls managed by IT. IT is working to protect the business, and Appify works with IT.
  • The customer operates in multiple countries and all their processes are slightly different, and each country has its own regulatory and compliance rules, it all needs to be in local language.
    • Extend the data model as needed and configure Apps for each country or industry with the specific requirements, and they won’t impact everyone else.
  • Customer has de-centralized employees who need to receive a level service as if they are in a single corporate office, but those in North American have iPhones and iPads, but in Europe they’re mostly on Android and the back office is on the web.
    • Configure once, the App will work on any supported device.

For all the shifts and advances that your ITSM / ESM solution is progressing through, it is fundamentally about enabling Service inside your Customer organization, and that end user is not in a centralized location, and they are certainly predominantly mobile. 

This agility means you can respond to sales opportunities and customer requirements quickly and easily. Your customers can keep pace with their ever-changing business landscape and implement ideas at the speed of thought. 

Appify makes no code enterprise apps a reality!

If you’ve been in enterprise software as long as I have, this pace and ease of innovation seems unbelievable, but I can assure you it is real, we’ve done it – repeatedly. Powered by Appify brings the success our customers have experienced and makes it available to be white-labeled for Enterprise Field Service software suppliers. The Appify mission is to make business life simpler, call today to see how we can make your solution simpler.

Focus on what you do best, and let Appify do the rest!

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Written by Jonathan Skelding VP of Business Strategy & Ops at Appify. Jonathan has been in the software industry for 30 years in a variety of global roles from engineering to services, alliances and sales.