Q&A: The Digital Workplace with Robin Purohit

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The digital workplace is a new environment, designed around the needs and rhythms of the Millennial workforce. Here IT must transform itself into a service broker, providing employees with mobile, personalized and context-aware self-service that rivals Uber and iTunes. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Robin Purohit, president of BMC’s service support business, about the company’s new initiative to support the digital workplace.

Q: How does BMC support the digital workplace?
A: Our strategy to enable the digital workplace is based on an intuitive and intelligent mobile application we call MyIT. At its core, MyIT helps customers transition to a modern IT self-service model and enable the so-called smart office, which helps work-from-anywhere employees do things like easily find nearby printers or book conference rooms. We’re also introducing two new solutions in MyIT Service Broker and HR Case Management, which promise to significantly lift human productivity while reducing the cost of back-office operations. These are the major initiatives our customers care about today.

 Q: How do you define modern IT self-service?
A: One of the biggest challenges IT faces today is how to do more with less. Workers are increasingly more dependent on technology, while IT operating budgets continue to shrink. To reduce costs associated with high volumes of level-one calls to the help desk, IT must persuade end users to adopt self-service. We are already using self-service tools in our daily life when we shop online, book airline tickets, schedule dentist appointments – and people love it because it’s easy and fun.

Our MyIT solution incorporates social, mobile, and context awareness in a modern self-service app that looks and feels more like Facebook than a traditional service catalog. One of our customers, a Dubai-based payment solutions provider, recently rolled out MyIT to more than 100 of its member banks to give them a more personalized customer-service experience. Immediately, the number of calls to the help desk dropped. This reduced both the wait time for customers and the cost of managing routine issues, such as refunds and credit card cancellations.

Q: What’s a smart office?
A: Many enterprises own or lease acres of office space around the world. But between 20 percent and 30 percent of work stations are never used. This means hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted in real estate expenses every year.

MyIT’s location-aware floor maps allow workers to find and reserve desks, conference rooms, or other resources with a few clicks. As they enter the office, they not only see where there are open spaces, but can also find a desk that suits their schedule for the day. For example, if we’re in the middle of a product launch, I’d probably want to sit in the vicinity of the engineers. But if I have a series of conference calls to attend, I am better off in a quiet area.

Q: Tell me about IT service brokering.
A: For a decade, many IT organizations have aspired to pivot away from traditional service support toward service brokering. IT wants to enable business innovation, providing workers with the tools and services they need to be more competitive in the market, while still providing governance over how services are approved, enterprise licenses are used, and compliance policies are adhered to. As a result, we’ve seen an explosion of service catalogs in the enterprise. More than 70 percent of businesses now run at least five different catalogs for IT and business services.

Our latest product, MyIT Service Broker, lets IT aggregate hardware, software, and services from any source, both in the cloud and on premise, into a single, unified service app store. Vendors can on-board themselves, just like they do on Amazon or iTunes, bringing a wider selection of products and services into the enterprise.

Developers and business managers alike can create new services or edit existing workflow with drag-and-drop ease. We have also built in compliance surveys to help customers minimize risk when deploying products and services around the world. And to ensure IT gets the most out of its investments, MyIT Service Broker comes with analytics tools that show the usage, performance, and cost of each service.

Q: What’s a common use case for MyIT Service Broker?
A: It’s very exciting. Imagine opening up the corporate service catalog to all major collaboration software makers and allow each business unit to download the solution they want. Then, using analytics, IT can see where there’s adoption and compare that with service-level performance and cost. Now you have a 360-degree view of the optimal solution based on usage, performance, and total cost of ownership.

This type of crowdsourced decision-making process will lead to new innovations and productivity gains we couldn’t imagine before. Studies show that the average business user wastes two days a month on IT-related issues. With a service broker model, the goal is to get the downtime to zero.

Q: BMC has also begun supporting HR services. How come?
A: Bringing together IT and HR is a natural evolution of BMC’s product portfolio. Our new HR Case Management solution, which was developed by a partner, lets customers share incidents and cases across the BMC Remedy platform. More than 20 customers have already deployed the solution to extend the service desk beyond IT and into HR.

On the back-end, IT and HR can solve issues and deliver services more effectively by using hundreds of pre-built templates. For employees, the self-service solution provides a single pane of glass into HR services, including benefit change requests, healthcare reimbursements, and employee information updates. We’ve found that between 60 percent and 80 percent of HR issues can be resolved through self-service.

Q: What are the biggest challenges companies face when supporting a digital workplace?
A: I’d say it’s cultural. On one side, IT must look for new ways to support the business. That can be hard when you’re dealing with legacy systems, multiple third-party integrations, and security and compliance policies. Many IT organizations are overwhelmed with their internal complexity and can’t move as fast as the business needs to change.

On the other hand, employees need to meet IT halfway. When new self-service tools, like MyIT or HR Case Management, are deployed, users must put down the phone and start using these modern apps – just like they do at home. And as the Millennials, who are used to personal choice, enter the workforce, they want to use modern enterprise app stores to manage cost and compliance. But they’ll only do that if the experience is as easy as Uber or Amazon.

This is why we’ve worked so hard on bringing to market a fresh, digital approach to IT service management—to support both IT and the business on their journey to a digital workplace.

Increase business efficiency with IT service brokering

Eliminate-Catalog-SprawlEmployees today must navigate sprawling service catalogs and tedious IT processes that make it hard to get the tools they need, when and how they need them. This paper explores the many benefits of IT service brokering.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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Alf Abuhajleh

Alf Abuhajleh

Alf is an IT expert at BMC and the host of Alf's Zoo. Alf is focused on social, mobile and context-aware IT.