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How enterprise service management transformed Adaptavist’s content team

Phill Fox
Phill Fox
5 April 21 ESM
Adaptavist's content team implemented Enterprise Service Management
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Enterprise Service Management (ESM) extends the principles of ITSM to improve efficiency, reduce risk, and change the user experience beyond the IT team. The benefits are big, and at Adaptavist, we’ve been giving it a try.

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Do you mean ITSM?

Not exactly. ITSM is all about the way a business delivers IT services. It seeks to transform activities, policies, and processes to improve deployment and management of everything the IT team has to offer. But what about the rest of the business? It’s not just IT that provides functions that are fundamental to an organisation’s success – from developers and marketing teams to human resources and sales, enterprises depend on productivity, efficiency, and results across the board. 

And that’s where Enterprise Service Management (ESM) comes in. It applies all the best bits of ITSM and extends them to other parts of the business, incorporating its principles, as well as its structures and technologies, such as service desks, change management software, and the use of automation. It sees everything the company does as a resource, enabling tracking of people, parts, and assets as well as the status of service requests and other business needs.

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Our ESM transformation

We’re no stranger to ITSM – as a world-leading Atlassian partner, we’ve undergone our own ITSM transformation while helping other organisations with theirs. Now, our non-IT teams are also getting in on the action. Read on to find out how our content marketing team embraced ESM principles to transform the way it delivers its services to the wider business.

The challenge

Originally a one-person operation, Adaptavist’s content team expanded rapidly as the business grew. Performing all the editorial functions of the marketing department, including brand-wide marketing campaigns, it soon found itself overwhelmed with requests. 

From blog posts and web pages to advertisements, podcasts, webinars, and whitepapers, some requests would come in over HipChat, later Slack, via email, or in-person from staff sauntering over in the office (remember those days?). And they were all being managed in a spreadsheet or on a Trello board, making it hard to keep track.

The solution

In late 2018 the team had a lightbulb moment – it needed a service desk; it needed Jira. There was some resistance initially from team members who found Jira difficult to use, but the demand was obvious and, after some testing, the first iteration of the service desk was launched in May 2019. Basic, with just a couple of user options, the tickets went straight to a Kanban board. But it proved itself extremely useful from the outset.

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Content Team’s Kanban Board
A snapshot of the content team’s kanban board.

Hack at it

By 2020, the service desk and Kanban board were in full swing, but they weren’t out of the woods. It still wasn’t entirely clear who was doing what, when, and how more immediate deadlines impacted workflow. This was coupled with issues raised by a few big events – including Adaptavist’s virtual summit, which required a sudden influx of content – not to mention the shift to remote working. The team decided to take a fresh look at its Jira project and ask some big questions:

  • What are we trying to do?
  • What are the big problems we’re facing?

After the content process had been fully understood and mapped out, they underwent a hackday where they input some of this diagramming into Jira. They wanted to build a simple system to triage incoming requests and monitor output, giving the team capacity visibility and enabling it to reprioritise on a dime. Their aim was to make sure any project had a single source of truth where any member of the team could find everything they needed to get up to speed. This is what they came up with:

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Content Team Jira Project Flow Diagram
The first iteration of the Content Team's Jira Project.

As you can see from the diagram, this is a work in progress. But that’s ok. It’s an iterative process, and they’re trying to be as agile as possible in their thinking. One thing’s clear: they’re heading towards adding more functionality that gives them better insight into the work they deliver for Adaptavist. They’ve also got big ideas for how they can improve campaigns using this technology – it’s not that different from how software developers decide on what features to add next.

Failing (and learning) fast

Like any agile, iterative process, the content team has learned to fail fast and make improvements as they go. They recognised early on that automation could help speed things up, especially when it came to social media content. With so much content to keep track of, they had the idea to automate social media tickets and rushed to put this into practice. Suddenly senior team members were inundated with email notifications from Jira, overwhelming their inboxes. It wasn’t the right approach, so they fixed the automation to only show the notifications that they really needed to see. They’re planning to revisit automation in the future, making sure any processes are carefully assessed before they get implemented.

The right rituals

Now the content team has a much more functional service desk, which lands on a Kanban board. They use that in a very ‘Scrum-ban’ way: a little Scrum, a little Kanban. They’ve incorporated some of the rituals of Scrum, like a daily standup and a backlog grooming session. And they’re also able to operate using a quick prioritisation approach. When something needs to get shifted to make way for an unexpected announcement, they’re able to move things around with ease. 

They’ve taken some ESM principles, and made them their own. For example, they don’t use sprints, because it just doesn’t make sense for their processes. And they use the epic function in Jira to track the workflow of marketing campaigns, rather than to create an epic for a large body of work that needs to be completed over several sprints or over a long period of time, as is more common for project managers. 

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Content Team Jira epics
A snapshot of some of the Content team's epics in Jira.

Now, they can take requests from anybody, improving the efficiency of their operations, reducing the risk of projects getting lost or sidelined, and enabling them to plan strategically to support the wider business. 

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An enterprising solution

ITSM doesn’t just apply to IT. Incorporating ESM principles and frameworks into your team will have a number of direct benefits to your organisation, including increased productivity, enhanced visibility and control, improved user satisfaction, and decreased wasted time and resources. What’s not to love?

Find out more about how adopting ESM can transform the way your team works, watch our webinar all about implementing enterprise service management.

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