ITSM for high-velocity teams

Using service mapping to analyze, monitor, and improve user experience

IT service mapping is a visual representation of the IT infrastructure of a business. It allows the business to analyze, monitor, and improve customer experience.

In today’s age of scattered information and tech stacks, service mapping is essential to provide an in-depth view of processes, dependencies, and contacts that affect the flow and performance of a business. Stakeholders and IT workers alike can use service maps to make informed decisions, ease communication across dependencies, and provide a common understanding of service workflows.

Service maps are especially useful for IT Operations and Support teams in times of critical status. Knowing which assets depend upon one another in case of a crash can help lighten the workload of others and predict who needs to be “all hands on deck.” Non-IT support teams like Customer Service and HR can also use service maps in these moments to provide necessary internal and external communication to keep users satisfied.

Benefits of service mapping

Visualizing your services and assets in one place makes everyone’s work easier and allows the business to flow better. From enhanced understanding to faster problem resolution, here are some top benefits of service mapping tools.

1. Improves customer experience

Outlining your services down to assets and dependencies lets you identify operational frameworks and workflows. This means you can rapidly investigate and resolve incidents within one view. 

The Total Economic Impact™ of Jira Service Management, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester on behalf of Atlassian, revealed that Jira Service Management recovered 115 hours per month for IT service and operations teams, saving time and focus to deliver more to customers.

2. Promotes efficient change and incident management

With a clear understanding of which services rely on another, you’ll know exactly what to do when changes and incidents occur. Using Jira Service Management, IT and development teams can collaborate and communicate on up-to-date changes, coordinate workflows, link common issues, and tag each other for constant communication, all within the service map. This means that service management and code deployment can work hand-in-hand during service downtime and in regular moments of development.

3. Streamlines communication

Mapping out your services also helps to define clear roles and responsibilities. Use your service map to identify the teams and roles that manage each asset. This will make communication quicker and allow your team to understand how their work impacts others.

4. Provides greater visibility

Have you ever deployed a project and then realized the team at large wasn’t aware of the update? A service map provides visibility into what’s currently in development and deployment, allowing even the least tech-minded stakeholders to get a bird's eye view and understand what’s in the works. Jira Service Management’s change calendar even provides a time view of upcoming changes.

5. Better decision-making

When your entire team comprehends the intricate web of dependencies and connections through service mapping, the decision-making process becomes more clear.  Using the service map as a primary resource, you can construct a robust decision-making framework that identifies good practices and highlights key individuals whose insights and expertise are essential in making informed choices.

IT service mapping processes

Building your service map is a matter of gathering your IT processes into one place. While it may seem like a large undertaking, it’s ultimately a time-saving organizational tactic that ensures streamlined information, efficient service processes, and clearly-defined contacts. Here are some steps you should take to build and refine your service mapping.

1. Define your service boundaries and dependencies

Define service relationships so you can begin to map the structure of your services. This will help you identify dependencies in case of an incident in one service that will affect the performance of other services. Ideally, you can make this an automated response, with the service map as your guide.

2. Identify customer touch points

Where do your customers interact? Identify which business services have cross-dependencies with your service assets, like customer service, finance, sales, and infrastructure.

3. Document processes and procedures

Then it’s time to put together documentation and structure. Start by using the assets functionality in Jira Service Management to gather all the details you need on assets, dependencies, operational status and more. Collaborate with your team and stakeholders to confirm you aren’t missing anything from your IT workflow.

4. Analyze your service processes

How are your services and assets currently performing? With everything laid out in a service map, you can monitor and analyze processes with one glance. If an incident occurs or a deployment launches, the map will provide you with a better understanding of both performance and impact across the entire business line, allowing you to better manage workflows and identify solutions.

5. Evaluate customer feedback

When customers submit incident tickets, use your service map to escalate them to the right development team to resolve the incident quickly. Bring your development and IT support team together on the service map to understand how the incident and its resolutions will impact other assets.

6. Identify areas for improvement

One thing always remains the same in service: iteration and refinement. As you implement your service mapping and build workflows from within, test your customer experience, IT response time, deployment timelines, and general workflows and blockages to identify areas for improvement. Continuous iteration within your scrum sprints will help improve your business.

7. Develop metrics for measuring success

As you use your service map, consider which processes are making the most impact. Is your IT team drowning in a sea of user tickets? Are service managers bogged down by the average time from request to deployment? Look at major blockages in the workflow and work from there to develop metrics for improvement that you can build into OKRs.

8. Establish service-level agreements

Looking at your service map and related tickets, you can better understand previous incident management and deployment timelines. This will help you set as many service-level agreement (SLA) policies as necessary to keep track of deadlines. Then, you can resolve requests based on priorities and give your users a better understanding of downtime and resolution timelines.

9. Implement changes and monitor results

Don’t keep your service map to yourself — ensure key stakeholders and your entire team reference the map as a main dashboard to monitor results. This allows everyone to provide input on incoming changes and deployments, set internal goals, and communicate with each other.