Inside Track is the first in a new series of blogs where I’ll be talking to those in the know about industry themes, world events and our product launches. In issue 1, I sit down with our Founder and CEO Sumir Karayi, VP of Product Rob Peterscheck, and Product Manager Paul Thomsen to discuss the future of self-service portals, why employee empowerment is critical in a remote-first world and how 1E Shopping 6.0 fits into the work from anywhere (WFA) enterprise.
Q: Why are self-service portals relevant right now?
Rob Peterscheck: Anything that can be done without going to a service desk means more time to deal with the crisis. This has always been important to drive down costs and refocus effort, as the COVID response in enterprise companies requires even greater IT people this just becomes more important.
Paul Thomsen: Not only are pressures greater on IT now thanks to COVID, but work patterns are also different. Employees have to juggle work with everyday life at home. So workdays start earlier and end later. Allowing everyone to make IT requests at any time is great for the employees, while avoiding additional burdens on IT.
Sumir Karayi: Self-service portals are important today because employees want to get support when they’re working which can be any time of the day and any place in the world. Self-service is a representation of IT and just as any shopping cart front end to a department store, they provide the entire capabilities of the IT department. Employees would much rather go to a fully functioning self-service portal than have to go and contact a service desk, like today they would buy from Amazon rather than physically go to a store. Our latest research shows that only half of employees think the service desk is the fastest way to get an issue fixed; you can find the research on the new digital workplace here.
Q: What’s the most interesting use case for self-service or customer anecdote you’ve heard about?
Sumir Karayi: Everyone wants simplicity. Nothing is simpler than one employee portal for Microsoft Intune, SCCM, ServiceNow, Active Directory and 1E real-time capabilities.
Paul Thomsen: Many of our customers are among the world’s largest organizations, so everything is done seriously and at scale. I’ve been impressed by customers saying that Shopping serves numbers like 7,000 user requests per week. Imagine trying to process that number of requests with manual responses, such as helpdesk calls. Large organizations can hire enough people to do that, but surely their resources are better spent on complex behind-the-scenes IT infrastructure. Empowering employees to self-serve is an easy way to delegate IT activities.
Rob Peterscheck: I knew an organization that used self-service shopping to use Training Days for a vendor contract that renewed days for their companies training each year, I thought it was a great self-service use case.
Q: What does the future hold for Shopping?
Paul Thomsen: Our vision is the vision of our customers: one-stop shopping. Employees don’t care about how something is processed and delivered; they just want to have a trusted location where they can simply ask for anything required to do their job. IT does care about the mechanisms. IT must have sophisticated processes to ensure accountability and efficiency, and they want the flexibility to adapt as technologies evolve. Shopping has provided all that for ConfigMgr, Active Directory, and general requests (such as hardware). In the last couple of years, our ServiceNow, BigFix, Microsoft Store for Business, and Tachyon integrations have expanded the possibilities. Now Shopping 6.0’s integration with Intune allows us to include Microsoft’s plan for modern management. We’ll be excited to offer yet more options in coming versions.
Rob Peterscheck: The 1E Shopping portal is a one stop shop and integrator. It also needs to function as the employee interface for all of our products wherever they meet the end user. Connecting it more deeply into other vendor ecosystems will bring benefits to our platform, our partners, and our customers.
Sumir Karayi: IT must provide services which employees want to consume so employees can be productive and engaged. There is much automation needed for this to be a reality. 1E is constantly investing in automation and we have the first real-time platform to build, test and deploy automated solutions.