ITIL® and Me

In the trenches with ITIL and ITSM.

Now that the first week of 2011 is over, I think it’s probably time to add my name to the growing “good bye 2010/predictions for 2011″ blog posts.  In case you’re curious, I didn’t want to just jump on the posting bandwagon at the turn of the year because, quite honestly, I had such a good New Year that the hangover is now wearing off and I’m finally thinking clearly again (not really, but that excuse makes me sound pretty cool).

So, here’s my big goodbye for 2010.  Goodbye 2010!  That’s it, nothing more.  I could go into a “here are some lessons I learned” list, but in reality I’ve learned so much about ITIL and ITSM that I couldn’t list them all if I tried.  And Besides, I really don’t like lamenting on the past.  2010 is gone and now it’s time for 2011.

In 2011 I see some big things on the horizon for marketing in IT Service Management.  ITIL doesn’t address marketing outright, but I’ve written on it in the past and I see it becoming more important when it comes to justifying IT to “the business.”  I’m also realizing that “marketing IT” really does start with the Service Catalogue since marketing is essentially the same as telling everyone “here’s what we do and we’re the best at it.”  The Service Catalogue answers the “what we do,” metrics and KPI’s answer “we’re good at it” (or it can say “we suck,” depending on the reason for reporting), and I really do see social networking as the “how” to do this marketing.  If everyone in “the business” is using social networking for communication, you might as well go with the flow.

That’s all I’m going to write for my focus in 2011 for ITSM (please observe how I said “focus” and not “predictions” – if I could make successful predictions I would have won the lottery several times by now).  I’m sure all the ITIL debates from 2010 will continue (V2 vs. V3, worth of V3 certification, ITIL vs. ISO2000, etc), but evolution does not occur without some debate so I welcome every new opinion and idea that comes along.

Happy New Year!

Go Bucks!

Last week I was talking to a vendor representative for a service management tool.  The meeting went pretty well but there was one part that I just had to bite my tongue on because my “matter of fact” personality would have been harsh.  The rep was discussing how the new version of the tool (which isn’t out yet) would automatically search user names while they were being typed.  Great.  Fantastic.  I don’t think he knew that Service-Now already has this feature.  In fact, even Open Ticket Request System, a free and open-source product, already has this feature.  I’m sure the rep was just pointing out an improvement that was being made and as a software company, I applaud them for making improvements.  But the truth of the matter is they’re behind and saying a feature is “coming out” when others already have it just means they’re playing catch-up and it really makes me feel a little disheartened.  This isn’t to say that the particular vendor has bad software, in fact it’s been around for a while and overall I would say it’s pretty solid.  At that particular moment I wasn’t “wowed” by something that should have been included in the current release.  Now, I know I’m generally difficult to “wow” and quite honestly, I have had almost no emotional responses to several exciting events in my life, but this interaction really adds to my opinion that most IT Service Management vendors are behind (see http://www.itilandme.com/?p=197).

So yesterday, I was sitting at my desk, listening to an online ITIL training course and going about my happy go-lucky day, when a group of people came walking through my area.  One of the individuals of this group stopped at my cubicle and said “Hey, it’s Michael from Yammer.”  (If you don’t know about Yammer, it’s basically a Twitter-like system for specific domains).  So it was great to see some fellow “yammerites” at my place of work, but one of them made a comment that got me thinking (which can be dangerous from time to time).  The comment went something like “sorry we’re not on Yammer a lot, but thanks for carrying the torch.”

Here I am, in a department that historically lives in silos, and I’m trying to actually break out and communicate with others.  But apparently IT isn’t the only one that lives in a silo; other departments in my organization live in silos as well.  In fact, this place has more silos then any commercial farming operation.  It’s really kind of sad and indicative of a core problem when we can’t even take the first step towards aligning IT and the business, which is simply just communicating with each other.  Ironically, this is a problem at a time when everyone lives in social networks and it’s never been easier to communicate.

I wish I could come up with some big “lesson” from this problem, but I think it’s pretty obvious.  Excuse me now, my silo is calling.

I really don’t know how to express this opinion so I thought it best to ask…why does it seem like ITSM software is behind the rest of the industry?  And maybe I’m wrong in having this opinion, but we recently went through choosing a vendor for a Service Management tool and I wasn’t seriously impressed with many of the vendors when it comes to the general direction of computing.

Here’s what I’m talking about:  I’ve seen a good amount of vendors advertise their alignment with ITIL v3.  They’re just now aligning themselves with “good practice” processes?  I would hope these tools would be developed with good practice in mind all along.  Those same vendors have recently started offering SaaS solutions.  I don’t know about you, but SaaS and cloud computing have been around for a few years now and it looks like it’s here to stay.  So why are some of the big vendors just now deploying a SaaS solution?  And what about mobility?  With the exception of a mobile browser interface, it just doesn’t look like many vendors are seriously considering the trend towards mobile computing.

As much as I love to complain, I think it’ll be a bit more constructive if I add in my “wish list” of where I’d like to see this software go.  First, go live in the clouds.  I don’t want to worry about server resources or availability when it comes to software that’s supposed to help me manage resources and availability.  Second, get in gear with mobility.  Make the apps for Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows 7 (yes, I decided to add Microsoft to the list) that not only allows me to check Incidents or close tickets on the go, but also allows me to submit RFC’s, update CI’s, approve new KB articles, update self-service messages, etc.  And finally, get ready for social networking integration because “everyone’s doing it.” (on a side note, I don’t endorse giving in to peer pressure, but the best way to get people involved is by using the communication streams they already know and love).

I could be completely off base and out of touch with the software that’s available.  If I am, please let me know.  But if I’m not, I hope the vendors pick up on the trends and start building their software for the IT Service Management of tomorrow.  If you need help, please let me know (especially if you’re based in a geographic region where the lowest average temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit).

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