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).
If there’s one movie about self-confidence that I love it’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go see the movie. On one hand I absolutely love the cocky attitude portrayed by Adam Sandler, but at the same this is absolutely the worst mentality to have when it comes to IT Service Management, and since I’m reviewing Continual Service Improvement, I found a great topic for blogging.
Ok, so I bet you’re thinking “gee, thanks Michael, now you want me to have an inferiority complex?” Of course I don’t! But people in my work-place, like others out there, probably never have a thought that the entire IT department could be outsourced. I work at a hospital and replacing an IT department wouldn’t be realistic, but having a mentality of business security really wipes away motivation and reason for Continual Service Improvement. It’s true other motivating factors can be implemented, such as performance reviews and pay bonuses, but there’s really nothing scarier than the prospect of an any department being wiped away by a competing body, and this is the importance of treating IT as its own business entity. And besides, you never know when the key business executives may find an opportunity to downsize or remove your IT department, so why take the risk?
I’ve read/heard so much information about Cloud Computing vs. ITIL that it’s an understatement in saying that this is a “hot topic.” In fact, this discussion thread may be hotter even the iPhone vs. Android debate (which I ignore because I have a Blackberry and will be unfailingly loyal to them…until the iPhone comes out for Verizon or there’s a good CDMA/GSM Android phone). Anyway, I’m ready to give my opinion on this topic, and not just because I want this post Tweeted to just about everyone that reads #itil or #itsm hashes. Without further adieu, here goes…
When it comes to Cloud Computing vs. ITIL I think people are missing the big, and obvious, fact that Cloud Computing is a technology while ITIL is a framework. Maybe I’m just simple-minded, but what’s all the argument about? Ok, so Cloud Computing (CC from now on, since I hate to type) means that servers and infrastructure changes can be deployed rapidly and the engineers will hate Change Management. So what? Engineers have always hated Change Management and the (sometimes) rigid framework known as ITIL. But since ITIL is a framework, changes can be made to incorporate this technology, just like it needs to be able to work with DevOps or social networking. And as usual, not every single process or policy in ITIL needs to be implemented. It’s a collection of “good practice” that doesn’t, and isn’t, perfect for everyone. My opinion is that CC fantastic and even though it’s still rising on the hype curve, it’s something that is here to stay in IT. So ITIL’ers – get used to it. CC champions – Change Management is a good thing so quit complaining. I mean really, can’t we all just get along?
I’ve been having a great time sitting in presentations and seminars about Problem Management and I can’t help to come across a recurring theme; organizations that have successfully implemented Problem Management provide a documented and official training manual for the I.T. personnel. I’m not referring to the policies, but the actual “here’s how you problem solve” instructions. This got me thinking about a broader idea that successful Service Management has at least three important elements. I’m calling this the Service Management Triad and if your organization can nail all three of these, then it’s well on its way to providing high quality services.
Since I already mentioned education, I’ll state this as the first item. I’m not simply referring to education to tell people about ITIL or ITSM, but I’m talking about education on the entire scale of Service Management. This includes getting personnel ITIL Foundation certified, building a training program for the different processes, and even providing training for common methodologies (such as Kepner and Tregoe for problem solving). It’s to basically to teach people how to function in the IT department.
Secondly, I’ll say it yet again – culture. If the culture is established that your organization is there to deliver services and not just provide an IT infrastructure, then attitudes and behaviors will follow (see how I worked in the ABC’s – it’s hard being this clever).
Third, and most obvious, are the processes. Every organization is different so there will never be a simple set of “one size fits all” processes for ITSM, but they have to be created or else why would the other two even exist? For that matter, why even bother with IT Service Management?
So there you have it – three important parts of Service Management that needs to happen. I think culture and processes are definitely obvious, but I’m now realizing the importance of education, because if there’s not a defined and documented education system, how will anyone know what to do?