Is the organization struggling with incident management? Is service level compliance dismal? Do changes to the IT environment often cause outages? I could go on… Many organizations experience problems with service delivery. When looking for an answer, they jump head first into an IT service management (ITSM) tool initiative as their existing tool appears to be contributing to the issues and technology is familiar.
Replacing the tool won’t solve the problem. Most likely, the cause of the service issues is rooted in one of two areas.
1.) Processes are not well defined or understood. If the process isn’t clear, it will not be repeatable and therefore, service delivery will be inconsistent and sometimes, downright painful.
2.) There is a lack of buy in regarding how service is delivered. If the people in the organization disagree with key aspects of the service delivery processes or agreements; if they are struggling to understand why some agreements exist or processes were designed a certain way; or if they do not feel as though they can succeed, service delivery will never meet the expectations of IT leadership or the business.
Unfortunately, replacing the tool won’t solve these problems. It will only make it worse. Without clear, defined processes, how will you develop requirements to complete tool selection? If the team didn’t feel successful before, a new tool will only increase their confusion.
Rather than starting a new tool initiative, consider a process improvement initiative which includes a defined plan to address organizational change. Start with the processes that relate to the business’s key pain points when dealing with IT. Redefine the processes including process objectives, policies, process integration, roles and responsibilities, critical success factors and key performance indicators, operational metrics, and other details.
Plan for the desired outcome by defining a vision for success and then developing strategies and tasks to accomplish the vision. Examples of strategies and tasks which facilitate change include: engaging staff in the process improvement initiative; routinely distributing transparent communications about the project and potential changes; developing clear, concise performance objectives for staff members that relate to the success of the process; providing training and documentation; tracking and publicizing compliance metrics; establishing a process for continual service improvement which includes feedback from those engaged in process execution; and fostering a sense of ownership and accountability by setting expectations and quickly addressing issues.
Once the process improvement project gains momentum, it may be time to reevaluate the ITSM tools but before investing in a new tool, ensure the processes and the organization are strong enough to support success.