Why Is Buying An IT Service Management Tool Like Buying A Car?

It sounds like the start of a bad Christmas cracker joke. Maybe the title of this blog should actually be, “Why Should Buying An IT Service Management (ITSM) Tool Be Like Buying A Car?” but let’s see where this goes. I'll deliberately avoid talking about salespeople.

I sometimes talk about new application development in the context of acquiring a car: in that the business often says “we want a green car” to IT rather than saying “we want a means to get from A to B that is aesthetically pleasing.” What I realized responding to a Forrester client inquiry this morning is that the same is true in selecting an ITSM tool.

How should one buy a car?

Let’s look at ITSM tool selection in terms of needing a new means of transport/business support, as you might not actually need a car:

  • Work out what you need it for (is the need for a car, tractor, plane, or pony?)
  • Identify the features you need based on what you need to achieve rather than what is available (will you use 16 cup holders?)
  • Identify what features you need/value most and don’t lose sight of them
  • Work out what you can afford (this might impact the above)
  • Speak to your “personal network” about their experiences with particular models and vendors
  • Look at what is being said on the Internet (the social commentary)
  • Consult aggregators of opinion and experiences (analysts and some consultants)
  • Speak with existing customers (and not just the ones that the car sales person points you at)
  • Ask for what you actually need
  • Always, always have a test drive and kick the tires (that is a test drive by the people who will be driving the vehicle in their job rather than the people who watch them drive). Get a pilot implementation
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