5 Tips For Getting Ready For Service Integration

This blog has been kindly provided by Sandy Winschief, a vendor/supplier management specialist at TCS, who previous provided: A Late New Year’s Resolution: Be Nice To A Supplier And See What Happens. They are Sandy’s words with just a little editing on my part. Enjoy…

Service integration?

Service integration (SI) is already one of the IT buzzwords of 2013; you might also hear service integration and management (SIAM) which brings in an IT service management (ITSM) perspective. However, just because it is one the most talked about ideas in the IT industry does not mean it is understood.

For now let’s just say that if you could take your E2E IT operations and the complex multi-supplier environment in which it sits and give that pain to someone else to manage while you concentrate on what you do best, on your customers and their needs, then why wouldn’t you? This, in essence, is what pure-play SI is (Stephen – at Forrester we are also speaking to clients about internally operated SI).

Sounds attractive, doesn’t it?  The good news is that it can be. The bad news is that my experience to date has shown SI implementation can be a painful experience if those involved are not prepared.

Planning for service integration

The transition to an SI model is a lot easier if time is invested upfront to:

  • Housekeeping key areas of the IT environment
  • Engaging a potential SI provider earlier to work with the organization – to help organize and plan for transition readiness.
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Practical ITSM Advice: Defining Availability For An IT Service

As a follow up to his presentation at the 2013 itSMF Norway conference, Stuart Rance of HP has kindly donated some practical advice for those struggling with availability.

Many IT organizations define availability for IT services using a percentage (e.g. 99.999% or “five 9s”) without any clear understanding of what the number means, or how it could be measured. This often leads to dissatisfaction, with IT reporting that they have met their goals even though the customer is not satisfied.

A simple calculation of availability is based on agreed service time (AST), and downtime (DT).

If AST is 100 hours and downtime is 2 hours then availability would be

Customers are interested in their ability to use IT Services to support business processes. Availability reports will only be meaningful if they describe things the customer cares about, for example the ability to send and receive emails, or to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Number and duration of outages

A service that should be available for 100 hours and has 98% availability has 2 hours downtime. This could be a single 2 hour incident, or many shorter incidents. The relative impact of a single long incident or many shorter incidents is different for different business processes. For example, a billing run that has to be restarted and takes 2 days to complete will be seriously impacted by each outage, but the outage duration may not be important. A web-based shopping site may not be impacted by a 2 minute outage, but after 2 hours the loss of customers could be significant. Table 1 shows some examples of how an SLA might be documented to show this varying impact.

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Squeezing The Value Out Of ITIL, Or Any Other IT, Training

I promised a second blog based on the English-language presentations at the itSMF Norway annual conference but then I had a better idea … rather than just giving you the something akin to Twitter highlights I decided to be cheeky and ask a couple of the presenters to write blogs based on their presentations. Smart or lazy, I think it is better for you the reader.

Here is the first from Paul Wilkinson of GamingWorks – no stranger to writing blogs for my Forrester blog roll. The second is by Stuart Rance of HP and this will appear soon. Paul’s topic?

“How to improve the Return On Value (ROV) of an IT service management training initiative”

To quote Paul: “Hardly an innovative, exciting, sexy subject when everybody wants to hear about cloud, BYOD, social media, and all that new stuff.” BUT Paul was asked to present the same session he delivered in 2012 given that it was one of the top 3 well-received the previous year. I personally thoroughly enjoyed it – Paul is good at making you believe that there is “a better way” when it comes to changing the way we think about IT service delivery.

What were Paul’s key messages?

What was so important? Why should you read on? What should YOU now do differently?

Paul set the scene nicely. In his words (with a little editing by yours truly):

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People In IT Love Stats But They Probably Won’t Love These

I’ve written a number of blogs about IT service management (ITSM) and IT service delivery many of which have expressed opinions based on observations and conversations rather than “facts.” A new Forrester report by my colleague Eveline Oehrlich has some facts to substantiate what we already knew even if we chose to ignore it.

These facts reinforce a figure that I use in most presentation to show that without exception IT professionals think that they do a better job than their business colleagues think they do. So we have this perceptions gap or perhaps we should call it a “perceptions gulf.”

The IT perceptions gulf

This is one of those pictures that really is worth a thousand words. In fact all three of these figures make it easy for me to cut short the commentary.

It’s interesting to see the geographical differences but, despite these, we still see a consistent gap or gulf between “How IT thinks it is doing” and “How customers think IT is doing.” Funny how our metrics aren’t a sea of red – in fact our metrics dashboard is often a sea of green.

“But that’s just perceptions” I hear you cry, “We still do a fantastic job in enabling business activities with cutting-edge IT.” But could we do better? Please read on …

Could we improve business productivity?

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The Capita ITIL JV Wasn’t “Big News,” So What IS Important To Real-World IT Service Delivery?

I guess I should have expected this (but alas I didn’t) – the Capita ITIL, the IT service management best practice framework, joint venture with the UK government wasn’t big news. If anything, the story made ripples rather than waves; and from a UK government “finances” rather than IT service management (ITSM) best practice perspective.

It’s interesting to consider why – particularly when enterprises are so adamant on requesting ITIL-alignment in ITSM tool selection RFPs. But first a few links:

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So Capita Gets ITIL But Will People Finally “Get” ITIL?

It’s not often that I get to write about breaking news in the IT service management (ITSM) world but this definitely is it (I think the last time was this).

Well I say “breaking news,” many of us were talking about the rumor of Capita winning the “ITIL auction” on Wednesday evening while together at the Service Desk and IT Support Show. The odd thing is that it was probably the only time we were talking about ITIL, the ITSM best practice framework, outside of the sessions over the two days (other than some vendors who were still spouting that their tools are “ITIL-compliant”). But that is a topic for a later date.

If you want the “scoop” on the Capita announcement then please look at:

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IT Service Management Benchmarks – For You By You

In a previous blog post, SysAid – a provider of IT management solutions – was kind enough to share some metrics/performance snapshots collected from its customers. As a quick recap, SysAid captures service desk benchmarking information through its customers’ use of its software (on an opt-in basis of course) for the benefit of all.

At some point we should sit down and compare the SysAid stats to those provided by HDI – a great independent source of service desk benchmarks – that’s a challenge to you Roy Atkinson … BTW, I hope the HDI 2013 event is going well in Las Vegas this week (the Twitter hash tag is #hdiconf13 for people, like me, who aren’t there). Anyway, back to those SysAid stats …

A selection of community-based service desk stats …

There are two points to note here: not all SysAid customers participate (according to its website, SysAid now has over 100,000 customer organizations); and I have cherry-picked a handful of the available stats from March 2013. There is also one caveat from me – there is no differentiation of organization size in these stats, we need to drill down further to account for any small or very large organization bias.

Percentage of incident tickets originating from the End User Portal, Average 60.31%

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IT? How about I&T?

This blog was contributed by Mark Smalley, IT Management Consultant at Smalley.IT and Director of Global Promotion at ASL BiSL Foundation … and all-round serious thinker. It was written on the back of a BrightTalk webinar on the future of IT service management.

Mark had proposed the blog be called simply “I&T” but I rightly or wrongly decided to make its topic more explicit. The following are Mark’s thoughts and words with some editing on my part to meet word count guidelines (which I eventually failed to do so) …

What exactly is “IT”?

The term “IT” can be confusing. Does it refer to an organizational entity, e.g. the IT department and if so, does that include the applications domain? Does it refer to artefacts such as hardware, software, and data that are used to enable and support planning, collection, organization, use, control, dissemination, and disposal of information1)? And finally, and this is my main topic, is “information” included in IT, or is it a separate entity?

Why am I asking this now?

While preparing for the panel discussion mentioned above and thinking about the kind of questions that people would and should be thinking about, I decided to ask my personal network about the questions that they thought IT people should be thinking about. This resulted in 67 questions2) posed by 24 experts from 16 countries. Amongst them, Charles Betz noticed that some of the questions touched on “the age-old existential questions about ‘what is IT?’ and ‘what happens if we take IT out of ITSM?’” and referred to his definition of IT value:

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Software Asset Management in 2013: State Of SAM Survey Results

At the end of 2012, Forrester and the ITAM Review, an IT asset management community site, ran a software asset management (SAM) survey to help understand where SAM is going in 2013. The resulting infographic* and commentary is available to Forrester clients here. For non- (hopefully future-) clients I’ve extracted some content to create this blog.

The focus and drivers for SAM have changed

Since the early 2000s, risk-focused IT professionals have voiced their concern over software compliance and the potential for vendor audits, large financial fines, damage to corporate reputation, and even the imprisonment of company directors. But these concerns weren't necessarily shared by the rest of the organization, which also viewed the SAM technology available as too difficult and complex to justify. As a result, SAM was a low priority on the IT management to-do list.

But this is starting to change as IT organizations realize that their software estates and procurement and provisioning processes are in a state of under-management, if not mismanagement. As a result, these organizations are wasting a significant amount of their IT funding each year on license procurement when they don't need to, maintenance agreement costs for more licenses than they actually use, and supporting and hosting software that should have been decommissioned.

Three of the 19 infographic elements:

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ITSM Tools: Is What You Pay Linked To Value?

A little while back Martin Thompson at the ITSM Review wrote an interesting blog on the complexity of IT service management (ITSM) tool pricing:  http://www.theitsmreview.com/2011/09/ouch-o-meter/…I particularly liked his term "ouch-o-meter." It’s well worth a read.

It's something that has continued to puzzle me – what it would cost to buy AND implement an ITSM tool, PLUS any process or people-based change via professional services or third-party consultancy? Oops, I nearly forgot support and maintenance there too. To make matters worse, this is potentially an unknown and unbudgeted for cost that appears every 5-7years due to tool churn if us analyst types are to be believed (I have an outstanding action to include ITSM tool churn-related questions in a survey). But we need to park the churn issue for now and focus on cost or, more specifically, pricing models.

What did an ITSM tool cost in 2008? Or how long is a piece of string?

I cast my mind back to when I started as an industry analyst in 2008 and the complexity of not only which tools/applications, modules, or features needed to be costed-in but also the 30-50% "surcharge" for the professional services and 20-22% for support and maintenance. Then of course we needed to apply volume-based discounts and maybe something else based on the "customer-logo-appeal," the customer’s sourcing and vendor management strength/capabilities, and/or the sales person's need to hit quota at that point in time. I've probably oversimplified this too, feel free to educate me. 

Jumping forward to the Teenies* ...

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