This blog has been contributed by Barclay Rae, an independent management consultant, and is the first of a new series of blogs written by IT service management (ITSM) thought leaders. Please read in Barclay's Scottish brogue ...
ITSMers often need help
Much of the demand for knowledge and support that I see in my regular consulting work centers around a simple request: “what are the key things to be doing for successful IT Service Management?”
People tell me they’ve read ITSM books and been trained (and certified) in ITIL and other frameworks, but because there’s so much content, plus multiple processes and standards. They lack a clear understanding of where to start and how to focus on what is important and successful in practice.
Focus on the critical activities
For me there’s a critical set of activities and actions that need to be achieved in order to deliver quality and effective service delivery – customer engagement, service definition, service desk quality, problem management, reporting and metrics, organizational change, and marketing. For many years this is what I’ve provided via workshops and consulting, and now I’ve turned this into a simple, straightforward, and practical approach and portfolio of knowledge – ITSMGoodness.
The recent Forrester SaaS for IT Service Management (ITSM) Market Overview has proved popular but I thought it wise to step back from its focus on SaaS for a moment to talk about “choice.” That is choice of delivery model for ITSM-enabling capabilities; both upfront and over time. You might argue that this is flexibility rather than choice; but to me it is choice – on-premises, SaaS, or maybe both. If you look at the figure below it’s not necessarily a question at the forefront of people’s minds when choosing a new tool, ITSM-enabling or otherwise:
While Price nestles snuggly behind Features and functions, the closest to choice is “Type of software deployment” sitting in seventh place at 44%. It’s good to see that what the tool does is far more important than the delivery model, it’s probably also indicative of the fact that on-premises as a delivery model is not going away.
IMO choice is important; in particular choice between delivery models and also choice over time. It’s also becoming an increasingly high-profile part of ITSM tool vendor selling and marketing/messaging “conversations.” FrontRange in particular has raised the stakes on choice in terms of coining a new term “Hybrid ITSM” and making it core to its value proposition.
I’d not been to Norway for 32 years (I’m now embarrassed to say), so I really didn’t know what to expect as I travelled to the annual itSMF Norway conference in Oslo last week. I certainly didn’t expect the high price of just about everything; and I wondered if I would get a true picture of Norway in an airport hotel (in Oslo) with over 600 IT and IT service management (ITSM) professionals.
Now this is where my blogging could get me into trouble (or even more trouble), as I make a few personal observations as well as ITSM observations. But please humor me – they are all said in a very positive manner as I wonder what I missed in the Norwegian-language sessions and what those outside of Norway miss everyday. I’ll also write a second blog to cover some of the valuable content as soon as I make time.
My initial observations …
Firstly – “Wow, over 600 attendees for a country the size of Norway.” According to Wikipedia, Norway has five million citizens. You can do the math (or, as I would say, “maths”) relative to other countries. We have 63 million citizens in the UK …
Earlier today I was fortunate enough to participate in a BrightTalk webinar on the future of IT service management (ITSM) with these fabulous gentlemen:
If you want to watch the webinar on demand it can be found here (you will need to register if you are new to BrightTalk). What you won’t get with the on demand webinar (I think) is the full set of audience poll results, so I've included them here.
I didn't get the chance to jot down my thoughts after a couple of days at IBM Pulse last week but I didn't want to not share my observations and thoughts. So here we go as I fly off to itSMF Norway's annual conference ... It's somewhat random but what did you expect from me? A Katy Perry inspired title?
My view of the IBM Pulse keynotes …
The IBM keynotes covered many of the things you would expect (see my pics below) such as: big data, cloud, mobile, smart-things, and big data. And did I mention big data? It's a key challenge/opportunity for IBM and its customers.
What really resonated with me during the keynotes, however, was not big data but the use of a certain lexicon – with words like "value," "customer-centricity," business outcomes," and even "Outside-In." It was my first proper IBM Pulse so I was unsure whether this was the norm or whether IBM has started "thinking outside the data center" – a criticism I have previously used with other vendors.
Given IBM's traditional focus on enterprise-spanning deals and business, rather than IT challenges/opportunities, it's probably the former but IMO a key part of helping enterprise IT organizations support their customers is IT service management (ITSM). And IBM despite having a fit for purpose ITSM offering and probably thousands of ITSM "experts" throughout its organization has just not been in people's minds and ITSM conversations the last two years.
IBM markets at the enterprise level and this means many potential customers don't think “IBM” and then think “ITSM” (or the reverse) as they would with other ITSM tool vendors. It might seem a harsh thing to say but I believe it to be the reality. I think this might be about to change though – I'll come back to this after a quick detour.
Forrester recently published “IT Service Management (ITSM) Case Study: Making The Transition From On Premises To SaaS With BMC” which is available to clients here. For non-clients (or hopefully “future clients”) I thought I’d create a blog on the good practices distilled from the discussion with the BMC client.
The situation … does it sound familiar?
The customer had found itself hamstrung by a highly customized on-premises ITSM tool that was: 1) too costly to run; 2) a poor fit to operational and customer requirements; 3) complicated and cumbersome to use; 4) unable to keep pace with the latest service management thinking; and 5) stranded on an out-of-date version because it would cost too much to upgrade.
The solution …
The customer used a honed set of requirements to select BMC Remedyforce from a shortlist of six SaaS ITSM offerings. In their words, they chose BMC Remedyforce because: 1) it was best suited to the agency's existing and future needs; 2) it was built on the salesforce.com platform; 3) its user experience was similar to (but better than that of) the incumbent Service Desk Express; and 4) it was the most cost effective.
Here's what they did:
The initial deployment managed requests and tasks from both customers and internal IT.
The customer took advantage of subscription-based licensing's ability to flex with demand.
They also used BMC Remedyforce in different scenarios: in internally and externally facing call centers and, in addition to traditional IT support, addressing customer support, app development issues, and human resources (HR).
You can guess where I stand on this otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog and others like it ...
Yesterday I was a guest speaker in an Axios webinar, called “Using ITSM to Increase Business User Satisfaction and the Perception of IT,” during which we ran four audience polls. I thought it would be great to share the poll results and my thoughts.
The webinar story arc …
I set the scene using many of my favorite graphics including the following which shows the gulf between the business’ and IT’s own opinions of how well the average internal IT organizations is doing …
… Before starting to look at how what we do and measure either increases or decreases the customer experience – including the fact that we often seem to be too focused on what we do in IT rather than what we achieve through what we do in IT (and IT service management (ITSM)). I also included a section on common metrics issues which I’ve previous blogged on here and here; and the customer experience work of my Forrester colleagues and its applicability to internal IT.
The poll results and my thoughts …
1. Do you consider the people that consume your IT services to be:
It’s finally here. The Forrester Market Overview: SaaS IT Service Management Tools covers: a little ITSM tool history and how we have moved on, the benefits and risks of the SaaS delivery model, key selection criteria for selecting a SaaS (or on-premises) tool, and overviews of 23 tools (from 21 vendors) and their functional capabilities across the enterprise and midmarket marketplaces.
“Why on earth did you write a SaaS-only ITSM report?” I hear some cry
It’s simple – Forrester client demand. In 2012, a good 25% of my 400ish a year client inquiries related to IT service management (ITSM) tool selection; and the SaaS-delivery model (and the key vendors) was covered in nigh on all of them. That’s not to say the client ultimately went SaaS though, inquiries are very much about rapid information exchange in helping clients make important decisions. It’s not about making the decision for the client.
What the SaaS ITSM market looks like
The following figure shows the 23 vendor tools split by average customer subscription (seat) count (described as Enterprise, Upper Midmarket, and Lower Midmarket) and their degree of customer success (the number of paying customers):
There are of course other ITSM tool vendors who declined to participate for a variety of reasons. One would be that they were not briefing Forrester analysts and thus not on our radar.
The changing business and IT landscapes bring increased demand for IT (or IT services) AND increasing complexity. The slide below (a tweaked version of a genuine Glenn O’Donnell original) paints a picture of increasing complexity and an impending capability gulf; if it isn’t already here.
So can IT organizations cope by increasing their manual ability, usually by employing or buying in more people resource?
Even if they could get suitable resource (availability and recruitment can be issues), could the parent business afford the jump in labor costs as these continue to be a highly-visible element of overall IT service delivery costs? Adding more people doesn’t necessarily fit in with the now oft-quoted mantra of “do (or deliver) more with less.”
A recent webinar with ServiceNow looked at drivers for and opportunities from automation, and how to approach building the business case for service management AND automation. Where Forrester defines automation as:
“Tools that perform functions otherwise done by humans.”
If you want to cut to the chase (i.e. don’t want to read the blog) …
A Forrester-client inquiry call last night and the creation of some slides for a webinar with Axios really got me thinking about how we measure our success in IT. It just seemed so easy to take the IT version of success (and the associated measures) and create a snide customer retort. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek but please take a read of one of my Axios slides:
I'm sure there are many more to play with.
If you read my blogs on a regular basis you will have seen: