A “bonus” blog today (and hence it is quickly constructed) and the subject area will need to be returned to at a later date. The reason for the bonus blog is that I am a little bit excited.
SysAid, a provider of IT help desk and customer service software solutions, has provided me with a subset of the service desk benchmarking information captured through its customers’ use of its software (on an opt-in basis, of course).
To me, this is the sort of stuff that the ITSM community (see my previous blog) is crying out for – information that helps them to understand where they are and what they should aspire to. More information about the SysAid benchmarking is available at http://www.ilient.com/it-performance-benchmark.htm (link is provided for more detail on the definitions for the benchmarks below).
Average Service Requests (SR) closed per Admin (Service Desk Agent)
Important note: If you follow the above link, the assumptions show that the SRs are “incidents.”
Quick comment – I am assuming that this is per day but I am seeking clarification. As with all the slides in this blog, please treat with care in the absence of sample sizes.
For those of you that put up with my tweeting on Twitter, you will already know that I am obsessed with customer service. Or to be more accurate, I am obsessed with being treated like a customer. While a polite Englishman at heart, I am not prepared to tolerate poor customer service. In the words of David/Bruce Banner, “You won’t like me when I am angry.”
“But what has this to do with ITIL?” I hear you screaming at your screen. Please bear with me as I recount last Saturday night and Sunday morning (thankfully there is no link to the film of the same name).
Last weekend I spent a single night at a “chain” hotel. The customer service upon arrival was excellent, on the back of my loyalty card I received a room upgrade and complimentary soft drinks and chocolate bars in the room. Ah, the world was good and I was “living the dream.” I felt like a valued customer. Fast-forward to the following morning and the picture couldn’t have been more different.
During the night the room had been so hot that it was difficult to sleep. “You should have turned down the heating or opened the window,” I hear you cry. Check and check. The wall-mounted thermostat made no difference. The window, somewhat morbidly, had been screwed shut. I didn’t call down to reception as I couldn’t face a handyman/woman messing around in my room in the middle of the night (if they were actually available).
No, this isn’t about the returning of your ITIL books to ITIL’s makers (just think how much they would cost to post) but more of the reaping of the knowledge and experience held within the ITSM community (ITIL’s creators, publishers, trainers, consultants, software vendors, ITSM practitioners, and ancillary roles such as analysts) for the benefit of all.
This is by no means a new idea. Various conversations have taken place over the years to create lower-level, more granular, and ultimately more practical best practice information that is freely available to ITSM practitioners. Whether it is in the form of blogs, white papers, discussion threads, podcasts, special interest groups, or “free” training and events, such information is invaluable to the IT people “at the coal face” who don’t want to have to “reinvent the wheel” nor to have to read through a set of ITIL books which IMO isn’t really designed for the hectic work lives of ITSM practitioners. Practitioners just don’t have the time even if they have the inclination. They will also struggle to find really practical help and assistance from such a "sea of text."
With the updated version of ITIL imminent (the 29 July 2011), I participated in a BrightTalk webinar on “what next for ITIL.”
My views on this are very clear, that we need to “look back before we look forward.” I touched on some of this in a previous blog, 2011: An ITIL Versioning Odyssey, but think it worthwhile to continue to articulate my views in this area.
Let's start with what I consider to be the biggest issue: the gulf between theory and practice with ITIL.
There is no doubt that ITIL can benefit I&O organizations. There are certainly many I&O organizations encouraging, or even forcing, their people to take ITIL training and qualifications: There are at least 1.5 million people with the certification and there is no sign of this slowing down. Not only are trainers busy, so are ITSM consultants and, of course, industry analysts. But, from an industry analyst perspective, there is a lot wrong with ITIL. This is not just how it ballooned in size from ITIL v2 to ITIL v3, but also how it is adopted in the real world.
So what's going wrong?
If you look at existing ITIL v2 adoption, there is a focus on the reactive elements such as incident management, problem management, change management, and maybe even configuration management and service-level management. How many organizations have moved on to the more proactive elements such as availability management, capacity management, IT financial management, and continual service improvement?
I recently spoke with a Forrester I&O client looking for “incident classification best practice.” I knew that I should have had knowledge of this, or at least access to it, but all I had was a loose set of guiding principles that are probably more “common sense” rather than “best practice.” I was happy to talk with the client but wanted to know what I had missed.
Google seemed a great place to start. After all, Googling “ITIL” results in 21 million hits (I do appreciate that not all of these will relate to the IT service management best practice framework though). So I Googled “incident classification best practice” (plus “incident categorization best practice”) and was surprised at the results. Well, the LACK of results. There was no freely available advice or guidance on this subject.
The main reason for my surprise is that, with the wealth of IT service management best (or good) practice out there (especially with ITIL espoused as THE framework of IT service management best practice), this is one area where I definitely think that value could be derived by documenting successes and the pitfalls to avoid.
Given that many organizations adopting ITSM best practice, or ITIL, will start with the service desk and incident management, the creation of a robust incident classification hierarchy is something they will need to do. A similar opportunity also arises when organizations switch between competing ITSM products as part of the well-documented ITSM tool churn. For others it is relevant when the realization sinks in that the existing incident classification hierarchy is cumbersome and ineffective. Incident classification is important, so where is the best practice?
OK, so we all probably now know that the long-awaited ITIL “refresh,” ITIL v3.1 (or the ITIL 2011 Edition as it now seems to be called), is to be released on the 29th July 2011. But four years on from the release of ITIL v3 where are we exactly?
Let’s start with the provided facts about the updated version of ITIL. The ITIL Best Practice Management update points out that this is an “update” not a new version. Paraphrasing the update on the update, ITIL 2011 Edition is designed to:
Resolve any errors or inconsistencies.
Improve the ITIL publications by addressing issues raised to do with "clarity, consistency, correctness and completeness."
Address suggestions for change made by the training community.
Review the "Service Strategy" publication to improve accessibility and understanding.
Time is valuable, so many of us are cash rich and time poor these days. We value simplicity and loathe the complex. Things need to be done yesterday, if not before.
I can only see this getting worse as we are pressured to deliver the proverbial "more with less."
To elaborate, and it's a little tongue in cheek, Flash only had 14 hours to save earth. Twitter only allows us 140 characters to express ourselves. Shorter industry analyst pieces seem to be in vogue and, thankfully, in demand. BUT trying to tell someone how to get started with ITIL in 30 minutes is a bit of a challenge.
Well I'm up for it, and here is my starter for 10 …
It’s about adopting not implementing ITIL
Take an adopt-and-adapt approach. Use what you need rather than everything. It’s a framework not a standard
It should be people then process then technology
Do not underestimate the importance of people and their behaviors to ITIL success
ITIL is culture-based. A way of thinking as well as a way of working … IT delivered as a service (ITIL v2) … the Service Lifecycle (ITIL v3)
Too many organizations adopt ITIL without subscribing to its concepts
Many organizations stick with the common/core processes, never moving from these reactive processes to the more value-adding proactive processes
Many organizations say that they “do” ITIL v3 when all they “do” is a subset of the ITIL v2 processes and have bought Service Catalog technology and/or sent staff on an ITIL v3 course
Ciscoannounced today its intent to acquire NewScale, a small, but well-respected automation software vendor. The financial terms were not disclosed, but it is a small deal in terms of money spent. It is big in the sense that Cisco needed the kind of capabilities offered by NewScale, and NewScale has proven to be one of the most innovative and visible players in that market segment.
The market segment in question is what has been described as “the tip of the iceberg” for the advanced automation suites needed to create and operate cloud computing services. The “tip” refers to the part of the overall suite that is exposed to customers, while the majority of the “magic” of cloud automation is hidden from view – as it should be. The main capabilities offered by NewScale deal with building and managing the service catalog and providing a self-service front end that allows cloud consumers to request their own services based on this catalog of available services. Forrester has been bullish on these capabilities because they are the customer-facing side of cloud – the most important aspect – whereas most of the cloud focus has been directed at the “back end” technologies such as virtual server deployment and workload migration. These are certainly important, but a cloud is not a cloud unless the consumers of those services can trigger their deployment on their own. This is the true power of NewScale, one of the best in this sub-segment.
Like many movements before it, IT is rapidly evolving to an industrial model. A process or profession becomes industrialized when it matures from an art form to a widespread, repeatable function with predictable result and accelerated by technology to achieve far higher levels of productivity. Results must be deterministic (trustworthy) and execution must be fast and nimble, two related but different qualities. Customer satisfaction need not be addressed directly because reliability and speed result in lower costs and higher satisfaction.
IT should learn from agriculture and manufacturing, which have perfected industrialization. In agriculture, productivity is orders of magnitude better. Genetic engineering made crops resistant to pests and environmental extremes such as droughts while simultaneously improving consistency. The industrialized evolution of farming means we can feed an expanding population with fewer farmers. It has benefits in nearly every facet of agricultural production.
Manufacturing process improvements like the assembly line and just-in-time manufacturing combined with automation and statistical quality control to ensure that we can make products faster and more consistently, at a lower cost. Most of the products we use could not exist without an industrialized model.
Well, it's been a whirlwind two days at the Infrastructure & Operations Forum here in Dallas! I know that not everyone has the opportunity to attend these events, so for all of you stuck at home (and not in sunny Dallas), I've summarized some of the keynotes (with help from Christian Kane and Lauren Nelson) for you to check out. There is also a great conversation about the forum on twitter , so you should definitely check that out as well.
Rob Whiteley kicks off the day with a preview of the next two days and some AC/DC music (the theme of the event is "Back in Black"). First up is Glenn O'Donnell:
The New I&O Landscape: Aligning I&O With Post-Recession Business Imperatives Glenn O'Donnell, Senior Analyst, Forrester Ha, this presentation is based on the book "He's Just Not That Into You" and it is about the love story between I&O and the business.
I&O, how can you win the love of the business?