IT Service Management And ITIL Thinking – Brawn, Brains, Or Heart?

Some great IT service management (ITSM) conversations with BMC this week got me thinking about ITSM people “stereotypes” and what we can learn from them in terms of communication, education, and ITSM  tool selection. It started from my mental 2D matrix that plotted organizational ITSM tool need against the axes of organization size, e.g. enterprise, and level of ITSM maturity – with the latter, in my opinion, being a better gauge as to the ITSM tool that is most appropriate.

Conversations about the people within the organizations, however, made me wonder about the need for a third axis of “ITSM mindset” which could further better help to pin down the type of ITSM tool for a particular organization through a now-3D matrix.

Did Somebody Mention Stereotypes?

Oops, yes that was me. My imagination conjured up three stereotypes, and perhaps there are many more, but I liked that they leant themselves to a collective description of Brawn, Brain, and Heart (oh yes, it's a little "Wizard of Oz").

Where the stereotypes are:

  • Brawn– this describes the traditional IT Hero mentality, it’s all about you and the IT. Very much an IT-centric approach to IT delivery. Probably no concept of IT services and no interest whatsoever in ITIL (the ITSM best practice framework). It’s all about IT muscle in dealing with a never-ending stream of IT issues – the proverbial fire fighting. Talking to a Brawn about ITIL wastes everyone’s time, they will never be interested.
  • Brains– they take an academic approach to ITIL (what I call preaching without reaching – imagine an ITSMer carrying an ITIL 2011 book as an evangelizing preacher might a bible). They are hopefully service-centric but for them it is still probably all about the ITIL processes: efforts are made in ITIL process creation and delivery; measurements are IT-focused and relate in the main to how well we are “doing ITIL.” A Brain will also talk about ITIL at great lengths from an academic perspective and will want to be seen as both knowledgeable in ITIL and ahead of their peers. It’s all about ITIL.
  • Heart– a Heart cares about more than the IT and ITIL. To him/her these are just two means to an end. It’s not about the sexy IT and it’s definitely not about ITIL process. Both, however, are ingredients in providing high-quality IT or business services based on business demands rather than IT supply. They care, i.e. have a heart, and focus attention and efforts in a customer-centric approach– “if it doesn’t positively impact the customer, why are we doing it?”

Careful!

Of course this is all madness from the mind of an industry analyst – more people might shoot this blog down than agree with it. I haven’t conducted a formal and extensive survey with a cast of thousands; BMC just encouraged me to think a little deeper about IT people and their impact across a number of areas.

So can you see some sense in the above? And if you do, can you start to see how there is most likely a fine line between benefit and cost when it comes to both ITIL and tool adoption. Are you really using them as productive tools, or are you actually using them in a manner that harms your business more than it helps it?

Shameless Plug

If you are at the Service Desk and IT Support Show in London on the 24-25th April, please come to the Panel Discussion: “Realizing lasting cultural change – ABC (Attitude, Behavior, Culture)” with Michelle Major-Goldsmith, Sysop; Kevin Holland, UK Public Sector; Paul Wilkinson, Gaming Works; and yours truly. It will be fun and you might just learn something.

 

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If you enjoyed this, please read my latest blog: http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann  

Comments

3D View of ITSM/ITIL

Hi, Stephen, interesting and vivid view of IT service, I think Brawn style ITSM to run IT as technology challenge, than a business problem solving; and brain style is more like ivory tower approach, ideally, heart need meet brain, and IT musle need touch business pulse, to leverage the best ITSM.thanks

One size does not fit all

Stephen, we believe that your blog and our discussions reflect a big change in the IT Operations management software landscape. No longer are IT executives being influenced by trend or historical purchasing paterns....They are making up their own minds. Reacting to the (real) needs of the business or organisation, and the reality of the external market. In our view, this is good. It is clear to us that there are many small companies who have incredibly complex IT management requirements, but also some very large clients that actually need a very pragmatic solution that does not require the power of a Satern 5 rocket. And vice versa, with options inbetween.

In short - One size does not fit all. Is this the birth of 3D IT decision making?

A great synopsis. Thanks