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Posted by Stephen Mann on August 20, 2012
Unfortunately I don’t often hear “strategy” and “IT service management (ITSM)” in the same sentence, unless of course someone is maligning the ITIL 2011 Service Strategy book or if an organization is justifying a significant investment in a new ITSM tool (to me this is too often the breeding ground for failed aspirations). Alternatively we often talk about (and are consumed by) tactical ITSM issues and our tactical responses. So where and what is your ITSM strategy? And where is your ITSM strategic plan?
If you have answers to these questions you probably don’t need to read this blog so feel free to choose another. If you don’t, don’t you think you should? I’ve stolen some written-word from my colleague Jean-Pierre Garbani to get you thinking.
What’s your strategy for ITSM strategy?
I’m not going to answer this – I just thought it a funny question. Better starter questions are probably: “What do I mean by strategy?” and “What is strategic planning?”
I can’t help but use the ever-useful Wikipedia for the first:
A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a specific goal. Strategy is all about gaining (or being prepared to gain) a position of advantage over adversaries or best exploiting emerging possibilities. As there is always an element of uncertainty about future, strategy is more about a set of options ("strategic choices") than a fixed plan. It derives from the Greek "στρατηγία" (strategia), "office of general, command, generalship".
J.P. quotes renowned human relations consultant and author J. William Pfeiffer on the latter: "Strategic planning is the process of self-examination, the confrontation of difficult choices and the establishment of priorities." It sounds scary and difficult, which is probably why it’s so easy to avoid or neglect it.
So what should ITSM professionals do? I’ve used extracts of J.P.’s writing to answer what I believe to be some of the key strategic planning questions below.
“Why should I have a strategic plan?”
Infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations can receive a variety of benefits from a well-constructed ITSM (or service management and automation (SMA)) strategic plan. It can help them to:
“Where should I position my ITSM strategic plan?”
It’s probably easiest to articulate this with a picture:
“How do I develop my strategic plan?”
Please remember that this is only a blog – I can’t just cut and paste the whole of J.P.’s report (well I could but it probably wouldn’t help my long term employment prospects). Instead I steal some of the report’s headings as areas you need to consider:
Then we have J.P.’s recommendations for success …
I would personally add in that that there is a lot of free support and advice for those willing to look. Two great examples are:
Finally, credit where credit is due
The majority of this content is a small extract from J.P.’s “Avoid Tactical, Narrow Service Management And Automation Strategies” report which is the “Strategic Plan” report in the Forrester Service Management And Automation Playbook.
The above two links require access to Forrester content, if you are not a client you can still access extracts of SMA Playbook content in blog form:
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