Why is IT Service Management (ITSM) important to organizations? Executives, of course, want to measure systems, data and people and how the IT infrastructure and the provided services are helping end-users to accomplish their business goal more efficiently.
In the past, only large IT providers saw the benefit of adhering to ITSM standards and procedures. However, this is changing as IT in all organizations is growing and data storage is increasing along with the demand for new applications. Corporates now see the evolving role of IT as part of their business strategy. IT professionals must become true technology advisors within the business and ITSM would help them to build and deliver a technology-enabled business strategy.
So, there is now a greater recognition of the need for ITSM to manage IT applications and systems and, indeed, to create a change in organizational culture.
But with the many roles that exist within an IT department – which includes developers alongside people supporting applications and systems – it is important to share information to help with problem and incident management. Therefore, a common ITSM tool can be effective for managing processes and time. For example, this enables a help desk analyst to obtain the right information even while a system developer is absent, or is fixing a problem cause. Equally, an ITSM tool can provide information about a disruptive service to end-users. Better still, it can update on the progress of delivering a service/application: this means saving time and keeping systems experts focused on problem resolution or service deployment rather than staying on the phone to respond to users’ complaints or other requests.
ITSM professionals are able to help IT engineers – such as help desk analysts, developers and system architects – by using common tools to manage the IT environment effectively. And this also allows measurement of what is going on within the IT infrastructure, applications, data and the performance of the provided services.
It sounds easy, but it’s true that people can be sceptical about complying with ITSM processes. And yet, when they’ve had the experience of working within such processes it demonstrates clearly what they can achieve – including an improvement in their ability to work with IT systems while developing their knowledge and career prospects.
An ITSM tool in practice
When an IT organization designs a new system as demanded by users or customers, having an ITSM tool and associated procedures will help IT people manage time, tasks and provide users with information about the progress of their requests and incidents that need managing. Help desk analysts are able to measure their work while using the system, which means an ability to manage time and identify what’s been improved.
End-users are able to measure the service performance provided and this adds value to their work, as they can contribute to the service improvement lifecycle by adding data to the ITSM tool. They can also measure and improve their performance, as an ITSM tool can provide to them a first aid capability by using the stored knowledge articles and a self-help portal.
For a consulting firm – whose IT needs are different from an IT provider – an ITSM tool will assist once they have defined the IT services and have built the service catalogue and offerings based on the requirements of the organization.
And whether IT strategy is the responsibility of internal or external experts, it’s important to have in-depth research analysis on the business’ IT requirements and that means having the involvement of an ITSM professional who can understand clearly the organization’s culture and needs. However, for a small or medium organization implementing an ITSM tool with the required processes, it must also be done in cost-effective manner otherwise this could be an obstacle.
Using a framework, such as the ITIL® best practice, is vital to guide the way and show how to implement an ITSM tool and processes. However, the way ITIL is used depends on the organization and the ITIL processes must be tailored to its specific and unique needs.
But what happens beyond implementing an ITSM tool? In a real-life example, after the IT department has been using a tool for some time its success can become visible to other professionals and departments within the organization. They see the benefits it has delivered and see the value of applying similar processes to other departments. So, for example, people working in the accounting team recognize how such a tool could help manage their time better and improve their performance with invoicing and chasing payments. Of course an ITSM tool cannot be fitted to the accounting department’s needs, but this is a real-life example of how the ITSM practices change the mind set of other department’s processes inside the organization.
Therefore, the ITSM tool identified as valuable and created for the IT team becomes attractive elsewhere in the organization and can really begin to change company culture more broadly. As IT shifts from a back-office focus to being strategic business-oriented, it has become an enabler of business imperative and a key force in driving innovation and new ways of working.
See our ITIL section for more information