8 Things to Know Before Starting your ITSM Implementation

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Starting an ITSM implementation is exciting, challenging, while at the same time terrifying.  There always seems to be a lot of angst, anticipation, fear, perception and misperception associated with an ITSM initiative.    It is not a task to be taken lightly, and to be successful, an ITSM implementation requires a clear strategy and approach.  To make sure your initiative gets off to the right start, I’d like to suggest eight things to know before starting your ITSM implementation.

1. Why do you want to do this?

A successful ITSM implementation will transform the way your business does business.  Having clarity regarding current challenges, the issues you’re going to solve, and the expected benefits of the implementation is critical.   To articulate all of this requires a well-formed business case.  A business case not only presents the justification for starting the ITSM implementation, it also gives you a means to obtain and keep senior management support.  For more insights into the value of developing the business case, please have a look at “The Case of the Missing Business Case”.

2. What is the approach?

What are the near term and longer term objectives of the ITSM implementation?  Are there “quick wins” that can be delivered within the first 60-90 days that will result in meaningful value to the organization?  Developing an ITSM Plan clarifies how you’re going to be successful with your implementation.

3. What are the business requirements for this initiative?

As part of developing your ITSM Plan, identify how the ITSM implementation will directly support or enable business requirements or help the business meet its needs.  I’ve always said that the closer you can tie your ITSM initiative to the business mission, vision, and goals, the greater the chance of success.  ITSM processes can help the business ensure compliance with regulations, policies, contracts and so on.  Effective use of ITSM processes can ensure proper controls on data, separation of duties regarding Change Management, compliance with software and other licensing, and so on.  The key here is to ensure that the ITSM implementation is viewed as a “business initiative”, not just an “IT initiative”.

4. What does “success” look like?

If you don’t define what success looks like and who will evaluate success, how will you ever know if you are successful?  Yes, while this may sound like common sense, the defining of “success” is very often overlooked!   One way to define success is to identify and agree on clearly defined goals and targets, along with how progress toward those goals and targets will be measured and reported.  Just as important as defining goals, targets, measures, and reports is identifying who will evaluate success.  Will it be your CIO, or will there be an ITSM Steering Committee?  Knowing who will evaluate success helps you develop the appropriate measures and reports they need to see.

5. Is there sufficient budget?

ITSM implementation is not a trivial endeavor, and will require investments (that you justified in your business case!) to be successful.  First, there will be investment in training and education.  Keep in mind that not all training need be a formal or virtual classroom-based training; there are great learning opportunities at conferences, user group meetings, and webinars.  Also keep in mind that completing a three-day class is not sufficient qualification for architecting and implementing ITSM—think of it as having your “learner’s permit” for driving—it doesn’t make you an experienced ITSM practitioner.  Therefore, you may want to consider bringing in external consultants for some period of time in order to leverage experience and expertise that you don’t have in-house.  Lastly (yes – lastly), you’ll want to invest in needed ITSM tools, identified based on process designs and business requirements.

6. What is the cultural landscape of the organization?

ITSM is all about people, process, and technology.  Notice what aspect I listed first – people.  It is people that make ITSM work.  The best process designs running on top of the best ITSM technology are worthless unless people are engaged and buy-in to ITSM.  The success or failure of an ITSM implementation greatly relies on recognition of the attitudes, behaviors, and culture (ABC) of the organization.   Understanding the ABC of the organization guides your implementation approach, process design, communication and training plans.

7. Who is going to do this?

One of the worse things to do is not having the right team and expertise to execute the ITSM implementation.   Get the right people on the ITSM implementation team, not just people that have nothing else to do.  Look for people that have a “service” attitude- that is, they think in terms of value chains, comprised of the combination of people, process and technology that work together to deliver the outcomes and value required by the business.  Recruit people that have the “big picture” view to understand how IT ‘fits’ within the organization, how IT contributes to the success of the organization, and can advocate for the change in mindsets from “my component” to “our service”.   Lastly, when you find the right people, make sure they are provided with the time to do the job; don’t have the ITSM implementation become “other duties as assigned” or “extra work”.

8. When do we start?

Acting with a sense of urgency and building and sustaining momentum are keys to success for an ITSM implementation.  ITSM implementation must be treated with the same importance and priority as any major initiative of the organization.

Knowing the answers to these eight questions will help you avoid getting “behind the 8-ball” when starting your ITSM implementation.

Need help getting started?  Need to get clarity on these 8 things to know?  Tedder Consulting can help – and without all of that overhead that you’d get (but don’t need) from those big consulting firms. Let’s get started – contact Tedder Consulting today!

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