I have said before that service management has gotten a bad reputation. But that bad reputation is somewhat deserved because the service management of the past failed a lot of companies. I’ve heard from many IT professionals that they have tried service management and it just didn’t work or worse, they have current service management initiatives but they’re not sure if it’s working.
Service management has evolved over the years and many of the beliefs out there are just plain wrong. What if I told you that service management is a secret weapon that can solve many of the challenges facing a modern organization – if only more professionals understood the true power of service management?
It’s time to bust some service management myths.
Service management means fitting into a strict framework
This idea of adhering to an inflexible, strict framework is one of the biggest service management misconceptions. Many people view service management as being overly restrictive and that in order for it to work, you have to fit your organization and workstreams into exact, inflexible parameters. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Good service management is first understanding how the organization wants to derive value and outcomes from its use of technology, then applying the right methodologies to enable the realization of that value and outcomes.
This means that you should first identify your organization’s specific challenges and goals, then adopt and adapt approaches that best leverage people, capabilities, and technology in such a way that will address those challenges. You can drop in different aspects of service management best practices without forcing your team to adopt every single best practice. Good service management is customized to meet the needs of the organization, not the other way around.
Implementing service management requires a new tool
Another common myth of service management is that it’s all about the tool. Often, when I ask a prospect about their service management environment, they’ll start talking about the tools they are using, and not the business challenge they’re trying to address. This tool-first mentality around service management is problematic – it means many organizations go straight to investing in a tool before understanding what they are trying to achieve with service management. And because tools are never “magic bullets”, implementations of tools without understanding the why behind adoption of service management rarely delivers the outcomes that the organization needs.
Good service management isn’t an out-of-the-box solution. You can’t just fire up a new tool and expect everything to magically start working correctly. Instead, you need to start with the groundwork of mapping where you are currently. Map value streams, get clear on who is responsible for what and identify where you’re experiencing gaps in service. You need to get a clear picture of how your organization is currently delivering services before you can even start to think about a tool.
If you skip this step and go straight to investing in a tool, you’ll end up with an expensive tool that still doesn’t solve your problems. Or you’ll have a tool that is fully featured but your team can’t even use half of the features.
The bottom line is, if you want to properly implement service management, don’t start the conversation by discussing tools.
SM is only for large enterprises
To some, service management is a bureaucratic mess of processes that is only necessary in a company of thousands of people. But small and mid-sized companies need service management just as much as the bigger guys.
Good service management means:
- Reliable, consistent, and relatable services
- A measurable contribution to business value
- Efficient, data-driven, defined, and documented processes
If you’ll notice, there’s nothing that says that good service management requires a big team. Service management is simply about delivering great service as efficiently and effectively as possible. This is so important in small and mid-sized companies! You’re getting just as much accomplished with smaller teams so everyone needs to work smart and find the workflows that will keep the team operating as efficiently as possible!
There’s no “minimum employee count” for organizations wanting to implement service management. It can make a positive difference in any size organization.
Service management is just about the Service Desk
Many people think service management is just something that the service desk does. Sure, the service desk is important and it will benefit from service management initiatives. But the goal of the service desk is to deliver a smooth experience for users. It doesn’t represent a holistic view of how value and services flow through the organization. And the service desk by itself cannot deliver good service management; rather, it relies on being integrated with all other parts of the organization to deliver good service management.
Service management is about providing and managing the right combination of people, processes and technology to enable a business to meet its objectives and deliver measurable value. The service desk is part of this but it’s just one piece of the overall puzzle. True service management extends far beyond the service desk.
Service management is just ITIL
I’ve noticed many people use “service management” and ITIL®1 interchangeably which contributes to much of the confusion around service management.
Service management is about the holistic view of a business and its IT capabilities. It can act like an operating model for the business of IT. It’s an overarching view of how IT operates within the context of the business and how IT helps the overall business achieve its goals.
On the other hand, ITIL is a collection of guidance and advice for implementing service management practices. Using a sports analogy, service management is the playbook for the season while ITIL may be a specific play executed on gameday.
Service management is only about IT
Finally, we have one of the most pervasive myths about service management: that it’s only about IT. Of course, for a long time it was known as “IT Service Management”, so it’s no wonder that this is a belief.
For service management to be truly effective, it must reflect and support entire organizational value streams, not just the IT portions. Technology is no longer department-specific. Technology connects entire value streams in nearly all organizations. If you don’t have enterprise-wide workflows that support value all the way to the customer, you likely have a bunch of disjointed pieces that result in a poor customer experience.
This idea of service management being used across the business is more commonly referred to as “Enterprise Service Management” and it’s becoming more prevalent. Limiting service management practices and views to only IT is severely limiting the organization’s ability to grow, scale, and meet the ever-evolving expectations of their customers.
Service Management: A Secret Weapon
Service management is often viewed as being old-school, restrictive, and too basic. However, if you look at service management with fresh eyes and recognize the difference between quality service management versus the myths of service management, you may end up seeing that it is the solution you’ve been trying to find all along.
Interested in learning how service management can improve your organization? Has your organization fallen victim to one or more of these service management myths? Let’s talk – book a free 30-minute consultation here.
*ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.Share