Tag Archives: ITSM

Alexa Is NOT the Service Management Star You’ve Been Searching For

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Have you been hearing the news?

There’s a brand new rising star in the Service Management world.

She’s tech-savvy, has fantastic people skills and is extraordinarily productive.

Her name is Alexa. But I hate to break it to you- I don’t think she’s going to be as revolutionary as everyone says.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m not talking about a “real” person. I’m referring to Alexa, Amazon’s much-loved voice assistant. While Alexa has been in the consumer market for years, she’s now making the move into service management. There have been many signs that Alexa is about to become the hot new tool in service management.

  • Amazon has already outlined Alexa for enterprise and business solutions
  • ServiceNow is showing partners how to build and integrate Alexa Skills with the ServiceNow platform
  • FreshService is already outlining ways Alexa can assist ITSM

There’s no question that AI, machine learning and digital assistants, including Alexa, will play a role in the future of service management. I’m not here to argue that. However, I will argue that we shouldn’t be focusing on the technology but the environment where the technology will play a role. If you put Alexa in the right environment, she can thrive (and so can your organization) but if you implement Alexa with the hope that she’ll make the environment a better one, then you’re going to have useless technology on your hands and you’ll still have a long line of tickets, frustrated users and stressed out service desk technicians.

So let’s discuss how you can put Alexa (or any voice assistant) in the right environment.

What Role Will Alexa Play?

Let me start by saying that the idea of AI in ITSM is a fantastic concept. Natural language processing (NLP) can make it easier for users to find the content they need to fix their problems. Machine learning looks at data, identifies patterns or conditions, and develops new actions in response. Virtual assistants combine the two to automate tasks for technicians, providing faster solutions for end users. This allows service desk technicians to have more time and energy to focus on bigger, more complex issues.

It’s exciting to think we can live in a world that could nearly eliminate the need for manual opening, closing, and management of support tickets. It’s thrilling to someday see a sales rep saying “Alexa, open a support ticket for a broken printer,” and then Alexa quickly assigns the ticket in the correct way to the correct person. And in the not far off future, Alexa may be able to provide context for possible solutions for more complex problems using past cases, making it even easier for technicians to troubleshoot. Just imagine how remarkable that would be!

And while all of this is exciting, there’s something to remember: Alexa doesn’t come “out of the box” with this capability. She’ll never replace the humans who currently work on the service desk because she can’t gain any knowledge or accomplish any process without guidance from them.

Who is The Future Star of SM?

Like any new service desk technician, Alexa won’t be ready or able to do any of those things without the proper training, frameworks and an accurate and relevant knowledge base. She’s not the rising star of Service Management. In fact, the star of Service Management is something you already have: the foundations provided by your service management implementation.

I know what you’re thinking. Knowledge management, frameworks, and communication aren’t as exciting as AI. Who wants to pay attention to that when you can say “Alexa, tell me how many tickets are open”?

But, Alexa won’t know how many tickets are open unless she can access that information. She can’t access that data if it is not set up for her. Simply put, without the foundations of Service Management. AI won’t work in your organization. You must have proper frameworks, the right data, and inter-department communication in order to enable Alexa (or any voice assistant) to work properly.

If you’re not sure if your foundations can be put to the AI test, check on these three things.

1. Knowledge Management
AI can’t work well without good data. You need to document, gather, record and store all your knowledge into an easy-to-read knowledge base. According to Gartner, “Through 2020, 99% of AI initiatives will fail due to a lack of established knowledge management foundation.”

It takes time to optimize a knowledge base system that is all-encompassing and easy-to-access. You already have a great knowledge base: it’s your team. Use this as an opportunity to engage your team and begin preparing them for AI. No one understands what needs to be in a knowledge base quite like the people who field tickets and solve issues every day.

2. Create flexible frameworks
There’s no space for rigid approaches to the use of frameworks. Flexibility is key to success with AI. Are your frameworks and methodologies capable of adjusting to keep up with evolving projects and services? Luckily, in recent years there have been updates to traditional ITSM frameworks, such as ITIL® that allow for such flexibility. There have also been new approaches introduced, such as VeriSM™, which allows for flexibility in delivering service management. If you haven’t updated your approach to using frameworks or offered your team the opportunity to achieve new certifications in these frameworks, now is the time to do so!

3. Extend Service Management outside of IT
The success of Alexa and other voice assistants doesn’t just depend on IT. It depends on an organization of self-service, shared processes and communication. Alexa won’t have the capability to change her process depending on the context who is requesting support – unless the entire enterprise works together to manage data, share information and create effective processes that work for everyone.

Enterprise Service Management is now gaining steam. As more of these technologies are introduced, I predict ESM will become more and more commonplace. Innovative leaders are jumping on the bandwagon now and you should too.

I am just as excited about the possibilities that Alexa and other digital assistants can bring to service management as everyone else. I share these thoughts because I want a world where AI plays a major role in delivering good service management. That’s why I want every IT leader to know and master these foundational pieces for AI enablement. Because they will pave the way for massive success with Alexa or any other voice assistant or AI technology that comes your way.

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The AI Playbook – 3 Key ITSM Plays to Make When Implementing AI

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AI is one of the fastest growing tech trends across all industries. 20% percent of business executives said their companies plan to implement AI across their enterprise in 2019, according to research from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

AI is the approach of using technologies like machine learning or bots to automate simple and repetitive tasks. The power of AI is clear. It allows for services to be delivered faster to the end user. It eases the burden of resource-strapped teams by automating simple tasks, allowing those teams to focus on larger or more strategic initiatives. It also keeps organizations competitive as new technology has created new consumer expectations that demand speed and agility.

While AI is making a splash for good reason, it is not a sole solution. Investing in AI won’t fix every issue in an organization. In fact, if implemented in the wrong environment, AI can slow down an organization and cause even more problems.

Before you jump and invest a chunk of your budget into an AI tool, you need to first review your ITSM environment. If you want to win at AI implementation, you need these plays in your playbook.

1. Clean up or create your processes

It’s simple: automation only works if you have a process to automate. If there’s no process, your AI tool has nothing to automate. AI will only master what it’s fed. You need to evaluate your current processes and workflows. Look for gaps where the process is slow due to human intervention, bandwidth issues or approval processes. Identify what is too convoluted, unclear or undocumented, too fluid or constantly shifting. This exercise will give you a clear view of what’s needed in your process and what is prime for automation.

When cleaning up your processes, you’ll want to get your entire team involved. You want buy-in from every member and you need to see the big picture of how each member contributes to a process. Meet with your team to map out your processes. Work with them to understand what each step requires and where automation can play a role.

2. Enable cross-department collaboration

AI will not work well in a siloed organization. Many AI tools facilitate integration with multiple backend systems and work across departments to deliver solutions. If your marketing team has a completely different tool, process and system than the sales team and those two departments are unable to come together to create shared processes and systems that deliver an end result, then AI won’t be able to make it better.

Every department must work together to effectively implement AI. They have to create shared processes, enable communication and clearly understand what is needed from each department to deliver a service, product, or result. Handoffs have to be smooth for automation to be able to step in and handle it.

Where in your organization is there confusion over how departments interact with one another? Are there communication issues that need to be addressed? What are the expectations and outputs of each department? It’s absolutely required that every team be on the same page when it comes to processes, approvals, goals, communications, and expectations.

IT leaders should find buy-in from other leaders to help teams integrate successfully. The goal for every leader should be a successful AI implementation that actually speeds up results. When each leader understands that this is only successful with inter-department collaboration, they will be more willing to encourage their teams to work with IT.

3. Identify and map value streams

Mapping value streams evaluates the tools, people and processes in the lifecycle of a service. Mapping value streams gives you two important things: visualization and metrics. Value stream mapping helps organizations visualize of how value and information flow through an organization. By doing so, organizations can see if any steps can be eliminated, refined, consolidated or most, importantly — automated. These metrics and data will help you be able to pinpoint exactly where AI can work, how it should work and what metrics you should use to measure it.

Mapping value streams will make it clear how AI could drive business value. This makes it easier to prioritize future implementations and integrate more AI solutions within your organization.

There’s one last important note for every IT leader to address.

It’s the elephant in the room, so to speak. Staff often feels threatened by AI so every IT leader must be able to express to their teams how AI can fuel their success. There should be no worry that staff will automate their way out of a job.

Instead, focus on the opportunities this can create. What projects are you unable to accomplish because your team is stuck doing manual, tedious, and mundane tasks? What successes are you held back from due to the limitations of manual work? Successful use of automation does require a shift in organizational culture. To create an atmosphere of acceptance, you need to focus on the potential for new projects, more exciting initiatives and a larger role in contributing to business goals.

Lastly, recognize that AI implementation is not one big project. Start small automating something of use and value. Pay attention to your metrics and adjust as the organization needs. Keeping an open mind and flexible approach to these implementations will be key to keeping them successful.

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Enablement over Control: How To Demystify ESM in Your Organization

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In July 2018, I wrote a blog about why your company may not be excited about ESM. Close to a year later, the popularity of Enterprise Service Management has been increasing across all industries as more vendors expand from IT-only solutions into enterprise solutions.

And yet, many CIOs find themselves surrounded by team members and colleagues who remain hesitant to move forward with ESM. It’s no secret that many organizations can be slow to change. But why would business leaders be hesitant to adopt this change, especially, considering the growing number of documented case studies that demonstrate the tangible benefits of Enterprise Service Management?

I believe the hesitation to move towards Enterprise Service Management comes down to control – or the perception of who has control – with Enterprise Service Management. Some executives fear giving up control, especially when it comes to their team and the way it accomplishes its work. If leaders feel embracing Enterprise Service Management means handing over control of their team, systems, and processes over to IT, then they are going to be resistant.

Additionally, ITSM has long had a reputation for being too rigid and forced in its processes and frameworks. Many leaders in the organization may have come to view ITSM as a barrier to productivity instead of an enabler. Given this perspective, it’s no surprise that some leaders are not excited to embrace ESM in their departments.

CIOs are in the unique position to demystify ESM in their organizations.  CIOs can help lead the change that enables their entire organization to be more efficient and effective and achieve greater employee and customer satisfaction.

How can you demystify ESM within your organization? These tips can help you begin.

  1. ESM is not extending ITSM processes to every other part of the business

This may be the biggest misconception I’ve seen about Enterprise Service Management, both from those inside and outside of IT.

Let me be clear, Enterprise Service Management is not extending ITSM processes and frameworks into the rest of the business. Instead, it’s about using Service Management best practices to co-create processes and systems that work with every department across the enterprise. Simply put, this is not a hostile takeover. It’s a peaceful merger for the greater good of the organization.

To increase support, IT leaders must emphasize the benefits of Enterprise Service Management for each department. Work with other departments to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their current processes and be prepared to address how Enterprise Service Management can work with those strengths and address any gaps that exist. Ask for real-world scenarios the department encounters so you can provide context for where ESM can fit into these scenarios.

Additionally, demonstrate how the impact of ESM on the end user can increase support among departments and especially among the C-suite. Enterprise service management will help put more tools in the user’s hands, which ultimately can lead to faster responsiveness and a more consistent experience for end users. If, for example, a sales or marketing leader can understand how adopting ESM principles will enable their team to provide better services and bring in more sales, they’ll be more willing to adopt those principles.

2. It’s not about a tool

Contrary to popular belief, ITSM isn’t implemented by purchasing and using a tool – neither is ESM. Some leaders may see Enterprise Service Management as a justification for more investment into expensive tools (that don’t always work).

Instead of leading with the tool, lead with the end goal, which should relate back to the external customer.  Follow up with shared processes, increased collaboration and better communication. These are the important pieces of Enterprise Service Management. Tools help improve and speed delivery of shared processes, collaboration, and communication –  but they don’t cause those things.

Other leaders will see the investment into a tool as an investment in their team if they are able to see the end result and how their team is a part of that solution.

3. Frameworks are not inhibitors to productivity

We’re back to that “control” piece again. Many leaders and team members see frameworks as red tape, as a barrier to efficiency.

But, good ITSM practitioners know that when roles and processes are defined, there is better accountability which leads to improved efficiency and effectiveness. There is no room for “I thought someone else was handling it.” There are no gaps in productivity because everyone understands who is doing what, when it is being done, how their work contributes to business success, and what is expected of them.

Frameworks open the door for transparency — and this is actually a good thing for every leader. When a process is transparent, a leader is able to:

  • Claim credit for the work that their team is accomplishing
  • Have a better view of where and how they are contributing
  • Be able to articulate their own team’s value

Every leader knows the pain of not getting credit for their work and having to justify their expenses. Frameworks can decrease that pain.

4. True ESM is designed to fit the enterprise, not the other way around

Finally, the most important factor to iterate to the organization is that Enterprise Service Management is not a rigid, IT-controlled process. It’s something that’s co-created. It’s something that every department leader will have a say in, and it will be designed to address the unique goals, strengths, and weaknesses of each organization. Real Enterprise Service Management is flexible and customizable.

What can you do to get started?

If you know that Enterprise Service Management can improve your organization but you don’t know where to get started, I recommend focusing on two areas.

The first is to make sure your ITSM house is in order. This is the opportunity for IT to be seen as a leader in the organization. If you are able to “walk the talk” of Service Management and demonstrate how well it works, you’ll be better positioned to win over other leaders.

The second is to look for opportunities for quick improvement that involve other departments. Identify other departments that are reliant on processes that can be improved by technology, automation and service management practices. Work with these departments to implement smaller service management initiatives. Wins in this area can make the business case for larger enterprise-wide initiatives.

My prediction is that Enterprise Service Management will only become more popular with more organizations adopting it. Now is the perfect time to prepare your IT organization for this shift and to be a leader in this movement.

Interested in making larger strides towards Enterprise Service Management? VeriSM is an ideal stepping stone from your current ITSM practices into ESM. Learn more about VeriSM in our upcoming training class this June or schedule a call to learn more!

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Doug Tedder discusses “Modern Service Management” on the StatusGo podcast by InterVision

May 20, 2019 – “Is ITIL® dead?”  

That’s the question that Jeff Ton, SVP of Product Development and Strategic Alliances,  asked Doug Tedder, Principal of Tedder Consulting to begin Episode 22 of InterVision’s “Status Go” podcast.

During the 33 minute podcast, Jeff and Doug discuss ITIL and IT Service Management (ITSM) in an age of digital transformation and agile: What modern ITSM looks like, how to succeed, what might be going wrong with your implementation and even how it can work with an agile environment.  Doug stressed, “Modern service management is about doing what is right for your organization.  You have to find the right balance between responsiveness and stability.”

Listen to the podcast here.

Enterprise Service Management or Enterprise Silo Management?

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Kelly orders chocolates through her favorite confectioner’s digital storefront from the comfort of her living room. Kelly makes her selection, enters her credit card and shipping information, and presses the “order now” button. Within seconds, she receives an on-screen message from the confectioner, thanking her for her order, and informing her that she’ll have her chocolates the next day.

At the confectioner, Kelly’s request is first processed by the Order Entry Department, who confirms her information and charges the sale to her credit card. Order Entry then creates a sales order, which is sent to the Fulfillment Department. Fulfillment selects the chocolates from inventory and updates the inventory management system with the change. Fulfillment then packages Kelly’s selections and sends the package to the Shipping Department for overnight delivery.

All of this behind-the-scenes activity happened without any involvement from Kelly – other than her single interaction to order the chocolates.

Are your customers enjoying a differentiated experience interacting with your company’s digital storefront?

Are the customer’s interactions seamless and friction-free?

Do materials and information flow smoothly through the organization?

If you’re not able to answer ‘yes’ to the above questions, then you have some compelling reasons to implement enterprise service management (ESM).

Some Popular Approaches to ESM

Many ESM approaches consist of extending the use of the IT service management tool into other areas of an organization, such as Facilities or Human Resources. This is a popular approach that often results in cost optimization of the IT service management tool by using that tool outside of the IT organization.

In a lot of ways, this is a reasonable thing to do. Whether it is a work order being completed by the facilities organization, or human resources on-boarding a new employee, using a tool that facilitates a consistent, repeatable approach to information capture and managing workflow just makes sense.

Another popular approach is establishing an enterprise service desk. Like an IT service desk, the enterprise service desk becomes a single-point of contact for internal employees to receive assistance with any request or issue. Employees benefit from having only a single point of contact for any organizational need or issue. The organization benefits by delivering a centralized approach for managing such contacts, rather than having each department having to individually staff such functions.

Implementing a self-service portal is also a popular approach for ESM. Employees can use a portal to find information or make requests without having to contact anyone. Issues such as requesting a replacement for a burned-out light bulb or updating voluntary benefits can be conveniently managed from an employee’s workplace.

But are any of these approaches really “enterprise service management”? Or are these examples of enterprise silo management?

What You’re Doing is Enterprise Silo Management

Extending the ITSM tool to other areas of the organization may improve the ROI of the tool. Establishing enterprise service desks may help centralize management of internal requests and issues. Implementing enterprise self-service portals can result in time savings for employees. It may even result in optimized departmental processes and workflows.

But if the goal of your ESM initiative is to only extend the use of IT’s service management tool into non-IT areas of the organization, what you’re doing is Enterprise Silo Management. You’re enabling (encouraging?) your organization to continue working as a collection of siloed departments.

While I would agree that optimizing departmental processes and workflows is a good thing to do, keep in mind that departmental optimization will deliver benefit…to only that department. It’s like speeding up one part of a conveyor belt but ignoring the big stack of boxes on either end. In fact, it’s really not speeding anything up – it is only exacerbating the symptoms of an organization whose interdepartmental workflows are not well integrated.

This is where these so-called approaches to ESM fall short. These approaches don’t enable or deliver a cross-departmental flow of information and work. There’s no end-to-end view of enterprise value streams. Requests or issues that (will) come up within the enterprise still requires the consumer (employee) to know what they need and what organization fulfills that need before they interact with the portal.

By following these approaches, your business will never realize the value of enterprise service management.

Why Your business Needs Enterprise Service Management

Organizations operating within a silo mentality, in which the departments within the organization are poorly connected with (or even isolated from) other parts of the organization, cannot react or respond as quickly as needed to changes in market spaces or business.

Think about it. There is no single part of an organization that can exist in complete independence from the other parts of the organization. The best business value is created when all parts of the business are contributing and collaborating to deliver value in the most effective and efficient way.

And in the digital age, having the ability to quickly shift and react to changes in market spaces is critical for business success.

This is why your business needs ESM – Enterprise Service Management.

Good ESM:

  • Provides business decision support – Good ESM provides transparency into how work is done within the organization. Decisions become data-driven, based on objectives measures captured as part of enterprise value streams.
  • Enables organizational agility – Well defined, interdepartmental workflows enable organizational agility because there is clarity and shared understanding regarding workflows. This helps leaders understand where to pivot if needed. Good ESM results in improved cohesiveness and collaboration within the organization and aligns activities toward shared organizational goals, not on departmental objectives.
  • Improves organizational understanding of the business – Individual departments not only understand their workflows and processes, but also how information, work, and value flow across the organization. There is a greater awareness of the interdependencies between the various departments within the organization.
  • Enables an enhanced customer experience – Good ESM removes the internal friction that gets in the way of a good customer experience.

Moving to Enterprise Service Management

Here are some tips to help you move from Enterprise Silo Management to Enterprise Service Management.

1. Strong leadership is required 
To have success with ESM, the focus must shift from achieving departmental objectives to enterprise goals. Silo mentality must be eliminated from the organization.

2. Teach employees the business of the business 
Many employees today are unaware of how the business operates outside of their own area or department. Having a good understanding of how the business does business helps with ESM implementation and enables improved employee productivity.

3. Map the enterprise value streams
No single part of an organization is independent of the rest of the organization; it takes all parts of an organization to deliver value to its customers.  Mapping value streams at the enterprise levels helps the organization visualize how work and value flows through the organization and to the customer.

4. Define or lean out processes
For each value stream, form a cross-departmental team to define any needed supporting processes. If processes are defined, review those processes to ensure that they are as lean and waste-free as possible.

5. Iterate
Don’t try to instantiate all your enterprise value streams within your service management tool at the same time. Rather, start with a single enterprise value stream, capture any learnings, and then apply those learning to the next value stream-to-tool implementation. (By the way, this approach should be the “new normal” for maintaining your ESM implementation.)

So, should organizations optimize at the departmental level or at the enterprise level? The fact is that to be successful in the digital age, organizations must do both. Doing one without the other only results in internal friction and waste.

Following the above tips will get you on the right path for good ESM that also results in optimized departmental and enterprise work streams.

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How ITIL4 Opens the Door to ESM

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A prevalent approach to Enterprise Service Management (ESM) today is to extend the use of the IT Service Management (ITSM) tool to other areas of an organization outside of IT.  Some organizations also try to apply their existing ITSM concepts, like managing requests or service interruptions, to those other areas.

This approach is essentially dropping the “IT” from ITSM and adding an “E”. Sorry, that doesn’t make it “ESM”.  While good ITSM practices can be adapted for use across the enterprise, ESM has to be more than just arbitrarily imposing ITSM across an organization.

What is ESM?

ESM is the application of service management principles and technologies beyond just IT and across an organization. ESM applies service management principles to other areas of an organization to improve performance, measurability, effectiveness, responsiveness, and efficiency.

Does this sound familiar to you? Well, it should if you’ve been around this blog before! ESM mirrors what good ITSM practices accomplish, except on a larger scale.


ESM is much more than applying IT processes and principles outside of IT. It’s a holistic way of including and blending individual departmental approaches into common and shared processes, systems and technology across the organization.  It requires organizational change just as much as a technological change. It requires strong leadership, clearly articulated vision and business goals, and clear communication and collaboration between departments.

ESM is all about how to best enable and support the value streams of an organization.  ESM must take an enterprise, not IT, perspective regarding how to best facilitate the delivery of end-to-end value through an organization.  ESM is not about trying to fit organizational capabilities and work products into predefined IT(SM) processes, but rather ensuring the most effective approach for leveraging all of the capabilities of an organization. 

With ESM, the organization develops a holistic approach to integrating, connecting and working together to leverage technology by creating processes, systems and workflows that benefit the company, the employee, and the customer.

Why is ESM important?

The best business value is created when all parts of the business are contributing and collaborating to deliver value in the most effective and efficient way.   In the digital age, organizations must be able to quickly shift and react to changes in market spaces is critical for business success. It won’t be enough that IT makes a change to an application or the marketing department launches a new campaign.   The enterprise must be able to shift or pivot as needed – when needed.

This is why good ESM is so important. 

Good ESM:   

  • Provides business decision support – Good ESM provides transparency into how work is done within the organization.  Decisions become data-driven, based on objectives measures captured as part of enterprise value streams.   
  • Enables organizational agility – Well defined, interdepartmental value streams and workflows enable organizational agility because there is clarity and shared understanding regarding those value streams and workflows.  This helps leaders understand where to pivot if needed. Good ESM results in improved cohesiveness and collaboration within the organization and aligns activities toward shared organizational goals, not on departmental objectives.
  • Improves organizational understanding of the business – Individual departments not only understand their workflows and processes, but also how information, work, and value flow across the organization.  There is a greater awareness of the interdependencies between the various departments within the organization. 
  • Enables an enhanced customer experience – Good ESM removes the internal friction that gets in the way of a good customer experience.

 

How ITIL4 can open the door for ESM?

ITIL® 4 introduced in February 2019, is the latest evolution of the popular ITSM framework.  Among the new or revised concepts within ITIL4 are two nuggets than can help open the door for ESM – the Service Value System (SVS) and the Four Dimensions Model.   

The Service Value System

The SVS “represents how the various components and activities of the organization work together to facilitate value creation through IT-enabled services”.  The SVS starts with an input of either “demand” or “opportunity” and ends with value.  A “demand” represents the need for something to happen, whether it’s a product or a service.  An “opportunity” represents a potential for value-add or improvement for the organization.  “Value” is the perceived benefits that will or should result from acting upon the demand or opportunity.

Applying the SVS concept to ESM, an enterprise value stream similarly begins with a demand – an order from a customer, on-boarding of a new employee – or an opportunity – a new product line.  To realize value from either of these scenarios requires the actions of multiple parts of the organization.  No single part of the organization alone can by itself deliver the value required from that demand or opportunity.  Good ESM recognizes and facilitates those actions across the enterprise.

Drilling into the SVS a bit more, there are three key components that I think can be directly applied to ESM:

  • Guiding Principles – Overarching recommendations that guide an organization in all circumstances.
  • Governance – Ensures that the policies of the organization are defined and carried out; keeps all parts of the organization pointed in the same direction.
  • Continual Improvement – Activities that ensure that the organization is proactively improving; that the organization collectively and individually is anticipating and responding to changing conditions, both within the organization and the marketplace, to meet the needs of the customer, the organization, and the employee.

The Four Dimensions Model

The Four Dimensions Model describes factors that have influence on the delivery of value. The Four Dimensions are:

  • Organizations and People – In addition to the “org chart”, this dimension looks at culture, skills, competencies, and capacity of the organization.
  • Information and Technology – Technologies and the appropriate use and protection of information are crucial enablers for today’s enterprises.
  • Partners and Suppliers – Every organization and every product and service delivered by an organization, has reliance on partners and suppliers. 
  • Value Streams and Processes – The enablement and delivery of value depends on effective and efficient workstreams, controls, and procedures.

I look at the Four Dimensions Model as a tension matrix – any change in any one dimension will have an effect – good or bad – on the other dimensions.  The Four Dimensions Model encourages a holistic look at how an organization facilitates value for all stakeholders of an organization.

Applying the Four Dimensions to ESM adoption, without the proper training and development of skill sets, the organization cannot successfully exploit information and technology nor realize value stream effectiveness.   Just extending ITSM tools into the enterprise ignores organizational cultural and competency aspects, does not address enterprise value streams, or recognizes the partnerships (both within and external to the organization) that make enterprises work. 

The key takeaway

I’ve long thought that a good ITSM implementation is key for success in the digital economy.  And that service management also must move outside of IT.  With new concepts like the SVS and the Four Dimensions Model, ITIL4 seems to be thinking the same thing. 

ITIL4 can open the door for ESM – and that’s a good thing.   

 

Ready for your ITIL4 certification? Register forTedder Consulting’s ITIL4 Foundation class.

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The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of IT

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There’s a battle afoot within many IT organizations.

In one corner is the “up-and-comer” DevOps, with its promise to be responsive and deliver technology-based solutions with velocity, while making positive changes to the culture of an IT organization.

And in the other corner, the wily veteran ITIL® , featuring its time-tested advice for supporting and delivering technology-based solutions. Over its 30 years of existence, ITIL – done well – has been shown to work. ITIL has often been referred to as the “de-facto” standard for IT Service Management.

Within many organizations, the battle is real.

Will it be ITIL?

Or will it be DevOps knocking ITIL off of its throne?

And how will ITIL4 impact the battle?

ITIL vs. DevOps

ITIL has long been a popular methodology for the delivery and support of services based on the use of technology. ITIL has gone through a number of iterations since first appearing in the 1980s, with the most recent iteration published in 2011.

Meanwhile, around 2009, a grassroots movement started that eventually became known as DevOps. DevOps emerged as a better way for IT development and IT operations teams to work together.

Many organizations took note of the movement and began adopting DevOps. DevOps was seen as a way to become more responsive to business needs and improve the velocity of solution delivery. DevOps was embraced as a way to exploit emerging technologies and capabilities – things that ITIL books didn’t discuss.
In the meantime, ITIL guidance, other than publication of ITIL Practitioner in 2016, stood in place for nearly eight years.

My perspective of ITIL adoption

I’ve always thought of ITIL as a collection of good “common sense” for ensuring that the use of technology results in business value. Yes, ITIL books were a bit wordy and dryly written, but they contained good knowledge and wisdom. With good planning and execution, the concepts and guidance described within ITIL just plain work.

But the use of ITIL has not been without its challenges.

Some have perceived ITIL as being bureaucratic and “waterfall-ish”. I would agree that parts of the guidance seemed more suited to waterfall development (e.g. Release and Deployment), but perhaps that reflected the era. Where I’ve seen bureaucracy, it was due to how ITIL was adopted – and not because of was advised. That’s because many of the companies that adopted ITIL over-engineered processes, focused on “control” and not “enablement”.

Many ITIL adoptions were aimed only at IT operations. This approach essentially put a fence around an organization’s IT infrastructure. ITIL concepts were then forced onto other parts of IT. ITIL adoption was treated as an “IT thing”, expecting others within an organization to simply comply.

It’s these types of experiences that are frequently referenced by ITIL detractors. To them, “ITIL” is a four-letter word. In my experience, many (most?) of those people either a) never took the time to experiment, learn, and improve their ITIL-based ITSM implementations or b) really don’t know what they’re talking about.

Having said that, I will agree that aspects of the ITIL framework have become a bit dated. While the concepts remain fundamentally sound, guidance for leveraging or incorporating new and emerging technologies, methods, and capabilities are sorely missing from ITIL.

My perspective of DevOps adoption

I like DevOps. I like the fresh perspectives on how to deliver value while leveraging emerging technology. I like the idea of smaller increments of work delivered more quickly. The overarching concept of CALMS – culture, automation, lean, measurement, and sharing – is a great approach to ensure that these critical aspects are both top of mind for the IT organization and considered with each product produced by IT. DevOps has been embraced by many organizations as a way to be more responsive to ever-changing business needs.

DevOps addresses an area of ITIL that always has been underdeveloped, or (as some would say) ignored – application development. While there were books about application management, ITIL has not offered much about application development.

But like ITIL, DevOps adoption has also seen its challenges.

Because of some of the hype that surrounds DevOps, many companies expect to immediately jump to tens and hundreds of deployments per day. The fact that leading companies in this space invested years of effort to get to that level of velocity is often overlooked. Some organizations expect to just throw technology at the issue, rather than develop the workflows (processes) needed to enable that velocity.

Many DevOps adoptions appear to be very “development” focused, rather than viewing IT holistically. Terms and concepts like “DevSecOps” and “BizDevOps” have emerged to underscore the need to take a holistic and inclusive approach to software development.

Some have taken a technology-centric approach to DevOps adoption. While I don’t hear of this as often now, many envisioned DevOps as a way to circumvent necessary controls or to eliminate the IT operations organization. There are also some that view DevOps as just “automation”, or an excuse to reinvent good working practices if for no other reason than “they can”.

Enter ITIL4

ITIL4 is being introduced this month (February 2019) with the publication of the Foundation volume, with more in-depth guidance to follow. ITIL4 represents an evolution in, not a replacement of, ITIL guidance. ITIL4 Foundations delivers some interesting new concepts, such as the Service Value System and the Four Dimensions model. ITIL4 also revisits some previous concepts, such as the Guiding Principles that were introduced in Practitioner.

What makes ITIL4 different than previous versions of ITIL?

Here are a few of the differences:

    • Emphasizes practices over processes – Too many look at ITIL as a collection of processes. With the introduction of practices, ITIL4 has de-emphasized processes in favor of value streams and practices.
    • Promotes systems thinking – Lifecycle approach described in ITILv3 sometimes had unfortunate effect of promoting silo thinking within IT (even though ITIL guidance clearly discussed the interdependencies between lifecycle phases).
    • Acknowledges that there are other models and approaches – ITIL4 puts in writing that it embraces new ways of working, such as Lean, Agile, and DevOps.

Who will win the battle?

How will ITIL4 impact the battle for the hearts and minds of IT organizations? Is ITIL4 “too late”? Only time will tell. But DevOps and ITIL4 have much in common. Both want to make the best use of people and technology to deliver value and meet the needs of the business. Both promote continual improvement and effective measurement. Both advise that in order to deliver value that first IT must understand what is valued by the organization.

Most IT organizations will need some of either and a lot of both to have success. Both have weaknesses and strengths. The fact is that no single approach or framework will be able to accommodate all possible situations.

The key to success is that the modern IT professional must understand the business of the business, then decide how best to leverage frameworks, models, approaches, and standards to deliver the outcomes and value needed by the business. Perhaps this is where ITIL4 will have an impact.

 

Tedder Consulting is offering DevOps Foundation and ITIL4 Foundation classes next month! Click here to learn more.

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IT Service Management Still Matters – Here’s Why

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Believe it or not, your company has always been doing IT Service Management (ITSM) – from the moment it first used a computer. 

Whether formally defined or not, ITSM exists in some form in every organization that leverages technology in achieving business results.

Don’t think so?  Consider this:

  • What happens when the phone rings in IT? Someone answers it.
  • What is something breaks in the production environment? It gets fixed.
  • When business colleagues ask for something different in a live system or application?  A change is made.
  • When business colleagues request new capabilities based on the use of technology?  The request capability is planned, funded, designed and implemented.
  • When a colleague needs advice or instruction?  Help is provided.

All that seems like ITSM to me. But good ITSM has to be more than just answering the phone or making a change. Is your approach to ITSM working as it should?

The “usual” approach to ITSM…and why it doesn’t work

If ITSM hasn’t delivered the expected value for your organization, it’s usually because of one or more of the following reasons:

  • Many organizations implemented only the reactive aspects of ITSM – incident, problem, change, service desk, request – and nothing more.  They utilized whatever out-of-the-box process definitions that came with the ITSM tool – but those processes didn’t match the current state of IT, much less meet the business need.  Despite those challenges, those organizations did receive some benefit…. but not the full benefit of a good ITSM implementation. 
  • Some organizations implemented ITSM with a focus more on managing the technology and less on delivering services supporting business functions.  Those organizations implemented ITSM processes from a control perspective, which resulted in practices that actually got in the way of the organization taking advantage of using technology.
  • Many organizations’ ITSM implementations were never elevated beyond the IT organization.  ITSM was an IT project, not a business initiative.  Because core ITSM concepts were not implemented, like IT services defined in terms of business value and outcomes, artifacts like a service portfolio were never defined.  As a result, business leaders do not have critical ITSM resources and information that could help them make informed decisions about technology investments.  Nor do they have any data that helps them recognize the value provided by the IT organization.
  • Some organizations didn’t even elevate ITSM beyond IT operations.  As a result, IT became a “house divided”, with each side of the house actually working against the other side.

Is ITSM no longer important?

But despite these challenges, practicing good ITSM is more important now than ever.  Why? 

  • Because your organization is now completely dependent on technology to perform business processes and functions.  There is no part of any business that doesn’t have some dependency on the use of technology.
  • Because business and technology must work seamlessly.  “Business-IT alignment” is not enough.  It’s now about integration, not alignment.
  • Because organizations must take a holistic view of the use of technology to ensure the best return on investment and ensure that corporate governance and policies are enforced.   In a world of data privacy concerns and security breaches where business interruptions due to technology issues are widely publicized, organizations must take a holistic approach to managing and leveraging technology.
  • Because IT is still “on the hook” for the effective and efficient use of technology and business value delivery, regardless of whether those technology resources are provided from on-premise or via the cloud.
  • Because investments in technology must deliver an optimal return on investment.  The days of implementing technology for technology’s sake are long gone.
  • Because technology is always changing and evolving, organizations need a way to deal with that change in a consistent, technology-agnostic manner.

But this doesn’t mean that “ITSM as usual” is the right approach going forward.  In fact, the “usual approach” is usually why ITSM hasn’t delivered or fulfilled its promise.  And certainly, the “usual approach” to ITSM won’t be enough for the modern business.

What does modern ITSM look like?

The goal of ITSM has always been to make the best use of technology to deliver business value. But that’s not what many organizations have done with their ITSM efforts.

Many ITSM implementations struggled or even failed because the focus was on implementing a framework or methodology – or even worse, a tool – rather than doing the things that helped the business realize value in its use of technology.

A modern organization needs a modern approach to ITSM.   A modern approach to ITSM has the following characteristics:

  • More than one tool in the ITSM toolbox – Some look at methodologies like Agile, Lean, or DevOps as “anti-ITSM”, when in fact, these approaches address areas of the usual ITSM implementations that were previously skipped or ignored.  Even more compelling, these methodologies compliment traditional approaches like ITIL® and COBIT®.  The modern ITSM toolbox leverages the right tool for the job.
  • Emphasizes “enablement” over “control” – ITSM implementations must shift from a mindset of “control” to a mindset of “enablement”.  IT must be adaptable and responsive to business change, but at the same time, consistent, secure and reliable. A modern approach to ITSM strikes the right balance between responsiveness, adaptability, consistency, security, and reliablity to help organizations realize its business goals and objectives.
  • Inclusive – Many ITSM implementations never moved beyond IT Operations.  Make no mistake – developing and implementing the operational capability to respond to incidents, fulfill requests, or implement changes in a consistent and repeatable way was (and is!) a good thing.  But modern ITSM must be inclusive.  Modern ITSM must include not only all of IT, but also include the business that IT serves.
  • Looks at the organization from the “outside-in” – The (true) customer does business with the business – not an individual part of the business.  Effective service management will help a business act and present itself as a holistic entity and not a collection of parts.

Top 5 Reasons Why ITSM (Still) Matters

Here are my top 5 reasons why ITSM still matters:

1. ITSM enables IT to deal with ever-changing technologies in a consistent way while still ensuring the right level of governance.

2. ITSM enables Shift-Left toward the end-user. In the digital age, you cannot sacrifice quality for speed and IT teams must work as a cohesive unit. 

3. ITSM enables teams to deliver technology in a business-relevant way at the right cost and quality and show how IT is contributing value, all the way to the bottom line

4. ITSM ensures that the use of technology meets business need and delivers value and outcomes. ITSM expands thinking from processes that manage technology to practices that not only manage technology but deliver real business outcomes and value

5. Provides the opportunity and the ability to identify, justify, and implement improvements with transparency. 

Making ITSM a Strategic Capability

In the digital era, ITSM must be a strategic capability of your organization.   ITSM must become one of the primary ways that a business executes and fulfills its strategy.

How can you improve your ITSM efforts?

  • Define services in terms of value streams/value chains
  • Take an agile approach to process design
  • Shift-left to deliver a better end user/customer experience
  • Build peer support within the organization
  • Distributed, sourced: changing from traditional centralized IT with everything completed in-house

IT has always played a prominent role in the success of the organization but typically has played that role from the back office.  In the digital era, IT’s role is much more prominent and visible and IT must become more business and leadership focused.

Does your organization need to take a modern approach to  service management?  With our Next Generation ITSM consulting service, Tedder Consulting can get you there – contact us today!

For more pragmatic advice and service management insight, click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

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Doug Tedder named to HDI’s “Top 25 Thought Leaders” list

January 25, 2019 — HDI, a leading professional association for IT service management and technical support professionals, announced today that Doug Tedder, Principal Consultant of Tedder Consulting, has been named to its list of “Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical and Service Management” for 2018.

Tedder commented, “It’s always an honor to be recognized by one’s peers, but to be among the names on this list is especially humbling.”

The complete list can be viewed here.

5 Ways Processes Make SMBs More Agile

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“Processes” often sound like a dirty word for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). When you’re working in a small organization, your team has no choice but to work together to ensure maximum productivity.  Many SMBs worry that processes will actually hurt productivity.

The common concern goes something like this:

  • Having a process will just slow down projects by requiring approvals and meetings 
  • Once a process is in place, the organization will need to pivot or focus in another direction because they must be nimble – and processes will only get in the way of pivoting
  • Defining and implementing a process takes too much time and most people don’t stick to it – so why bother implementing it?

These worries result from badly implemented and poorly designed processes. Good processes won’t cause the above problems. In fact, good processes make your company more agile. 

Here are 5 ways that good processes will improve your organization.

1. Processes increase transparency within organizations

Even in SMBs, there can be silos and lack of communication on goals and initiatives because everyone is so focused on their individual roles. A proper process ensures effective collaboration between everyone. When everyone is clear on process and more importantly, the reasons for a process, they are more likely to support that process from their respective position.

But that’s not all.  This second part is especially important for SMBs. Often, team members understand what everyone else is doing but not necessarily why they are doing it or how it drives business. A process breaks down those communication barriers so that everyone is confident in each role and the projects that are driving the company forward. 

2. Greater accountability 

Usually in SMBs, everyone wears many hats. Your marketing person may also be in charge of sales and web development and your HR person could also be in charge of customer service.

This can be a great thing and it can make your company extremely agile — sometimes.  But when people handle many different responsibilities, it can be difficult to see who is really doing what. 

Generally, when a small group of people are doing many different things and the processes aren’t clear, projects can get dropped or mistakes are made. With so many overlapping responsibilities, it’s easy to point blame on everyone or no one. You may often hear: “I have so much going on that I didn’t realize that project was on my plate” or “I just assumed So-and-So was handling that.”

Processes eliminate this problem because they make everyone’s responsibilities very clear. With a process, no one can say “I didn’t realize that activity was on my plate to do” because they – and everyone else – will know exactly what falls under their roles and responsibilities.

3. No More Throwing Spaghetti at The Wall

A common problem among SMBs is that employees often feel there is no time to actually find long-term solutions to issues.  As a result,  they’re constantly forced to fix things quickly and making it work “for now.”

But, the “for-now” approach actually leads to lost time and less productivity because you are constantly having to go back to fix that same problem over and over again. In short, you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall just hoping one of these solutions will stick.

Processes create clear paths to reliable and repeatable long-term solutions. When you create a process that efficiently creates a long-term solution, this results in your team having the time to take care of their other projects and responsibilities.

4. Your budget will go farther

SMBs have limited budgets – everyone knows this. Processes help you to do things more efficiently and effectively, with more of a focus and connection to the bottom line.

When you have haphazard projects, you’re “throwing spaghetti at the wall”.  There is no accountability, and it is very easy for your team to be working on things that don’t connect to the bottom line.  

This means your team is working hard – they might even be overworked – but you’re not actually growing your business. 

What then happens is one of two things: your team feels overworked and under-appreciated and their work starts to decline or you hire more people to get more work done, even if it’s for projects that don’t necessarily provide value to the organization. 

Either way, you are paying for a company that might not be delivering as much value as it could.

Developing efficient and effective processes helps ensure every project connects to the bottom line. This way your team won’t be wasting their time or energy, and you won’t be wasting money paying for work that doesn’t actually grow your business!

5. You can be continuously improving

In an SMB, many owners and team members are often just trying to stay afloat and put out fires as they come up. They are finding quick fixes, squeezing by on tight budgets and just trying to stay ahead of the competition. 

It can be hard to see much growth or understand how the business is actually growing. With a process, you can establish a baseline from which to measure improvements. You’ll be able to say “This is where we started and this is where ended up and here’s what went right and what went wrong.”

Defined processes give your business a chance to improve. You’ll have a clearer picture of what decisions you as the business owner need to make.  You will enable your team members to feel empowered about what they are able to accomplish and it provides a greater sense of responsibility and contribution to the company’s success.

The point of this is: the right process can help your organization accomplish more and grow faster. So instead of questioning the value of processes or avoiding them all together, take the time to establish the right processes or improve the ones that you already have. By defining processes, you actually become more agile – you can quickly and confidently identify and implement the operational changes required to quickly respond to changes in the market and keep you ahead of your competition.

Looking for more support?

Tedder Consulting’s new Process Improvement Workshop can help you quickly and effectively improve your processes in your organization! Learn more about it here!

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