Tag Archives: ITSM

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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4 Surprising Reasons ITSM Really is for SMBs

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There is a nasty rumor going around the IT world about ITSM. Some professionals and organizations think that ITSM is nothing more than a bureaucratic mess of processes that only inhibits productivity and can only be effectively implemented by large organizations.

But we’re going to let you in on a secret: Good ITSM is every SMBs secret weapon.

ITSM doesn’t have to be complicated. After all, ITSM is simply a set of defined practices for implementing, managing and delivering IT services that meet the needs of the organization.

Good ITSM looks like:

  • Reliable, consistent and relatable services from IT to the customer
  • A measurable contribution to business value from IT
  • Efficient, data-driven, defined and documented processes

Now, that doesn’t exactly sound like something that is is only beneficial for large companies, does it?

While many people recognize the benefits of great ITSM, let’s talk specifically why ITSM is great for  SMBs.

1. Customer Experience

Customer expectations have drastically changed over the last few years due in part to new technologies. Customers expect real-time responses, personalized journeys and continual innovation from businesses. 

Let’s take Amazon as an example. You may think that customers shop at Amazon simply because it’s Amazon. While that may be the case now; originally, customers started shopping with Amazon because Amazon made it convenient to shop with them. Amazon started doing things like offering personalized shopping requests, providing immediate shipping notifications and maintaining a responsive customer service. An “Amazon experience” is now the customer expectation with every business.

Of course, most small businesses run with limited staff, so “Amazon-like” expectations may be difficult for SMBs to meet. 

That’s where ITSM comes in. ITSM helps SMBs provide faster and more reliable services without requiring extra manpower. In the end, it means a smoother, more cohesive customer experience without extra overhead from a bigger staff. 

2. Agility 

The business world is incredibly competitive. Technology has enabled every business to move faster and grow quicker. If you’re not ahead of the curve, you’re already falling behind – so agility is an absolute requirement for SMBs. 

ITSM helps organizations to structure their workflows so the most pressing and important needs are handled quickly. ITSM helps eliminate distractions and nagging problems that constantly need to be fixed and it helps teams stay focused on the outcomes that help the business get ahead and stay ahead. 

3. ITSM can be easier to implement at SMBs

As we addressed above, SMBs must be agile and nimble in order to keep up with their competition. SMBs must focus on the projects and services that will drive revenue and grow the business bottomline.

Because of this, SMBs are uniquely suited to see wins from ITSM faster than larger companies do. In an SMB, teams are smaller and they must work together more frequently on the most valuable and important projects. They often see the results of their efforts more directly than those working in large organizations.

Therefore, there are fewer people to convince to support ITSM implementation, fewer instances of siloed-thinking to overcome, and a greater understanding of how everyone works together.

4. Your budget will take you further.

Contrary to many myths, ITSM is not about the newest and greatest tool. It is about creating process and workflows so that the entire organization works better to enable a seamless customer experience.

Creating efficient processes and well-defined services ensures that your business is growing at a healthy scale. When you have the right processes and clear services, you can rest assured your team is focused on driving business. So that when it becomes time for you to grow and hire more team members, it will be because the business is growing, not because your team is too busy and stressed out but not actually driving business.     

Additionally, great ITSM doesn’t start with the tool. It starts with focusing first on business needs and then identifying and defining the needed processes, services and workflows to meet those business needs. By starting from this perspective, you will avoid wasting money on tools that will never support your business. You will know that when you do invest in a tool, it will work within the processes you’ve already defined and it will be used correctly 

How to Start to Implement ITSM In Your SMB?

If you are ready to begin implementing ITSM, it’s important that you start by answering some questions. This will help you have a clear understanding of how ITSM can fit into your business. 

Remember what we mentioned above, ITSM is not about buying the latest and greatest tool! Avoid diving straight in with purchasing a fancy tool – start with the defining service and the needed processes! 

Avoid the common mistake of messing up ITSM before you even get started with it! The answers to these questions will help you much more than any expensive tool will at this stage of your ITSM journey.

  • Identify how does your business utilize or depend upon technology? 
  • What are common activities that your team performs in supporting your business in its use of technology?
  • Are you able to measure the contribution that technology brings to your business?  Are you able to measure and discuss how your IT team contributes to business success – in business-relevant terms?
  • What could be done differently in how IT contributes to business success?
  • What small improvements could result in big wins for your company? 

Once you have answered these questions, it’s time to start learning about the different ITSM frameworks and how you can get started with it. Attend webinars and user group meetings to learn what good ITSM can do for your business, talk to experts, or read blogs and white papers about the best way to get started with ITSM.

It’s the beginning of the year and many SMBs are still bright-eyed with big goals and exciting plans and timelines, so now is the time to get ahead of your timeline and ensure that you hit every goal you have this year!

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How to Defeat Silo Mentality

Share twitterlinkedinmailThere’s a beast lurking in many organizations. It can tear an organization to shreds from the inside out, quietly and quickly.

No, I’m not talking about some horror movie. I’m referring to silo mentality. It’s a growing problem for many organizations. A recent study of senior executives showed that “only 25% of respondents described their organizations as ‘effective’ at sharing knowledge across boundaries.”

While silo mentality may be common, it’s not healthy. It’s a problem that could drastically slow business growth in the digital age.

But there is a solution to silo mentality that is accessible to every organization and leaders across the globe. Before we get to the solution, let’s discuss the problem.

What is Silo Mentality?

Silo mentality is the mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not want to share information with others in the same organization.

Just like at a farm, silos in organizations hold resources that are separated by types. In the farming community, it’s important to protect resources from the outside elements but in business, silos end up causing delayed projects, low morale and increased costs.

Most leaders want to blame silo mentality on the employees themselves. But silo mentality is often to the result of poor leadership, communication and management.

Most silos form when employees develop a greater sense of loyalty to their individual team or department than loyalty to the organization. While team loyalty is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be disruptive when the needs of the company as a whole become secondary to the needs of the closest team members.

Managers and leaders must encourage a culture of collaboration, communication and ownership. If managers and leaders spend their time pointing fingers, hiding information or not taking ownership of their mistakes, then that mentality will trickle down into their teams, as well!

Silo mentality has many disruptive side effects. It can cause groupthink, stereotyping, redundancies and duplicative efforts between departments, and a misunderstanding of strategy. These effects can cause increased project costs, missed deadlines and low morale.

But the most damaging side effect is that the customer suffers when silo mentality exists in an organization. Most jobs within organizations have specific roles and responsibilities. When a task or issue occurs that “doesn’t fit the job description” in a siloed workforce, the task is usually tossed to the next person. This can occur several times over and the person who suffers the most is the person who had the issue in the first place: the customer.

Companies that suffer from silo mentality will lose customers and therefore profits due to the inefficiencies caused by it. Organizations have started trying to eliminate silo mentality by encouraging a service-oriented approach and cross-functional collaboration. And luckily, there is a more formal method to these tactics that leaders can take. It’s called Enterprise Service Management and it might sound a little bit familiar to you.

What is Enterprise Service Management?

Enterprise service management (ESM) describes 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.

Of course, you may be thinking that you can just take your existing ITSM processes and systems and simply apply them across the organization. It doesn’t exactly work like that.
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.

With ESM, the organization develops a holistic approach to integrate, connect and work together to leverage technology by creating processes, systems and workflows that benefit both the company and the customer.

How Can ESM Defeat Silo Mentality?

This is where silo mentality will begin to break down through ESM. By implementing ESM, the organization doesn’t need to just adapt to IT processes and systems. It’s not about IT (or any part of an organization for that matter) having its own set of processes and systems and expecting the rest of the organization to align to those processes. Rather, it’s about getting all parts of the organization having a shared understanding of business value and how the parts of the business interact to deliver value to the customer.

With ESM, every department must be represented in the development of more efficient workflows and processes that better enable the use of technology and eliminate any obstacles that exist between departments. Including each department in these activities develops buy-in to what will work best for the organization. This buy-in makes it easier for ESM implementation and it also correctly positions IT to understand how each department uses technology, how they view it, what they need from it, and align those needs to organizational goals.

For any of this to work, one of the first things the organization needs to do is to speak the same language. The problem many departments run into is that they don’t understand the specific terminology used within each department. For example, an “incident” for IT is very different than an “incident” for facilities.

Leaders need to work with their managers and teams to integrate their teams so they can begin to understand one another. One way is by incorporating job shadowing days where team members can spend time learning about another department. Another way may be to host knowledge sharing meetings where departments share their current projects and its impact on the business and effect on customers. Increasing communication and transparency between departments helps everyone begins to understand how each team contributes to the organization.

Once your team speaks the same language and you being to implement shared practices, processes, and technology across the organization, silo mentality will begin to fade. After all, the barriers that resulted from having separate practices, processes and technologies will be blended into a shared approach, which is how the organization should interact anyway.

How To Implement ESM into Your Organization?

One of the best ways is to start small with a single workflow that involves different departments.

For example, the workflow that supports onboarding a new employee involves the human resources, IT, corporate security, and facilities departments. Pull together representatives from each of these departments and agree on the critical success factors for onboarding a new employee. Map the work that is done by each department when a new employee is hired. Review what information is needed by each department as they do that work. This will begin to identify the dependencies and sequences of work between these departments. Map the flow of work among these departments that would result in the best result for both the new employee and the impacted departments. Identify and define measures that indicate that the workflow will meet the agreed critical success factors. Now map how and where technology supports this workflow. Small projects like these can create an environment that is open to organization wide enterprise service management roll outs.

Remember ESM won’t be rolled out overnight and it may not be met with open arms by everyone in the organization. Continue to identify supporters who are open to new projects, learn to speak the language of the business and keep your ears open for feedback and ideas from other departments. Remember, ending silo mentality starts from the top!Share twitterlinkedinmail

What Digital Transformation Looks Like for Small Businesses

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Digital transformation is a top priority for most organizations today. Across the world, CEOs and COOs are starting to shift their budgets and their organizations to be more digital-friendly. But what does that mean for organizations that don’t have massive IT budgets or multiple departments?

digital transformation

Can small businesses take part in digital transformation and if so, what will it look like?

For us to be able to answer these questions, let’s first define digital transformation. Digital transformation is how businesses exploit technology to create new business processes, culture and customer experiences to meet the changing needs in today’s technological world. In short, it’s about adapting your business to the changing digital landscape.

While digital transformation can become quite complex, it’s actually uniquely suited for small businesses. Small businesses must be agile and quick to adapt in order to survive. Most small businesses owners are constantly looking for ways to improve their processes because they need to be as efficient as possible.

So it’s not surprising that small businesses are already embracing a digital future. 48% of SMBs plan to transform their business for a digital future. In fact, many small businesses have already started their own digital transformation journeys. An IT research firm’s most recent survey of 1,600 small businesses found that 82 percent of SMBs are already on their digital transformation journey.

One of the biggest complaints about digital transformation is that it is an enormous initiative that takes time, money and manpower. But SMBs are showing that even the most time-strapped business owners can find the resources to address these initiatives and embrace a digital future.

During digital transformation, organizations must take a step back and ask themselves if they are using technology in the right way and for the right solution. It’s about being intentional with the way you use different technologies across the organization, no matter how large or small the organization.

These initiatives can be many different things for small businesses including:

  • Collaborative tools
  • CRM systems
  • Marketing automation
  • Accounting software
  • Communication tools and processes
  • Hiring processes

From chatbots to cloud accounting software, digital technologies can improve every area of a small business. But a small business owner needs to thinks strategically when it comes to implementing digital transformation initiatives before just diving right in.

Here’s how to get started with digital transformation as a small business:

Before you start any digital transformation project, perform an internal assessment to identify gaps, problems and threats in your organization.

  • What’s key to your business’ survival?
  • What’s your biggest problem?
  •  Where are the gaps in your processes?
  • What are your competitors offering that you are not?
  • What are your customer expectations?

When creating your roadmap, it’s important that SMBs do two things:

The first is to pursue a holistic approach to digital transformation, which means to focus on the technology along with the needed business outcomes. Digital transformation is not about buying the most expensive, trendiest tool. It’s about solving the problems of the organization and improving its efficiencies. For each technology that is suggested, identify the desired business outcome and ways of measurement.

The second is to consider long-term and short-term goals. Digital transformation is not an overnight initiative. However, for SMBs, it’s essential that they implement initiatives that can be implemented quickly with specific and measurable ROI. There are no huge budgets in a small business, so these initial projects must free up resources and increase revenues so that they can help to fund bigger projects later on down the road.

As the digital transformation roadmap is created and begin to choose your digital transformation projects, there are three characteristics that you want to keep in mind. These three practices are the keys to a successful digital transformation initiative.

1.Clear communication

Business leaders must be able to clearly state the desired outcomes of the project in a way that your teams will understand. It’s also important that SMBs collaborate across stakeholders. Whether it’s a team of 5 of 200, it’s imperative that decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. Digital transformation blends processes, technologies and departments so that the entire business improves. Get buy in from all your team members.

2. Strategic prioritization of goals

The team must be aligned with the company’s shared strategic goals for digital transformation to occur. Digital transformation cannot be an “IT initiative.” It must be a company-wide initiative.  Each department or team member will be more willing to take part in projects when they understand how these projects will improve the company as a whole.

3. Rely on those with subject matter expertise

Empower team members to be part of the digital transformation by inviting them to have a say in the projects that align with their roles and their experience. Your IT manager or consultant should play a role in every project but if you are searching for the perfect marketing automation software, empower the marketing team to take lead in the business case.

As small businesses build out their digital transformation journey, they will see it is a blend of quick wins and long-term projects with one important thing helping to charge the path: data. Small businesses should begin to focus on the data they receive from each project. This data will help their businesses to better understand their customers, partners, and employees so they can design better digital initiatives, processes, and products as they become more and more digital.

Digital transformation is proving to be an unavoidable undertaking for every business but fortunately, it’s one that pays off. A Harvard study found that top digital transforming companies posted higher gross margins and more income filtering to the bottom line than slower digital adopters. And for SMBs, a study found that small businesses that invest in technology are 18% more likely to experience revenue growth.

SMBs should not shy away from digital transformation. In fact, they should be ready to embrace it more than anyone. With the right strategy and smart project management, SMBs can quickly move forward into a digital future, while seeing business growth, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.

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Why Your Process Isn’t Working “As Designed”

Share twitterlinkedinmailAlmost everything in an organization is a sequence of tasks. In fact, many people describe a business as the “sum of all its processes.” This is why many IT leaders and consultants focus on process design.

However, many IT organizations find that their processes rarely work “as designed.” No matter how flawless the design or how much time they spent designing the process, many IT leaders find that their processes just aren’t delivering the expected results.

When addressing why your processes are working “as is” instead of “as designed”, there are some red flags that might appear. Avoiding these could save your process.

1. No ownership

Ownership and accountability may be the most important piece of process design. IT leaders need to not only own the process but require their teams to own their roles in the process as well.
Without clear ownership and defined roles, your team will find it easy to blame others or blame the process itself. Lack of ownership creates a blame culture where team members are too busy pointing fingers than actually dealing with the issues that need to be addressed.

2. No documentation

Clearly defined processes may seem like they hinder productivity but they can actually help improve productivity. Documenting a process offers several benefits. It solves the above problem of no ownership and gets everyone on the “same page.” Documenting your process also lays the basis for cost-justifiable and continual improvement.

In addition to have a thoroughly detailed process, it should be easy for anyone in the organization to locate this documented process. It should be stored in an easy to access place and easy to read through so that everyone can learn the process and utilize it.

3. No communication

It is not enough to have defined processes, processes must be communicated consistently inside and outside of IT. IT leaders can easily communicate processes through having clear documentation..

The C-suite and rest of the organization should understand each process but also, why each process is important to the overall effectiveness of the organization. If other departments understand how a process makes their jobs easier, they will be more likely to adopt the process and incorporate it in their workflows.

4. Silo mentality

Proper communication should reduce the silo mentality but it’s essential that leaders work to eliminate silo mentality in the organization. When departments are out of the loop on what each other is working on, the entire company fails.

IT leaders need to work with other leaders to share data and information and encourage teams to work together.

Incentives must be aligned when it comes to processes. For example, why does it pay for the sales team to pay attention and integrate with the IT team’s processes? How does the entire organization improve because of a process? When other departments are clear on the benefits and incentives of their processes, they will be more willing to adapt to that process.

5. Complacency

Processes have a lifespan and cannot be designed to last forever. Your business is constantly evolving and changing, and your process designs must change and evolve as well. If you and your team simply accept a process or worse, begin to ignore it, then the process will no longer deliver the results that it was initially designed to do.

Teams should adopt a continual improvement attitude and regularly ask “Is this process still working?” Teams should identify which parts aren’t working and play a role in improving and adjusting the process so it works “as designed.”

As an added bonus, including teams in continual process improvement, empowers them to create processes that they will want to implement and use.

What can IT organizations do to ensure that processes work “as designed”?

For a process to work as designed, it should be part of the culture. Just like anything else in business, the process should fit the culture.

If your culture is broken, no process will fix it. Your organizational culture must encourage communication and collaboration for any process to work correctly. By working with other leaders to encourage interdepartmental collaboration and empowering teams to take control of their processes, you can begin to improve the culture so that every process works as designed.

If you are truly not sure if your processes are working as designed, then a process audit will show you how to evaluate your processes. This is the first step to addressing your processes “as is” state and identifying gaps in your process or your culture.

Start improving your team’s effectiveness – download our free Process Rescue Kit to start improving your process designs with your team.Share twitterlinkedinmail