ITIL has standardised the way we see service management, providing us with a framework within which to operate, and a common terminology so that we are able to speak the same language across seniority, departments, industries and geographies. A plethora of ITSM tools (ServiceNow, BMC Remedy, HP Service Manager and so on) are readily available to help drive service management processes. Those who specialise in service management can be hired to operate and enforce processes and correct utilisation of tools.
So we put that in place, sit back and reap the rewards? Sounds great, except we know that the reality of many workplaces is that sometimes, it just doesn’t work.
Just like badly deployed technology, service management processes that have been poorly designed and deployed will hinder the performance and quality of services delivered. The ITIL framework is exactly that, a framework, but importantly it provides the boundaries within which the processes operate. ITSM tools are built by a standardised process, and must therefore be tailored to the specific requirements of your organisation. Without this bespoke approach, the tools deployed and those hired to operate and implement them, will at best be largely ineffectual, and at worst amplify any issues occurring.
Here’s a couple of examples I’ve seen recently
- Change management process providing a false assurance of control and risk mitigation on the basis all changes are to be reviewed at CAB. However, without the right levels of review criteria and approval gateways throughout the process, the review cannot provide sufficient protection to the production environment.
- Metrics being used to measure quality and performance aren’t always the most reliable indicators of service and will report ‘green’ metrics which can often be misleading. These metrics fail to account for user perception, for example a user who experiences the same issue every day, even though each repeated each is resolved within the SLA, is still likely to feel frustrated and unhappy with the level of service they are receiving.
- Where problem management processes are not adequately integrated, organisations are unable to prioritise where limited resources are focused for maximum impact. Often IT teams will determine this priority based on inadequate process outcomes, and are surprised when the business remains dissatisfied with the resolutions.
Just like the technology behind them, service management processes must be regularly ‘fed and watered’ if they are to continue enabling the delivery of quality services, true value and innovation. Therefore, it is worth assessing your service management processes and capabilities with the same scrutiny you would apply to infrastructure components that are inoperative or beyond their use by date – are they allowing me to meet the business requirements. And if the answer is no, don’t live with it, change it.
Managed Services Practice Lead