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Getting the most out of building your ITSM project – with Services

chuck_darst ‎03-26-2013 11:56 AM - edited ‎09-20-2015 07:34 AM

Disclaimer – I am a products person and have been for most of my professional career. However, I do talk to people on the services side about assessments, education, consulting, implementation, and management of organizational change daily. Because a quick IT Service Management project is measured in weeks and even months, experienced professional services can significantly help a service desk project deliver value—regardless of the duration.


Close to 20 years ago when the original HP OpenView group was first getting into the service desk business, a key tag line was “People, Process and Technology”. And, a popular speaking topic was “A fool with a tool is still a fool”. Rhetorically, has anything changed in the past two decades? And in keeping with quotes, here is one more. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana


Two trends that have shaped the industry


Here are two industry trends that have been playing out over the past three to five years. First, IT service desk maturity has a lot of room for improvement and in many organizations has stalled or arguably gone backwards over the past five years. This is largely due to the cost-reduction pressures brought on by the economic constriction that started in 2008.


Second, SaaS has become a mainstream technology; and this requires a bit more examination. SaaS is arguably a delivery mechanism and shouldn’t have any bearing on maturity and/or services. But, usability expectations changed with the popularization of the SaaS service desk delivery. I would sum this up as “it is so easy, do it yourself” which when played out can significantly reduce the expected contribution of experienced services. After a few years, this has not worked out as well as advertised for many organizations, and expectations are arguably shifting again.


A solid foundation leads to process improvements


While ITSM services can be an enormous topic, I want to make sure you understand the importance of holistically considering services. When I look at ITSM or Service Desk projects that have achieved dramatic returns on investment (ROI) or improvements realized, process improvements are the foundation. Projects built upon strong process improvements can obtain a 300 percent improvement in first-call resolution. And, having huge reduction in the number of emergency changes is typically based on improving the underlying processes and getting the IT service desk organization to follow those processes. This displays how education, experienced process consulting and managing organizational change are all as important—if not more—than the underlying product tools.


Blocks to add


When considering the people part of ITSM, it is important to have a common language and shared understanding of the current situation, goals/objectives, and potential future state. ITIL Foundations training, assessments, and/or transformation workshops can all help establish unity, buy-in, and a shared realization of the current and potential future states.


Taking time to think of product capabilities, graphical codeless tools make configuration and related process activities easier. This can also reduce the skills required to implement and maintain a tool. Built-in ITIL product capabilities also provide a great starting point, and many organizations can stick fairly close to the out-of-the-box capabilities for common processes.


But, there is always some amount of configuration needed, and even the most common processes will typically be tailored. Further, Change Management, Request Management and Problem Management are all commonly extended to fit organizational needs. Experienced process consultants can bring significant value in helping the Service Desk team actually realize the value and expected benefits of their ITSM projects—with a focus on the process improvement part of this. Consultant experience is also of tremendous value when implementing the solution regardless if it is deployed on-premise or delivered via SaaS. This includes architecting, configuring, integrating, and tuning the associated applications, systems, and network infrastructure.


Organizing structural changes


One more thing to consider in my (very) brief tour of getting the most from your ITSM service desk project with services is the management of organizational change. I have publicly spoken on change management a number of times, and I am commonly asked a question on organizational change recommendations—especially when processes are being standardized and service desk user interfaces are changing. Experienced professional services can smooth the management of organizational change.


The bottom line is that experienced professional services can add significant value to all parts of a complete ITSM project spanning people, processes and technology. Last year, we conducted a series of interviews with current SaaS service desk customers, and this (the positive contribution of services) was one of the key findings. Unfortunately, it was missing in many early SaaS implementations that followed the “do-it-yourself” mantra.


Comments are always welcome - especially from real professional services folks in this case! I submit, that HP and our worldwide partners provide the best professional services available in the industry. For more information visit the HP ITSM Services and HP ITSM products  pages.


Chuck Darst


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About the Author


HPE IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager spanning our solutions for the service desk, asset mngt, CMS, and more. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.

on ‎03-26-2013 01:17 PM



You say that you are "a products person" but you clearly understand the need for a balance between people, process and technology.


In my experience the biggest failing in many ITSM projects is a failure to address the ABC (attitudes, behaviour and culture) issues. The importance of management of change is discussed at great length in blogs and books, but seems to be missing from many real ITSM projects. Organizations that just implement a new ITSM tool very rarely get the value their stakeholders expect, but when this is combined with processess improvement, and driven by a management of change project, the increase in business value can be remarkable.


on ‎03-26-2013 02:46 PM



Thanks for the comment. I like the ABC. This one is new to me.


Regarding the tool swap due to value unrealized, this is a repeating theme in my conversations with the industry analysts. They obviously hear this regularly and have some interesting ways of describing it. One of the most memorable is the serial spouse syndrome of marriage, separation, divorce, and repeat on a 3 year cycle.

on ‎03-26-2013 10:00 PM


Chuck - So I know you are well aware that I started my career as strictly a products person.   I can tell you that it was in that role that I gained my appreciation for the contribution of professional services and the channel partners that later sparked my interest in working with channel partners. So I'm talking about 10+ years ago, and well before SaaS took over the scene. Then as a product manager I saw how the right people on the delivery side made my products “sing” at the customer site – not by providing basic install/test services, but by providing business and process level consulting that drove rapid business value from the software investment.  The need and value  of these types of services is independent of the delivery model (SaaS v. Onprem) IMHO. Mary



on ‎03-27-2013 06:57 AM

Thanks for the comment Mary, well said!

on ‎03-28-2013 01:35 AM



It's always good to hear from a products person the importance of services to achieve the expected return on investment of an ITSM project. There are several reasons for that, you've mentioned many of them. A good product delivers higher value and makes it easier to realize ... as far as it is introduced in the organization with the right objectives and follows the right strategy.


In one of the latest projects we've delivered, we've spent much more time aligning objectives, defining the future state, building the roadmap and managing the change, than really implementing the product. Me made a study and we were using 85% out of the box functionality and best practices, but that 15% made a difference. One of the main reasons was the IT Operating Model. For example, if you try to apply a centralized and retained IT model to a decentralized and multi-sourced IT, it does't work. But spending some time to understand the organization, where they are and where is realistic they can be, using for example some Directed Design technics, you can make that 15% custom configuration deliver the full value of the product.




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