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The ITSM Process Journey – Moving beyond level 2

chuck_darst ‎11-07-2013 08:14 PM - edited ‎09-25-2015 08:27 PM

A couple words of introduction, before we dive into today’s post.  First, there have been a number of maturity ITSM models over the years. Ad hoc or no processes are the typical starting points for an ITSM model and can be labeled as “level one” or even “level zero”. Reactive service management comes after this, but can be based on having a process. Something business-aligned and/or service-centric will be on the other end of the maturity spectrum.


Is reactive IT service management bad? Or is it just OK?


Here are a few more thoughts—it is interesting that neither Gartner’s nor Forrester’s IT operations maturity models actually have a level labeled “reactive”. Gartner’s ITOM five-level model moves from:


  • Awareness (1) 
  • Committed
  • Proactive
  • Service-Aligned
  • Business Partnership (5)

Gartner clients have self-assessed themselves at an average level of 2.3. Forrester has conducted ITSM process maturity surveys using the following: Non-Existent (0) moving to Ad-Hoc, Repeatable, Defined, Measured, and ends with Optimized. These offer different perspectives, but arguably some common themes.


Often “reactive” is akin to fire fighting. What is appropriate for an individual IT service desk organization can clearly vary from organization to organization. In a couple hundred person company (even very tech-centric) with a small IT staff that everyone knows, the level of ITSM or ITIL maturity may not be very material. Some basic ticketing system might suffice to handle requests and incidents. In a larger organization with less reliance on IT and smaller percentage of IT-centric employees, the level of service management maturity might also be less important.


On the other hand, any regulated or heavily audited entity in the public or private sector needs to evaluate its maturity more closely. Any organization that depends significantly on IT to transact business also needs to more closely consider its maturity. If an IT-based service disruption became a public event and/or materially impacted the business, then being more proactive and service-centric should definitely be entertained. If an IT organization has difficulty responding to rolling out new services, it should also examine its maturity especially around service catalogs and request fulfillment.


Undertaking an ITSM process improvement project doesn’t have to be a multi-year re-engineering program. You can take it one process at a time.


Change management is a good example. Most IT organizations have a Change Advisory Board (CAB) process. This would infer a defined and repeatable process has been established. Yet, self-inflicted outages due to change collisions are still common. Consolidating change management and having a CAB across organizational silos can improve this. Adding discovery and dependency mapping information enables a better understanding of the relationships between infrastructure, application and service components. This enables automated and proactive change impact analysis to minimize self-inflicted outages. It also makes change management more service aware.


Classic (incident) ticketing is another good candidate for process improvement area that doesn’t have to be too complicated. Integrating event and performance monitoring with correlation and incident management is a common approach to becoming more proactive. Taking small steps in formalizing problem management can potentially eliminate the need for future event/incident remediation.  This is a perfect example of being proactive instead of simply firefighting through a crisis. IT Service Management can also be more proactive by adding a more collaborative and social approach to managing knowledge. To learn more about leveraging social insight in knowledge management, I recommend listening to the “Sneak Peek of the next release of HP Service Anywhere” Vivit webinar Tuesday, November, 12 at 8:00 - 9:30 AM PST. You can register for the event (or catch the replay) here.


You can always find more information on our HP ITSM software solutions at and for HP Service Anywhere via I also recommend reading a blog I wrote a few weeks ago on maturity and transforming IT service management. It is also interesting that you’ll find recent HP ITSM blogs on the topic of First Call Resolution (FCR). This goes right down the middle of the reactive-proactive service management.








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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 ‎12-03-2013 12:52 PM

Coming back to the maturity topic, another one of my favorites ...


I submit that when Gartner IT Service Desk clients self assess, the topic or process area that pushes them past a 2 is most commonly, the service catalog. It is amazing how fast this has changed from considering and evaulating to potential sprawl - largely brought about by forces outside of IT itself (and delivered by the cloud).


With all that in mind, HP has just announced HP Propel. I recommend checking it out at



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