ITSM in 2014 – Getting ‘Hands On’



It’s another new year and of course there are many reviews and predictions for our IT and ITSM industries. See these recent ServiceDesk360 and Cherwell blogs of mine…

For me the most positive thing to emerge over the last year or so is the absolute and comprehensive confirmation around the 2 key goals of Service Management :

Successful business outcomes


Positive customer experience

We’ve moved on from process and other internal components of Service – important as they are – to celebrate and confirm successful business outcomes and positive customer experience as the over-reaching aims of our work. Of course these have always been the ultimate aspiration and have been delivered in many successful projects over the years, but there is now an ineluctable consensus and concerted voice that is shouting this out.

This time last year I blogged about the need for ‘practical unity’ in our industry and this is the most tangible evidence of it that I can think of…

As an industry we are of course waiting with some anticipation to see what happens next with the development of ITIL via AXELOS. There’s also a refreshing increase in activity around tooling and new product procurement as well as increased focus on new operating models such as Service Integration and Management (SIAM).

For me however on a personal and very pleasing note, the real activity and demand in the industry has continued to move towards more practical and ‘hands-on’ ideas, advice and knowledge. My own ITSM Goodness output has been well received and used (it has more than doubled activity on my website); there are many organisations using some or all of the content, and the content has been developed and used by vendors and industry people alike. I’ve also delivered workshops and webcasts to a number of people e.g. at SMFusion in the US as well as in the UK and delivered the ‘Goodness’ message via a number of conference presentations and workshops.

I’m going to continue to develop this over the next year, so look out for more activity in this area and opportunities to engage with the ITSM Goodness approach and simple message. The first initiative is an ITSM Goodness series of webcasts on my BrightTALK channel starting Wednesday 15th at 1:00 pm GMT. Over the course of the series I will be delivering the equivalent of a full day-long ITSM Goodness workshop, via 8 individual monthly webcasts, covering the 7 Steps, plus practical feedback from practitioners.

[important]As part of this series, I will be encouraging practitioners to participate as they work through the 7 Steps and send me updates on their progress. I will in turn share this real practical progress in the webcasts.  If you would like to participate, please contact me. The first webcast focuses on the 1st Step – Engage and Listen to Customers. [/important]

Finally I will be embarking on a new project with the ITSM Review to re-ignite the now defunct ITSM podcast and other media over the next few months – I’m excited about that and will provide more information in due course, so look out for more info.

Of course, I will continue to do mostly what I’ve been doing for years (celebrating 20 years of consulting this year…!) – that is real, practical ‘hands-on’ consulting and projects with client organisations. This has formed the basis of things like ITSM Goodness and the input I’ve brought to ITSM media in recent years – and for me it’s essential for currency and credibility that I continue to do that. I’m just embarking on a few really exciting new projects so watch this space for more lessons learned, feedback and practical ideas…

Have a great year.


Service Catalog is Simple…or Should Be

I presented a webinar on Service Catalog and SLM for BrightTALK webinar – available here. The slides on their own are available here.

This presentation was aimed to try and present some simple advice on how to use and develop SLM (keeping it simple) for business benefit. This is based on a wealth of experience, particularly with recent projects, setting up and guiding organisations to achieve success and value from SLM. Key points are summarised below – what do you think? Your feedback is most welcome.

Key Points Re Service Catalog

  • (SC) is not one single document or tool
  • SC has a number of stakeholders and outputs, so can be manifest in many forms
  • The value is achieved from engaging with IT customers and IT departments – to work towards demonstrably common goals
  • Customers should be engaged to discuss service improvement, not SLAs or Service Catalogs
  • This (SLM) is a process and approach rather than a single document or tool – which is what tends to be focussed on
  • ‘Service Catalog’ is lots of things and definitely not just ONE thing or ONE type of document or system
  • There are a number of quite different types of content that can be called a ‘Service Catalog’, or part of one
  • This is because organisations and individuals have different needs, different focus and also different starting and entry points

What Does a good SC look like?

This will vary, but in essence there are several main types of content, with 2 initial key documents:

  • Service structure
  • Service database

These first 2 documents provide the basis for a variety of documents, depending on requirements and maturity.

What other documents?

What can we achieve in 10 – 20 – 30 days?

  • Run a workshop
  • Hold meetings with Customers
  • Engage with IT
  • Define the Service structure
  • Build the Service Database
  • Produce a service ‘brochure’
  • Define the service (process) supply chain
  • Clearly define service owners
  • Get customer feedback
  • Build business metrics model
  • Reduce cost of service request handling
  • Use simple Customer feedback and NPV

Service Catalog – real life secrets of success

 Last week I visited a client for a follow –up review. I’ve helped them to develop and implement SLM and a service catalog over the last 8 months or so.


It was a very positive discussion as they had moved from having nothing in this area to having a pretty sophisticated Catalog in place for all their services and with all their internal department customers. The customers liked the new simple ‘traffic light’ reporting format, based on their needs, the CIO was happy as he was now getting valuable service and cost based information to discuss at C-Level, plus the IT support and technical teams also liked it as they were now developing some really useful supporting documentation in one place.  On my way in I met the Development Manager who said that this had been a very positive initiative and given him and his team some valuable content and ideas…

I could go on… (it’s OK I won’t..!). However it was great to see the benefits and results of the project – particularly since this really was an advisory piece of work on my part, so the effort, input and creativity had come from the organisation and individuals themselves. They had built their catalog based on their business and their customer’s requirements.

So, job done – we are now talking about a case study and how this project’s success can be communicated out. For now I thought it would be a useful learning point to reflect on and share the key things that made it a success:

  • From day one this project was driven as a requirement by the CIO – he wanted to do this and had clear reasons for doing so – i.e.  to develop meaningful  service-based reporting, to build the service Catalog so that he could then look at how to sensibly present the business value of what IT does. However he had clear requirements from this and these were passed down to his staff to action as a key objective. This does make such a difference…
  • The IT team took a little time to really embrace (1) the mechanics of SLM and (2) the potential value. The mechanics were fairly easy to explain and work through in a 1 day workshop. It took a good few weeks and months longer for each team member to see what the value was for them. The Project Manager (also the Service Desk Manager) was initially unsure and said he understood the concept but couldn’t see the value. His epiphany came when we drew up a ‘traffic light’ report on 1 page for all services – he could then see how the information that he was compiling would go towards building this and also making it credible. He also did most of the customer meetings and said he’s learned a whole lot of new things about how the business works.
  • We defined the overall structure of services in the initial workshop. We then spent a good amount of time defining what each service was and how this would be reported on. So each service ‘metrics’ would be comprised of a number of different components, each weighted appropriately for the service. We took a view on the relative importance for each service of availability, incident/request turnaround, customer feedback and the key measure (moment of truth) by which that service would be viewed by the customer.
  • This was all started and ended with customer discussions so that they could review and verify what had been agreed. Most of the customer changes were tweaks, with a few larger alterations, but in general it was a good reflection and the customers are now happy to get a simple compound picture of their service.
  • Once the structure and services were defined and documented, the technical teams were then asked to define their configurations that supported the services. In fact this proved to be one of the most useful and to me positive parts of this project, as there are now a number of really well put together maps and simple documents that explain how each service is comprised, with relationships etc. It’s a great DR tool, but it’s also a great source of helpful information for problem determination and root cause analysis – all in one place…
  • It’s not a huge organisation (global investment managers), so that definitely helped in terms of gaining access to the right people and being able to make decisions.
  • Finally as I mentioned the organisation did this themselves – they used external services in a guiding and mentoring role, with some initial ‘kick start’ activity. As a result the level of ownership and commitment to this working has been excellent. I do see the value of consulting as helping people and organisations to make positive change happen, rather than forcing it from the outside. Certainly in this case the desire came from the right place in the organisation and this really made it a success. I’m delighted for all those who have contributed however.

So, I hope there are a few pointers that you can use if you are considering an SLM or Service Catalog project yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this. I think it must be done from within the organisation, using a good amount of customer liaison and feedback – all with a clear sense of purpose and end objectives. Do you agree?

You can also download a Service Catalog Route Map – people tell me they have found it really useful.

I’m looking forward to going back and reviewing how the reporting and financial modelling has made a difference…