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Happy New Year for 2016  !! I wish you success and happiness

Its been a busy year in 2015 ITSMG Logo low res

The ITSM world continues to rock daily between inspiration and opportunity, to introspection and despair – at least in terms of visible hype. The reality for most organisations that actually deliver IT services is often simply confusion.

For me the key is in ensuring that we are constantly working to deliver value, based on our customers’ and supported businesses’ needs. The concept of ‘customer experience’ (CX) isn’t new, but is at long last taking hold and precedence over blind adherence to ‘best practice’ and death-by-process.

DevOps continues to hold sway as the big idea that won’t go away – again there’s nothing particularly new here except the context, as it talks to a younger workforce than those who might still see ITIL as their mantra. Of course there is no real clash between those two worlds and both can learn from and live with each other. In 2016 I’ll be pushing out more practical ideas about how to achieve success using both (and together) – particuarly in relation to Service Design and Service Catalogue – so look out for that.

What is interesting is the actual level of interest in DevOps and other new and formative ‘-oligies’, inclduing SIAM and IT4IT – this will continue to grow and we shoudl see more variety and creativity being exercised in delivering new approaches to IT services…

If you want to catch up on more detailed throuights, please see my recent webinar (reviewing 2015 and looking forward to 2016, sponsord by BMC).

From a personal work perspective this has been a busy year, being involved with a number of complex procurement and ITSM implementation projects, as well as my ususal regular dose of workshops, operational reviews and audits. I have worked with some great people and organisations and am pleased to say that the interest and take-up level around short practical consulting work has been good.

I’ve also been involved as an architect of the new ITIL Practitioner scheme, with Axelos. I’m really pleased and proud of what we achieved as a team on this, whch has brought finally a new set of ideas and practices to the forefront of Service Management training and best practice. These include communications and organisational change management, as well as CSI and metrics.

As ever I continue to work with my long term partners, SDI – as a consultant and auditor, as also recently to review and update the SDI Standards and Service Desk Certification scheme. To me this is still one of the best and most practical tools to use for assessment, benchmarking and to drive service improvement.

In the last few months I’ve taken on the challenge of interim-CEO for the ITSMF UK – this is a great honour, which I’m relishing. There’s plenty to do to develop the service offerings and value proposition for this organisation, as well as freshening the brand image and re-asserting its position as a key independent voice at the centre of our industry. We had a great annual conference and my and the team’s taskBRITSM15 is now to move on with this positive momentum to transform and re-invigorate the organisation. We have some xciting plans for new services and industry content, so watch this space…

Of course my own independent business still continues and I’m delighted to have worked with some very supportive partners over the last year to write and present ITSM content, including, Sunrise, Cherwell, BMC and Sysaid.

 

2016 is looking like a fascinating year already, particuarly with plans for ITSMF – so I’m looking forward to that. I hope that its a really great year for you too..!

Please contact me directly if you’d like to discuss any aspect of the world of ITSM

 

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Fav pic from this years SITS show with Matt Hooper and Malcolm Fry.

Check out these CHECKLISTs for SITS

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If you are going to SITS15 – I hope to see you there… I’ll be on my (ITSMGoodness) stand, as well as presenting and facilitating on ITSM/ITIL/DevOps. Mostly I’ll be talking shop with practitioners and other industry bods about how to improve and achieve success with ITSM.

I’ll also be on hand to discuss the new ITIL practitioner programme, of which I’m delighted to be one of the architects. The (globally dispersed) team working on this will be meeting around SITs for planning and discussion – plenty to do.

As ever I expect this to be a busy bustling and practical event where ‘the industry comes together to do business’ – as the blurb goes. Its a practical and productive event for most, as well as being a great convergence of people across the industry.

Last year I was honoured to be voted ‘SITS contributor of the year’ and I look forward to seeing who is taking that mantle this time. SITS14

I’ve recently been very busy working on a number of client projects – particularly looking at tool selection and implementation – so if you are looking for practical guidance on any aspect of ITSM approach, tools, processes, etc, please come for a chat to my stand.

 

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We’ll also be dishing out ITSM Goodness cakes (yes) and some fetching caps..

Guidance and Checklists

I am often asked either before or during SITs to provide advice and guidance on selecting ITSM tools as well as running ITSM projects – as a support for that I’ve created a couple of checklists that you can download here to help to guide your thinking and planning. These are not detailed or definitive, but give you a simple aide memoir for:

ITSM Project Implementation – Service Improvement Service Improvement Checklist

ITSM Tool – Specification and Selection ITSM Tool Checklist

Please download these and use them as you need – they might just help you to focus your thoughts on what you are looking for at the show. Please of course feel free to come to discuss any aspect of this at my stand.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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The real value of IT? Better get moving…!

Value value value value, business value, business outcomes, moments of truth, key metrics, IT value, commercial and operational value, business value, value….value.  In case you hadn’t noticed…?!

When we in the IT industry aren’t ranting about the death of IT, ITIL, ITSM, Email, Service Desk and all that, we are still banging on and on constantly about value – and the need to deliver and demonstrate it. I’m a major offender here, having started using the V word and the ‘demonstrating value’ line really since the mid 90s. (I recently found a whole pile of stuff in my loft from 1997 which I could practically use today…)

I have a friend and colleague who has been ribbing me about my use of those terms for some time now – I point him now to the explosion of content on this subject like someone who has followed a band through their wilderness days and now they’ve gone global and I don’t wan’t to know them… :-)

However to me it’s quite a simple concept – IT value is what is derived by customers and the business via the technology. So this will vary by organisation from the need to meet compliance or legal requirements, to getting products quickly to market, or to delivering commerical efficiency and profit.

In order to be able to achieve this and measure it in some way, we need to be able to separate out the commodity aspects of technology, from the business-specific aspects. (The commodity services should be delivered in the most cost effective way, whilst the value added services may need more focus on speed, business knowledge, risk reduction etc.)

[important]This is why in a service catalog we try to define (1) ‘Standard’ or ‘core’ IT Commodity Services – like PCs, mobile, comms, email etc  and (2) ‘Business’ Services which either support internal users with their key functions or external customers with organisational-specific technology and services.[/important]

Value isn’t just about the financial aspects but this should be identified wherever possible. However the real nature of IT value is what it is that makes (particularly an internally retained) IT organisation special and speciifc to its customers, in terms of what it delivers and how it delivers it. So an internal or external IT organisation should be able to focus and demonstrate the value that they deliver to their business/organisation via their business and service knowledge and understanding.

In other words – it’s what retained IT organisations should have been doing for years – i.e. working for the companies or organisations that pay their salaries – not just ‘working in IT’… and measuring their delivery in business terms.

If they can’t do that – ie differentiate themselves and demonstrate this – then they are not adding value and therefore open to serious competition – and the risk of extinction.

So it really is: identify value – or become irrelevant quickly. And if you don’t know what that value is… [Tweet This]

[warning]Better get moving[/warning]

 

 

 

 

 

What is your defintion of IT value? – how do you define this for your organisation and customers?

 

 

www.itsmgoodness.com

 

 

 

 

Lets make 2013 a year of ITSMGoodness…

So, another year and  the ITSM industry is alive with debate and discussion, opportunity, challenge and as ever some uncertainty. I’m not one for making resolutions or big predictions (both usually fail in mid January..!), but I do have some basic aspirations for the year ahead…

These can be summarized in 2 words: Practical Unity

  • Practical – as I feel we are still not providing enough real guidance and useful messages to practitioners on how to make ITSM successful – and meet the new challenges
  • Unity – so that we as an industry can forget some of the negative debate and move on to actually engage with the challenges and deliver real value from technology.

So what I would like to see is the industry coming togegher more, as well as providing more useable and practical advice and ‘stuff’ for our practitioners to use. We need to forget about whether or not we agree that our methodologies are perfect/imperfect and get on with simply using our experience and creativity to step up and deliver value from IT Services. Of course we need to ensure that what we use in terms of content and approach is usable – as a lot of the existing stuff is.

There are  a whole lot of great people practitioners, consultants, trainers and vendors out there with fantastic experience who know how to make ITSM work, and they should be celebrated and supported along with those who are coming up with great new ideas – both are required and required tow work in unison – not in polarised opposition.

So lets have a year where we really get together as an industry to support our industry !!!

 

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My own contribution to this will be a development of the ITSMGoodness stuff that I’ve been putting out over the last few months – This is now a series of 7 simple steps to practical ITSM success and includes e.g. checklists, templates and practical guidance, all of which I’ll be espousing over the coming months, including presentations at PINK13, SITS13 and SDI13 amongst other shows and events..

The 7 ITSMGoodness steps are:

  1. Engage and Listen to Customers
  2. Build Services based on business outcomes
  3. Invest in the Service Desk
  4. Get Problem Management working
  5. Report on useful stuff
  6. Get the whole IT organisation involved
  7. Change the pitch – sell the value

So lets all have a year of ITSMGoodness – together…!

What’s your plan for ITSM Goodness + Practical Unity?

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.

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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…

Tips for ITSM Goodness

I presented a big list of little tips at the recent OVUM conference on ITSM in London:

Here’s the slides  OVUM presentation 20 tips

 

Plus Some additional short tips

  1. If you are going to do an ITSM project, clarify what it will deliver for your organisation
  2. Somehow the myth that ITIL  is a panacea still prevails – dispel it
  3. No matter what anyone says, you can’t just buy ‘ITIL’ / ITSM off the shelf + do it in a few weeks
  4. You can achieve a lot of small targeted incremental service improvements in 30 days
  5. Getting a system running quickly isn’t a new cure-all, ITSM goodness takes time
  6. If you need funds for ITSM then define what this will deliver in simple business terms (1 slide?)
  7. Don’t be too ambitious for your ITSM project in terms of cost savings – it’s hard to quantify
  8. You can define benefits in terms of service quality + risk reduction, as well as cost benefit
  9. The way you set up your ITSM project is as important as how you deliver it – objectives, outcomes, project – people, skills, realistic planning
  10. If you don’t have a clear definition of what you do in IT, how can you know if you’re doing a good job?
  11. ITIL training will help staff to learn ITSM + use the same language, but won’t change the organisation
  12. There’s a whole group of people who just need an ITSM overview session rather than a 3 day foundation course
  13. The tech guys just need to be told what to do + what’s in it for them, don’t ask them to define strategy + processes
  14. For your Service Catalogue think (internal) IT services like email + support, + (external) business services that do what the organisation does
  15. SLM, SLAs + Service Catalogue – all must be done with customers – otherwise it’s old IT arrogance
  16. Let’s move our IT organisation from providing systems to delivering Services
  17. IT is + should be part of the business not a separate (necessary evil) function
  18. Let’s not think of running IT ‘as’ a business but ‘like’ a business – + part of it
  19. It’s the (project) process that counts with SLM – i.e. talking/listening to your customers
  20. ‘We did SLAs before + no-one was interested’ – no wonder if they were IT-only driven
  21. If your SLA document is more than a couple of pages then it’s an SLD – service level disagreement
  22. Don’t write SLAs as if you are writing a legal document – keep it simple + avoid IT jargon
  23. Don’t bother trying to do CMDB unless you are really sure why + for what result
  24. If you must do CMDB then don’t give the project to a tech person
  25. CMDB – be clear on your criteria for defining + storing CIs
  26. Too many well-meaning CMDB projects have failed by trying to do too much – ‘boiling the ocean’
  27. Actually, the whole concept of a single CMDB/CMS is flawed + in reality doesn’t exist
  28. Metrics in isolation are dangerously misleading – its an eco-system which needs balance
  29. We need services/SLAs to give our metrics + KPIs relevance, otherwise we get what suits us in IT
  30. KPIs without balance + business context simply drive compliant behaviour – maybe at cost to the business
  31. Don’t think that anyone cares about blanket 99.9% ‘availability’ – 100% when it matters is what matters
  32. If you are going to talk about 1st/2nd/3rd levels of support, you need to define what these mean
  33. Generally it’s faster, cheaper + better for the customer if incidents are fixed at the first contact
  34. Change + release management really are ‘no-brainers’, although doing them with common sense is still rare.
  35. Problem management is more about ownership than just process – give the right person the job
  36. The Problem Manager is part analyst, part investigator, but mostly project manager completer-finisher
  37. In IT we like to build models, tools + processes rather than just managing people + issues
  38. ITIL is documented common sense, which is stilll a rare commodity. It also needs good management to make it successful
  39. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner’

 

 

SLM Maturity Assessment Tool

This is a quick and easy tool that I designed for Hornbill. It’s got 15 questions in total and takes just a few minutes to complete. The results will provide you with a SLM maturity score between 0 – 5 enabling you to:

  • Identify and understand the SLM maturity level your IT department is currently operating at
  • Discover where to focus your IT effort to realize the benefits of SLM
  • Download some of my recommended practical resources based on your SLM maturity score

Click on the image to be taken to the tool on the Hornbill website.

I hope you find it fun and easy to use – leave a comment and let me know what you think.