4 Ways to End the ITSM Software Love/Hate Cycle

Posted by on March 12, 2018


"I really hate seeing relationships filled with promise in the beginning go bad in the end." I wrote that line in 2012, in a blog post for Gartner about the love/hate cycle between companies and ITSM software solution vendors. The relationships start strong, but ends sour and frustrated. Sadly, that very same problem still exists four years later: It's easy to fall in love during presentations and demos, and place a new software solution firmly on a pedestal. That's the "wow" moment, when anything seems possible—it's easy to imagine workflows easing, problems being solved, and just about everything besides world hunger being fixed by this new, shiny solution. 

After implementation, when some time passes—maybe just a few weeks, or even a year—the shine wears off, and the tarnish sets in. That's when the breakup process begins, accompanied by frustration with the tool and vendor. Here's my take on why breakups are so common: 

The reality of the situation is that there are some organizations and some vendors who just don’t belong together. While they make a cute couple, that doesn’t mean that they are soul mates. The irony is that the breakups are not a result of a lack of features or functions, but because someone’s expectations were not met. Those expectations should be verbalized at the onset, but rarely ever are. 

Tweet this: Are you in a love/hate relationship with your ITSM software? Get out of the rut with these 4 steps

My message now is the same as my message in my original post: Don't let infatuation overtake reality. When you consider a new solution, ask yourself why you want it, and what it will help you do that you can't already do with your existing suite of tools. Here's the thing: Some software solutions may not be as stunning as they first appear, and vendors can be challenging, but if your expectations aren't clear, then the vendor-company relationship is doomed to fail. 

4 Ways to Ensure Your Next Software Solution Is Right for You Long-Term 

You can break free of the love/hate cycle, and get into a better relationship—a long-term, satisfied, and productive one—if you put in the legwork during the dating phase with a vendor. Try these four strategies: 

1. Know what you want. This goes back to the "e" word: Expectations. Before you shop around for a solution, you should have a clear sense of what you want to accomplish with a new solution. What can't your old solution do, that you wish your new one could tackle? And have some self-knowledge, too, as I wrote in my original post: "Know who you are and what you bring to the table, and have an honest discussion about what process maturity gaps exist in your organization." And then make sure to communicate what you can do currently, and what you hope to do in the future, in your conversations with vendors

2. Look for the right features. Having a sense of clarity and purpose for what you want in a solution can help you make a solid match. Don't just fall for surface looks—dive under the hood of a solution, and check if it has the essential features and functionality that'll help your team and your company over the long haul. 

3. Put in the time. Oh, if only relationships were as easy a single date, with a single person. Sadly, it's rarely that simple, so you'll want to invest some time in researching solutions and getting feedback from friends and colleagues. Here's my still-true take on the options out there: 

There are over 100 ITSM solutions available, almost over half of which are offered in a SaaS licensing model. The key to understanding how to leverage SaaS after a break up is to think beyond a licensing and financial model and more around SaaS as a delivery model. SaaS isn’t just the way something is paid for; it’s a means to reduce the cost of innovation. That’s why we are seeing customers extend the value of their ITSM solutions and create business solutions that affect the bottom line. SaaS licensing can be the means to let you date around, but can also be something you end up forging a lasting relationship with.

Tweet this: When considering a new ITSM solution, make sure you are getting what you need from your vendor first

Always make sure to do research, and see which solutions have high retention rates—that signals happy customers. 

4. Think big picture. Don't just focus on a solution that will be helpful this year, with your existing situation. Think about where your company is going and what it might need from a solution in the future. Keep in mind the tool's ease of customization, too: 

New selections should be based on how well the tool matches your requirements with as little customization as possible, and rarely should requirements change to conform to a tool’s inability to do something. Customizations require costs, time, resources and sometimes services, so in vendor evaluations build better requirements and re-evaluate whether or not customization is still required.

If you really want to put on a ring on it, and have your next vendor and tool be your last one, follow these strategies to ensure long-term satisfaction.