7 Steps for ITSM Tool Implementation Success

Posted by on February 17, 2017

7 Steps for ITSM Tool Implementation Success

Jarod GreeneIn the following article, Jarod Greene, VP of Service Management Strategy at Cherwell Software and former Gartner IT service management (ITSM) industry analyst, discusses shares seven essential steps to follow for a smooth implementation of your ITSM tool. Jarod has more than 12 years of ITSM industry experience, and has published numerous white papers, research articles, and blogs, and delivers innovative IT-focused presentations at events around the world. His proficiency in IT service support management processes, organizational structures, and technology is sought after for speaking engagements, customer consultations, and product development.

Shortly after the ink on the licensing agreement is dry, you might for a moment believe your ITSM project is complete. Nothing could be further from the truth—this is just the beginning. For the next three to six months, the real blocking and tackling begins, as you lay the foundation for service management excellence.

The truth is you can’t afford for this project to fail. You and your team have worked tirelessly through the selection process and your business is depending on you.

No pressure though…

It's poor implementation—more than a lack of features and functions—that leads to ITSM tools being replaced frequently. That's why this point in your journey is so critical. It’s important to understand why you started a replacement project in the first place and keep the end goals related to improved customer satisfaction, increased productivity, and the enablement of business outcomes at the forefront of your project.

Tweet this: Seven crucial steps to follow for a smooth ITSM tool implementation that will increase your ROI 

Here are seven steps to follow for a smooth ITSM tool implementation that will pay dividends well into the future!

1. Engage and Listen to Your Users

The individuals with the most influence on the success of your project are the people who will be spending the most time with your ITSM tool. You would be wise to listen to them, and incorporate their feedback into how the tool is rolled out. Develop a thorough understanding  of what users expect to get out of the tool and allow room for adjustment throughout the project to account for these goals. Typically, users will want layouts and capabilities similar to the previous tool. While a like-for-like with your new tool isn’t always possible, you can communicate these expectations to your vendor implementation team, and often find a happy medium.

2. Build a Structure of Services Based on Business Outcomes

Your team doesn’t exist to support trouble tickets. On the other side of those tickets are business people, who cannot use or access the technology that allows them to solve business problems. From that perspective, your team isn’t just triage and break/fix when something isn’t working properly; they are the first line of defense in the battle for productivity. Yes, an issue with a print server that only effects a single user might seem like a low priority, but what if that single user is the CFO and it’s the end of quarter? Context matters, and your ITSM tool and implementation project should help understand a service-based view of the IT environment. 

3. Invest in the Service Desk

Since your primary users are IT service desks analysts who need a full understanding of the services the IT organization supports, an investment in ensuring they have all of the tools necessary to do this at scale is critical. Training on how to use the new tool is a given, but providing techniques and approaches that empower service desk analysts to perform their roles more effectively and efficiently is typically an afterthought. Investments in ITIL training, IT self-service, and knowledge management can reap benefits down the road and should be connected with the ITSM implementation. Specifically, your ability to activate IT self-service can reduce contact volume by as much as 40 percent, and effective knowledge management can help your service desk analysts better handle the remaining volume. The results: higher levels of customer satisfaction and user productivity.

Tweet this: Solving for your ITSM roadblocks with problem management is step 4 of 7 for smooth implementation

4. Solve the Problem with Problem Management

Problem Management is often another afterthought in ITSM implementations, primarily because the people resources are not in place and the processes are not established. Now is an ideal time to begin understanding the fundamentals of Problem Management, which will reduce incident recurrence and improve change success rates. You need not be an expert to get started—a pilot of a problem advisory board and the means to identify workarounds is a solid set of first steps you can build upon. 

5. Report on Useful Stuff

Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters. Your previous ITSM solution has a healthy amount of data around how IT worked before, but rather than waste time trying to extract it to serve as a baseline for improvement, start to report on the things that matter in your new reality. If you have done an ITSM project for the sole purposes of process improvement, these baselines won’t mean much. As you mature, what you measure changes, so rather than just build reports and dashboards because the old system had them, think through what you will need to measure moving forward and focus on those things.

6. Get All of IT Working Together

Again, while your ITSM tool will primarily be for your service desk analyst, you will need everyone responsible for the delivery and support of IT services to buy into the ITSM vision and the ITSM tool. Although this buy-in is required well before your implementation team shows up, early indicators that all teams are not on the same page should be addressed early. Tier 2 and 3 groups might not be heavy users of the system, but they will need to interact with it to support processes and consume information and insights. Make sure they are part of the rollout, particularly the leaders of those teams. Without buy in at all levels, an ITSM tool will not prosper.

7. Change and Sell the Pitch

At our core, we are all salespeople, and when you’re leading an ITSM project, you are trying to sell the notion that ITSM can solve business problems, and that your ITSM tool can automate the processes necessary to deliver quality IT services at a competitive price, that the business finds of value. That’s a loaded way of articulating that everyone (right or wrong) may not be 100 percent aligned with your vision. Your job is to talk about ITSM in terms of the benefits it will provide, and that pitch varies by stakeholder. Your finance department may only care about ITSM if presented as ensuring technical issues don’t prevent accounting from closing books, like that technical issue six quarters ago did. The sales team may only care about ITSM if it means the CRM system stops timing out so frequently. Your ability to sell the value of ITSM is critical, so know your audience and change and sell the pitch accordingly.