6 Steps to Ensure IT Service Management Tools Drive Business Value

October 01, 2018

Contributor: Katie Costello

Choose the best IT service management tools to mature your digital organization and drive business value.

Infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders should follow the guidance given by the Tortoise in Aesop’s fable: “Slow and steady wins the race” when it comes to taking the time to assess the organization’s maturity prior to deploying the right IT service management (ITSM) tools. Proper due diligence will avoid becoming trapped in multiyear commitments that drive up costs and don’t address the organization’s needs, but I&O leaders often fail to consider long-term ITSM strategies.

“ Matching the needs of the organization with a tool that satisfies current initiatives and enables growth wins the ITSM race”

“Because shortlists for ITSM tools are often based on a superficial review of industry analysis, I&O leaders often do not understand how products and vendors align with their requirements,” says Chris Matchett, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Matchett identifies six steps necessary for I&O leaders to drive business value and enable improvements through proper ITSM tool selection.

Step No. 1: Determine your I&O maturity level

Start by determining your organization's current level of I&O maturity, as well as the desired state of the organization in 3 – 5 years.

Gartner classifies ITSM tools as basic, intermediate or advanced based on ITSM capabilities and their integration with IT operations management (ITOM) solutions. Organizations at lower levels of I&O maturity should optimize investments by acquiring and implementing basic or intermediate tools. “This is well suited for organizations that are reactive, rather than proactive, in their given IT environment,” says Matchett.

Conversely, organizations at higher levels of maturity can optimize investments with ITSM tools that are part of larger ITOM suites and focus on industry best practices, service-level agreements (SLAs) and responsive IT.

“ I&O leaders typically choose a hosting platform for ITSM tools depending on their security preferences”

Step No. 2: Compare licensing and hosting platforms

Given the exorbitant number of ITSM tools available, it is essential to understand common license terms, hosting platforms and pricing structures when beginning the ITSM procurement process. Calculate the long-term costs before choosing between perpetual, subscription and enterprise license agreements. I&O leaders typically choose a hosting platform for ITSM tools depending on their security preferences — popular options include on-premises, SaaS and outsourced hosting. Of course, pricing will vary depending on the capabilities, such as reporting and discovery.

Step No. 3: Use a critical capabilities approach to evaluate popular ITSM tools

Gartner Critical Capabilities research evaluates popular ITSM tools based on capabilities like incident, request, change and configuration management coupled with total cost, user experience and flexibility. “We recommend that I&O leaders choose a critical capabilities use case based on their I&O maturity and digital workplace needs, from Basic Maturity I&O through Advanced Digital Workplace ITSM,” Matchett says.

Step No. 4: Evaluate vendors’ strategies and stability

I&O leaders must learn how vendor strategies and product roadmaps align with their organization’s specific requirements. “Factors such as global strategy may not be key for organizations operating in a single country, for instance. Taking the time to learn about a vendor’s competitiveness and whether or not it has a stronghold in ITSM strategy will indicate how effective the long-term partnership will be,” Matchett says.

Step No. 5: Redesign your ITSM tool request for proposal (RFP)

Rather than gathering a long list of requirements from multiple IT stakeholders and ITIL process references, use a “Must Have, Should Have, Could Have and Won’t Have Yet” (“MoSCoW”) approach to distinguish crucial requirements for your ITSM tool. By the same token, it is always helpful to share your vision, issues and goals with ITSM vendors. “This approach will help you identify a solution that suits current and future organizational needs, as well as focus on outputs and emphasize value,” Matchett says. “In most scenarios, too, it avoids a boilerplate response from vendors when you submit an RFP.”

Step No. 6: Leverage existing customer references

Ask your potential ITSM vendors for references from others with circumstances similar to your own — country/region, industry, I&O maturity level. Peer experiences can be a crucial source of information.

“ By 2022, 90% of organizations will invest in an ITSM tool without first factoring in their maturity”

Following these steps can help your organization avoid becoming part of the 90% of organizations by 2022 that will invest in an ITSM tool without first factoring in their maturity and, as a result, fail to obtain the intended ROI. Taking it slow and steady — matching the needs of the organization with a tool that satisfies current initiatives and enables growth — wins the ITSM race.

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