Part 2: The “C” in ITSM

By Senior Service Management Consultant, Eddy Peters

In the mood for more “C?” In this article, we will take it one step further in our three-dimensional journey in search of “C” words in ITSM.

  • People
  • Process and Product
  • Generics

“C” words relevant to Process and Product” are the target in this article. If you missed the first article, “C” words related to People, you can find it here.

So, how does “C” resonate further within service management?

Common

Common is a word that is often heard when discussing ITSM, but I am very reluctant to use it. For me, it is a two-sided coin called adopt and adapt. Yes, you can adopt good practices; the processes defined are common and have proven their value over and over again. Hence, common fits like a glove in a situation involving a new ITSM practice. However, every organization is different in the way their ITSM practice evolves. Detecting and supporting that unique evolution should be a prime focus in deploying an ITSM practice. Adapt the ITSM practice accordingly so it becomes your best practice.

Tip: As long as the practice is used internally, adapt everything you want to achieve your goals. Pick framework and method components that are fit for your use. There is no silver bullet out there. However, do not change the definition of defined words when external interaction is required. For example, a common understanding of the ITIL vocabulary is one of the cornerstones for a successful alignment.

Control

It is easier to deliver quality if every aspect of service or support delivery is known and managed. That level of control should be in line with your effort to provide the business the quality services they expect. This has a direct influence on maturity. The more control, the higher the maturity level. When business-IT alignment is discussed, maturity should be high on the agenda. Keep in mind: maturity involves effort and time. You cannot buy it.

Tip: Control does not equal a lack of flexibility. Adaptive evolution is a key component in your practice. It is not about being perfect now, it is about being ready to improve and adapt to assure the alignment remains (or the alignment gap is closed).

Connected

Keep in mind that the service you provide to your customer is the result of a chain of activities. Assuring that all of these activities are functioning at the pace of the customer pull will guarantee the expected customer experience.

Tip 1: Take into account operational execution as part of your project realization. In addition, during transition into production, make sure that all involved parties understand the dependencies of the service. And from an operational standpoint, provide feedback to the design teams so they can improve developments accordingly. Think of your service as a closed loop.

Tip 2: If a service is not delivering the expected value, find the weakest link in the loop. Remediating that will assure the biggest improvement. I experienced this firsthand during a presentation of the “theory of constraints...”

Continual Service Improvement

Taking the ITSM journey is not about striving for perfection. The target is to meet each other on a common service management ground where value can be created for the organization. The challenge is that the ground is a permanent moving target. The only way to lock in on the target is by listening, sharing, approaching, and reporting. The practice, which provides guidance, is the fifth of the ITIL lifecycle books, Continual Service Improvement (CSI).

Tip: To fully grasp the potential of CSI and your ITSM practice in general, it is highly recommended to dig into the Axelos Practitioner guidance. It provides an in-depth pragmatic view on how to lock on to that moving target.

Commodity

The area for which commodity is obvious, it is the tooling which supports the ITSM practice, specifically for the processes related to ITIL Service Operation. The richness of the tooling market is such that most solutions will provide the functionality to support your needs.

But do not assume that this commodity status translates into a guaranteed success when implemented. It is not just about installing software. Far more important is how the solution is incorporated into the fabric of the organizational dynamics. Why? Because of your unique culture, because of the people, because of the maturity, and because of the business-IT alignment or the lack thereof.

Tip: Before you go searching for a tool, ask around in your organization. You will be amazed at the feedback you can obtain. Use the tool quest as a means to connect, involve, and align. If no feedback is provided, going for a new tool might not bring the solution for which you hope. Check “Communication” in the first article, Part 1: The ‘C’ in ITSM People, to understand why.

This concludes my journey in the service management land of “C” for Process and Products. Look out for my third and last article describing some final “C” words.

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