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Can’t you tell People or ITSM apart? Good!

Effective ITSM requires the right attitude, behaviour and culture to live up to its promise and expectations. 

by Dr Don Page, Strategic Director of Service Management at Marval Software


The world keeps evolving and so do the business needs of modern organisations:

  • There is undoubtedly a greater business reliance on information technology than ever before, with a demand for increased value, accountability, governance and compliance.
  • Managing the IT and service infrastructure continues to be more complex. There is a constant pressure to reduce costs, improve quality and do more with the “same or less”. In a nutshell, to do things “Easier, Faster, Better and Cheaper”.
  • Organisations, stakeholders and customers require confidence that their investment in information technology and its service provider is being leveraged to the full.

Many of us, who have been in the market for some time, have seen a plethora of software tools hitting the market, promising the earth with a quick ROI. These often end up costing much more than originally thought. Of course, by the time we realise this, we are often in too deep to back out without losing face, business confidence, and –obviously- a great deal of money.

We have seen many technologies that have failed to deliver the outcomes and value we expected. For example, technologies such as “self-healing” and “knowledge packs”, both of which are fundamentally great technologies but very much dependent on people (a key ingredient to work), maintain and keep up-to-date. Then we had WAP, which for a short period of time featured as a “MUST” in every service desk and service management product tender I received. More recently, we had “social collaboration”, which in theory is great; but in all honesty, I do not see many CxOs jumping on to social collaboration software to solve a critical business problem.


Before you start huffing and puffing, not everyone who faces a problem wants to interact on a social collaboration software; and from a business perspective they may well be some of our most experienced and expensive employees whose time may be better spent on the job they are paid to do and not trying to be an IT support specialist. This argument applies to the debate about “Shadow IT”, which has been around since the release of the PC.

These are some great examples of putting the cart before the horse. Rather than people, process and technology, we tend to adopt an approach of technology, process and people.

Some excellent approaches, that have been around for a while, yet have still failed to deliver real value, include ITAM (IT Asset Management) and Software Asset Management (SAM). Both have the obvious potential of saving the business large sums of money, through improved management of hardware and software licence and maintenance agreements and improved contract negotiation. Once again it’s the people element that has failed to step up to the plate. My advice on these areas is not to use an IT specialist, but a traditional storeman, backed up by a good contract manager and armed with the right information, whose core skills and culture are more aligned to achieving success in these roles.

When buying ITSM technology, regardless of any tool selection, effective ITSM requires the right attitude, behaviour and culture embedded in your teams. It is these combined elements which will determine the success or failure of any ITSM initiatives. And yes it’s all delivered by your most expensive asset; you’re PEOPLE.

The right attitude, behaviour and culture ensures staff buy-in, commitment, continual improvement and business added value, so any organisation should look to address these points before doing anything else.

Don’t rush into making snap decisions; your team will have to live with any decision for a long time. Without first understanding the business challenges faced by people, process, partners and technology (which is supported by a cultural shift, improved attitude and an effective workforce), any service improvement initiative is at risk of falling short of expectations. We know from experience that it’s “people” who will determine success or failure. And I cannot stress this enough.

Final note: Please remember and don’t lose sight of it’s your people, who are your killer application.


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