ServiceDeskShow http://www.servicedeskshow.com Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:11:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Solving the IT consultancy challenge http://www.servicedeskshow.com/feature/solving-the-it-consultancy-challenge/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/feature/solving-the-it-consultancy-challenge/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 19:26:28 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13500 Bad press and high fees make IT consultancy appear a high risk/high reward investment for well-off businesses.  Claire Agutter of Scopism examines the consultancy dilemma – and a possible solution.  What is a consultant?  Check the dictionary, and you’ll find this definition “a person who provides expert advice professionally.” Ask about in the industry, and you […]

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Bad press and high fees make IT consultancy appear a high risk/high reward investment for well-off businesses.  Claire Agutter of Scopism examines the consultancy dilemma – and a possible solution. 

What is a consultant?  Check the dictionary, and you’ll find this definition “a person who provides expert advice professionally.”

Ask about in the industry, and you might get a less polite answer.  There’s a saying, “a consultant is someone who takes your watch and uses it to tell you the time”.

As with any good story, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Here are a few of the problems with the existing consultancy market:

  • Customers know they want consultants but aren’t sure what for; leading to an unhappy outcome (unless their consultant is psychic)
  • Consultancy firms use inexperienced staff but charge expensive day rates
  • Consultancy firms set their staff targets to earn money and drag out engagements, rather than focus on customer outcomes

But the biggest single problem with the existing consultancy market is the way it’s structured compared to how the workplace has evolved. 

Look busy
Here’s a story from my days in IT consultancy.  I’m onsite with a large financial organisation.  They’re paying a lot of money per day for me, and I want to do a great job.  But the person I’m meeting has had an emergency to deal with and isn’t onsite today.  The other person I’m working with was meant to complete some tasks, but hasn’t, so I can’t work with them either.  I can’t sit around drinking coffee because I’m expensive, so I invent work to do.  It’s not an ideal outcome for me or the customer.

The modern IT department is run by multi-skilled professionals doing lots of different tasks as part of their day-to-day role.  They are not working on one task for eight hours a day.  Having someone onsite for two weeks isn’t going to help deliver the change the customer needs, and the consultant’s utilisation will probably be quite low.

Enter the eConsultant
What if you could have a virtual consultant to support you instead?  What if they were with you for a few hours a week over several months, helping you to set goals and provide objective advice?  What if you want to work with one of the best DevOps consultants in the world, but they’re in New Zealand and you’re in England?

eConsultancy offers a consulting approach for the digital world. It’s not about onsite engagements or expensive day rates; instead, it’s about gaining access to the best people when you need them.  eConsultants can tailor packages, including mentoring, advice, emergency interventions, all built around a timetable that you agree with them. 

Changing outcomes
Many IT organisations are struggling with cultural change.  Perhaps they want to be more agile, or they’re interested in DevOps, or their customers want more or better service.

Sending staff on training or restructuring teams will only deliver so much benefit.  Sending staff on training or having a restructure and adding some tailored support will deliver far greater results.  An eConsultant can be there to answer questions, suggest solutions and act as a fresh pair of eyes.

What’s the future?
I’m not predicting the end of face-to-face consultancy.  There will always be a place for expert advice, and customers just need to take care they have clearly defined their expectations.

eConsultancy adds a new channel to an existing market, and offers people a different option to get the help they need.

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SIAM gains professional certification programme http://www.servicedeskshow.com/industry-news/siam-gains-professional-certification/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/industry-news/siam-gains-professional-certification/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:55:24 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13496 A triumvirate of training and development experts have launched a professional certification programme for Service Integration and Management (SIAM). The joint effort between Scopism, the eConsultancy specialist, British Computer Society (BCS), and management certification provider EXIN is aimed at professionalising and validating SIAM.  It was launched on day two of ITSM16 – the annual itSMF UK […]

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A triumvirate of training and development experts have launched a professional certification programme for Service Integration and Management (SIAM).

The joint effort between Scopism, the eConsultancy specialist, British Computer Society (BCS), and management certification provider EXIN is aimed at professionalising and validating SIAM.  It was launched on day two of ITSM16 – the annual itSMF UK Conference.

Recognising the importance of the external IT ecosystem, SIAM provides “governance, integration and coordination to ensure the customer organisation gets maximum value from its service providers”.  The Foundation training will be available in March 2017, with a Professional level to follow later that year. 

Scopism’s Claire Agutter explains the reaction when the programme was announced. “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and both customer and service provider organisations welcomed the launch.

“The training and associated body of knowledge will support the success of SIAM initiatives and help staff working in organisations using SIAM to develop their skills. Companies including Atos, TCS, Sopra Steria, Syniad IT, ISG and ITSM Value are contributing to the development of this professional certification programme, as well as a number of independent practitioners,” concludes Claire.

Register for SIAM certification and training updates here.

Why ITSM16 taught ITSM professionals to be humble to deliver business value.

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ITSM16: IT must be humble to deliver business value http://www.servicedeskshow.com/blog-spot/humble-business-value/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/blog-spot/humble-business-value/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:34:23 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13492 James West attended the vibrant and thought-provoking ITSM16 and learnt a valuable lesson about IT’s elevated position and what must change for it to deliver business value. One limitation of an ITSM event is the visitor only experiences it in segments.  There are myriad conversations and sessions running concurrently which would be of interest yet the […]

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James West attended the vibrant and thought-provoking ITSM16 and learnt a valuable lesson about IT’s elevated position and what must change for it to deliver business value.

One limitation of an ITSM event is the visitor only experiences it in segments.  There are myriad conversations and sessions running concurrently which would be of interest yet the attendee only sees the event through a very limited prism.

While I may have had a limited view of the itSMF’s 25th Annual Conference, what I did see offered some valuable lessons regarding the practical and long-term challenges faced by the industry.

The event started with Barclay Rae talking about the importance of people, referencing the importance of DevOps and Business Relationship Management to ensure ITSM delivers business value.  This was extremely refreshing to hear.  itSMF has long championed processes, chiefly ITIL.  Now it is openly recognising the importance of not just people, but the value of relationships. “Our profession keeps the world ticking, we should be proud and recognise our achievements.”

The people-first theme
To underline this sentiment, ITSM saw the launch of the Professional Service Management Framework (PSMF), a competency and recognition programme designed to create ‘professional identity for the service management industry’. Initially aimed at itSMF members, Barclay said the intention was to roll PSMF out as a standalone product – a development which could very well have deep implications for the future direction of the itSMF.  Regardless, it bodes well for the future of the members and the industry to have such a well-regarded organisation thinking in such progressive, people-orientated terms.

People remained the over-arching theme throughout my time at ITSM16.  The keynote speaker on day one was the extraordinary Dr Sue Black, government IT advisor and all-around IT superstar.  Sue explained how she rose from humble origins to help save Bletchley Park (with some help from her ally Stephen Fry) and become one of the most respected and influential figures in the development of IT as a profession and a force for good.

Of all the incredible stories Sue shared about her life and achievement, one stood out.  As part of #techmums, Sue’s initiative to teach Mum’s technology skills which would help them both as parents and in their future careers, Sue gave a simple example.  One of the early adaptors of TechMums told Sue how it had already transformed her business – and her entire life.

Email woes
The lesson she benefited from was the ability to attach images to emails.  This meant that rather than driving products to customers across London, she was able to show them the product via email.  This led to a ten-fold sales increase, virtually overnight.

On first hearing this, my reaction was shock.  Shouldn’t every business owner in 2016 have grasped the basics of email?  But as I thought this through, I realised this was an arrogant view based on my own elitist view of technology.

Why would anyone instinctively know how to attach email files? For the technically minded, it seems a simple leap of logic, but that isn’t a given.  For someone with no former training in using a PC, having such a knowledge gap is very understandable.

Knowledge is power
Those of us working in technology are privileged and fortunate.  We ‘get’ technology.  But a maths genius can immediately picture the answer to an equation that will take skilled mathematicians hours to fathom. A brilliant mechanic will intrinsically understand how an engine component works without having even set eyes on, while others may need to attend a training course. 

My point is that knowledge is relative. Although Sue’s example is extreme, we’re all operating at different levels.  Everyone has different capabilities and understanding of technology and ITSM professionals must never assume knowledge. Until ITSM professionals are humble enough to realise this fact, they will NEVER be capable of helping the business deliver value and strategic outcomes.  And ITSM professionals that are unable to help demonstrate value will quickly find themselves seeking a new career.

The arrogance and assumption of ITSM professionals are traits holding back the development of technology within the business.  You’ll hear lots about people and relationships in 2017.  You’ll also hear lots of ideas about how to improve relationships and get the most from people.  But there is no need for such complexity.

ITSM professionals have a duty to help the business harness technology.  Understanding the limits of knowledge, and being humble about the position we inhabit, is the perfect way to start meaningful conversations which will help ITSM deliver business value.

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How to secure your service desk http://www.servicedeskshow.com/interview/secure-your-service-desk/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/interview/secure-your-service-desk/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:17:22 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13483 Scott Walker’s time as a service desk support engineer has given him first-hand experience dealing with IT support challenges.  Now working for Bomgar, Scott explains his perspective on how the service desk can stay secure without slowing the team.  Every support team around the world, large or small, has the tricky job of providing nothing […]

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Scott Walker’s time as a service desk support engineer has given him first-hand experience dealing with IT support challenges.  Now working for Bomgar, Scott explains his perspective on how the service desk can stay secure without slowing the team. 

Every support team around the world, large or small, has the tricky job of providing nothing but best-in-class IT support for each and every end user. As a former support engineer, I can sympathise with the demands of the high-pressure service desk environment more than most.

To every individual end user, their request was the most urgent. Each request almost always involved a different application, which I was supposed to know inside out, and the end user always expected the problem to be fixed on the first call.

In order for service desks to be able to quickly resolve this wide array of issues, support technicians often need admin-level access across all of the computers in the domain. If I were to ask an information security team to give a large number of employees a full administration account for all of the organisations’ workstations, I would hope the default response would be a firm “No”. In reality, organisations regularly provide all service desk technicians with an account that gives them workstation admin privileges, so they can quickly access, control, and hopefully fix simple issues that come through to the service desk.

Dicing with danger
Poor security practices surrounding these administrator, or “privileged” accounts, has led to these admin passwords being written on sticky notes and placed conveniently on screens, under keyboards – you name it. More commonly, because admin accounts are often shared, the credentials are added to an Excel spreadsheet and passed around, more often than not without even a simple document password. With these improvised “solutions”, organisations no longer have control over their privileged accounts, and so lack visibility of who is using them and for what purpose. This makes it very easy for nefarious individuals to compromise privileged credentials—particularly from the service desk—and conduct malicious activity.

One of the most prolific examples of a breach through unauthorised access of a system is the hack of US government data from Department of Justice (DoJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) staff at the beginning of 2016. Hacked data was posted anonymously on an encrypted website and included phone numbers and email addresses from a DHS staff directory. The unnamed hacker has described how they compromised a DHS employee’s account and then used the information to socially engineer access to the organisations computer system.

Convenience vs security
The question is, how can an organisation offer privileged account access without slowing down or inhibiting the support teams who use them?

Scott Walker, Bomgar

Scott Walker, Bomgar

Businesses can manage the access employees have and reduce exposure to risk, for example by removing individual administration accounts while still providing support teams with the access they need.

Privileged credentials can also be securely stored in “password safes” which rotate the passwords each time they are used by a technician on the service desk. This means that during a session the technician can inject credentials directly where necessary, never exposing them in plain text.

By giving access through these secure solutions, technicians are still able to handle sessions quickly and efficiently, whilst keeping the security team happy by reducing businesses attack surface. They are also then able to secure all credentials and view an end to end audit of who used what credential, when and why.

Most importantly, technicians will have control of privileged accounts while continuing to deliver best-in-class service to all of those end-users.

Scott Walker is solutions engineer, EMEA for remote desktop software specialist Bomgar.

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University focuses on IT customer experience http://www.servicedeskshow.com/download/university-it-customer-experience/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/download/university-it-customer-experience/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:18:39 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13478 University of East Anglia faces a challenge familiar to most ITSM professionals: offering a flexible and responsive IT customer experience while maintaining the integrity of the IT estate.   “At our size, it’s all about maintaining a balance between providing the best possible end-user experience and allowing IT to retain a reasonable degree of central […]

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University of East Anglia faces a challenge familiar to most ITSM professionals: offering a flexible and responsive IT customer experience while maintaining the integrity of the IT estate.  

“At our size, it’s all about maintaining a balance between providing the best possible end-user experience and allowing IT to retain a reasonable degree of central control,” says Jon Woodley, head of systems at University of East Anglia.

In this full case study, Jon explains the technology, process and overall strategy that has helped the University achieve this difficult balancing act.

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What will define the ITSM industry in 2017? http://www.servicedeskshow.com/feature/next-itsm-industry/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/feature/next-itsm-industry/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:27:07 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13472 In his final article referencing research carried out at SITS16, Mike Beale, managing director of TeamUltra considers the trends defining the future of the ITSM industry. There are two key trends currently in the ITSM industry: digitalisation and customer experience, with the latter driving a third – enterprise service management. The Role of ITSM in digital […]

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In his final article referencing research carried out at SITS16, Mike Beale, managing director of TeamUltra considers the trends defining the future of the ITSM industry.

There are two key trends currently in the ITSM industry: digitalisation and customer experience, with the latter driving a third – enterprise service management.

The Role of ITSM in digital transformation
Digitalisation is defined by Gartner as “the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities”

The associated corporate transformation to become a “digital business” is probably one of the hottest business trends of 2016 and beyond. Importantly, it’s so much bigger than the corporate IT department, despite the name evoking thoughts of technology, with digital transformation usually driven down from the CEO.

What digital transformation really means will probably differ according to different viewpoints and different organisational goals, according to McKinsey: “for some executives, it’s about technology. For others, digital is a new way of engaging with customers. And for others still, it represents an entirely new way of doing business. None of these definitions is necessarily incorrect.”

When SITS attendees were asked whether their organisations have digital transformation strategies, nearly half said they do; with the remaining half split between saying no and don’t know.

Does your company have a digital transformation strategy?
Yes: 46.3%
No: 25.4%
Don’t know: 28.2%

More importantly for ITSM professionals, however, is that 80.3% of survey respondents think that ITSM is important to digital transformation within their business: 

How important is ITSM to digital transformation in your business?
Highly important 44.6%
Somewhat important 35.7%
Neutral 15.4%
Not very important 1.5%
Not at all relevant 2.8%

The remaining 19.7% of respondents might have a blinkered view of what digital transformation is.  But, no matter which view is taken, surely the ability to design, procure or build, deliver, manage, and support IT services is necessary across any technology-enabled digital transformation scenario?

Customer experience has a bigger role to play
While many ITSM professionals will deny the relevancy of customer experience to corporate IT departments – due to end users not being customers (as they don’t directly pay for the services they consume) and/or internal IT departments not necessarily experiencing the same competitive pressures as the consumer world – it’s still rapidly becoming more relevant due to consumerisation.

Importantly, customer experience is not just relevant to IT support and customer service. Instead it’s something that spans the entire customer journey, encapsulating every customer touchpoint and how they are treated. So customer experience impacts the whole IT department.

While “improve customer service” was the top “very important” business objective for the next 12 months at 66.9% with “improve end user experience” second at 60.1%, it will need more than an organisation’s collected ITSM professionals to deliver a better customer experience to end users and customers.

Mike Beale, TeamUltra

Mike Beale, TeamUltra

Finally, employees’ consumer-life experiences and expectations are not just pressuring the corporate IT department to deliver a better customer experience. The pressure is also being felt by other corporate service providers such as HR, facilities, and legal. Consumerisation and customer experience are driving the need for ITSM principles, practices, and technology to be used by other lines of business to increase efficiency, to improve service quality, to reduce costs, and to deliver a better customer experience to employees.

Enterprise Service Management will become vital to other business functions
The use of ITSM principles, practices, and technology outside of IT is nothing new – savvy ITSM tool vendors have been selling their wares to HR departments in particular for more than ten years. What is new, however, is that a number of factors have combined to accelerate the adoption of enterprise service management across companies of all sizes. These include:

  1. Consumerisation. Employees expect convenience, fast service, and the ability to find whatever they need whenever they need it from suppliers in their personal lives, and they now unsurprisingly expect this at work.
  2. Demand from other corporate service providers. ITSM, in the guise of enterprise service management, is seen by other lines of business as a way to increase operational efficiency and to improve service. For many organisations this started with the success of the IT self-service portal which is then replicated for HR, facilities, etc.
  3. ITSM technology is now more applicable to non-IT use cases. Newer capabilities such as self-service, service catalogues, knowledge bases, and mobile apps offer a more consumer-like approach to service delivery and support. Plus, ITSM solutions are also now far more flexible to change and inherently designed for multi-departmental use.
  4. The increased marketing of enterprise service management. With the selling process now based on value rather than tool features and functions, the more a customer can use an ITSM tool (to enable business-wide service delivery and support), the more value can be realised from it.

The TeamUltra SITS survey backs this growth in enterprise service management adoption, with only 14.9% of respondents not using ITSM practices to support service delivery and support for use case scenarios and in other lines of business:

Has your organisation applied ITSM principles and practices to any other lines of business?
(Line of business)
IT operation management 55.7%
Customer service 29.4%

Human resources 25.6%
Facilities management 19.6%
Software development 19.3%
Project and portfolio management 15.2%
Only in IT – not gone to other lines of business 14.9%
Financial service management 11.7%
Employee relations and payroll 8.5%
Other 1.6%

There is more to come with 17.7% of respondents stating that their organisations plan to extend ITSM to other lines of business (HR, facilities, etc.) in the next 12 months.

With the growing important of customer service management, I would expect that the proportion of respondents citing customer service will increase markedly in future years.  Finally, we work in a dynamic industry, and the technology that supports it is changing fast. What was deemed acceptable a few years ago is no longer competitive today.  As a result, many aspects of the ITSM industry and IT operations need to change.

Read Mike’s article explaining the importance of customer experience to ITSM.

Download a full copy of TeamUltra’s White Paper:  The State of UK IT Service Management in 2016”. TeamUltra is a leading UK ServiceNow partner. 

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Will BRM lead the IT service management conversation in 2017? http://www.servicedeskshow.com/blog-spot/brm-conversation/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/blog-spot/brm-conversation/#respond Tue, 08 Nov 2016 17:54:26 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13442 Business Relationship Management (BRM) isn’t a new idea, but it is cropping up in conversations more frequently than ever.  Simon Kent of Sollertis explains why BRM is likely to be the talk of the ITSM town next year. The groundswell of interest in Business Relationship Management (BRM) grows at every ITSM event I attend.  Take the […]

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Business Relationship Management (BRM) isn’t a new idea, but it is cropping up in conversations more frequently than ever.  Simon Kent of Sollertis explains why BRM is likely to be the talk of the ITSM town next year.

The groundswell of interest in Business Relationship Management (BRM) grows at every ITSM event I attend.  Take the recent (excellent) IT in the Park in which the first trend identified by Paul Wilkinson during the opening panel was BRM.   This set the tone, with Barclay Rae quoted several times talking about the importance of people and relationships to solve ITSM challenges:

Frameworks are important but the biggest buzz word is people” and “the best way of getting things done is person to person contact, it doesn’t matter what we call it.” (For more quotes and analysis from IT in the Park, look at Vawns Murphy’s review here.)

These words hold huge significance for BRM and IT service management, for several reasons:

  1. Barclay is a hugely respected consultant and ITSM industry commentator and so his words carry weight.
  2. Barclay is currently helming the itSMF – an organisation known for its close allegiance to the ITIL framework and championing the importance of processes.  Therefore, for him to speak so strongly in favour of people – traditionally an area that itSMF has been less vocal about – indicates a significant shift in thinking.
  3. Acknowledging the importance of people and the power of relationships, and understanding they can’t be improved by building yet more processes, is crucial to the success of BRM.

Another hugely significant session saw Tim Ingham of the University of Lincoln promoting the importance of BRM, but going further than rhetoric by explaining how the University had managed to embed BRM thinking throughout the organisation.

The view that BRM is crucial to fixing the problems with business technology is becoming more prevalent. The conversations I’m having reflect the growing realisation that people and relationships have been inexplicably overlooked within ITSM, and that until these areas are addressed, progress will not be made. For this reason, I fully expect that BRM will feature regularly at the upcoming itSMF Conference and the SITS17 seminar programme and conversations ‘on the floor’ will continue to elevate the importance of this topic.

Why is the time right for BRM?
BRM isn’t new.  It was first mentioned about 10 years ago, as part of the ITIL framework in Service Strategy.  The book was widely derided at the time of release for being too radical, but now increasingly looks like a critical addition to the library because it addresses the weaknesses of ITIL: namely the lack of guidance relating to people and relationships.  (For a more precise description of Business Relationship Management and its importance within ITSM, read my intro to BRM guide here.)

However, it is my belief that BRM as defined in Service Strategy can help the IT/business relationship take maturity to level 3 (defined as Service Provider), but will take them no further.  It is the strategic BRM principals that will lead the maturity through to level 5 (Strategic Partner) – the holy grail of IT service management.  This distinction is critical – it’s not enough to simply facilitate conversations and track dialogue between stakeholders.  To become ‘strategic partner’, the principles of BRM must run much deeper and become an integral part of how the business operates.

Combining these principals in a practical (tool-based) way offers an opportunity to let the service desk and service management see for themselves what the elusive business value and business convergence (what we used to refer to as alignment) really means.

How does BRM benefit IT service delivery?
The primary benefits of strategic BRM/ITSM convergence is:

1. Increased Business IQ.  This is the ability to embed core business process and business outcome data inside IT processes to drive the correct business-led behaviours and priorities. Ivor Macfarlane expands on this point in his blog about IT in the Park and the University of Lincoln story.

2. Service Delivery Business Value.  Service delivery has traditionally been poor at marketing its value. Business Relationship Managers have by definition great knowledge of the IT service provider domain.  This means they are well positioned to promote service provider success stories to business partners in the language of business outcomes and business value.

3. Essential to CSI. Business Relationship Managers are the bridge from business partner to CSI leaders, ensuring that CSI initiatives drive business value and can be prioritised according to the business value they deliver.  Yet again underlining how talk of BRM is permeating so many ITSM conversations, take a look at Vawn’s review of Ian MacDonald’s presentation at IT in the Park on CSI.

I’ll be explaining this in more detail on SITS Insight over the coming months, and you can learn more by looking at the excellent guidance and resources offered by the BRM Institute.

Simon Kent is chief innovation officer at Sollertis.

 

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IT training shifting to people and agility http://www.servicedeskshow.com/industry-news/training-shifts-towards-people-agility/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/industry-news/training-shifts-towards-people-agility/#respond Tue, 08 Nov 2016 11:54:02 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13437 Learning ITIL is still the main priority within IT training, but relationships and DevOps are growing in popularity.  Claire Agutter of the ITSM Zone says that while the majority of ITSM professionals still want help with core ITIL knowledge, the more progressive disciplines are the fastest growing areas of training. “ITIL-related courses are still our most […]

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Learning ITIL is still the main priority within IT training, but relationships and DevOps are growing in popularity.  Claire Agutter of the ITSM Zone says that while the majority of ITSM professionals still want help with core ITIL knowledge, the more progressive disciplines are the fastest growing areas of training.

“ITIL-related courses are still our most popular IT training product, but the areas that we are seeing most growth are DevOps and Agile, and Business Relationship Management (BRM).  There is a growing realisation that the relationship between the IT and the rest of the business is really broken, and people want to know how to fix it.  It’s not just IT people that are taking these courses either, non-IT people are keen to understand how to improve the relationship.”

Claire says this determination to improve IT relationships stems from the realisation that IT is of huge importance to all businesses.  “Just recently we’ve seen retailers such as Asda unable to take credit card payments and Tesco Bank being hacked. Not only do these problems create major headaches, they generate masses of negative publicity.  You can’t separate IT and kick it like a dog when something goes wrong.  Business technology is so important now and the way to improve is through improved understanding, education and IT training.”

IT professionals must understand that BRM training will not deliver a fresh set of processes to improve the communications crisis within businesses.  “BRM training is about helping understand the strategic importance of relationships.  It teaches techniques and tools for having better conversations, and feedback from delegates tells us it gives them a shot in the arm, a way to reimagine their role within the business.”

In addition to personal training, Claire says that IT leaders could also benefit from using consultants to deploy progressive ITSM techniques, but find them an inaccessible resource.  For this reason, Claire has launched a new business, Scopism which offers a platform to engage consultants globally and hire them for short-term engagements.  “The consultant that might help you solve your BRM or Agile challenges may be in New Zealand, or they may be closer to home but charge an expensive day rate.  Scopism offers IT professionals the chance to use the consultancy resource, but in a more flexible way.  For example, you might have a project which means you could benefit from a consultant for three hours per month – this new platform facilitates that.”

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Why self-service fails – and how to heal it http://www.servicedeskshow.com/industry-news/self-service-fails-fix/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/industry-news/self-service-fails-fix/#respond Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:30:13 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13425 Automated self-service takes a massive burden from services desks, as well as providing a 24/7 support facility for customers.   So why isn’t everyone doing it? Eric Wright, managing director of Richmond Systems, explains why automated self-service is failing customers, and how to fix it. Self-service isn’t new.  Automated tools built around FAQs have existed […]

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Automated self-service takes a massive burden from services desks, as well as providing a 24/7 support facility for customers.   So why isn’t everyone doing it?


Eric Wright, managing director of Richmond Systems, explains why automated self-service is failing customers, and how to fix it.

Self-service isn’t new.  Automated tools built around FAQs have existed for many years, with service desks well accustomed to experimenting with rudimentary search tools to make knowledge accessible.

But despite the majority of service desks solutions offering self-help as an add-on or module, many IT support operations have failed to reap the benefits.  Too many self-service portals are left unpublicised and unused, keeping the pressure on service desks to deliver IT support manually – at great expense.

Why, given the relative maturity of self-service, and the prolificacy of tools which purport to deliver it, is this happening? I’ve read lots of theories about the failings of self-help, but in my opinion, there’s a simple reason: they aren’t good enough.

I only have to look at my own intolerance of self-help facilities when shopping online to know this.  In an age when information is instantly accessible, the race isn’t won by the source that provides the knowledge, it’s won by the one providing the knowledge fastest.  If I can’t quickly find the answer I need, I will go elsewhere.  For self-service, the expression “the path of least resistance” is a good watchword.

The service desk challenge
For service desks, the situation is even worse.  Do the people in the organisation even know how to find the self-service facility? And once they do find it, how easy is it for them to navigate and find what they need?

If you’re not sure of the answer to these questions, go and sit with some users.  Ask them how they access knowledge (if they can find it!), and ask them to find something rudimentary on the knowledge base.  Next, you need to ask your service desk staff how easy it is for them to add and edit knowledge.  Self-help is only effective if the knowledge is current and regularly updated. The results of this experiment will tell you all you need to know about your self-service facility and how much improvement is needed.

Self-service fails because the interface and structure of knowledge are unfriendly. Self-service also fails because it’s too difficult to maintain the knowledge base.  If your service desk doesn’t offer a self-service facility that is easy to use and edit, it might be time to shop around.

Richmond has just released v11 of its service desk solution, with an overhauled customer service portal, learn more here.   

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Who leads the ITSM software market? http://www.servicedeskshow.com/event-press/blog/itsm-systems-state-of-the-market-2016/ http://www.servicedeskshow.com/event-press/blog/itsm-systems-state-of-the-market-2016/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:10:36 +0000 http://www.servicedeskshow.com/?p=13290 Mike Beale, managing director of TeamUltra continues to analyse the research his organisation carried out at SITS16, this time pointing the spotlight at the rapidly changing ITSM software market. The landscape for ITSM software has changed significantly over the last decade. SaaS solutions have taken the market by storm but there is still a place for […]

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Mike Beale, managing director of TeamUltra continues to analyse the research his organisation carried out at SITS16, this time pointing the spotlight at the rapidly changing ITSM software market.

The landscape for ITSM software has changed significantly over the last decade. SaaS solutions have taken the market by storm but there is still a place for conventional on-premise systems.  However, the growth in cloud-based deployments has served to drive up a number of customer expectations.

Today, customers want short, dynamic project implementations, they demand regular upgrades that have minimal impact on the business and a more convenient migration path should a customer want to move to another solution that better suits their requirements.  Increasingly, customers are refusing to accept being locked into one system where historically the sheer difficulty and effort in switching to another system has outweighed the perceived benefits.

Churn rate remains high for ITSM software
For years IT industry analysts have quoted high churn rates for ITSM tools – with customers changing tools on average every three to five years. In some ways, the growing adoption of SaaS ITSM tools should have helped with this, particularly because of their more modern user interfaces and the increased frequency and ease of upgrades associated with SaaS.

However, the TeamUltra survey (see Diagram 1 below) shows otherwise – with nearly 40% of respondents looking to change ITSM tool in the next 12 months.

Diagram 1: What initiatives are you looking at in the next 12 months?

  • Introduce a new service management system: 38.3%
  • IT security and vulnerability: 36.7%
  • Service desk alignment to ITIL: 32.9%
  • Governance, risk, and compliance: 30.3%
  • Upgrade ITSM systems: 26.3%
  • Extend ITSM to non-core IT lines of business (HR, facilities etc.): 17.7%
  • SIAM (service integration and management): 13.9%
  • Outsource IT functions: 10.1%

It is important to note that not all SaaS ITSM systems are born equal and the SaaS delivery model in itself is not enough to ensure customers are happy with their chosen ITSM software.

Secondly, the ability to quickly implement a new SaaS tool removes one of the main barriers to churn – the time and cost of change.  Removing the lock-in mentioned above that is typically associated with some inflexible monolithic ITSM systems will continue to drive churn rates.

It’s also interesting to see that a third of respondents still aim to align their service desks to ITIL best practices.  This is a testament to ITIL’s ongoing relevance to service desk operations.

Finally, the 13.9% of respondents who are looking at service integration and management (SIAM) in the next 12 months are an indication of the growing complexity of IT provision and management. It is no longer the preserve of the very largest organisations as more and more organisations look to leverage the benefits of automation and workflows to manage end to end service management processes.

The UK ITSM market share
SaaS has altered the ITSM tool marketplace forever. The TeamUltra SITS survey shows just how much.  Looking at Diagram 2, ServiceNow leads the market share table with one in five survey respondents stating that their company uses ServiceNow.

Looking at the top five places, the inclusion of Atlassian and Zendesk is testament to how two even newer SaaS ITSM tool providers can quickly gain market share (albeit when measured by customer numbers rather than seats).

With both companies no doubt leveraging their existing customer bases, in the application issue tracking and external help desk spaces respectively, to win ITSM business.

Diagram 2: What ITSM or service desk solutions are you currently using?

  • ServiceNow: 20.8%
  • Atlassian: 16.2%
  • Hornbill: 10.9%
  • BMC: 7.6%
  • Zendesk: 7.6%
  • HP: 6.6%
  • House on the Hill 2.3%
  • HEAT: 1.6%
  • Other/none: 46.9%

Analysis of the “other” option showed that, based on the SITS survey, a number of other ITSM tool vendors have a reasonable UK market share but not enough to displace any of the top six ITSM tool vendors listed above.

Mike Beale, TeamUltra

Mike Beale, TeamUltra

Which still leaves 30% of survey respondents using other ITSM vendor, or home grown, tools for service desks and ITSM. In fact, if listed, “home-grown” or “no tool” would be seventh in the above table at 5.3%.

The market for ITSM systems is likely to be growing and sufficiently large to sustain both existing vendors and newer market entrants.  However, with many organisations preferring to work with established vendors, I would expect to the top six vendors to retain the lion’s share of the market.  Whether anyone can challenge ServiceNow’s supremacy will be interesting to follow.

Download a full copy of “The State of UK IT Service Management in 2016” from TeamUltra white paper.

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