Choosing an IT Service Management (ITSM) toolset is one of the most important and, undoubtedly, most involved decisions you will make as a service desk, helpdesk, or IT manager. You might be in the midst of choosing one right now—or you might be a few years off from looking for a new one. Yet, whatever your situation, the importance of choosing an ITSM toolset can’t be underestimated.
The ITSM toolset is the engine of your IT department—it’s how your whole IT department is going to talk to each other, assign work, and find out what is going on. The difference between buying a “good engine” and a “bad engine” could mean the difference between running smoothly and having your operations stalled altogether.
Before tackling the lengthy process of how to pick an ITSM vendor, some common myths about ITSM toolsets. Let’s review:
Moving past this kind of naiveté is essential when you’re considering a new service desk / helpdesk tool. You first have to understand your own business processes. You have to know precisely what your want out of your new tool. “All a toolset will do is allow your IT department to talk to itself and even run the business in a smoother fashion, If you haven’t worked out what you want to say to each other, it’s going to go really wrong, really fast.”
Having understood the efficacy that a good ITSM tool can bring to your organisation with the right human input, what’s next?
After you’ve taken an initial look at market reports. It’s time to build a questionnaire and custom, weighted criteria specific to your organisation’s needs. What exactly do you want from your ITSM tool—which processes and functionalities? These are the sorts of questions you have to begin asking yourself. Start by defining your problem. Get the relevant people together—don’t forget your service desk. Get your entire team involved —anyone who’s going to be using the tool—in the process of choosing the new service desk/helpdesk tool.
Once you’ve identified at least a couple of prospective vendors that you’re in conversation with, it’s essential that you “do not just get sucked into the technical aspect of it.” Here’s a sobering statistic: the failure rate is around 60% for businesses that are engaging in transformational change. That’s why, even as you’re trying to make sense of an array of technical details, you can’t lose sight of the bigger transformations at play when you’re adopting a new ITSM tool, which will undoubtedly affect the way your entire team conducts its work.
One of the most significant milestones in picking your new tool is the demo day—the day you get to audition a vendor’s product. Send a couple of test cases to the vendor a few weeks beforehand.
When trying out a specific ITSM tool, “It needs to be easy-to-use, and allow everybody to make their own ad hoc reports. Any toolset where I say, ‘Could you make a report?’ and they crack open SQL coding language, I start to wince. I want nice, simple, potentially drag-and-drop, make a report on this, go.
Equally important, go on the reference site visit—go out of your way to be nice and reasonable, and make a contact. You’ve now got someone in your neck-of-the-woods who you can start swapping emails with and ask questions to.
Selecting a new service desk/helpdesk tool is an arduous and lengthy process, but the result of going through these steps could very well have a lasting and positive impact on the effectiveness of your business operations.
Once you have eventually and confidently settled on a specific ITSM tool, build yourself some test cases for acceptance. Don’t just have the vendor turn up, install it, and say, ‘It’s done,’ and then leave.”
Even after it’s been successfully installed, staying in contact with the vendor is absolutely key: “All too many organisations that I’ve seen buy a toolset and then keep the vendor at arm’s length. Don’t—they can help you. You’ve already bought from them. You are now a customer.”
In thinking about how to effectively use your new tool, consider the following four areas like the fundamental aspects always in play: process, people, management, and technology. “What I like to say about IT Service Management is that it’s a delicate ecosystem. If you change any one of these four areas, it ripples through all of them.”
Recognising the fragility of IT Service Management should influence, in some way, every aspect of your decision when it comes to selecting a new ITSM tool.
At the end of the day, though, it’s always important to acknowledge that ITSM is really a tool meant to serve your needs. Never forget that the toolset is there to support people. “People are not there to support the toolset.”
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