Deconstructing ITSM

15 January 2009

What’s most important in ITSM in 2009?

Filed under: BSM,ITSM — Joe Pearson @ 19:13
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When it comes down to it, the same things as ever as important, with even more of a focus on cutting cost and reducing risk. In South Africa we’re lucky that the sub-prime mortgage mistakes were not made by our banks, and the credit crunch has not so far affected consumers and businesses directly. But global companies are facing hard times, global markets are affecting local suppliers – especially suppliers to the car industry, and global aversion to risk affects – rightly or wrongly – “developing” markets.

Here are some things I suggest will be the greatest focus for companies in 2009: (more…)

13 January 2009

Gather requirements and sell achievement? Sell requirements and gather satisfaction!

(Yes, I struggled to come up with a snappy title for this post that wouldn’t sound like marketing speak.)

In October, Paul Glen (re-)published an article at TechRepublic: Project managers: Stop “gathering” IT requirements and Hank Marquis published an article on CIO Update: Why IT Service Level Management Fails (And How to Fix It).

  • In summary, Paul says that, while a failure to agree requirements is the root of many IT project failures, “gathering” requirements is the wrong attitude. As I’ve also found, customers tend not to be very good at articulating their requirements at the outset of a project (not nearly as good as they are at saying “No, that’s not what I wanted” at the end). Secondly, passively receiving requirements puts IT projects squarely within IT’s responsibility. It’s much better to negotiate or even sell requirements – to my mind, this is actually what customers mean when they complain “I thought it was IT’s job to define requirements”.
  • In similarly brutal summary, for which I apologise, Hank says that service level reporting based on well-defined and controlled metrics – like percentage availability and mean time to repair – fail to address what customers want. He advocates dropping all the tightly-controlled (whether actually or theoretically) metrics and focusing on customer satisfaction. He reports on the SERVQUAL method for reporting quality in service industries in general. I haven’t looked into SERVQUAL enough to say whether it specifically is valuable, but I strongly agree with his principle that “quality is what customers tell you it is”.

It struck me that these two recommendations go together. Establishing, defending or analysing requirements (call this stage what you will) happens at the beginning of a service’s lifecycle, and service reporting happens at what we like to think of as the end (apart from service retirement or decommissioning).

(more…)

28 May 2008

Managing what, exactly?

Filed under: BSM,ITSM — Joe Pearson @ 08:27
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I’m talking about ITSM in this blog. But there are some alternative terms and some discussion over what is the best term.

  • BSM (Business Service Management) is the concept used by Foster-Melliar in South Africa, and promoted by BMC, CA, HP and IBM among others. The emphasis on managing for business results, automating and optimising not just handling, and avoiding an internal IT focus is important. But the term does not have wide usage yet – for example, it hasn’t arrived on Wikipedia. And it’s inextricably linked in my UK-born mind with the British School of Motoring. Plus, if I ask the question “managing what?” of this, it’s clearly the science and profession of managing BS.
    • I’ll have more to say about BSM in future posts.
  • Charles Betz mulled over this question in a post last year and came up with the term “BISM” – Business Information Services Management. That’s good: BSM with the Information (data) aspect reemphasised.
  • The IT Service Management Institute uses the term MBIT™ – Managing the Business of IT. Also good, but since they’ve trademarked it I’m not going to use it.

So why am I sticking with the term ITSM? (more…)

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