In my many years in ITSM, I have often found myself linked to ITSM tool selection (or “ticketing systems” as we used to call them). I’ve been on the project team and tasked with implementing (and administering) 10 different ITSM tools. I have seen several demos of at least a dozen more. Each tool has its own advantages and disadvantages, quirks, and “mindset”. A benefit of a new ITSM tool is having solid foundational process definitions and avoiding these common selection mistakes:
- Don’t buy a platform with heavy focus on automation without well defined basic processes (Optimize then Automate) [link to Guiding Principles page]
- Avoid buying a platform that has features your IT Organization won’t be ready to implement in the next few years (if ever).
- Be wary of platforms that require heavy configuration and/or customization to achieve initial goals.
“Set it and forget it” or “No administration needed”
Be wary of platform sales demos that promise a product “so easy you can set it and forget it” or “no administration needed” after the initial set up. If a platform doesn’t need ongoing administration, chances are, there are limitations. These limitations in its capabilities will prevent its ability to grow with you.
This doesn’t mean you need to find a product that requires a team of administrators. It is important to recognize that some continual resource effort will be needed as you use – and especially grow the use of – the ITSM tool.
Letting the ITSM tool define your processes
I have had clients tell me they “have” Change Management. Then I find out that they state this only because it’s a menu item in their ITSM tool; however, they don’t have the process defined or understood. They tell me that when they’re ready for Change Management, they’ll just use what the tool has. While this may be a good starting point, failure to define and understand the process to provide value is a mistake. Also, without realizing it, you’ll be locking yourself into that platform forever. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to find another platform that handles each process the same way.
Making your new ITSM tool behave exactly like the old one
In general, people resist change, so they want things to be familiar even if they’re new. Don’t fall into the trap of making your new ITSM tool behave like the old one. By mirroring the behavior of your previous tool, you are likely missing the benefits of how the new tool works. Also, it may be the behavior from the previous tool was a workaround and the new tool supports the process.
So, what are some ways to ensure your tool selection – and subsequent implementation – is a success?
- Work with a tool-agnostic consulting firm not tied to a particular vendor but has experience with multiple tools. They will help match the right one with your IT Organizations’ maturity and needs.
- If you have identified a tool, seek others who have used the tool and would be willing to provide:
- a demo of their implementation
- their feedback on implementation, the vendor, the product, ongoing support, etc.
- resource recommendations they used during and after their implementation
- Join the tool’s user group(s). Read through their message boards to understand the issues current customers experience and the responsiveness of the vendor.
- Request a sandbox instance of the tool to have a hands-on test and not just a sales-led demo.