itSMF UK Conference 2015 Preview

Roll up, roll up! It’s one of the biggest events in the UK ITSM calendar next week as it’s the annual itSMF UK conference! We are proud to be media partners so here is a preview of coming attractions!

 

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There are 4 tracks for the conference:

Track 1: Change & Collaboration

Track 2: Cloud & Service Integration

Track 3: People & Skills

Track 4: Service Culture & Customer Experience

 

Introducing this year’s keynote speaker: Simon Wheatcroft

The event will be opened by Simon Wheatcroft, who will start this year’s programme with his inspirational story. Simon lost his sight at 17 and began a journey of adapting technology to achieve the impossible. Through the aid of a smartphone and the feeling underfoot Simon learnt to run solo outdoors and ran his first ever race 7 months later – a 100 mile road race.

Simon Wheatcroft
Simon Wheatcroft


Event Summary

WHATitSMF UK Conference and Exhibition 2015 (ITSM15)

WHERESofitel, Heathrow

WHENMonday 23rd – Tuesday 24th November 2015

HOW TO BOOK: Click Here

ITSM Review Confirmed as Official Media Partner for PINK16

The ITSM Review are excited to be confirmed as official media partners for PINK16 – Pink Elephant’s 20th annual international IT Service Management conference and exhibition in Las Vegas from 14th – 17th February 2016.

Pink Elephant trademark

PINK16

Now in it’s 20th year, Pink Elephant’s Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition being held in Las Vegas from 14th – 17th February 2016 offers delegates a packed itinerary.

This year’s conference focus is IT @ The Speed Of Change and the event includes 12 tracks and 160+ sessions, covering a vast array of subjects from all across the IT Service Management (ITSM) spectrum: ITSM, ITIL®, ISO, Lean IT, Six Sigma, PRINCE2®, PMBOK®, COBIT®.

Bellagio, Las Vegas
Bellagio, Las Vegas

 

With a vast array of speakers, including a keynote from Emmy & Tony Award Winning Actor Martin Short, delegates will enjoy a comprehensive and entertaining few days.

WHAT: PINK16

WHEN: 14th – 17th February 2016

WHERE: Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

WHO: C-Level, including CIOs/CTOs/CSOs, IT Directors, VPs, IT Service and Support Managers, Service Desk Managers, IT Infrastructure Managers, Process Owners, Senior Support Analysts, Quality Managers, Service Level Manager, Project/Program Directors and Managers, IT Auditors, IT Consultants, IT Suppliers/Vendors, Anyone seeking to understand why and how to implement best practices according to ITSM, ITIL , ISO, Lean IT, Six Sigma, PRINCE2, PMBOK, COBIT, anyone who is interested in building and managing a truly business focused IT organization

HOW TO BOOK: Click here

 

The ITSM Review is looking forward to attending and covering this event. See you there!

 

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Coming Soon: Incident Management Group Test

Next on the chopping block for our independent reviews: The workhorse of ITSM; Incident Management
Next on the chopping block for our independent reviews: The workhorse of ITSM; Incident Management

Our next Group Test will explore the core deliverable of Service Management:

Incident Management.

Our Group Tests review and compare the features and strengths of technology for a particular use case.

The aim of the review is to support prospective buyers with their selection process by providing features to consider when selecting service desk tooling and highlighting key competitive differentiators between products.

Previous Group Tests:

The ITSM Workhorse – INCIDENT MANAGEMENT

Review Topic areas:

  • Incident logging, categorization & automation options
  • System access options (web, fat client, mobile, etc)
  • Incident tracking and lifecycle
  • Prioritizing and escalating incidents
  • Major incidents
  • Applying industry models and frameworks
  • Incident closure
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Interaction/workflow with Problem Management
  • Logging non-IT related incidents, incident management beyond the service desk

The research will highlight competitive differentiators; feature key strengths and showcase innovation within each product. Once reviewed, we will crown one Vendor “Best in Class” and the “leader” in Incident Management.

For more information on the assessment please contact us.

Subscribe to the ITSM Review newsletter or follow us on Twitter to receive a notification when the research is published.

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Quick Guide to Knowledge Management

This quick guide has been contributed by Mike Simpson of CIH Solutions.

The guide discusses how Knowledge Management (KM) can be used to manage risk and control costs in an IT Service Management environment. The guide identifies four ‘hot spots’ based on the author’s experience and outlines common problems and suggests solutions using KM.

Introduction

Author: Mike Simpson, CIH Solutions
Author: Mike Simpson, CIH Solutions

As with most terms found in IT the term Knowledge Management means different things to different people. There is much available on the subject of KM and the term is often interchangeable with other terms such as intellectual capital, information management, data management and document management. In reality, KM embraces all of these.

So, what is my definition of KM in relation to an ITSM organisation?

First, this is not about scale. A KM system can operate just as effectively in a small organisation as a large enterprise. The principles remain the same – identifying, collating, storing and retrieving knowledge for use by all personnel in their day-to-day tasks. Also, this is not just about documents and data. When the experience of personnel is added into the mix we get Knowledge and this needs to be captured and stored for future use.

Second, from my experience the key feature of a KM system within an ITSM organisation is the understanding that different information has different values depending on circumstances. For me assigning value to information is vital and has priority over the capture of all available material.

At this point I should add that I do not differentiate between an MSP serving external clients and an internal IT service provider. The same KM principles apply. Also, the KM system described in this guide should be considered a ‘practical solution’ that can be implemented with limited resources and budget and extended over time.

I want to begin by briefly describing two KM systems that I have encountered in the course of my consultancy work.

Example One

I’ve seen only one truly outstanding example of an enterprise wide KM system and that was at a European pharmaceutical company. What struck me about this KM system was the sheer scale of the repository containing research papers, trials results and project documents covering decades of research amounting to many millions of pages and database entries. The success of this KM system was of course the strength of the underlying thesaurus that enabled scientists to discover (or perhaps re-discover) knowledge to support the design of a new R&D programme.

Example Two

My second example is at the other end of the scale. This is a local KM system that supports an IT organisation that provides hosting support for external SAP clients. This KM system also impressed me but for a different reason. Without any real top down sponsorship or funding the technical teams had created their own KM system based on a single central repository, but where all the content was created, published and maintained under very strict guidelines by a few key members of staff, but accessed by many. The rationale for using this approach was to bring discipline to the management of documents and data that were considered vital to the successful running of their IT organisation.

KM Model for ITSM

The rationale for the second example above sounds somewhat obvious, but the background problem as explained to me was one of long term ill-discipline in the day-to-day management of key information. Individuals, both staff and sub-contractors, would create multiple documents, held in isolated repositories or held on local drives, resulting in poor retrieval and inaccurate information.

The problem is a familiar one. Admittedly, this KM system is basically document management, plus some other information formats and a simple data classification system, but in my view this doesn’t matter as the problem of badly managed information was controlled by introducing a strong KM framework with a central repository to address a specific local need.

It is this model of KM that I want to discuss as the starting point for KM for ITSM, but first I need to say something about the concept of assigning value to information.

Defining Business Value

I mentioned above that assigning value to information is vital.

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I call this category High Business Value information. So, what does it mean exactly? Essentially, this is a category of business information that covers all the vital and irreplaceable business records, documents, information and data that are associated with sensitive areas like customer data, compliance, security, personnel, finance and legal and commercial activities.

It is this category that has the potential to damage an ITSM organisation should this material be compromised by loss, breach of security, inaccuracy or the inability to locate and retrieve quickly when needed. It is the failure to identify, capture, publish and retrieve this category of knowledge that can have a significant impact on the management of risk and cost control.

Whilst all information is valuable, depending on circumstances, some information suddenly becomes more valuable.

KM Framework

Our first step is to build a KM Framework. This framework must define the KM life cycle to create, capture, review, release, amend, publish and retire content. In addition, the KM Framework must define a system of classification for the ITSM information. We have already identified a need to segregate high value information – I’m calling this Layer 1 information. All the remainder of the ITSM information and data is collected into Layer 2.

Basically, for Layer 1 we know what we want and where it is – hence we can find it quickly using a hierarchy with a controlled vocabulary where everything is tagged.

However, for Layer 2 the structure is more linear using a Thesaurus and non-controlled vocabulary. This allows for a more ‘search and discover’ approach.

Finally, the framework will identify the ITSM knowledge managers who will be responsible for implementing the framework, plus a KM Steering Committee.

Five Stages of the KM Framework

There are five stages within the KM Framework and these are shown in Figure 1 below. By following this five stage sequence all the information considered as High Business Value can be identified and either uploaded into the KM Database or retained in local repositories (known as source databases). This is the Integrate stage that is covered in detail later on under the Hot Spot scenarios.

Each stage should be followed for Layer 1 and then repeated for Layer 2.

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Figure 1 – Five Stages of KM Framework

  • Audit – once the categories within Layer 1 have been identified all the material to be included in each category needs to be identified. The audit will do this and will cover different media formats such as PDF, database tables, e-mails, webinars and HTML et al.
  • Map – during the audit the location of the material is identified. This is mapping and will be needed when the KM database is designed and built to identify what material should be transferred to the KMDB and what material should remain in local repositories.
  • Classify – once all the information has been identified for the categories of Layer 1, the documents and data can be classified according to the controlled vocabulary system and the hierarchy structure.
  • Assemble – once classified and physically located, the content for each category should be assembled as a schedule of descriptive metadata tables complete with information titles, document numbers, versions, data sets and physical location.
  • Integrate – once all the information has been assembled the metadata tables can be used to manage the population of the KMDB – either directly with content or connected to other repositories to extract the content. These are known as source databases.

 Classification

As mentioned above it is important to classify by value as well as classify by subject. For example, all customer data should always be considered high value, but the exact list will depend on the types of client and services that are supported by the ITSM organisation.

When it comes to the subject of classification there are many standards1 on taxonomy and debates about linear versus the hierarchy structure approach. I’m therefore suggesting that it makes sense to divide our total ITSM information into two distinct groups – the High Business Value information already discussed and a second group which is essentially everything else. I’m calling the first grouping Layer 1 and the second grouping Layer 2.

Once all the information has been divided into these two layers we must structure the information in two different ways. Figure 2 below shows this division.

Layer 1 should be structured using a taxonomy with a hierarchy and controlled vocabulary. This scheme will identify the information according to importance, sensitivity and security level, and will be used to control access to the information in Layer 1. The search tools that underpin our KM system will then be able to locate and retrieve any of the information in Layer 1 very quickly. Layer 1 will typically have the lowest volume.

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Figure 2 – Grouping Information by Layers

For our second layer – Layer 2 – I suggest a thesaurus with a more linear structure that will allow more of a free form of search and retrieval based on a smaller number of the terms.

Not everything needs to be tagged in Layer 2, instead broader searches and cross searches can be adopted to allow a more ‘search and discovery’ approach even ‘looking inside’ some documents and files to locate content of interest.

This makes sense as the population of Layer 2 will cover all manner of archived project material, design documentation, presentations, non-critical business records et al. Layer 2 will typically have the highest volume.

Hierarchy of Layer 1

Given the relatively simple structure of our KM system I suggest a top down approach for Layer 1, based on a hierarchy of Categories and Sub-categories using a controlled vocabulary to tag documents and data sets. An example is shown in Figure 3 below. As Layer 1 is the primary focus of our initial KM design and build it’s not my intention to outline the structure of Layer 2.

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Figure 3 – Classification Hierarchy

Once all the constituents of Layer 1 have been identified during our Audit stage all the information and data can be divided into Categories. These categories will be assembled under various functional headings, for example:

Category 1 – Customer Data
Category 2 – Compliance
Category 3 – Legal
Category 4 – Service Continuity
Category 5 – Finance
Category n – Security

Once all the Categories have been identified then the material should be further sub-divided into Sub-categories. I would suggest that these three drill-downs are sufficient to hold all the information in Layer 1. The Sub-categories will contain all the specific document and data sets that relate to a particular Category and this can be assigned by client or customer type or by any other specific grouping.

This hierarchy is not meant to be in any way prescriptive, just examples on the concept of Categories and Sub-categories.

Example ‘Hot Spots’

I’ve identified four possible ‘hot spots’ based on personal observations of real life events and these are shown in Figure 4. Clearly, there will be others depending on the set-up of a particular ITSM organisation and the types of client it supports.

The figure is based on a simplified ITSM organisation that could be either a MSP dedicated to external clients, or an ITSM organisation providing IT services to an internal client. The IT Operations can be either internal or external hosting with or without applications support. For the purpose of this guide it is assumed that the IT Operations is in-house and provides hosting, communications and applications support – within an overall governance framework.

There are four example ‘hot ‘spots’ shown in Figure 4.

  • Client Portal – Risk to reputation due to poor quality of customer information
  • Legal and Commercial – Cost of litigation due to incomplete contract audit trail
  • Compliance – Cost of compliance due to audit failure and forced re-work
  • Service Continuity – Risk to IT service continuity due to inadequate preparation

All of the above examples relate to the absence, inaccuracy or timely retrieval of information.

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Figure 4 – Example Hot Spots

Risk to Reputation (Hot Spot 1)

In this scenario I’ve created a simple Service Operation (SO) organisation that has responsibility for managing the information available to customers via a Client Portal. I should state at this point that not all of the information available through the portal is the responsibility of the SO team. Some material will be supplied direct from the Client for uploading onto the portal – material from the Marketing Department such as prospectus and application forms.

The remainder of material will be service and technical support information produced within SO and cover such topics as service availability status, technical self-help and how-to-do-it video clips. The client portal also has a secure area for the client customer groups to access data on performance against SLAs.

The ‘Risk’ we are trying to mitigate here is out-of-date, missing and inaccurate information being posted to the client portal. The current arrangement within our SO is that information is currently held in separate repositories. Information is identified and collected and then manually or semi-automatically uploaded onto the Client Portal database using scripts. The risk here is that:

  • not all information is collected at the right time (like monthly SLA data updates)
  • incorrect information is selected for the right location
  • correct information is uploaded to the wrong location
  • not all information is collected

All the above risks can be minimised by the correct processes and checks in place and rigorously enforced. However, experience has shown that this manual and semi-automatic process can break down over time and quality – and reputation – can be impacted.

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Figure 5 – KM Integration of Client Portal Information

All the client information that was previously managed manually has now been compiled into metadata tables from the AuditMap ClassifyAssemble stages. We can now move to the Integrate stage. The metadata tables will hold the locations of all the information and data needed to be accessed by the client portal and the KMDB will use distributed queries to collect all the information and data from these locations. In practice these will be permitted areas within local repositories (or tool set databases) – known as source databases. See Figure 5.

For example, the Known Error database (KEDB) could supply diagnostic help and work-arounds for self-service customers for the most common errors. The KEDB will also collect Event and Incident Management data in support of the SLA reporting that is provided to the client business units via the portal. The Configuration Management database (CMDB) will also be another source database for the supply of data to the client on service configuration.

Cost of Litigation (Hot Spot 2)

My second scenario relates to the threat of litigation as a result of a breach of contract. Whilst this sounds dramatic it is important not to underestimate the legal and commercial requirements to hold and maintain all contractual material and associated business records.

Most service based agreements come with some form of service credit arrangement. However, a decrease in payment may not fully compensate a client for poor service particularly when a number of service failures occur in quick succession or a major outage lasting several days hits not just the client but the client’s customers. Such a scenario could be considered a breach of contract resulting in litigation to seek damages and a termination of the service contract.

Any move to litigation will result in a demand from the client’s legal team for all relevant information to be handed over. This is known as e-discovery2 and the Service Operation team along with the organisation’s legal department will need to respond very quickly in a short time frame.

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Figure 6 – KM Integration of Legal Information

This is another example of how the KMDB can be used to store high business value information. Figure 6 shows how the KMDB can contain a Legal DB segment that is used to store in one location all contractual and historical SLA information relating to an individual client. As with Scenario 1, the metadata tables will hold the locations of all the information and data needed to be accessed by the Legal KMDB segment. Again, distributed queries are used to collect all the information and data from these source DB locations.

The information will include all versions of contracts, contract amendments, SLAs including email trails between the client and the IT Service Provider. This latter point of email capture is increasingly used to highlight any communication that might indicate an implied contract variation by either party. I would suggest the inclusion of a Message Record Management (MRM) system as part of the KM solution.

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Also, it will be necessary to install an activity monitor to log and track activity of users of the KMDB segment. In reality, this would be good practice across all of the KMDB segments but essential in this instance.

One final point. Where the service provider is internal to an organisation, for example the public sector, the risk of litigation is negligible. However, be aware that a consistent under performance against SLA targets could be a fast track to IT outsourcing.
Here is another example of the importance of a KM sub-set of material that can be assembled on the basis of a specific demand. During a compliance audit, ISO27001 for example, there will be a specific document set that will need to be made available to the auditors for the certification process.

Cost of Compliance (Hot Spot 3)

I’ve seen this happen on a number of occasions. Although this is usually presented as an exercise in cost saving, invariably it is driven by a long term dissatisfaction in the performance of the internal service provider.

Without a rigorous KM approach there is the risk of auditors finding a shortfall in the control objectives and controls. This will result in low auditor marking and possible non-compliance. There is now a real cost involved with the remedial work needed for a re-run of the audit, particularly with the high daily rates charged by external auditors.

The material can range from Information Security Policies to Physical and Environmental Security. There is a wide range of different types of information and data and the Audit and Map stages of the KM Framework will require a lot of research and agreement from the KM Stakeholders on what should be included in this KMDB Compliance segment. It is likely that some of the lower level information may be located in Layer 2. If this is the case then it might make sense to leave it where it is and simply connect between the two layers. It is also true that the scope of ISO270013 is such that the KM will need to connect to a wider range of tools and assets.

One particular example is software asset management (ISO 27001 – Clause A8: Asset Management). Under this heading auditors will check the number and validity of software contracts held and check that the licences cover all the users who actually use the software. This could be addressed by setting up a source DB within a SAM tool and extracting all the data needed for the audit (as a controlled set) and then sending it to the KMDB. This is actually a very common failure point.

Risk to Service Continuity (Hot Spot 4)

In this final scenario I want to look at how the KMDB can be used to support Service Continuity. This has a much broader scope than just KM and I’m not intending to cover the whole subject of Business Continuity Management (BCM). Again, there are multiple terms involved here – like Disaster Recovery, Business Recovery and Service Recovery. In the case of ITSM and KM, I’m going to describe how KM can be used in support of Service Recovery within the broader BCM that covers the end-to-end business of a client.

The dilemma facing an ITSM organisation is no one can really identify all the situations likely to occur. Certainly, the evacuation of a data centre due to fire and flood is an obvious scenario, but thankfully not one that occurs very often. Clearly you can’t prepare for every instance but it is possible to target some common ‘knowns’.

So, here is a possible starting point. In our Layer 1 (High Business Value) under the Service Continuity category, the sub-categories should be constructed to reflect various ‘threat scenarios’ – one per sub-category, such as cyber threat, data theft and denial of service to name a few. We could also add major software outages that can and do occur from time to time.

Each ‘threat scenario’ can then be structured along the scope and guidelines of ISO223014. This will create a consistent framework for compiling all the recovery procedures, communication escalations and fall back plans for each scenario. Clearly, there is much more to discuss here but there is a future article that will address all of these aspects of service recovery which is planned for publication later in 2015.

Conclusion

What this guide attempts to outline is a number of possible solutions to common issues around both risk and cost control in an ITSM organisation. It is not intended to be prescriptive. The KM system described here should be considered an ‘entry level’ system, but with the capability of extension as time and budget permit. This KM system is also predicated on content being held within existing repositories, as well as a central KMDB, but extracted on demand. The success of implementing a KM system will always reside with the management and staff of an ITSM organisation and not the technology. Hence the emphasis must always be on developing a KM Framework as the starting point.

This quick guide has been contributed by Mike Simpson of CIH Solutions.

Mobile: the new frontier for self-service

Artificial Intelligence on the service desk [Holly from RedDwarf]
Artificial Intelligence on the service desk [Holly from RedDwarf]
Google searches performed on a mobile device outstripped desktop searches (in certain territories), according to figures released last week.

That’s an important milestone in the meteoric use of mobile.

Of course, the searches refer to global use of Google, including consumers searching for the nearest pizza joint, and are not necessarily reflective of enterprise IT – but we all know, since the introduction of the blackberry, iPad and then current smart phones, of the increasing business demands for mobile.

Will your service work on mobile devices? Will it provide a frictionless consumer-like experience, Does it matter who owns the device? And so on.

It doesn’t matter that we’re not delivering consumer services and that we might be delivering services in heavily regulated industries with back-breaking governance hoops to jump through – the demand for mobility and flexibility continue unabated.

Mobility promises the ability to avoid speaking to pesky humans, get things done, keep track and unlock me from the constraints of a physical office.

Avoiding speaking to people is an important point: In terms of human interaction it’s a case of quality over quantity. When I do (occasionally) speak with a human – I want a great customer focussed experience. You’ve only got to look at the growth (or is it a return?) of IT concierge desks resourced with IT staff especially selected for their more extrovert nature to witness this.

The premise: automate as much as possible, help the customer help themselves, if they do need to speak to us, make it a great experience (which doesn’t necessarily mean fixing everything).

With this in mind it has been great to see traditional ITSM providers innovating with mobile.

The future is here, just unevenly distributed

The terms artificial intelligence and augmented reality go hand-in-hand with the Jetsons, self driving cars and the fridge that knows to order more beer and lettuce. But look carefully, and it’s slowly permeating everywhere, including the humble service desk.

Smart-phone owners might be familiar with Apple’s SIRI, Google’s Voice Search or Microsoft’s Cortana as a personal navigator (Voice recognition to intelligent search / actions).  Similarly consumers might be familiar with Word Lens (Image to language translation) or Evernote (handwriting to textual search).

SnapIT from LANDESK promises smartphone image capture to knowledge base lookup. Sharing screenshots or remote sharing with end user customers to identify issues is a staple of the service desk toolkit – but what about cutting out the middle-man and connecting customers directly with help by snapping a picture of the issue on a mobile device?

Direct link to Video

LANDESK have offered this new capability with no extra charge to existing customers. It’s available via iOS, Android or simply via a browser.

I look forward to seeing this and other innovation at the ITSM show next month, we’ll be on stand 723 collecting customer reviews for TOOLSADVISOR.net (think trip advisor meets itsm tools). Come and say hi!

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Podcast Episode 11 – Structured Problem Analysis

2808468566_dc22dede4b_zIn Episode 11 of The ITSM Review podcast Rebecca Beach discusses structured problem analysis and problem solving methodologies with guests Simon Morris and Tobias Nyberg.

Topics include:

  • Strategic activity
  • Kepner Tregoe
  • Slack time and overload
  • Bias/challenging assumptions
  • Maturity barriers
  • Playing the blame game
  • Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll

Books mentioned and further reading/information:

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ITAM Review and ITSM Review Feeds

The Only Way Is: Essex County Council ITSM

The only way is.... ITSM
The only way is…. ITSM

Essex County Council might not have its own glamorous television series dedicated to the highs and lows experienced on its own personal IT Service Management (ITSM) journey, yet.

But… the organisation has been doing admirable work in this field and helping (to some degree) local government overcome budget challenges

Excellence through ITIL

The council points out that a focus on improving and refining ITSM through the adoption and adaption of ITIL is helping local authorities to meet objectives despite continued financial pressures. A new case study, presented by AXELOS Global Best Practice, outlines how Essex County Council used ITIL to improve services while reducing costs.

As many readers will know, AXELOS is a joint venture set up in 2014 by the UK government and Capita to develop, manage and operate qualifications in best practice.

Local authorities have faced cuts in their budgets in recent years, and this is set to continue.

Councils in England have been warned that they face an average cut of 1.8% in their overall spending power, according to the provisional local government finance settlement for 2015-2016 published in December 2014*.

“Improving ITSM practices is helping councils with budget restrictions to meet service obligations. Councils across the country have seen very strong results – such as England’s second largest local authority, Essex County Council, which provides services to over 1.4m people,” said Kaimar Karu, head of ITSM at AXELOS.

The council’s 200-strong IT function supports around 10,000 staff and is led by Chief Information Officer (CIO) David Wilde, who joined the organization in 2011.

 “When I joined the council the customer base had little or no faith in the IT department and there was a service report full of red Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). We had silos of knowledge without adequate tools to enable sharing and out of date documentation,” said Wilde. “As the council was and is under continued financial pressure, with aspirations to become a truly mobile and flexible workforce, we needed to standardize our estate, meet our Service Level Agreement (SLA), gain control of the service, get our underpinning contracts into line and capitalize on sensible outsourcing opportunities, such as our networking.”

Wilde had previously worked for the UK Government and was involved in the early design and creation of ITIL, the most widely accepted approach to ITSM in the world. The use of ITIL over the past four years has helped to improve the council’s ITSM, with the whole IT department now trained to at least ITIL foundation level.

He confirms that ensuring everyone is trained to foundation level has really helped to gain momentum and increase awareness and understanding. ITIL provides the right blend of service management, infrastructure management and customer focus.

AXELOS’s Karu added, “The Essex County Council case study highlights how empowering stakeholders in every level of the organization is one of the main factors in the successful adoption of ITIL. David’s experience shows that ITIL plays an important role in successful delivery of services and can help public sector organizations improve service management, even during times of austerity.”

The full case study can be found on the AXELOS website at https://www.axelos.com/case-studies-and-white-papers/essex-county-council-an-itil-case-study

Coming Soon: ITAM and ITSM Integration Group Test

Our next Group Test will explore the relationship between the IT management disciplines of IT Asset Management (ITAM) and IT Service Management (ITSM).

The review will explore the opportunities for managing assets and interacting with ITAM teams whilst maintaining everyday ITSM processes.

We’re looking to review:

  • ITSM tools that offer ITAM functionality or integrate with tools that do
  • As well as ITAM tools that provide value add to ITSM lifecycles

Our Group Tests review and compare the features and strengths of technology for a particular use case.

Previous Group Tests:

The aim of the review is to support prospective buyers with their selection process by providing features to consider when building integrations between ITAM & ITSM – highlighting key competitive differentiators between products.

ITAM and ITSM (2+2=5)

To be agile in making financial decisions in IT, we need to shift from ITAM being a reactive process (counting up the mess after it has happened, performing true-ups) to be Proactive. ITAM need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the architects and project managers making technology choices to support them and help the business make smarter decisions. Decisions need to be made whilst considering efficient delivery of services (ITSM) whilst also considering risk and total financial impact (ITAM).

The table below highlights the six most likely sources of change within your IT environment. By embracing and working with these sources of change, we can help the business make quicker and smarter decisions.

ITAM can be an enabler and source of business intelligence for ITSM and IT teams in general – addressing change at a strategic level rather than in a reactive fire-fighting capacity.

Sources-of-Change1

The diagram below shows a typical cradle-to-grave lifecycle of an asset and where I believe the opportunities exist for providing more agile ITAM and integrating with ITSM.

Where-ITAM-meets-ITSM1

ITAM & ITSM Integration Group Test- Key Topic areas:

  • Inventory – How do you manage an inventory of assets and ensure accuracy?
  • Change Management – How are formal changes communicated to the ITAM team?
  • Request Fulfilment – How are asset costs and authorisations delivered via requests?
  • Relationship Mapping – How is the relationship between users, assets and services managed?
  • Asset Usage – How are unused, AWOL or stolen assets managed?
  • Installs, Moves, Adds and Changes (IMAC) – How are everyday changes to systems reflected in asset data?
  • Procurement – How are ITAM and ITSM data combined to allow smarter procurement decisions?

Have I missed anything – what else would you add to this list?

Suppliers who wish to participate should contact us.

An ITIL Evolution: New ITIL Practitioner Qualification From AXELOS

ITIL-Logo-large1It has been heralded as the ‘most significant’ evolution in the ITIL best practice framework since the launch of AXELOS, but what is it?

The new ITIL Practitioner Qualification has been announced this week at the ITSM Leadership Congress in Singapore.

ITIL Practitioner  is being developed to help organizations and individuals increase the value they obtain from using ITIL by offering additional practical guidance to adopt and adapt the framework to support the business.

An ITIL progression curve

It will be the next step after ITIL Foundation for professionals who have already learned the basics of IT Service Management (ITSM) and the business value of well-designed and delivered services.

The first ITIL Practitioner exam will be available globally by the end of 2015 — it will be pitched at a suitable level for individuals working for organisations of all sizes.

“ITIL is the most widely adopted service management framework used by thousands of organizations worldwide, with over two million ITIL certifications awarded, including 300,000 in 2014,” said Peter Hepworth, CEO of AXELOS. “ITIL offers many benefits to organisations, including supporting business outcomes, managing risks in line with business needs, showing value for money and supporting continual improvement.”

Hepworth contends that AXELOS surveyed ITSM professionals from around the world last year and received significant calls for ITSM to be treated as a profession.

Having this additional, higher qualification level within the ITIL framework is an important step towards that goal thinks Hepworth.

ITIL Practitioner will focus on:

  • Giving practical guidance on how individuals can leverage Continual Service Improvement (CSI), a fundamental lifecycle stage in ITIL, to maximise the benefits of its adoption and adaption
  • Aiming to improve the capability of individuals throughout the business, to adopt and adapt ITIL in their day to day roles for maximum business benefits
  • Making use of further evolved technological capabilities – such as automation, real-time reporting and Cloud computing – to increase the quality of service design and the efficiency of service delivery
  • Leveraging other philosophies, frameworks, good practices and methodologies – including e.g. Lean, DevOps, Agile and SIAM – to further enhance the value of ITSM.

Kaimar Karu, Head of ITSM at AXELOS said “ITIL is the overarching framework that brings together all the good practice in ITSM, globally. Traditionally, ITIL has focused on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, leaving it to the practitioners to apply the guidance in their specific organizational context and find the best ways for the ‘how’ of adopt and adapt. As good practices appear, evolve and grow, the need for more practical guidance on the ‘how’ has increased significantly.”

Karu insists that the numerous case studies demonstrating how ITIL’s guidance has helped organizations to succeed. ITIL Practitioner is being developed collaboratively with seasoned professionals worldwide to addresses new workplace challenges.

ITIL Practitioner will sit alongside the existing qualification levels of Foundation, Intermediate, Expert and Master.

Later this year,AXELOS will launch a new professional development scheme which will enable individuals to stay current in their knowledge and protect the investment they have made in adopting and adapting AXELOS Global Best Practice.

For news on ITIL Practitioner go to website: https://www.axelos.com/qualifications/itil/itil-practitioner

 

Self Service IT: Not as Scary as it Sounds

Stuart Power Mar 2014This article has been contributed by Stuart Power, UK Sales Manager at Matrix42.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve worked for a number of companies at which, as a new employee, it has taken days or weeks to be given the technology I need to do my job. I’ve no doubt it’s still happening in many organisations today. But as the proportion of ‘digital natives’ in the workforce increases, that scenario is becoming less and less acceptable. More importantly, it is becoming a serious business risk, rather than just a temporary inconvenience. Why? Because today’s employees expect to be able to use technology at work in the same way as they do in their personal lives. That means switching between devices at will, and accessing software and services at their convenience, often through a central app store. If that’s not possible, they are more likely to look for employment elsewhere.

Giving employees this kind of control over technology is a scary prospect for many corporate IT departments. But with the right approach to enabling user self service, the reality can be more fulfilling than frightening.

 

Start with the User, Not the Technology

Enabling your employees with self service access to the technology tools they need requires a fundamental shift in the way you deliver IT to users. Rather than the IT department acting as a local supplier of heterogeneous hardware and software, it needs to become a provider of standardised services – all delivered and managed from a central IT service/workspace management system. The process starts with the definition of a service portfolio (the needs of the business that the IT department must fulfil) and a service catalog (the actions required in terms of technology delivery to meet the business need). Importantly, both the service portfolio and the service catalog must be built around the needs of your employees, not the established capabilities and processes of the IT department. Once these needs and services have been defined, they can be realised within your chosen ITSM/workspace management solution, which should ideally feature an app store interface that gives users a consumer-style experience when choosing and consuming corporate IT services. That solution should also automate every service-related process, from order to approval and delivery, right through to on-going maintenance and management.

 

Standardise Services, Establish Value

Automating processes is all well and good. But automating a bad process is often worse than leaving it alone, because in an integrated ITSM system, the consequences will automatically impact other processes. That’s why it’s so important to standardise the processes within each service as much as possible, and thereby minimise the potential for error.

Equally as important is ensuring that users understand the value of the service they receive. If no cost or value is attached to a service, users will consume it at will, creating additional and uncertain cost and workload for the IT department. Equally, if a price is attached to a service without defining every aspect of the service being provided, business users and managers will invariably see only the hardware or application they are consuming. The accompanying admin, networking, security, support, management and maintenance work will be invisible. As a result, they may try to circumvent the service catalog because they will perceive the service to be expensive and believe that they can get it cheaper elsewhere. Both of these scenarios can be avoided with a centralised service portfolio and catalog that provide clear price/performance definitions for each service.

 

Five Steps to Self Service Success

So, you’ve made the decision. You want to give business users the consumer-style IT experience they expect, and prove the value of IT to your business. At Matrix42, we believe there are 5 essential success factors to be aware of, however you choose to implement user self service.

1. Define and standardise services

Efficient self service in corporate IT requires every service to be standardised around particular usage scenarios, such as the onboarding of a new sales person, and automated at every stage of the service lifecycle. Once this has been achieved, it becomes easier to make small adjustments that may be necessary for specific locations, such as linking PC orders to a local hardware supplier.

2. Integrate all the necessary processes

Ideally, users, managers and IT departments should all be using one IT service delivery and workspace management system that integrates all the IT and business processes required to order, approve, deliver and manage an IT service. This ensures cost and status transparency for all, and maximises IT service management efficiency.

3. Give everything a value

Services without costs attached encourage users to consume them freely, regardless of whether they are actually necessary for their work. To avoid unnecessary expenditure and workload, every IT service must be clearly and realistically described and priced. This ensures the cost of service consumption and expected service quality are transparent and predictable for users and approvers.

4. Ensure compliance

Your ITSM system should enable you to create and manage the relevant license agreements for each service centrally. This requires that your service catalog is integrated with your compliance solution, which should proactively alert managers to any over or under licensing. This will enable them to avoid compliance failures and continuously optimise costs.

5. Make it accessible from any device

Many of your users don’t work in one place on one device, so they expect to be able to order and use a service from wherever they are, and on whichever device they are using at the time. A complete, centralised IT service and workspace management solution will ensure that each service only needs to be ordered once for it to be made available on multiple devices.

 

Conclusion

With device and software diversity increasing all the time, and an ever-more demanding and sophisticated user base, greater IT complexity within organisations is almost inevitable. Introducing user self service into ITSM is one of the most important tools at your disposal for simplifying the management of that complexity.