When the ITSM framework can make data work for you
An Information Technology Service Management project is not to be taken lightly and can be a big investment for an organisation, so it needs to be done right.
From my many years of experience as a data specialist, and now head of service management, I’m very conscious of the commitment an organisation undertakes when it decides to implement ITSM.
It‘s a solution I advocate but it’s not to be taken lightly as the adoption and success rate is not yet as high as it should be.
In this article, I go back to basics with ITSM and then share my recommendations on the groundwork for successful implementation and rapid adoption which will deliver real business results. I also explain its importance in the context of making data accessible for ICT decision-makers.
What is ITSM?
Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) is the way a business designs, plans, delivers, operates and controls its IT services. ITSM (used interchangeably with ITIL or IT Infrastructure Library) differs from IT management because of its process-focused approach, concentrating on customer needs and customer IT services rather than IT systems.
To put the power of ITSM into perspective, its unassuming origins began in the 1980s as a framework for best practices when businesses were migrating to digital technology. Its successful evolution over the last four decades has proven how successful it is, with the global integration of ITSM maximising the potency of effective IT services.
An ITSM project can be a big investment for an organisation, so it needs to be done right. As I mentioned, unfortunately, the failure rate continues to be high, so it’s vital for businesses to understand the critical success factors that exist when adopting ITSM.
As Research Gate outlines, ITSM is a combination of people, process and technology that seeks to provide the highest-quality IT services. Some organisations have difficulty in implementing it successfully because they have not focused enough on the three pillars above, and what they want to achieve in terms of the business and what they need in place to get there.
The failure rate continues to be high, so it’s vital for businesses to understand the critical success factors that exist when adopting ITSM.
Data, like oil, isn't worth anything until it is mined and analysed accurately in relation to other data. Trustworthy digital intelligence, which can be rapidly connected to other information, makes it relatively priceless information which organisations make big decisions around.
This is why ITSM is so valuable in terms of handling IT business assets; it is outstanding at helping to ensure IT can reliably service the company with zero down-time or productivity hours lost due to service failure and more importantly the business's clients.
With effective ITSM in place, data can be managed and delivered to the organisation in the most productive way while creating strategic insights.
Get platinum-standard ITSM
In order to power up ITSM and leverage it to platinum-standard advantage, the following processes must be observed:
- Research and identify all the necessary requirements from the point of view of every stakeholder involved. It is important not to cut corners during this process. Look at the areas of concern and the reasons why ITSM is being implemented.
- Study the systems already in place which can support the requirements framework.
- Relook at current business systems in terms of suiting the ITSM framework and not the other way around.
- Create a gap analysis and set up a roadmap with the resources, tools and teams that are required to get there.
- Map out requirements and the measures necessary to deliver qualitatively. The road map will involve the tight integration between people, process and technology.
- Start implementing the principles which are most important to the business as quickly as possible, prioritising according to the budget available. To quote General George Patton: A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.
- Ensure there is internal training on ITSM so the team is dedicated and keen to prove its effectiveness and maximise its benefits.
- Don’t just stop at adoption, be persistent and keep focused. ITSM’s maturity journey requires energetic and consistent leadership, focused on delivering high standards.
Converting data to wisdom
If you have effective IT service management in place, your business should be confident that secure data is available at all times. Consider:
- Data security: Core to the business, economies are run on data.
- Data availability: Uptime and availability when needed.
- Data flow: Provisioning data so it provides value to the business.
- Data evolution: Finding ways to create additional revenue streams, in other words, converting data into wisdom.
Many companies in South Africa are siloed with their data often replicated. Their processes also tend to be tied up with red tape, limiting their agility and ability to make sweeping changes.
Ironically, the larger local financial institutions tend to be playing catch-up with smaller counterparts. This is an area where we can clearly see how IT service management (or lack of it) is key to a competitive advantage.
The benefit of embedding ITSM into your business is that it introduces standards which create an environment of certainty in terms of IT deliverables.
Investing in an ITSM framework will provide data structure to your business, setting the foundation for competitive advantage, by providing the basis for automation and client satisfaction.
Head of service management, RadixTrie.
Fabian Anderson is head of service management at RadixTrie, a two-year-old South African IT services solutions business, specialising in data storage, data flow and data evolution. He has founded a number of IT service businesses and fulfilled various roles throughout his career in the South African IT industry. Anderson has accreditations in project management, agile, service management and IT governance frameworks, and has a passion in developing high-performance teams.