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30 Leading

IT Service Management Providers Editor’s Focus


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Welcome to 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers Editor’s Focus

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Editor’s Focus Contents

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46 Getting closer with social media

he September / October issue of VitAL magazine will feature a section named

‘30 Leading IT Service Management Providers’ which profiles 30 of the top suppliers to the IT and IT Service Management industry and we are very proud to announce that BMC Software has confirmed that it will be the headline sponsor for this section. As a

As social media spreads from personal use into mainstream business, service management organisations are beginning to ask ‘how is this going to impact us?’ and ‘how can we make use of it?’ Axios has a few suggestions.

48 CMDB: The four-letter word in IT Director of the ITSM range of products at ManageEngine, Alex D Paul asks if there’s too many people asking too many questions.

preview to this annual section, this issue we have a more in depth look at eight of the companies profiled. This Editor’s Focus features thought leadership from Axios, Manage Engine, Sunrise Software, TechExcel, Vivantio, Marval, Solisma and ICCM which includes useful comment and opinion from these companies covering a range of hot topics including social media, cloud, BYOD and advice on how to make the most of your ITSM investment. I hope you find it useful.

50 Tomorrow’s Service Desk – adapt or die If the Service Desk is not to become a relic of the past, today’s service managers need to look hard at its place in the business food chain and prepare for the future. According to Geoff Rees, sales director of Sunrise Software, IT decision makers need to embrace the changes brought about by the growing consumerisation of IT and the dominance of social media.

52 The collaborative approach to service management

TechExcel offers two contrasting examples of how its IT support software suite fosters a collaborative approach in users that needed to replace outmoded legacy helpdesk systems.

54 Solving the alignment issue

Matt Bailey, Editor

It is clearly in an organisation’s interest to have all its constituent parts purposefully and harmoniously working towards common goals, so why has the issue of alignment in IT proven so elusive for so long and is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Vivantio is here to help.

56 Balancing corporate governance with effective IT service

The challenge of balancing sound corporate governance with effective IT Service & Support is prevalent in all sectors, but particularly in healthcare. Marval reports.

58 Continual Improvement made easy Has continual improvement evolved so far that it’s starting to defeat its own purpose? Don McEwan, principal consultant at Solisma finds out.

60 Service Management for the changing IT world Businesses are facing a faster pace of change than they ever have done before, due in no small part to the ever-shifting technology landscape. James Gay, CEO, ICCM Solutions reports.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Getting closer with social media As social media spreads from personal use into mainstream business, service management organisations are beginning to ask ‘how is this going to impact us?’ and ‘how can we make use of it?’ Axios has a few suggestions...

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ocial behaviour has been moving from the physical world to the digital world for a number of decades. From the early telephone-based bulletin board systems and Internet forums of the ’80s and ’90s to the social media giants of today, technology has driven a major shift in the way we network and collaborate. As social media spreads from personal use into mainstream business, service management organisations are beginning to ask the questions “how is this going to impact us?” and “how can we make use of it?”

Closer relations By nature, service providers must maintain a closer relationship with customers than their retail counterparts. Consequently, the rise of social media should be considered an opportunity to build tighter and more loyal relationships with customers – fostering longterm benefits for both the customer and the service provider.

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As consumers continue to integrate social media increasingly into their personal lives, they are also embracing social media to get more out of their lives as product and service consumers. In turn, this is driving a change in the way that businesses must interact with their customers – with a knock-on effect on service management. As a partner to the business, the ITSM provider has always been expected to understand the nature of its customer’s business model – and provide expert advice on how best to exploit technology to deliver greater performance and reduced risk. Social media promotes more open interaction between the service provider and the service customer – beyond the tradition one-to-one manager-to-manager relationship. Now, both the customer’s management team and service users have a number of ‘windows’ into the service provider’s organisation and there is more of a sense of mutual understanding. As a result, the service provider is more able

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

to influence business decisions made around benefits, impact and risk and ultimately the service provider can deliver more value to the customer.

Collaborative communications In a traditional service desk, communication tends to be bidirectional – through the service desk as a strict single point of contact. In a social media driven model, communication is loose, multi-directional, real-time and collaborative. The customer is engaged with the service desk team in a variety of ways and service team members can collaborate with other service tiers dynamically. Interaction occurs between different levels without the direct intervention of the service desk – thus the service desk has the challenge of monitoring this dispersed interaction to ensure customer satisfaction is optimised. Both customers and tech support are using hash tags on twitter to communicate and enable this sort of monitoring and visibility. Some IT organisations have started Facebook pages to provide better visibility of service status, and customers are starting to use Facebook page as a means to raise issues. This has numerous advantages over more traditional customer/service desk/service tier models: • The customers choose how they want to communicate with the service desk; • They can follow what they feel is relevant and important to them; • They can access the same information on a variety of devices; • The service desk takes on greater range and hence value for the customer; • Self-help knowledge can help reduce service TCO; • IT can use the collaborative interaction to gauge customer satisfaction more quickly and easily – allowing the voice of the customer to drive service offerings.

Leveraging technology Within the past decade the ITSM industry has been leveraging technology advances to create innovative ways to educate both their business customers and their IT staff. The evolution of this has accelerated with the

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growth in popularity of online gaming and the use of simulation. Social media has played an increasing part in this and has helped enable richer, more interactive and collaborative learning opportunities. For IT and business alike, this means: • Lower training costs and more universal uptake; • Improved productivity levels; • Support organizational change; • Engage ‘fence sitters’. While the applications of social media within may not be new to some, they do come with their own set of challenges and risks. It is becoming clear that social media is a multi-faceted tool that needs to be wellunderstood within the organisations context in order to be effective from a cost, risk and results standpoint. It is in this regard that the ITSM provider can be a trusted advisor on the capabilities of social media.

Social media as a business asset When it comes to supporting social media as a business asset, the ITSM provider needs to analyse the functionality and security and examine service models that will be appropriate. The overarching considerations for ITSM remain those of governance, control, monitoring and support, all within a cost effective and manageable model. At the current juncture in the evolution of social media in the workplace, the ITSM provider must be ready to transition traditional roles for those more aligned to managing partners of technology. But we also have to maintain our existing capabilities to support our customers who have chosen not to use social media, or are not yet ready for such a transition. ITSM providers today are ‘getting it’. They are aware that social media is transforming business and ITSM as well. They are leveraging their capacity to lead, guide and remain the trusted advisor to their business customers. They are also exploiting social media to their own advantage as well. The technology might be new. ITSM providers moving in step with innovation and stepping up to the plate is not. VitAL www.axiossystems.com

Both customers and tech support are using hash tags on twitter to communicate and enable this sort of monitoring and visibility. Some IT organisations have started Facebook pages to provide better visibility of service status, and customers are starting to use Facebook page as a means to raise issues.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

CMDB – The Four-Letter Word In IT Director of the ITSM range of products at ManageEngine, Alex D Paul asks if there’s too many people asking too many questions!

*!*? !**! !?** So we have a new approach towards a CMDB that could work. Now the question is, does it make life easier for an IT manager? Will the CMDB help him offer solutions to problems like a good CMDB should?

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enovo recalled two ThinkCenter Desktop models in April and Microsoft is getting ready with the Windows 8 launching preview, thus getting the users and businesses ready for the new operating system. What does this mean for an IT manager? Well, truckloads of questions and work. Every time a CXO reads a recall or release news, the first question that pops up in his head is, “how does this impact our company?” The onus of answering this in detail lies on the IT manager. • Do we have these Lenovo ThinkCenter Models with us? • If we do, how many? • Do we have any critical business applications running on it? • What is the time taken for Lenovo to replace our machines? • Do we have any assets to replace these machines temporarily? This set of questions is only the beginning! Take this a notch higher; Windows 8 release, several other recalls, new product upgrades with every update and the list is simply interminable.

The four-letter word So by now we all have heard about the CMDB and stories about how it is complicated and expensive. Initially CMDB focused on getting every single CI [Configuration Item] on board however keeping them updated posed a challenge. So getting the entire universe into CMDB was bound to fail. CMDB has since

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evolved into CMS in ITIL v3 and the general advice is to get the entire CMDB / CMS focus on data centres. So we have a new approach towards a CMDB that could work. Now the question is, does it make life easier for an IT manager? Will the CMDB help him offer solutions to problems like a good CMDB should?

The pragmatic CMDB The pragmatic CMDB approach is closer to what happens in real life. IT managers need to have info of all the assets. Currently, this information is spread across different types of software or occasionally even scattered across spreadsheets.

One place for all your assets IT managers should start working on getting information in one place. Important point is this place need not even be a database; it can be a logical or virtual location that holds information. The next step could be to classify the attributes that need to be tracked, model CIs based on the attributes, set up discovery and asset management software to constantly discover and update the database.

Visual Relationships A visual map is very important for asset management, which enables the IT managers to understand assets that are part of a service. This is a key element as it detects when an asset fails and clearly elaborates how it affects an IT service or business. The visual

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Courtesy: CMDBuild – an open source CMDB project

Courtesy: CMDBuild – an open source CMDB project

relationship is usually defined for critical services or assets. Nowadays such visual relationship maps and management software are available for free. CMDBuild Project: http://sourceforge.net/projects/cmdbuild/

Every Attribute Matters Enterprise search can be a just a notch lesser than Google, but IT managers are demanding search by any attribute, RAM size, model number, serial numbers any possible attribute. Asset attributes are important when you are building a replacement for critical asset. Asset Management software need to

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capture all the details to help IT managers to slice and dice assets in the enterprise, to group them and get them ready for deployment or upgrade.

Getting IT Right It does not matter whether you call it a CMDB or CMS or just an asset repository, it needs to practical enough to help you with your questions and help you to get the job done without scrambling for information. Considering there are abundant open source / free tools getting CMDB right is more than possible and easy too. VitAL

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Tomorrow’s Service Desk – adapt or die Everyone knows that if a species in the natural world doesn’t adapt to change, it simply dies and becomes extinct. Similarly, if the Service Desk is not to become a relic of the past, today’s service managers need to look hard at its place in the business food chain and prepare for the future. According to Geoff Rees, sales director of Sunrise Software, IT decision makers need to embrace the changes brought about by the growing consumerisation of IT and the dominance of social media. Transforming the Service Desk to accommodate both is critical to its long-term survival.

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here’s no doubt that the Service Desk has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a helpdesk that was supported by a simple call logging tool. These days the Service Desk relies on highly sophisticated software that enables it to measure performance against corporate objectives and supports the department in generating real improvements to service delivery that support the business. More often than not, the service department is a blueprint for the rest of the organisation with other parts of the business, such as HR and facilities, adopting similar processes and principles to drive efficiencies across their own functions. In fact, best-practice frameworks such as ITIL have revolutionised the way that organisations approach their relationship to customers both internal and external, and how they go about developing new services. The move from pure technical functionality towards service-centric applications has been immense.

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Technology is just the tool The current trend for Service Desks to move towards a more business service focus is driven by the realisation that technology is merely a tool, and not a means to an end in itself. The proliferation of new ways to harness technology such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud are changing the way that companies approach the delivery of services. Without the upfront costs associated with on-premise software solutions, business departments are now able to choose their own systems to support their individual requirements with very little input required from the IT department. This is supporting a faster, more responsive, service-centric approach, because line-of-business departments are less constrained by technology. While business departments can take more control of the applications and tools that they use, they still need support for their desktop and other computing devices in order to access these SaaS or Cloud services.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Mobility and BYOD empowers users Mobility combined with the growing consumerisation of IT also presents additional challenges and companies need to develop policies that enable greater and wider connectivity with an increasingly mobile world. People now expect to bring their own devices (BOYD) to work with iPhones, iPads, Androids and Blackberrys becoming the norm. In fact, industry analysts predict that by 2016, at least 50 percent of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile as their major means of connecting to the corporate network. While the adoption of BYOD policies can result in a more agile and motivated workforce and a reduction in capital expenditure, the Service Desk has to address the key issues of supporting multiple devices with nonstandard configurations, different operating systems and the latest apps and find new ways to keep them all secure. For the Service Desk in particular, this means that employees will no longer accept access to cut down, basic user interfaces. Don’t be surprised to see ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ increasingly become a built-in feature of tomorrow’s user interfaces. Kids growing up with nothing but the Internet where communicating by Facebook and Twitter come second-nature are tomorrow’s IT directors and security officers and will be well placed to adapt the concepts of their more open and collaborative social media reality to the business world.

Everything is connected Social media just for consumers? Think again and ignore it at your peril. With Facebook alone representing a billion plus community, social media is a huge commercial opportunity that cannot be ignored. The Service Desk needs to embrace social media as the ideal platform to increase customer engagement,

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protect the corporate brand and ultimately generate new revenue streams. The best way forward is to adopt a Service Management approach to social media blending technology with best-practice guidelines to manage this brave new world. Sooner rather than later, the phenomenon ‘Internet of things’ where everything is connected to the internet, will be the norm and not science fiction. Experts predict that eventually, as everything becomes connected, everyday processes that we arrange for ourselves at home, will become fully automated. For example, booking a service for your car. The car’s onboard computer will know a service is due, via the internet it will check your diary, check availability of slots at your preferred garage and automatically book an appointment and send an alert to your smart phone. It will then report any faults found and how they are being put right. The Service Desk needs to start thinking along these lines now, and ensure that they can meet the challenges of this type of automated service approach and ensure that they can manage the technology required.

Service Desk collaboration supports the business Fundamentally, the Service Desk is all about process management but it can, and should, combine process with more creativity, openness and collaboration. IT decision makers need to embrace new technology and new ways of working so that they are able to move from a position of controlling everything to a more collaborative way of working that delivers the service that their customers, both internal and external, demand. This will enable the Service Desk to address their customers’ changing business requirements and enable them to flourish in a mobile, social media world where all things are connected. VitAL www.sunrisesoftware.co.uk

While the adoption of BYOD policies can result in a more agile and motivated workforce and a reduction in capital expenditure, the Service Desk has to address the key issues of supporting multiple devices with non-standard configurations, different operating systems and the latest apps and find new ways to keep them all secure.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

The collaborative approach to service management TechExcel offers two contrasting examples of how its IT support software suite fosters a collaborative approach in users that needed to replace outmoded legacy helpdesk systems.

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echExcel offers two examples of how its help desk solution service management solutions are helping companies to fundamentally upgrade their approach to ITSM. The company’s aim is to unify enterprises by bridging the gap between product development and service / support in an end-to-end environment that empowers companies to optimise the relationship between these important organisations without sacrificing autonomy or business processes and providing a collaborative environment that significantly saves time and resources. Here the company offers two contrasting examples of that approach in action.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Agency Public healthcare is a sector where value for money has never been more in the spotlight. Lancashire and South Cumbria Agency (LaSCA) is an NHS agency serving ten

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Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). They manage the PCTs patient population registers and provide administrative services to the PCTs and their NHS contractors. The service is split into three major distinct groups: Patient, Contractor and Supporting Services. LaSCA is publicly funded and employs over 200 staff. LaSCA began exploring upgrading its help desk system after deciding that it needed a flexible and customisable solution that also provided reporting functionality. The organisation evaluated its existing solution – an outdated and unmanageable help desk application – to determine the essential functions it needed to maintain and to define any new requirements needed. They determined that adding the new requirements to their existing solution would be too expensive to make it a viable option. Instead, implementing a new solution would not only be more cost effective, but would also alleviate the burden of using an outdated solution.

LaSCA’s essential feature in a new help desk solution was that the solution keeps its clients informed and offers tools that enable its users to stay updated according to their preferences. TechExcel ServiceWise ticked all the boxes by providing a self-service portal, web conversations and email notifications. After trying out ServiceWise and evaluating the TechExcel support service, LaSCA was confident that it was the right choice. LaSCA required a very complex set of features and functionality in order to support all its requirements; like multi-tier email notifications, integration with OCS inventory, and multiple instances of helpdesks for different parts of the business and departments outside IT. However, the strain of implementing complex requirements was mitigated since a large portion of the system was already built during the trial phase offered by TechExcel, which made the final steps of the implementation easy and less time consuming. By switching to ServiceWise,

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

LaSCA has met all its feature needs and is now able to report on all aspects of the IT department, allowing them to calculate ROI on the operation and provide information to the business on how many issues are resolved and in what time frame. A year into using the new system, LaSCA is very happy with the performance of the system and Mark Gannon, IT manager, comments, “TechExcel support is first class, one of the very few companies we deal with that the support staff are very helpful and friendly and see through any problem you have until its completion. I would give the product 9/10 and support 10/10.” TechExcel ServiceWise is a fully configurable and scalable software suite for helpdesk and service desk management and IT service management (ITSM). ServiceWise helps automate and streamline IT helpdesk activities with configurable workflows, process approvals, email integration, IT project management, and integrated knowledge management solution. The powerful features and ease of maintenance make ServiceWise a powerful solution for growing IT service organisations. ServiceWise is available in two editions, ServiceWise HelpDesk and ITIL. TechExcel ServiceWise helps you optimise your organisation’s support process by providing your team with everything you need to exceed your customer’s service expectations. Through sophisticated process automation, knowledgebase management, and the availability of customer self service through the Customer Web Portal, your support team can resolve issues more efficiently and improve your bottom line. ServiceWise enables customers to refine support processes to increase efficiency and productivity while significantly decreasing overall support costs by reducing the time to resolve incidents. Best of all, TechExcel ServiceWise can be deployed under budget in days or weeks.

iRely iRely is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana with offices in New Jersey, Georgia, Wimborne (UK); Bangalore (India) and has 200 co-workers around the world. It is a global provider of software for the physical commodity ecosystem serving organisations that handle origination, trading, manufacturing and distribution of commodities and providing a range of services in the commodity industry.

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iRely needed a replacement for an old home grown system without workflow capabilities that was no longer fit for purpose. A project team of stakeholders was formed from the three core technical areas that were in charge of product selection process. TechExcel won the contract based on features such as extensive workflow capabilities, out of box customer portal, ease of system setup and cost of services. As an extra bonus for CustomerWise, it won unanimously in a vote by the implementation team. By switching to CustomerWise, iRely met all its feature needs including defect tracking and is now able to integrate billing into the primary system as well as move from monthly to weekly billing. Additionally, they were able to reduce headcount, get full visibility into the production cycle, track SLA’s and most importantly, they gained a lot more happy customers as a result of 20 percent faster resolution times and the use of a customer portal for faster service. Six months into using the new system, iRely is very happy with the performance and the ROI from the system. George Olney, COO, said “The product implementation was really easy and if we look at return on investment we have, for example, reduced our average days bugs outstanding to eight days and put in escalation procedures for bug fixes outstanding more than five days.” CustomerWise is a fully configurable and scalable software suite for customer helpdesk management and ITSM. It helps automate and streamline helpdesk activities with configurable workflows, process approvals, email integration, project management, and integrated knowledge management solution. These features and ease of maintenance make CustomerWise a powerful solution for growing service organisations. It helps to optimise an organisation’s support process by providing the team with everything they need to exceed the customer’s service expectations. Through sophisticated process automation, knowledge base management, and the availability of customer self service through the Customer Web Portal, the support team can resolve issues more efficiently and improve the bottom line. CustomerWise enables users to refine support processes to increase efficiency and productivity while significantly decreasing overall support costs by reducing the time to resolve incidents. VitAL www.techexcel.com

The company’s aim is to unify enterprises by bridging the gap between product development and service / support in an end-to-end environment that empowers companies to optimise the relationship between these important organisations without sacrificing autonomy or business processes and providing a collaborative environment that significantly saves time and resources.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Solving the alignment issue It is clearly in an organisation’s interest to have all its constituent parts purposefully and harmoniously working towards common goals, so why has the issue of alignment in IT proven so elusive for so long and is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Vivantio is here to help.

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or the last ten years or more there has been a seemingly endless stream of magazine articles, white papers and industry experts confidently stating that perhaps the single most important issue facing IT departments is aligning themselves with an organisation’s strategic goals. Yet despite all the advice and commentary on this apparently critical issue, it continues to be presented regularly as an unresolved problem and the source of much ongoing conflict between the IT department and the wider organisation. I don’t think anyone can quibble with the sentiment – it is clearly in an organisation’s interest to have all its constituent parts purposefully and harmoniously working towards common goals. But why has this issue of alignment in IT proven so elusive for so long and is there any light at the end of the tunnel? What hope is there for the beleaguered IT manager? Quite a lot as it happens. Perhaps surprisingly this new dawn originates from what has emerged over the last year as a very hot topic: software-as-a-service (SaaS). So with a substantial dose of optimism I am

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going to attempt to simultaneously solve this age old conundrum and make heroes of IT managers brave enough to embrace the new opportunity that lies before them.

Safe and manageable? First we need to satisfy ourselves that SaaS is safe and manageable. Acceptance and penetration of the SaaS model has grown a great deal in the last five years or so, as predicted by all the leading analysts. But there is a noticeable hesitation and some degree of apprehension amongst IT management, which results in many approaching SaaS solutions along the same lines as on-premise projects. While it is important for IT departments to stay close to their customers, this approach ignores the defining characteristic of SaaS: it turns complex technology into an easily accessible service. The hesitation appears to be rooted in some of the concerns initially raised about SaaS when it began to emerge, even as far back as 2003 but most notably during its acceleration between 2007 and 2010. The two main concerns were always security and reliability.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

In general, IT departments did not like the idea that they were handing over control of these things to a service provider. The overall consensus seemed to be that it was better to maintain direct control over these in particular to ensure that nothing went wrong and if it did the IT team could be sure someone would give the problem the appropriate level of attention. Other concerns focused on perceived difficulties in managing the service provider via a contract, how to measure the return on investment as well as issues of scalability, business continuity planning and the frequency of system updates. All of these concerns are valid and important to address. The answer is careful assessment and selection of the service provider. Every man and his dog has jumped on the SaaS bandwagon but it is now a proven model for software delivery which makes it much easier to pick out the providers with good track records. A good service provider can usually provide better security and reliability than an on premise solution for a comparative price. They understand the regulatory issues surrounding data privacy and have data centres in appropriate locations. And importantly, they don’t just offer a good contract – they can also explain how they intend to meet the agreed service levels. In short, a good service provider offers the true benefits of SaaS in a way that is indeed directly accessible by anyone in an organisation. And that is precisely where SaaS and strategic alignment meet.

Redefining relationships It is already the case that SaaS applications can be taken on without any involvement by the IT department. If employees already have a web browser and an internet connection, they can sign up to SaaS applications themselves. It is no longer necessary to bring IT in to discuss ‘techie’ things like server platforms and database engines. This has the potential to fundamentally redefine the relationship between IT and the wider organisation. One way of looking at this is that it drives a wedge between the organisation and IT. The necessary involvement of both during all aspects of business planning and operation is perhaps somewhat diminished

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with the advent of SaaS. Perhaps the role of the IT department is reduced to providing the network, operating systems and web connectivity, without any need to be involved in the evaluation/implementation of line-of-business applications. The alternative view is that it actually removes a huge barrier and takes a lot of the conflict out of the relationship. In many organisations to a greater or lesser extent there is a sense of “them and us” pervading attitudes on both sides.

Agility The business needs to be agile and business units want to take advantage of the software and technology that is available. IT departments try to create a cost effective, flexible environment which will enable business units to do this. But inevitably there are occasions when implementing a particular application or technology will require significant technical change, and a lot of time and money. On occasions such as this resentment and frustration are common. SaaS has the potential to ease this problem considerably. It enables IT and users to form a real partnership with more focus on strategic goals, information and functionality (what the products do) and less focus on technical implementation (how the products work). SaaS can provide some great opportunities for IT management to respond to pressure to cut costs and do more with less. It may also help them to position themselves as enablers, helping business units to respond to their own budget pressures and competitive drivers. IT service teams are already experts in managing service level agreements and service contracts, and these skills will be needed by the business units as they engage with SaaS providers. These are all possibilities and the outcome for each individual organisation will depend on organisational culture and their unique circumstances. But there is no doubt that SaaS is a proven model and is fundamentally different to the old on-premise paradigm. Brave and ambitious IT managers will do well to embrace this change and leverage it to get closer to their customers and the organisation, repositioning themselves as enablers and perhaps even heroes. VitAL www.vivantioservicedesk.com

Perhaps surprisingly this new dawn originates from what has emerged over the last year as a very hot topic: softwareas-a-service (SaaS). So with a substantial dose of optimism I am going to attempt to simultaneously solve this age old conundrum and make heroes of IT managers brave enough to embrace the new opportunity that lies before them.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Balancing corporate governance with effective IT service The challenge of balancing sound corporate governance with effective IT Service & Support is prevalent in all sectors, but particularly in healthcare. Marval reports...

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n just a few short years, IT has become entrenched in everyday life. It is intrinsic to the day-to-day operations of modern businesses, local and central government, education and the healthcare sector. If IT is not managed adequately and IT services are not assured, the impact is not felt by the business alone, but by its customers as well. Organisations now understand that their business relies entirely upon a reliable and effective IT infrastructure. If ICT does not work, in most cases the business and the services it operates, along with its employees, simply cannot work either. “Because of the vital nature of IT, it has become increasingly important to ensure

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organisational, stakeholder and customer confidence in the way in which IT services are delivered, especially with many industries becoming heavily regulated and monitored as a result,” says Dr Don Page, CEO of the Marval Group. “The IT challenge is to deliver standardised, efficient and reliable IT services to the business, drive down costs, reduce risk and increase the organisational value of ICT investment. At the same time, IT support teams are under pressure to work within increasingly constrained budgets while continually improving services and ensuring that IT investment is being leveraged to its full capacity.”

The consequences of poor IT management In the business world the consequence of poor IT management equals lower profits, ineffective services and unsatisfied customers. In areas such as healthcare the implications can be far more severe. Ineffective IT service within the healthcare sector can impact on the health of not only the organisation, but also the health of patients. When it comes to the healthcare sector, the effective management of its IT equipment, clinical systems and service infrastructure really can be a matter of life or death. Healthcare organisations, including hospitals, clinics and GP surgeries generate critical and

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

confidential information that must be securely stored and managed, alongside accurate details of clinical and IT equipment, their configuration, relationships and dependencies. Equipment availability is critical because of the possible risks to patients in the event of breakdowns and service outages. These functions are often managed by IT departments stretched to capacity and expected to support complex infrastructures on restricted budgets. Compounding this issue is the fact that medical equipment has converged with IT technologies, and adopting new healthcare technologies adds further pressure to already strained resources. The successful adoption and exploitation of new technologies, clinical systems and applications rely on a stable underpinning IT infrastructure and network to mitigate risk and provide the best patient care possible.

Value for money While patient care is naturally the number one priority, an effective healthcare organisation needs to demonstrate value for money along with governance and compliance to regulatory requirements and demands. Sound IT governance and compliance to regulations as well as improved accountability, have become the cornerstones in delivering effective IT services. The need for IT governance is driven by factors, including mandatory legislation, regulations and codes of practice, as well as the need for cost savings and improved efficiency. IT Service Management (ITSM) and the adoption of industry best practice and standards such as ITIL, ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 27001, are essential tools for improving the overall performance of any organisation that depends on IT. This is imperative in assisting organisations to deliver effective IT services and improved service. ITIL offers best practice guidelines for the management and delivery of IT services. However, in order for these to be truly effective there is a need for accountability. Ensuring a successful IT service improvement programme means being able to enforce continual improvement strategies and provide evidence to prove quality of service and progress made. This is where ISO/IEC 20000 is important.

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“Where ITIL talks of process and the way things should be done in line with best practice, which can be difficult to implement and control, ISO/IEC 20000 is an international standard for the management of the IT and service infrastructure that can be audited and benchmarked against, providing measures that can be used to prove quality of service and progress, ensuring an auditable culture of continual improvement and accountability from the start,” says Don Page. “Instead of offering advice on how things ‘should’ be done, in essence it offers a formal structure that states how things ‘shall’ be done, which goes a long way towards standardising IT processes and ensuring auditability and accountability. “ISO/IEC 20000 can be used as a starting point in developing an effective IT governance framework. It outlines the minimal critical requirements for IT governance and demonstrates business commitment from IT to its customers. Whereas ITIL relies heavily on the people within an organisation, ISO/IEC 20000 is an organisational certification that ensures the continuity of ITSM initiatives beyond the employment cycle of any individual employee. “ISO/IEC 20000 offers a baseline against which IT service providers, both internal and external, can be measured in order to demonstrate to the business that its service delivery represents best practice, is auditable and accountable and delivers value for money, all of which form important aspects of IT governance,” concludes Page.

Consistent services The ability to deliver consistent services that are both accountable and auditable, in turn allows for benchmarking against peer organisations or competitors to compare performance, which can help create a culture of continual service improvement. By centralising IT functions and services underpinned by ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000, IT support services are able to demonstrate their contribution and value to the organisation, its stakeholders and customers.

In order to support this, organisations need to adopt an integrated, process-driven service management toolset which supports best practice and standards, regulatory compliance and governance requirements. This ensures a consistent approach that delivers reliable levels of service, with optimised costs and more intelligent use of expensive resource. However, it is vital we look at the big picture and make certain that any ITSM software tool supports best practices and international standards and has the ability to handle current requirements and is also flexible enough to incorporate changes in the future, and drive value within the organisation. Adopting ISO/IEC 20000 ensures that the right controls and delivery mechanisms are in place, and that processes and procedures can be externally audited to meet the required governance, controls and evidence. The Marval ITSM tool collects over 80% of the audit evidence required by ISO/IEC 20000. Organisations looking at the benefits of investing, or continuing to invest in IT Service Management best practice and education have a stark choice – take up ITIL training, and see staff taking their qualifications with them when they walk out the door – or investing in something that doesn’t rely on individual members of staff sticking around; something that demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to its stakeholders and customers. If you feel that adopting an auditable culture of continual improvement and accountability in your service and support organisation is right for you – then Marval can help. VitAL www.marval.co.uk

July / August 2012 : VitAL 57


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Continual Improvement made easy Has continual improvement evolved so far that it’s starting to defeat its own purpose? Don McEwan, principal consultant at Solisma finds out.

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hat started with a simple idea to capture staff suggestions has progressed to a full scale concept of a management practice that uses a measurement framework, statistical analysis, tiered reporting and project implementation covering every aspect of the business. It can take so long to implement fully that your next CEO may be likely to shelve it before the benefits are realised. Organisations often spend months or even years just thinking about how to implement Continual Improvement while obvious improvement initiatives are passed by. The answer lies in finding the right balance by breaking down the activity into manageable stages that match the organisation’s need or appetite for improvement.

It’s your choice Continual Improvement works at strategic, tactical and operational levels on a continual (incremental) basis; it can be about identifying and overcoming inefficiencies, taking corrective and preventative actions or improving quality and effectiveness. It’s often seen as being limited to specific systems or processes but it

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can be so much more - for example, within the practice of IT Service Management it can cover a broad range of areas such as strategy and the management system, the use of a lifecycle approach, the organisation and its culture, the delivery of services as well as the processes and the tools that support them. Often, the simplest starting point is to start capturing staff suggestions in an Improvements Register. Ideas can be assessed, filtered and rolled up into initiatives to be considered for adoption. The Japanese management practice of Kaizen, which translates to “good change”, has been used since the middle of last century to support this idea. It encourages teamwork, develops motivation and encourages ownership by staff for their own work. It is accepted that this can be an easy way to implement highly practical improvements without recourse to external consultants or to additional capital investment. At the other end of the scale we have a “best practice” approach to Continual Improvement, based on Deming’s PlanDo-Check-Act cycle, which helps to ensure that plans are aligned with the organisation’s vision and that performance

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

is measured and adjusted continually. This is supported by an improvement process that identifies and implements appropriate measurements, analysis and reporting to support improvements against the defined objectives and overall vision. The best practice approach can get very technical and involve assessments of process compliance and maturity plus the use of techniques such as Six Sigma, Gap Analysis and/or adoptions of standards such as ISO 9000 and ISO/IEC 20000. Regardless of the extent to which Continual Improvement is adopted it should always be a deliberate decision supported by the overall business plan. It should have management support and it should have adequate funding.

Our experience At Solisma we have found that there are two common approaches that organisations often take. Members of one group already have business buy-in; they have an end-goal in mind and want to conduct a baseline compliance or maturity assessment to identify how they can best move from their current state to their desired end state. Members of the second group do not have clear objectives; they feel that something is “broken” and want to use an assessment to find out what needs to be fixed and use this to flag the issues to management for future planning. Both are valid approaches. Another common problem is a culture that is not supportive of improvement. Perhaps staff are not aware of the need, they don’t know how to achieve it, there can be a lack of leadership and vision in the organisation and morale is often low. In these situations there is a clear need to adopt some of the well-known advice from Kotter’s Eight-Step Change Model. When it comes to Continual Improvement, there is a clear need for improvement opportunities to be closely aligned with the objectives, requirements and culture of the organisation.

Making it easy With this in mind, Solisma created Service Improvement Manager (SIM), a software solution many organisations now use

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to support good practice in Continual Improvement. Here is a breakdown of a simple approach to take: 1. Seek to understand the business drivers, objectives and need for improvement; 2. Decide on the framework or standard and the key processes to be covered by a baseline compliance or maturity assessment; 3. Record all opportunities for improvement (from assessments and staff suggestions) in one central location; 4. Build (Plan) and manage (Do) improvement initiatives (complete with business case) based on addressing gaps/improvements; 5. Use the Management System Explorer to document policies and procedures and measure the performance of individual processes (Check); 6. Perform ongoing self-assessments and improvement initiatives on a planned basis (Act). In concert with these activities it is common to address the people aspect by creating awareness of the vision and plans, building competence through training and keeping people informed with relevant communications. The collaborative approach underlying the design of SIM ensures teamwork and effective communication.

Regardless of the extent to which Continual Improvement is adopted it should always be a deliberate decision supported by the overall business plan. It should have management support and it should have adequate funding.

Getting results In conclusion, Continual Improvement has not evolved so far that it is defeating its own purpose. We actually have the luxury of choosing the scope of our approach to match our ability and desire to improve. In most cases, it is possible to start immediately, find some quick wins, then gradually widen the scope of our approach. Service Improvement Manager is an invaluable tool for anyone charged with getting results from Continual Improvement activities. It supports the need for a balanced approach and it can be shaped and re-shaped to match requirements as higher levels of maturity are reached. It supports an improvement culture. In short it makes Continual Improvement extremely easy. VitAL To find out more about Service Improvement Manager visit service-improvement.com www.solisma.com

July / August 2012 : VitAL 59


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Service Management for the changing IT world Businesses are facing a faster pace of change than they ever have done before, due in no small part to the ever-shifting technology landscape. James Gay, CEO, ICCM Solutions reports.

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ver recent years there has been a plethora of new technologies, some of which have had a major impact on businesses. For example, cloud technology has delivered businesses a range of new options around hosting and outsourcing. Initiatives such as bring your own device (BYOD), in which employees are encouraged to use their own smartphones and tablets at work, provide greater choice and easier access to IT systems and services, but they also raise concerns around support and security. Similar issues are encountered with social media platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, which have become a firm staple in the communications and marketing strategies of many businesses. These examples demonstrate that when it comes to managing technology in business, the only guaranteed constant is change. IT managers cannot afford to ignore new technologies or demands from the

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business to use them, but their adoption must be actively managed. To do this the IT function must constantly update services, support, security and usage policies. I firmly believe that central to this is efficient use of IT Service Management.

Establishing processes IT Service Management can enable businesses to unlock value from technology investments through aiding the planning, management and delivery of their IT function. What is critical however is that businesses decide on policies based on their own specific needs. Far too often organisations build IT Service Management policies focused on the broader market, addressing needs and issues that are widely debated in industry circles and the IT press, but which are not core to their own business. Industry debates draw in participants from very different backgrounds and with very different needs – for example, on site

versus on the road, or secure network versus secure application. In addition, senior members of staff, who have the most influence over setting policies, often spend the majority of their time out of the office and communicating on mobile devices. Their needs often do not represent those of the wider business. Care therefore needs to be taken that the specific intricacies of the organisation are considered. IT Service Management can provide businesses with factual data on service usage, access devices, and user problems which will enable solutions to be aligned to the specific organisational needs, rather than wider industry issues. IT investment will then be made based on business-specific metrics, which are available from the IT Service Management platform. The key however is for a business to not then rest on its laurels; effective IT Service Management can report trends and identify

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

areas where processes can be continually improved. To ensure it remains competitive, a business must recognise this need for change.

Becoming agile All businesses want to progress, however the problem for many organisations is that Service Management technology is letting them down. Far too often, businesses find their IT Service Management tools can meet the requirements they had a few years ago, but cannot be adapted to address changing technologies and emerging business needs. Perhaps this is why analysts report the average industry turnover rate of Service Management products to be just five years. This high churn rate needs to be reduced, as economic pressures mean that businesses are looking to get more from the investments they have made in areas like Service Management. Agile businesses which can adapt with changing technologies, customer requirements and business opportunities, will gain competitive advantage and market share. The ability to modify processes to adopt and utilise emerging technologies is essential. For businesses to become flexible, they must ensure their IT Service Management products are up to the job, and can deliver and support services both now and in the future. This means that the technology must have the ability to rapidly create or change services and processes and integrate with new systems and technologies. A flexible approach to IT Service Management also provides business with a platform to continue these adopted best practices into the organisation’s wider support services.

Creating a platform For businesses to take full advantage of market opportunities, it is imperative that IT Service Management is part of a broader strategy to improve service delivery throughout the organisation. Once agile processes have been established within IT, the business can reap further rewards by taking this process driven-approach to other areas of the company. Areas such as Facilities Management, HR, finance and marketing deliver services that can be built on a suitably

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flexible Service Management platform used in IT. This will drive organisational efficiency in improving tasks, processes and decision making in these departments, while using the investment in an existing system to do it. Using a single service management platform across multiple business functions offers benefits beyond simple re-use of an asset. Services delivered to end users take on a common, consistent and more intuitive interface, regardless of which department is actually delivering them. This approach also provides a system to realise the end-to-end automation of processes and services which span multiple departments; important, as many inefficiencies relate to processes crossing departmental borders. Finally, this approach encourages collaboration between departments and starts to break down the information silos that exist in many businesses.

A partner through change IT Service Management vendors and consultants can provide best practice experience gained in the wider industry, but it is essential that these partners focus on the right solution for the needs of the individual business, and do not mandate solutions that simply reflect the capabilities of their product. However, to be truly effective the partnership must also be a long-term commitment from both parties. Setting strong processes and then adapting these within the IT department, across business units and subsequently across the organisation is a long-term vision. A partner that can support this business vision, and make it a reality, is imperative. The overriding directive of ICCM is the simplification of complexity in Service Management environments. Sophisticated ITIL aligned Service Management solutions built on the OpenTextÂŽ BPM (Business Process Management) platform, provides businesses across the globe with the ability to provide intuitive access to efficient and dependable services. The solution enables collaboration between the business and IT so that organisations can ultimately reap the rewards of business innovation and competitive advantage. VitAL www.iccm.co.uk

Agile businesses which can adapt with changing technologies, customer requirements and business opportunities, will gain competitive advantage and market share. The ability to modify processes to adopt and utilise emerging technologies is essential.

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VitAL 30 Leading ITSM Providers 2012