Buying and implementing a new IT service management (ITSM) tool is like dropping a large rock into a lake – the impact creates a ripple effect that can take a while to settle back down. Therefore, it’s important to not underestimate the reach of the consequences of selecting and implementing a new ITSM tool.

In particular, you need to understand from the get-go that you’ll have to change various aspects of your existing practices in order to deliver the benefits you expect from your shiny new ITSM tool. To help, here are five tips that range from using organizational change management tools and techniques to adopting continual improvement.

1. Address the Impact on People

A new ITSM tool involves a significant people (or organizational) change. Hence, the time taken in involving the various stakeholders in the planning through delivery will pay back later, especially because those affected by (but not involved in) the ITSM tool implementation are most likely to be resistant to the change.

Some of these people-related consequences of a new ITSM tool are that:

  • The processes supported by the ITSM tool will change because you can now do, and achieve, things that you couldn’t before.

  • Your IT support staff might need new or different skill sets. Not only to use the new ITSM tool, but also related to new ITSM processes and policies.

  • There’s a big knowledge management opportunity, particularly in reusing your documented incident resolutions. However, this also needs a change of culture to elicit effective knowledge sharing in addition to the new tool capabilities.

As you can see, it is important to get your planning right. Take the time to sufficiently involve everyone who might be affected by the new ITSM tool implementation, and begin working as soon as possible.

2. Assess the Suitability of Your Existing Practices Pre-Implementation

Before implementing your new ITSM tool, examine your current ITSM processes to ensure that they are lean and serviceable before trying to increase the level of automated support for them (via the new ITSM tool). This will prevent the automation of bad processes – where you simply get to the wrong result more quickly – and also minimize change fatigue by giving you a single set of changes to sell to people.

It’s also important to “learn from what you already know.” ITSM tool flexibility means that there are many options available, settings to choose, and decisions to be made in set up. Failure to exploit these and match the tool to your specific requirements will ultimately limit the benefits from the new ITSM tool.

3. Select the Right Implementation Approach for Your Organization

This is usually a case of either to “go big bang” or take a phased approach. This will be determined by the size of your implementation and your organization’s capacity for and capability to change.

As with any new technology roll-out, it’s good to start with a proof of concept (POC) in one part of your organization, perhaps simply logging tickets for one technology type or IT service in the new ITSM tool. Use the POC and/or a pilot to either verify the chosen settings or to allow some updating and modification to the ITSM tool before rolling it out across the whole organization.

4. Don’t Forget to Set Up Mechanisms to Measure Your Success

Your organization must start by knowing why it’s implementing a new ITSM tool. That knowledge should deliver you the critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) against which to judge success. In demonstrating success, it’s vital to build monitoring into your processes/practices. Remember, it’s the combined performance of your people, processes, and technology that matters here.

A mechanism is needed for capturing improved performance in the things that matter most to your organization. For example:

  • Total support team costs

  • The downtime of key IT services

  • The size of the ticket backlog

  • Customer and user satisfaction levels.

5. Be Prepared to Keep Up the Implementation Project’s Focus on Improvement Indefinitely

The end of your ITSM tool implementation project will fully justify some celebration, but it’s really only the beginning of an ITSM improvement program. All of the agreed improvement measures are still targets to be improved on again over time.

The ITSM tool will also likely have more capabilities available than have initially been implemented. Therefore, you’ll need to decide on what to use next by going back around the loop of “why,” “how,” and “when” with stakeholders to identify and deliver even more benefits to the business from your new ITSM tool.

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