IT Service Management – when the ITSM tool really is at fault

{ article }

Problem solving solution

In the first part of this series, we discussed the need to understand where the real problem is before jumping in to change your ITSM tool. So what happens if it is the tool that is at fault?

For the most part, the current range of ITSM tools will all be capable of doing anything you could want when it comes to your ITSM processes, there may still be real reasons to move to a new toolset.


There are many things that may initiate the need for change. Often a change in IT leadership will result in a change of tool as a new leader wants to make their mark on the organization. Perhaps the organization has made a decision to move to cloud-based services, making an on-premise ITSM solution obsolete. A change in financial direction could necessitate a switch to a subscription-based service desk solution, moving the expenditure from Capex to Opex.

Vendor Merger or Acquisition

Maybe the tool has lost its local support, leaving you with no vendor to work with. Your tool may have been acquired by another vendor and is being absorbed into another tool.
If there are good reasons for the change then there are some things you need to think about.

Lift and Shift

Do not…and I really mean DO NOT…contemplate a ‘lift and shift’ implementation of the new tool. You are leaving your last tool behind because, for whatever reason, you are not happy with it. Why then would you contemplate picking up a configuration that is not working and dumping it in your shiny new toolset? There are very few, if any, scenarios where a ‘lift and shift’ is even remotely sensible – “it’s the way we have always done it” – is not one of those scenarios!

Business Processes Review

This is your opportunity to do a close review of all your ITSM processes, get everyone who is affected involved in the work and come up with something that will deliver real business value. There is a pretty good chance that your current processes were put together in a time where IT requirements were all that were taken into consideration in ITSM process design. Now is the time to talk to the business and listen to what they want. IT needs to start thinking regarding business outcomes rather than internal IT processes; it is time to work the way the business needs us to work, rather than try to force the business into artificial constraints that support the way IT would like to work.

Organizational Change

Whatever you do, take organizational and cultural change seriously. We always talk about  People, Process, and Technology  but far too often we underestimate just how important the people side of the equation is. No matter how well planned and executed your change is, how amazing your new processes are or how pretty the new tool is if you do not do what is needed to keep your people happy you will never have a truly successful outcome.

Involve ALL your stakeholders in your process design. Your ITSM processes are not about managing IT; they are all about managing the services that the business uses. The processes that are implemented into your new toolset need to support the business and improve value and outcomes for the business and its customers.

Develop a relationship with your toolset vendor. This will help you get the best out of your toolset in the long term. Get involved in user groups, see how other businesses utilize the tool. User groups can exert valuable influence over vendors allowing them to push for enhancements that will help solve real business issues.


Remember the reasons that you are changing your toolset. Do not try to clone the mistakes from your old tool and pollute the new tool with the same defective processes. Keep your processes simple at the beginning; it is far easier to add complexity where it is needed than it is to take it away where it is unnecessary later.

Above all make sure you all  understand what you are there for and what these processes are designed to support – value for the business. If you keep this at the forefront of your mind then you have a far better chance of delivering what the business needs from you. Your toolset is simply an enabler of process – good or bad. A well-defined process that delivers real business and customer value and is executed via a modern ITSM tool is the most desirable outcome. If any part of the equation is lacking then the final solution will let you down.

David Mainville

David Mainville, CEO and co-founder of Navvia, is a passionate advocate of Service Management and a frequent presenter, blogger and well known member of the ITSM community. With over 35 years of experience, David has held progressively senior technical and management roles allowing him to "connect the dots" between the Business and IT. At Navvia, David leads the charge to bring innovative ITSM solutions to market focusing on Product Development, Marketing and Operations.

• Posted by David Mainville on Jul 14, 2016
• Filed under Articles

Share this post