Selecting a new IT service management (ITSM) tool is a major project (and a major investment). It’ll impact your IT service desk, your technical support teams, and your end-user community. To help, here are ten tips for picking the right ITSM tool.
Tip #1: Figure out what you want
Know your organization and plan accordingly. What will you need the tool to do? There’s a huge difference between just doing the basics of incident, request, and change management and implementing a complex set of ITSM practices. Do you want a CMDB? What about problem management? So many people say they want a tool to “do ITIL” but the reality is that only the most mature organizations will ever have the need for support for over thirty ITIL management practices. Also, understand your business and create a plan based on your reality – not what the ITIL textbook says or what ITSM tool vendors are trying to sell you.
Tip #2: Engage your people
Let your team know that you’re looking to select a new ITSM tool so that they’re engaged and can get thinking early on in the process. A new ITSM tool is a significant investment, so give people enough time to really think about the future implications. This is much too important a purchase to rush.
Tip #3: Don’t rush your requirements gathering
Don’t try to fast track the requirements gathering stage. If you try to move too quickly, you run the risk of missing something that’s critically important. And don’t be that customer who rushes their new-tool decision making process because they neglected the “end of life” date for their existing solution. Leave yourself with this “Yikes! Our renewal is due in 30 days! We need a new solution NOW!” scenario at your peril.
Things to consider here include the following:
- Consistency in ITSM processes
- Strong customer experience
- The ability to use automation templates and models
- Integration with third-party solutions, such as remote support, mobile device management, authentication, and patch management
- Application outside of IT
- The ease with which you can configure and change workflows – without the need for complex code changes
- Real-time and dynamic dashboards, metrics, and reporting capabilities
- Support for the migration of data from existing tools and solutions into the new ITSM solution.
Tip #4: Review your processes
Make sure your processes are up to date and have been reviewed recently. Everything starts with your people and processes, and if you don’t have both of these in place you can spend all the money in the world on a tool and it won't deliver the expected value. So, focus on your processes, and make sure they’re fit for purpose and meeting the needs of the customer. If you don’t take the time to look at your processes, you’ll likely miss things and will end up trying to retrofit process improvements while you’re in the midst of the toolset implementation.
Tip #5: Sense check your requirements
Once you’ve reviewed your processes, have another pass at your requirements. Has anything changed following your process review? Look at what’s an absolute “must have” versus what’s a “nice to have.” It can be very easy to get carried away when faced with a dazzling array of functionality – so, before you go anywhere near a tool please make sure that you’re crystal clear on what's needed.
Tip #6: Structure a strong request for proposal (RFP)
Look at what’s available and bear in mind that you’ll need your vendor to be a strategic partner. Create a strong RFP so that you can compare “like with like” and keep the procurement stage on track.
Tip #7: Focus on CX
Make sure you approach your toolset selection with the end users in mind. Customer experience (CX) is everything here – because if your tool isn’t easy to interact with, then you’ll lose customer engagement and people will find ways to circumvent the tool-based process.
Tip #8: Is it enterprise friendly?
Don’t forget about enterprise service management. If you only use your ITSM tool to manage IT, then you’re definitely not getting value for money. Look at other use cases across the business, for example tracking facilities requests or managing human resources (HR) tasks.
Tip #9: Look at licensing requirements
Be clear on how you’re planning to use the tool. Will it be on-premises? Will it need hosting or dedicated servers? What about mobile app usage? Understand how your user base, both technical teams and end customers, will access and use the tool such that you can have the appropriate licensing in place.
Tip #10: Warm up your end users
Put the business front and center. A new tool is a big adjustment, so make sure you give people enough time to be able to accommodate it. Socialize the tool at all-hands calls and ask for volunteers to use it. If you run early adoption schemes, these can go a long way to making people feel more comfortable with the change and will improve end-user engagement.
So that’s our top ten tips for selecting the right ITSM tool. What would you add to this? Please let us know in the comments.