Pink with ITSM Envy – Part I
If you were not able to attend Pink16 this year, don’t worry. Let me bring you up on some of the conversations we had while we were there.
There was more buzz than usual around the topic of switching tools. Many of the people we talked to were finally getting to the point where they finally just had to do something about their old ticketing tool. It has now been described that the ticketing tool is a ticking tool, counting down till it no longer functions because it is so old, out of maintenance and support.
And it is still fascinating to hear people talk about software that they bought some 5-7 years ago, which as we know in both dog and Internet times is a whole lifetime. Now that is not to say everyone is on software this old, but you still run into them and the occasional homegrown or “Frankenstein” systems.
I am constantly amazed at how people have been able to keep those things alive. However, the big question now is how much time, effort and budget are you continuing to sink into something that is no longer viable, does not synch with your other tools and, while you think it is not costing you anything in terms of an annual maintenance payment, carries a large hidden TCO cost.
Also, although a lot has changed, over the last few years, we continue to run into people who are still on very old ITSM or service desk systems.
The other big topic was around those people, and the majority of those we talked to, who are currently on the ServiceNow Enterprise Cloud Platform and what we could do to help them see more value from that investment.
Here is a summary of some of the most common questions;
Q: I did not know that Unisys was in Service Management
A: We have been doing Service Management at scale and with excellence for many years.
Several years ago you had to be a Service Desk managed service client in order to have exposure to our experts and services.
Over the last couple of years we have launched a set of services that allow you to take advantage of what we have learned and what we do every day to run world-class global service desk and IT operations. You can also tap into our extensive knowledge on each of the disciplines, from Incident and Problem, to Change and Release, Asset and Config, Knowledge and Request. We can also expand this into other areas such as monitoring, event, capacity, impact and assurance. And we bring it all together with the types of information you need to run the business from strategy, implementation, optimization and ongoing management.
We have packaged this experience up into several types of solutions, from Advisory and Consulting to help you assess where you are today and how to create the plan and technology roadmap to move forward, to an optimized image of the service management platform to help you jump your maturity forward to a modern service desk. Then we take you to the next stage by looking at key integrations to extend the automation to other systems and work to increase the inclusion of more teams into the orchestration and resolution of issues. We can provide you the Platform as a Service and take over the ongoing care and management of not only the platform; we can also handle the new types of request you will be getting for more people to have access, new catalog items and additional modules, just to name a few.
Q: Not many providers support both BMC and ServiceNow
A: That is true. We are real specialists in service management and from a service provider perspective just like you. So we need to understand the major platforms. This is different than many of the smaller boutique firms. We actually run service desks and data centers. So it is less about “do as we say”, it is about: learn from what we have done.
And the tools are important, so having the knowledge and skill sets around these two key platforms is essential to assisting clients. It is not uncommon for us to meet with clients who have a hybrid service management environment with not only a mix of tools and platforms, but also a mix of versions.
The first thing we suggest is a technology assessment of the platform. Then we can map this against where you need to be from an overall Digital Service Strategy and get you down the path of a modern digital service architecture to take advantage of software-defined elements. Next we look at where you are in creating and maintaining the Service Portfolio and then do a deep dive into each of the disciplines and leveraging those modules. This really has an impact when we combine it with a Process Maturity Assessment. Then you start to see the real power of what happens when People, Process and Technology are functioning in tight orchestration.
Q: We have not gotten beyond doing Incident and a little bit of change; what’s wrong?
A: Probably nothing is wrong. It is usually a mix of focus, bandwidth and skill sets.
We see this a lot with people trying to accomplish this using the aforementioned legacy “Soviet era” software, the tool just does not have the same level of integration, depth and automation that the current platforms provide. In the new platforms, a lot of the industry best practice processes have been incorporated to assist the People in accomplishing their tasks.
With the newer versions, the platform is capable, it is then usually a case of learning and knowing how to make the new platform work. Not always easy day one when you have spent years in another technology.
Also if you are still running around fighting today’s fires, you do not get a chance to step back and look at what you are doing, how and why, and to be able to re-engineer. We still see today that people have deployed a new modern enterprise cloud service management platform and still take most of their requests by phone. When we ask why, they usually respond this is how we have always done it (see standard definition of insanity; do the same thing over and over and expect a different result), and that our end users will not use it.
Note to those people: the end users do it every day in their personal lives. What I think we see is that this is more mental and emotional, that somehow the IT teams think that if they remove themselves from answering every call and doing all those password resets all day that somehow their jobs will be eliminated. Well yes, those tasks should be eliminated, because that is the perfect use case to utilize automation. At the same time, the people doing them can also evolve and take on new tasks, becoming the Incident managers, , the problem managers, the change managers, the business analysts and the product managers. It is time to evolve your organization, the processes, the technologies and the types and levels of service you are providing. Everyone is working very hard. Now we can use the platforms to work smarter, faster and with more information than ever before.
If you don’t automate, you will be obsoleted quickly.
Having a trusted advisor come in and help you get organized, benchmarked set up with a go-forward plan is a very good use of time.
Q: I am thinking of moving to the ServiceNow platform. What do you think?
A: This is a very powerful platform in which to automate and digitize your service portfolio and to expand to other areas of the business. The key thing that we advise clients is to make sure you have a good handle on your current services and processes so when you move forward, you take forward what you need, leave behind things you need no longer, and, most importantly, design things properly to fully take advantage of the new platform.
We assist clients in this area with our Process Maturity Assessment and with our ServiceNow Launch process, which, combined with our ServiceNow Service Desk Optimization package, assists clients in making a maturity jump from a current Level 2 to a Level 3 as an example.
From this core, we help you with refining the service strategy and the supporting portfolio, expand the portfolio work as necessary to include detailed service mapping and ensure you have the most automated service restoration process possible. From there, well, the sky is really the limit and we can expand to look at both additional core IT areas such as ITOM, Security, Data Center and Cloud or non IT areas such as HR, Facilities and Marketing. All of these areas have a lot of upside in terms of bringing integrated process and automation, leveraging the available data for analysis and turning your organization into a real service provider vs a break/fix team.
Q: Tell me more about this ServiceNow optimization?
A: We use the platform in our day-to-day business in the part of the organization that runs large global service desks and data centers. We have optimized the platform based on this real world usage to come up with some tricks and changes that make our L1, L2 and operational support teams even more efficient. That is the great thing about a true platform, you can adjust and adapt it to squeeze even more power from it. (Think NASCAR engine optimization: everyone starts with the same, but some just know how to eke out more performance). And since we are doing this at scale, this is NOT like the messy customizations of the past. And with the seamless upgrade path of the ServiceNow Enterprise Cloud Platform and combined with our Platform Management Service, you focus on the people, the services and the outputs, not the technology. Think of it in terms of Internet time meets dog years. You move up the maturity curve a lot faster than DIY.
Q: I am falling behind in keeping up with the ServiceNow releases. Can you help?
A: We see this often. The platform is very powerful and this is usually not a case of the upgrade pains of other platforms of the past. We usually see people falling behind in being able to keep up with all the requests to add new services, translations and new modules. It starts to add up quickly and pretty soon you have a backlog and responding to a request for a new report now takes 3 weeks or longer instead of an acceptable, and published, SLA.
You should be spending more time working with the business. And as you spend more time working with your clients, this leads to less time to manage the technology. That is exactly the reason we have our Platform Management for ServiceNow Enterprise Cloud Platform. This turnkey subscription service removes all the burden and tasks to manage and maintain those day-to-day tasks as well as new additions, let alone a planned up-rev to the latest release to take advantage of new capabilities, modules and features.
Q: How do I get a portal and catalog like the one you are showing?
A: It’s easy, just call us. Seriously. We can begin to work with you as we mentioned on your service strategy and service portfolio. From there we bring in our UX experts from our Mobile Center of Excellence who specialize in user interface design and work with you to design a portal that both incorporates your corporate brand and develops a brand for IT as well.
Why should IT be viewed as a necessary evil? Let’s turn that impression around and showcase all the great services that you are providing and start thinking like service providers. Technology and the additional services you provide are essential to how people get work done. And yes, if the processes have been manual and outdated, they can seem more of a hindrance than an asset. And that is why we stress that people must modernize and digitize now –, not only to stay current, but also to stay relevant. This is a reflection of your internal brand and can be key to recruiting and retaining valuable associates along with providing the capabilities people need to do their jobs.