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A Doctor's Approach to ITSM Implementations

By Jan Vromant In order to mature as quickly and efficiently in your IT service management processes, one must correctly identify the ailments and choose the right remedies.
Mar 16, 2004
By

ITSM Watch Staff





By Jan Vromant

In order to mature as quickly and efficiently in your IT service management processes, one must correctly identify the ailments and choose the right remedies. A friend of mine recently made a statement that ITIL® does not provide any tools or models to help us develop our maturity levels. The green ITIL® book from the OGC, "Planning to Implement", is a solid conceptual framework, but does not provide the details how to actually implement the best practices.

As an IT Service Management consultant, I wanted to share with you an approach we have found useful for ITSM implementations. This is called the "Pain-Gain Model".

Pain

Humans are subject to all kinds of pain, financial pain (how is your 401k doing?), emotional pain and physical pain. IT Managers (yes, they are human) experience added pain when their Director is shouting at them, when their end-users are not satisfied, when backups cannot be restored, or during a Denial of Service attack because the latest patch had not been applied. If you are among the few who run a smooth, perfectly functioning IT environment, stop reading, for the rest of us, it is helpful to categorize these pains.

A few years ago, Guru Ganesha of the Sandler Training Institute of Virginia told us during a high-tech sales boot camp that their level of pain influences the behavior of IT buyers. When an IT person is in trouble, they will spend accordingly to get out of it.. Often, an IT Manager who experiences a certain pain will look at their budget, see if there is any room to wiggle, throw some money at a tool and hope that the pain will go away. Although not very systematic, sometimes it works. However, there is a more methodical way of overcoming IT pain.

One of the first tasks to an IT Service Management implementation is to assess and categorize the different symptoms into a pain type:

Technical Pain
The problem you are experiencing, such as the Exchange Server backup tapes cannot be restored. Typically, this is a symptom, not the root cause. Technical Pain includes the daily headaches, challenges, issues and problems that make you value proactive mature processes instead of reactive ones.

Financial Pain
The business or financial impact that the problem is having on your organization, such as the CFO who cannot retrieve the precious spreadsheet previously emailed to the bank or the penalties you pay from not performing to your Service Level Agreements. Normally, when you recommend a solution to the problem, the IT Director will ask what the return on the investment is. The ROI is based on your financial pain.

Personal Pain
This is the overall personal and emotional affect the Technical and Financial pains have on you, such as the IT Director shouting at you. You cannot quantify this, but you know it is important. Your job, your bonus or your next raise might be jeopardized or worse yet; your IT Department might be outsourced.


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