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You Cannot Outsource ITSM Success

ITSM Watch columnist Valerie Arraj of Compliance Process Partners provides the five vital steps to successfully using consulting in your ITSM program.
Nov 6, 2008

Valerie Arraj


In this economic market, when calendar year 2009 budgets are being squeezed and staffing levels are flat or declining, IT Service Management initiatives can be help drive more operational efficiency and effectiveness to help weather this financial slump. As more companies start to consider implementing ITSM, they may be tempted to turn to professional consulting organizations for help.


If this is your path, it is important to note that implementing ITSM good practices is much different than implementing technology. When implementing technology, there is a tendency, particularly within large companies, to heavily leverage consultants for the lion’s share of the work. Consultants are brought in to do any and all of the following tasks:


  • Manage the project(s)
  • Gather, and in some cases even specify the requirements
  • Develop or configure software
  • Implement necessary hardware
  • Document the efforts
  • Develop and deliver training and conduct the rollout.


In essence, much of the effort to deliver new technology capabilities in the form of IT services is often outsourced fairly routinely, and in many cases successfully. Ongoing success of service of these new technologies requires people be trained to provide support or the appropriate outsourcer is in place to assure ongoing operation.


The implementation of an ITSM program, however, is quite different. With respect to implementing good practices, we are primarily talking about instituting new or modifying existing processes and practices. While one or more ITSM consultants used in the “staff augmentation” model can crank out process documentation and help to specify requirements for automation, they cannot define your processes for you nor can they affect the behavioral modification required for successful implementation and ongoing continuous improvement.


Getting to “success” with ITSM includes organizational transformation. People in the organization must adopt new policies, modify their procedures and embrace new responsibilities. We are talking about changing the way people do things.


To be successful, the drivers for such change cannot be outsourced. The message of expectations, urgency and sponsorship must be communicated early and often by senior IT management. A steering committee of senior managers along with your ITSM consultant(s) should form the guiding coalition to lead people in the organization through the changes that will be necessary to reach goals that need to be attained.


In addition, each of the various teams involved in the daily activities of each process being defined or modified should be represented in the working teams that will define the processes they will be expected to use on a daily basis. Without this level of involvement, process internalization and the sense of ownership that is necessary for long-term participation and continuous improvement is less likely to occur.


Lastly, the system of rewards must be adjusted to reinforce the transformation you are hoping to achieve with implementation of retooled process and service management behaviors. Below are five steps for using consultants for your ITSM program to promote successful ITSM implementation:


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