The Alternative A to Z of ITSM

Alternative A to Z of ITSM

There’s a lot of IT jargon in the IT service management (ITSM) space, much of which has been created as part of ITIL, the most commonly adopted ITSM best practice framework. Try naming the 26 ITIL processes for instance.

But which are the most important words in ITSM?

I guess it depends who you ask – I’m sure many people would start an ITSM A-Z by fitting in as many of those 26 ITIL processes as they can (in fact I’ve created one, to be published next). This blog, instead, looks at an alternative A to Z of ITSM, one that looks beyond the ITSM/ITIL processes using an approach to ITSM focused-on achievements rather than “how things get done.”

26 Key Words for the Modern ITSM Lexicon

A is for … Aha Moment. The moment that you realize that ITSM isn’t what you thought it was. There’s more to come on this as we go through the alphabet.

B is for … Business Focus. ITSM isn’t about IT or ITIL processes, instead it’s about making the business (or non-profit-making organization) run better.

C is for … Customer (or Consumer). Yes, it could have been “C” for change management, configuration management, or cloud but nowadays “customer” has to be the most important C-word in ITSM.

D is for … Drama Queen. ITSM shouldn’t be about IT dramas and hero mentalities. And good ITSM isn’t just about being able to fix things quickly while looking outstandingly good in a cape. It’s also about protecting the business through prevention before a cure is ever needed.

E is for … Exams Aren’t Everything. Exams are great to show what you know (or maybe how lucky you are at multiple choice). While you might have passed your ITIL Foundation exam with flying colors, would the company you work for do so well when doing a practical version of it?

F is for … Fitness Should Be an Activity Not a State. We love metrics in IT and particularly for the service desk. But we need to look beyond metrics that merely tell us that our ITSM operations and IT services are “fit” rather than “unfit.” Instead we need to be looking at the metrics, and the insights, that can help us to get fitter.

G is for … Goodbye? It’s now so easy for business colleagues to invest in and manage their own technology/services that the corporate IT organization has to be at the top of its game when fulfilling business needs. So how will you get business colleagues to say “good buy” rather than “goodbye” the next time you deliver a new IT service?

H is for … Help Desk. While fashion and ITIL has seen “service desks” replace “help desks,” even if it’s nothing more than replacing the sign on the door, don’t forget that end users will still contact “the help desk” no matter what you change its name to.

I is for … IT Crowd. Look no further than this insightful IT documentary to see what the business really thinks of IT.

J is for … Jobs. Not the consumer technology icon but the corporate IT jobs market. As “everything-as-a-service” echoes through the IT corridors of power you would have thought ITSM is a good skill, knowledge, and experience set to have. It might be, but then again you might have a little too much “IT” and too little “SM” in your career history.

K is for … Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Just checking to see if you are really paying attention.

L is for … Lean Thinking. Google it when you need to know (see what I did there?).

M is for … Mind-Set. While ITSM, and ITIL in particular, talks to the importance of people, process, and technology, I’d push “the right mind-set” as the precursor to everything else. We need to stop people thinking that ITSM, and ITIL, is about processes. I refer you back to the letter “A.”

N is for … Nth Ticket Surveys. It’s great to survey end users re their service desk experience but are you asking them to feedback on the experience or just the things that you think are important to service desk operations (usually ticket mechanics)? And haven’t you figured out yet that the number of survey responses is inversely proportional to the number of questions?

O is for … “Oh Dear, I Thought This Blog Would Help Me.”

P is for … Practitioner Exam. It’s the latest ITIL publication and qualification from AXELOS. Filled with practical guidance for real people, with real IT management issues, not just those wanting another line in their CV’s qualifications section.

Q is for … “Qu’est-ce que c’est?”. ITSM professionals need to ask more questions about what they currently do and why they do it. I’d be willing to bet that most IT organizations are doing things, or delivering IT services, just because they always have, with cessation saving time and money, and with zero impact on operations. Also see the letter “W.”

R is for … Repetitive Manual Tasks. Whether they are related to ITSM or wider IT operations, it’s time to stop doing them, replacing them with automation wherever possible.

S is for … Silver. It’s how IT likes its bullets. Sadly, there’s no silver bullet for improving IT service delivery and IT support no matter what the marketing material states. Investing in new ITSM technology will help but the real change for the better comes via people and process improvement.

T is for … Things. Have you noticed all the talk of the Internet now being full of them? So what are you doing about the Internet of Things (IoT)? And not just in terms of security, what about other aspects of IT management such as the impact on the corporate network, data volumes and insight, and the introduction of engineering concepts such as preventative maintenance?

U is for … Undervalued. I refer you back to the letter “I.”

V is for … Value. Yes, it’s a cliché but ITSM isn’t about ITSM it’s about adding value to business operations. Whether that be through the delivery of new capabilities or ensuring that business operations run smoothly.

W is for … Wastage. There’s still too much IT wastage, i.e. money spent on IT that adds little or no value to business operations. Is it because the IT organization doesn’t have the ability to see it, through IT financial management and IT asset management, or because they don’t want to see it?

X is for … Xenogamy. Which of course means “the fertilization of a flower by pollen from a flower on a genetically different plant” (I had to look it up). Its ITSM context is two-fold – firstly, we need to stop overcomplicating things just because we can use words that we think make us look smarter; and secondly, it’s time for ITSM to be cross-pollinating with all the other IT management frameworks and methodologies.

Y is for … You. Unless you have a magic wand, nothing is going to change overnight or without you doing something to make things different.

Z is for … Zzz. Are you still awake? Not just while reading this blog but also in the workplace. Are you sleepwalking your way through ITIL or have you woken up to the fact that things need to change and change quickly to keep IT service delivery and support relevant?

So there you have it, an ITSM A-Z. Of course there’s probably scope to write this blog ten times over, but which letter and word would you focus most attention in your A-Z?