ITSM Views from a Vendor, with Arvind Parthiban from ManageEngine

What exactly is your job?

Firstly, it doesn’t feel like a job anymore, as it’s been an exciting and life-changing experience. I’ve been with ManageEngine since 2006 as a Senior Product Marketing Manager. Apart from dusting the computers here 😉 I do anything and everying for the ServiceDesk Plus product. In addition to that, I create promotional videos, organize tradeshows, attend industry events, conduct webinars, mentor people on real-life practical applications of processes, and from time to time, I also write industry-specific blogs, articles for industry publications, presentations and white papers for the IT service management (ITSM) community. My journey here has been fastpaced, but still fun!

What is the best thing about working in IT service management?

The best thing about ITSM I would say is ‘people’. They are brilliant to work with. Since a major part of them work at service desks, they spread warmth in the industry with their friendly and courteous personalities. I always look forward to meeting with fellow ITSM folks for two things – knowledge and networking. It’s always been great pleasure to meet these amazing people. To borrow Stephen Mann’s perspective – one odd thing is that most of my “favourites” work for competition as well! (Joe: he means me!!)

What do you think is the most important element missing from traditional ITSM? And why?

The first and foremost thing needed for successful ITSM is some ‘reality’. One thing to remember in ITSM is ‘knowing is not doing’. For instance, you can read a lot about swimming, but knowing how to swim is the reality.

Similarly, knowing ITIL is one thing, using it is another. A practical application of concepts in real-world environments is crucial as each IT environment is different from the other. In other words, ITSM is all about ‘keeping it real’ to be successful.

What do you think is the biggest mistake that people can make in ITSM, and how can it be avoided? 

One of the biggest mistakes is to have loads of processes and a variety of functions – regardless of whether they are useful or not. Most of them believe in implementing at least two or three ITIL processes – lets call it ‘the do something after certification’ syndrome. In other words, a blindfolded approach to ITSM without actually understanding business needs.

ITSM is not about implementing the processes based on the guidelines. There is no bible for ITSM. It’s about implementing what works for you and not following others, as what works for one, might not work for another.

What one piece of practical advice would you give to somebody working on the Service Desk?

When it comes to implementing a process, there will be a lot of people working on it. The process needs to be understood and accepted by one and all. This isn’t simple. Moreover, there isn’t an ITIL guideline to handle people problems. One piece of advice I would like to give to process owners is to place your ideas before you. Sell your ideas to your people, give them ownership and make them a part of your process to better implement your idea.

What one piece of practical advice would you give to the CIO of a company with regards to ITSM?

It’s welcome news that CIOs are increasingly shifting towards tools that can help employees complete a task more efficiently and collaborate more easily than they’ve done in the past. But they face the challenge of choosing the right tools, especially with a range of options, from free to pricey, and ones with simple to complex features. In fact, most of the times, CIOs end up buying an expensive tool as they believe in ’the more expensive it is, the better it is’. My advice is that they should evaluate tools that technicians are comfortable with. Don’t automatically assume that the BIG4 or pricey tools are going to be “best” for your organization.

Most importantly, they should pick the right people in the business to help them choose the correct tool. Choose people who can lead the phases of the project from start to finish and also have a better understanding of the bottlenecks that technicians face when handling complex projects.

If you could change one thing about the ITSM industry as a whole, what would it be and why?

There’s no denying the fact that ITSM gives a practical framework for identifying and planning processes. But what’s currently driving ITIL and ITSM is certification. ITIL/ITSM certification is not about completing the course, but to observe and learn from the experience of others, what works and what doesn’t in real time situations, what will fit into your IT environment and what will not and then go about implementing the processes. Most IT organizations fail to do this, and I would like to change this pattern.

What do you think the ITSM trend to watch will be in the next 12 months? And why?

The whole world is moving towards social. Reflecting this trend, IT is moving towards social functionalities using social media to monitor, engage, and communicate with IT users. End users like this approach and this trend is re-shaping IT.With Social IT being the order of the day, I foresee much change in the way IT is going to operate in the near future.

Where do you see the ITSM industry in 10 years time?

Change is the only constant thing. This statement rings true in ITSM. Ten years is a long timeframe and a lot of things can happen. We can’t predict the kind of services that we’ll be managing in IT in the future. The services will evolve and so will the processes, but IT is always going to be crucial for businesses and it will continue to be a core part. There are mounds of valuable data in IT and I can see that there will be a rise of big data and small apps.

Finally, what would be your 5 tips for success in ITSM?

First and foremost is to understand ITIL and use it based on the requirements of a business for operational efficiency, cost reduction and above all service improvement.

Without incident and change management as the first step your ITIL implementation efforts may turn futile, as these two processes are important to foster stability and planning throughout the service life cycle.

There is almost no limit to the choices for those looking to harness the power of ITSM with tools. What matters most is choosing the right tool based on the size, complexity, budget, company-specific issues, and most of all what the technicians really need. Keep in mind that ‘pricey’ doesn’t mean ‘quality’.


Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).


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