7 ITSM core capabilities

7 Capabilities an ITSM Practitioner Needs to Add Value

The heart of any IT service management (ITSM) program is the need to add value to business operations – to make the business more effective and efficient, and a better proposition and experience for the customer. And all this needs to be done through the best use of technology and the services built around it.

But people capabilities, and actions, are involved in service delivery too and it thus stands to reason that a core activity for any ITSM practitioner is to know how they, and the team they work in, add business value. This not only better propels the ITSM value proposition outwards, to business colleagues, but also inwards to the IT department in terms of the required capabilities of all ITSM pros.

Of course the required capabilities might be different across companies and their IT organizations, but here, in this blog, I list for you seven core capabilities, and the associated activities, that you as an ITSM practitioner should be delivering against, in order to add business value.

1. Inquiry and the Ability to Solve Problems

A good example is that you’re often required to solve issues with service workflow, right? So asking questions, especially “Why?”-type questions will help you to get to the root of the issue and to then recommend a solution that appropriately positions the ITSM team to meet the business requirement. The questions you should ask include:

  • “Why did the process not work?”
  • “Why did team members do what they did?”
  • “Why does the business need this?”
  • “Why did the chicken cross the road?” – OK this one is to see if you are really paying attention

While “Why?” is a good question type, asking other appropriate questions is just as important. For instance, asking “Are we meeting our goals?” and “How do we improve the process?” and “What are the business demands that may change our service offerings?” are just a few of the questions that provide for well-rounded IT service delivery and support. Of course pizza and ice cream is also a route to being well rounded.

2. Analysis and the Ability to Provide Feedback

In terms of analytical capability, you will probably routinely need to analyze all the available data in order to provide feedback on how well things are working. Looking at available incident, problem, change, request, capacity, and availability data, along with a discussion of potential future demand, can help you (and ITSM team) to determine if service offerings are delivering the desired, and expected, value.

You should look at three key points in particular:

  1. What are the key factors affecting operations and performance?
  2. What are the relationships between the key factors?
  3. How can the factors and relationships create even better business value?

Feeding this output into the continual service improvement (CSI) process will allow you to move to the next capability – conceptualization.

3. Conceptualization and the Ability to Create

CSI is not the only use case for conceptualization but it should be a common one.

Once the ITSM team has reviewed the data and come to one or more improvement recommendations via the CSI process, you should work with enterprise architects and service owners to build a new vision of their service offering. This might include architectural diagrams, service roadmaps, process maps, service interfaces, and any other documentation that executive leadership requires in order to make decisions.

4. Abstraction and Effective Communication

Once executive leadership has agreed/approved an improvement recommendation, you must ensure that the communication of the proposed change happens seamlessly to all stakeholders throughout the organization. And in terms, and scenarios, that the different stakeholders will understand.

Where necessary you should work with the corporate marketing team to build and execute tailored plans to deliver appropriate information to the various affected roles and groups. These plans should not only include what information to share but also what information to suppress (due to irrelevant detail) for the various stakeholders.

5. Formalization and Facilitation

A suitable example of formalization is where you have an approved change strategy, and the next step is to ensure appropriate design and transition.

You are accountable for helping service owners navigate the steps of the design and transition processes to ensure that an appropriate service package is created and positioned for release to operations. Here failing to ensure proper formalization can lead to change and/or service failure, and unnecessary rework in incident and change processes for frontline teams.

6. Enablement and the Ability to Sell Change

The sole purpose of building an ITSM practice is to enable the business to help customers get what they want, when they want it.

Remember that the best-designed service offerings are useless if they are not used (or consumed). And if stakeholders, business users, or customers perceive there to be extra steps and work, and those steps don’t add value, they will most likely not use it.

It’s thus important to ensure that enablement is front of mind when designing and delivering services, and the change that follows.

7. Assistance and Enabling Service Delivery Improvement

One key enabler for the ITSM practitioner is to assist in the service flow.

For instance, when you actively assist in testing and deploying any changes to the service. Plus, following up with frontline staff executing processes, the review of metrics/KPIs, and the surveying of stakeholders can all help to assist in promoting the understanding and the adoption of the change.

Of course, this list is in no way complete, with many other ITSM practitioner skills needed to have a robust and mature ITSM practice that delivers business value. What other capabilities would you highlight as key to practitioners in demonstrating the value of services and ITSM?

If you want to read more on creating value from your work as an ITSM pro, then I recommend “What Value Are You Creating from Your IT Job?” by my friend Stuart Rance.

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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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