Today we have a special guest post from Karen Ferris, Director of Macanta Consulting, who will be talking about IT Service Management (ITSM) Solution Replacement in greater detail during our forthcoming webinars on the topic. See the bottom of this post for a link to register. I have been known to refer to ITSM solution replacement as “Groundhog Day” in IT service management. This is because every 2-3 years ITSM professionals decide that the failure of their service management initiative is due to the incumbent technology. Remember that old adage ‘a fool with a tool is still a fool’? A replacement tool is selected and the cycle repeats itself over and over again. This is an expensive process and is not a pleasant one for the organization, or the vendor of the incumbent solution. In this post I want to explore what some of the ‘real’ drivers for ITSM solution replacement should be.
A solution that is outdated and antiquated. This could be a home-grown solution that can no longer support business requirements or a solution from a vendor that has not subjected their solution to sufficient research and development to meet the changing needs of its customers and to keep pace with industry trends.
High level of maintenance on the existing solution. Staff spending considerable time, if not dedicated time, correcting faults in the solution, changing attributes as they are not working as per specification, improving performance to uplift service delivery capability and adapting the solution to meet changing requirements.
If you have a team of people administrating your ITSM solution, it is probably time to migrate. Some level of administration is always needed to configure email notifications, amend service level targets etc. But if administration is needed purely because the solution does not integration with Active Directory, ERP and CRM solutions, it is time to migrate.
This usually happens because the solution did not deliver the requirements ‘out-of-the-box’. Configuration is all that should be needed, but customization means changes to source code in order to fit the solution to business needs. In turn, code customizations make upgrading the solution extremely complex and costly.
The complexity of the upgrade path, the time it will take to upgrade, and the associated cost make it difficult to justify moving to a new version. Over-customization could result in version-lock as mentioned above but it could also be the nature of the solution. Some solutions are not a single ITSM solution but a number of acquired modules brought together over time. An upgrade project will usually mean that each module has to be upgraded in a specific order to establish the integration points. This increases the time and cost to upgrade but also greatly increases the risk of upgrade failure.
The industry is rapidly changing, as are business needs and ITSM solutions need to be flexible enough to adapt to those changing needs. Customers are now looking to their vendors to supply both on-premise and SaaS solutions. They are looking for integration with CRM and ERP systems. If your solution and ITSM solution provider are not flexible, it could be time to migrate.
A vendor may be “sun-setting” its solution or a version of its solution. It is often the case that a vendor owns a broad portfolio of solutions (not just ITSM) and supports many versions of each of those solutions. In times of financial constraint they may want to reduce costs by reducing the number of versions they support. They may force their customers into an upgrade to a supported solution in a timeframe that meets vendor needs and not the customer’s business needs. If this is being dictated to you, it might be a good time to consider migration to a new solution – and to a vendor that supports one ITSM solution and is focused on customer needs. If you are experiencing any of the above, a migration to a new ITSM solution should be seriously considered. However, if you are looking to migrate as an excuse for poor processes and services then don’t. Effective and efficient processes that meet business needs are YOUR responsibility. The ITSM solution is not a silver bullet. Make sure you migrate for the right reasons and avoid “Groundhog Day” in IT service management. You can hear more from Karen on the topic of ITSM Solution Replacements in our forthcoming webinar “Migrating to a New ITSM Solution – The Technology You Need to Deliver Game-Changing Services to the Business” In this webinar, Karen Ferris (Director, Macanta Consulting), and Barry Crosby (Solutions Consultant, Axios Systems) will explore when, why and how an organization should migrate to a new ITSM solution. They will be joined by an Axios client, Clive Keylard from University of Canterbury, who will discuss their successful ITSM migration experience.
Karen Ferris Bio