ITSM tool consolidation: asking the right questions
by Stephen Brunsdon, on 16-Oct-2018 11:00:00
To prepare for any redundant technology consolidation, it is vital to understand the landscape; to study the ecosystem of each toolset.
People in the organization will think they know what is going on, but assumptions can be dangerous. In a large organization, the ITSM ecosystem is too broad and complex for any individual to track in detail.
To get a handle on the current situation and make good, informed decisions, you need to ask some tough questions.
24 QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK WHEN PLANNING IT TOOLS CONSOLIDATION
- What ITSM systems do you have in place right now (officially and “shadow IT”)? Note that these can include ticketing tools, change tools, workflow tools, call logging forms, home-grown tools, web portals, IT discovery tools, SAM tools, systems monitoring, as well as traditional ITSM suites.
- Which teams use them?
- Which regions do these tools cover?
- Why were they acquired? What were the drivers? Are they still relevant?
- What unique requirements are being served?
- Have they been adapted/customized?
- What is the administration burden?
- Which end user communities do they support?
- Which processes do they support?
- Which process are not supported by tools (but should be)?
- Which services do they help you manage?
- Which end user interfaces are in place?
- Which data live in which systems?
- What is the quality of data?
- Where are data duplicated? Does it match up? Are there discrepancies?
- Which IT operations management tools are these systems integrated with?
- What infrastructure is supporting each system, where is it, and how much does it cost to run?
- What is the total cost for each system (license, maintenance and support, administration)?
- Where is the common ground between ITSM systems?
- What is unique about each one?
- When do licenses for each system lapse?
- What does current performance look like in each ecosystem?
- What do users think of the tools you have in place today?
- What other tools are available that might be more fit for purpose? Note that industry analyst firms like PinkElephant, InfoTech, Forrester, and review sites like Gartner Peer Insights and TrustRadius are a good place to start the search.
To download the full "6 steps to consolidating ITSM tools" guide, click below:
Only when you ask deep and challenging questions can you get a truly accurate picture of the landscape in front of you and uncover the real scope of an ITSM consolidation project. It is essential to validate what you think you know against “ground truth”, or what lean manufacturers call the gemba (the “actual place”). In other words: go and see.
Speak to the people who handle the data and operate the processes. Talk to service customers about their experiences. Find out if what you know lines up with reality. One of the key challenges can be to pin-point the origins of a system: sometimes nobody from the original team who acquired it remains in the organization.
When we get answers to the questions above, we begin to see the true complexity of consolidation and this naturally forces a consideration of priorities. It becomes obvious that it is impossible to simply merge multiple technology ecosystems together and expect a positive result.
A successful consolidation project takes a planned and prioritized approach. Consider the broader context; the business priorities. This will help you align project priorities with business priorities.
When your priorities are clear, it becomes easy to create a manageable consolidation roadmap.
However, priorities must be balanced against risk. Sometimes, it is better to start with a lower priority consolidation to test the water before you begin migrating teams and services which support mission-critical business processes.