ITSM tool consolidation: plan your approach

by Stephen Brunsdon, on 17-Oct-2018 13:00:00


You can’t simply switch one system on and switch off the others. Rapid consolidations rarely end well; people will abandon the change and drift back to the way they used to do things.

Old habits die hard—and so do old systems. Risk rises exponentially with complexity, so it is essential to break down an ITSM consolidation project into manageable chunks.

By taking a phased approach, organizations can make a smooth transition from toolset sprawl to stable consolidation, happy IT people and a great experience for IT customers. Complexity is broken down into manageable chunks too. Valuable insight is uncovered early in the process, and this can be leveraged across the remaining phases to enable a faster, smoother, safer transition.

For the sake of minimizing resistance, it is better to focus on changing one aspect at a time. People only digest so much change at once. For example, you might let individual teams migrate their existing processes to your new platform and wait until people are more familiar with the technology before you shift focus onto process consolidation/standardization.

Each of the elements of an ITSM consolidation are interconnected, but one will be your primary strategic focus. This decision should be driven by the unique challenges of your ITSM environment and the needs of the business.


Traditionally, this is the default approach: systematically attack each redundant toolset—migrating people, processes and data from each one over to the selected “master” system.


Begin by migrating a single grouping —an end-user group with shared characteristics (for example everybody in one business unit). Set up a Service Desk and web portal to establish a single point of contact and migrate the services this group uses and the delivery/support processes that underpin them. Repeat until all end-user communities have been migrated and all redundant systems can be retired. This is a good option if you are looking to embed a more customer-oriented culture.


Taking a team-by-team approach is probably the easiest and most clear-cut option for IT people. However, as an IT-centric approach, it’s easy to lose sight of the business impact and the IT customer experience can sometimes suffer. To balance this out, it is vital to maintain communication with end user groups to check that they are happy throughout.


There are two strategies for a process-oriented migration: one is to enforce standard processes across incumbent tools and then do a rapid switchover onto the new system which mirrors these standard processes. The other is to model each process variation in the new tool, migrate the corresponding groups, and then consolidate processes over time.


People need information to do their jobs, so wherever the data go, people naturally follow. In reality, whatever approach you choose, there will always be some piecemeal migration of data, as data are central to each one of the above elements.


Each one of these approaches presents challenges relating to process and data flow. Temporary integrations and bulk data transfers between systems may be necessary to maintain continuity throughout. Consequently, it is important to select a master consolidation system which makes it easy to make connections between systems and import blocks of data as and when they are required—to ensure data and processes continue to flow during the transition.


To download the full "6 steps to consolidating ITSM tools" guide, click below:

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