When considering the management of your business-critical IT, whether that’s your databases, NetSuite cloud ERP solution, JDE, or the multitude of other enterprise apps on the market, there are countless pieces to consider. Cost, staffing, bandwidth, and the list goes on and on.
There’s one piece many businesses fail to consider―IT service management―commonly referred to as ITSM. ITSM is based on an organizational mindset to optimize service delivery and align business processes with corporate goals. The best ITSM programs feature a customized blend of policies, processes, and procedures, as well as sophisticated technologies for managing the implementation and support of a company’s IT services for peak performance.
ITSM should be the foundation of every enterprise database and application management strategy, but as the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” so many organizations operate with bits and pieces of ITSM or worse yet without one at all.
While some IT departments have base-level ITSM-like programs in place (such as a simple ticketing system), most organizations have limited resources and lack the bandwidth to fully develop the customized, under-the-hood technology pieces necessary to boost productivity and efficiently advance digital transformation initiatives within and organization.
One effective way that companies can gain access to a sophisticated, purpose-built ITSM solution is through the support of a managed service provider. But it’s important to recognize that not all ITSM solutions are created equal. Understanding how to evaluate them and their most critical components and success factors is essential. Here’s what you need to know to make the most informed choice.
What is ITSM?
Generally speaking, ITSM refers to all the processes and technologies for designing, creating, delivering, supporting, and managing IT services. But as stated earlier, an ITSM solution should go much further than providing a simple service framework—the most valuable, reliable, and strategic ITSM approaches involve a fully-integrated set of customized software tools that help your organization move faster, be more informed, work smarter, and make better decisions to streamline processes and reach your business goals.
As you can imagine, what is actually included in any given ITSM platform or strategy varies greatly, but the value that it adds should not. The value of ITSM goes well beyond any generic set of processes. Without it you (or your Managed Services Provider) is left operating in reactive mode—with little understanding of past incidents and dealing with tasks and challenges as they arise, which of course, removes any chance at strategy from the equation.
Why should your MSP have an ITSM solution?
An ITSM solution should operate as the engine of your project and/or IT management system. It should go well beyond a simple ticketing system to capture the full picture of your IT needs as well as maintain a thorough history of every ticket, task, and project. Some MSPs may say they have an ITSM solution, but be sure to verify if it’s out of the box or custom built as well as if they're truly using it with clients, and what it actually includes.
What should an ITSM platform include?
What each of these pieces looks like will, of course, vary from provider to provider, but generally a comprehensive ITSM platform should include:
Project Planning - This means having a solid plan before anyone gets in the weeds of any project including allotted time, steps taken, and what team members are touching the project.
Project Tracking - On the flip side, this includes thorough tracking of those projects as they roll out with a real-time record of actual time spent, every action taken including changes and releases, and who’s touching the project. Project tracking also gives you an at-a-glance view of a client’s projects to know whether they are on schedule and on budget.
Incident and Problem Management - Issues that need to be addressed ad-hoc should not be overlooked by tracking. Including all the pieces captured by project tracking holds your MSP accountable. This includes documenting Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and recording any/all details (and resolutions) relating to the incident.
Knowledge Management and Governance - Thorough documentation, a record of any and all steps taken by every managed service provider team member, should be at the core of any ITSM platform. Additionally, all approved processes, best practices, and network configuration maps should also be housed together in an ITSM solution to ensure all players have necessary access to this business-critical information when they need it.
Contract Management - Establishing a well-documented set of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), agreed upon scope, and escalation procedures are “table stakes” to an organization even calling themselves an MSP. But beyond the sheets of paper they’re written on, it’s critical to have systems in place that assure the successful and reliable service delivery, consistent with the agreed-upon contractual structure of your relationship.
We’ve spent years perfecting our ITSM solution and processes to provide agility, dependability, value, and most of all transparency for our clients. We hold ourselves accountable every step of the way with an “open book” approach to ITSM, giving our clients the peace of mind that comes with knowing every update, adjustment, and smallest of management moment is being logged and shared.
Learn more about the value of ITSM and how our processes can help today with a free 15-minute consultation.