According to Gartner, tech leaders will overspend by $750 million on buying unused ITSM features through 2023.
That number may seem a bit surprising, but it becomes less so when you think about how few resources are dedicated to proper ITSM implementation. It can be costly and ineffective if a new tool or software isn’t implemented correctly and backed by the right strategy.
In this blog, we’ll recap the details, challenges, and must-know steps of successful implementation so you can learn how to make ITSM solutions work for you.
The What, Who, and How of ITSM Implementation
IT service management (ITSM) is about creating and managing your IT processes and operations. ITSM applies to companies of all sizes; if you have an IT team or, HR department working on tickets, customer support service, or any other user-centric service offerings, then using ITSM software to automate process-oriented procedures is a great way to boost productivity and save time. To learn more about the uses and benefits of ITSM software, visit our Essential Guide to Choosing and Using the Right ITSM Software.
ITSM benefits businesses across industries, but the implementation of ITSM software doesn’t - and shouldn’t - happen overnight. In fact, the average ITSM implementation cycle takes six weeks or more. Companies should focus on seamless implementation to make full use of ITSM’s potential from day one and avoid its most common challenges.
The Challenges of ITSM Implementation
Before exploring the essential steps of ITSM implementation, it’s important to understand the common problems that often arise during this process. Awareness of these issues can help you choose and use ITSM software to its full extent.
- Technical challenges: Some ITSM tools don’t have the capabilities you might need or don’t integrate properly with your current tech stack. Challenges like these usually become apparent early in the implementation process and can prevent companies from moving forward.
- Process challenges: If a company doesn’t define and document the goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and procedures they want to achieve using ITSM, implementation can be poorly planned and executed. In these situations, the wrong processes can be automated while others remain manual unnecessarily.
- Staff challenges: Techs might resist the growing pains of learning new software and tools, and often, insufficient training means they can’t understand or use the new system the way it’s intended to be used.
These challenges can be overcome with proper research before purchasing ITSM software, extensive training, and a smooth implementation process, as outlined below.
The Solution: 5 Essential Steps for Implementing ITSM in an Organization
1. Audit, Strategize, and Prioritize
Prior to implementing ITSM, companies should evaluate their current IT capabilities and gaps and document this information. Then, executives should use this data to prioritize IT needs and develop a strategy for meeting them. They should ask themselves: What issues require immediate attention, and what problems can wait to be tackled? Organizations should also document what resources they can dedicate to ITSM implementation, including staffing and budget.
2. Establish Goals (and Select a Tool That Can Meet Them)
Once capabilities and priorities are established, higher-ups should set attainable, metric-based goals and KPIs. These goals can be categorized in a way that works for your company, such as by cost, IT response time, user satisfaction, and more.
Of course, once goals are set, ensure you’re planning to implement an ITSM tool or software that has the functionalities necessary to reach those goals. And on the flip side, don’t buy tools with features you’ll never use. As Gartner’s $750 million stat indicates, blind investment in a high-end tool that doesn’t align with actual business needs is relatively common but avoidable!
3. Prepare Your Team
There is a multitude of reasons why employees often resist change in the workplace. Using unfamiliar ITSM software can be difficult for techs to grasp and feel securely competent at the beginning. That’s why it’s critical to take the time to prepare your team for implementation. Explain the goals the company wants to achieve by using ITSM, how it will affect their day-to-day job, and what training will be offered to help them with the transition.
You should also give them the opportunity throughout the implementation to provide feedback on how things are going and how the process might be improved. For more on this, read our blog on preparing your team for new software adoption and implementation.
4. Automate Tasks and Processes
Next comes the meat of the ITSM implementation process: actually putting it to use. Start using the relevant ITSM tools to automate IT tasks (such as ticket groups or task prioritization), create or enhance your service portal, and develop custom dashboards that track relevant metrics. The exact details of what you automate will depend on your particular business and what you discovered in steps 1 and 2. Still, there is standard automation that's simple to implement and yields significant time savings.
The Forbes Technology Council also recommends dedicating resources to data migration at this stage so that all data from other tools is accurately inputted into the new software. That way, ITSM implementation cohesively fits in with your current tools and processes, and historical data is available to techs.
5. Measure Results & Iterate
Although ITSM implementation is a weeks-long process when you first purchase a new tool, it never truly ends. Once automation and other features are implemented, it’s essential to monitor success metrics, ask for employee feedback, and consistently adjust processes based on what’s working and what isn’t.
For example, if several months after ITSM implementation for ticketing processes, average ticket resolution time, first response time (FRT), or other KPIs haven’t shown significant progress, then you would want to reevaluate how your ITSM software is used and make changes accordingly.
ITSM Implementation: The Conclusion
Successful, well-thought-out ITSM implementation sets the foundation you need to improve your IT operations and efficiencies. Although some challenges may (and likely will) arise during this process, committing to the methodical steps described above can help simplify and optimize your IT service for all users.
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