Midmarket CIO guide to IT service management and ITIL best practices

Find advice on choosing an IT service management model and ITSM tools, as well as tips on ITIL best practices and ITIL service design, in this guide.

While IT service management (ITSM) is intended to align the delivery of information technology services with the needs of the enterprise, it often involves a paradigm shift for midmarket organizations and raises many questions. Which ITSM model is right for your enterprise? What ITSM tools are available and best suited to you? What ITIL best practices lead to a successful ITIL service design?

In this guide, find advice on choosing the right (and wrong) ITSM model and the best ITSM tools available. We also offer tips on ITIL best practices and ITIL service design to help your organization transition to new service delivery models.

This guide is part of SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's Midmarket CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

 

Table of contents

 

  Choosing an ITSM model Table of Contents

There are quite a few IT Service Management (ITSM) models out there -- those based on ITIL frameworks, for example -- that are intended to ensure stable computing environments that adjust to new conditions, implement shared decision-making processes, reduce IT costs and improve user support and overall compliance with corporate and regulatory requirements.

To read some information, one would assume that implementation of a formal ITSM model would be like killing a werewolf with a silver bullet: all it takes is saying ITIL, and magic happens. This is the vendor hype part of the IT Infrastructure Library -- and ITSM in general -- that can actually do more damage than good when it comes to outcomes. At some point, it becomes impossible to live up to the hype.

ITSM seems to revolve around an attempt to resolve complaints about IT and business alignment taken to an extreme level, or to fix an IT department that is not responding to the needs of its users. I'm certainly in no way opposed to continuous improvement and being measured on results, but is implementing what can be a complex framework (that may or may not have a clear ROI) the right answer?

Learn more in " ITSM modeled on ITIL frameworks adds unnecessary complexities." Also:

 

  ITIL best practices Table of Contents

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has had some ups and downs in the midmarket. The benefits are difficult to nail down after a certain point, and many SMBs don't have the time and resources to follow ITIL to the letter: But should they? While ITIL best practices can promote a healthy IT environment, there are diminishing returns for small IT shops.

Steven Porter, CIO of Touchstone Behavioral Health, said ITIL is a great idea, but doesn't make sense in a small organization like his. "We're really too small to depend on a formalized framework, although we do loosely use [ITIL] as guidelines for best practices," he said.

Touchstone Behavioral Health, a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization offering family-centered behavioral health services, has seven IT staff members, each wearing multiple hats. Porter said he works with his team to adapt some ITIL best practices into ones that fit more comfortably within the IT organization.

Learn more in "How midsized organizations are adopting, adapting ITIL best practices." Also:

 

  Evaluating ITSM tools Table of Contents

IT Service Management is a philosophy around managing computers, devices and systems that takes the end user into account. How do end users -- the IT department's ultimate customers -- see the effect of IT in a business? ITSM moves away from seeing IT as a top-down sort of department, where systems and services exist in their own silos, and toward an environment where IT plays a positive role in the business.

But what ITSM tools are available to help implement this mind-set and framework in your IT department? The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is of no help to you here in recommending tools, since there isn't a universal designation of a "compliant" tool. Further, since businesses are so diverse, so, too, are the technology assets that support them. So, it's hard to give accolades to one tool over the other when the application in any given environment would be so different.

When you're evaluating an ITSM tool for your business, first take a look at what is already in your stable, and then put together a list of packages that meet your needs.

Learn more in "Must-have ITSM tool features." Also:

 

  ITIL service design Table of Contents

Designing a winning ITIL implementation requires lots of planning -- planning that many midmarket companies often skip because they don't know where to begin. But focusing on ITIL Service Design can help you verify if your plans will meet customer expectations -- a crucial step that can be kicked off by asking yourself a set of straightforward questions.

To turn your Service Strategy into a solid, working plan, you need to first perform a Service Design gap analysis. Asking yourself some important questions can help you evaluate your previous service rollouts, updates, upgrades and releases, and pinpoint areas where your design plans fell short. Acknowledging these gaps can prevent future failures.

Learn more in "Don't skip ITIL Service Design: Questions, checklists to get started." Also:

 

  More resources  Table of Contents
This was first published in January 2011

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