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How Your Business Can Benefit from ITSM Software

David Millier

How-IT-Service-Management-Can-Improve-Company-Productivity.jpg

IT service management (ITSM) offers businesses a significant advantage over traditional IT. But even if your business implements ITSM and has brilliant IT employees, things can still go wrong. That’s why you need to supply your team with the best possible tools for the job: ITSM software.

What Is ITSM Software?

This would seem to be self-evident: ITSM software is software that supports the ITSM process. But what does that software actually do? And what does it look like?

Sometimes referred to as ITSM tools, this is specialized software, often focused on workflow-driven processes. Often bundled in “suites,” ITSM tools will support not just one process, but several. The core of the suite is usually the workflow management system. This system handles incidents, service requests, problems, and changes. Another tool commonly packaged in suites is a configuration management database (CMDB). ITSM tools should fulfill certain functional requirements (such as supporting automatic date and time stamping), to support ITIL’s recommended processes.

There’s a great variety of software suites available to support your ITSM processes. Since one of the greatest benefits of using ITSM in the first place is that it can be customized to your business’s needs, it follows that the tools that support those processes should also be customizable to an extent. While some businesses or vendors will opt for a suite that manages all of their processes, others may opt to implement only core tools or a less extensive suite.

Why You Need It

If you’ve implemented ITSM processes or you’re thinking about doing so, then it goes without saying that your business needs to invest in ITSM software too. Not giving your IT team the tools they need to implement ITSM processes properly is only going to frustrate them—and everyone else in your organization. But there are other benefits of using specialized software to support ITSM in your business. In fact, some of the benefits of using these tools will convince you that you need to be using an ITSM suite.

Easy Linking

An ITSM suite can facilitate linking between incident records, service requests, and problem and change logs. The software will often enable linking between these records. The tools can also link these records to configuration items in the CMDB. This can save time and it can also highlight issues affecting multiple users and link those problems or incidents back to changes or configuration information. It can also speed up resolution and the flow of information if, say, two different people are working on the same problem or if there’s a recurrent incident.

Manage Change in a Mobile World

More and more employers have employees who telecommute or work remotely. Employees who travel may rely on a smartphone to retrieve documents to take to an important meeting. All in all, today’s workforce relies more heavily on mobile technology and cloud storage than ever before. ITSM suites provide specialized tools for managing things like public/private cloud storage and for providing better service for employees on the go.

Cost Reductions

Just like ITSM processes can save your business money, so too can using the right tools for the job. ITSM software is specialized, designed specifically to support ITSM processes. Using it helps IT professionals implement those practices more efficiently and seamlessly, meaning you spend less time dealing with frustrating tech issues that keep you from doing important work. Preventative maintenance is worth a pound of cure and ITSM tools allow your IT team to keep a better eye on your systems so they can nip any issue in the bud.

Want to learn more?  Watch our video to learn more about ITSM Software and how your business will benefir from Simplifying IT! 

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Topics: IT Service Management, ITIL, ITSM Software

6 Ways to Implement IT Service Management

David Millier

5_Advantages_of_Using_ITSM_Software.jpgIT service management is an important feature of today’s IT departments. No matter which ITSM framework an organization employs, all of them offer best practice recommendations when it comes to keeping IT efficient and effective. Here are six ways to implement ITSM in your organization.

6. Don’t Align, Integrate

Most ITSM frameworks focus on the idea of IT being fully integrated into a business. This means that the IT department isn’t isolated from other departments, but works in tandem with them to meet goals. However, simply aligning IT with the needs of the business isn’t enough to achieve integration. Under IT service management, IT should become an integral part of the organization, helping to drive business decisions, achieve goals, and improve other departments as well.

5. Be Proactive, Not Reactive

In the early days of IT, much of the work was focused on reacting to problems as they cropped up. Fast-forward to today and it will quickly become apparent that this approach doesn’t work. Today’s businesses can’t wait to react to a problem; they need to be anticipating issues before they become problems. The same goes for the IT department; rather than waiting for a system to become overloaded and crash, frameworks like ITIL recommend constant service improvement. This means determining what proactive steps should be taken to prevent problems—such as upgrading a system before the number of users outstrips the system’s capacity.

4. Think Holistically

Much of IT service management focuses on the idea of a whole. Rather than isolated siloes, the departments of a business function together to make the business run more smoothly. Another place where holistic thinking needs to be applied is in the design of services. ITSM seeks to design services, then implement, monitor, and improve them based on the business needs as a whole. The process is end-to-end and the amount of planning and design recommended in ITSM frameworks reflects this.

3. Use Structured Workflows for Incidents

One of the most important features of most ITSM frameworks is they prescribe the use of structured workflows for recording IT incidents. Since incidents are the most common point of contact between the IT department and individual users, employing standardized workflows is a must. Using a structured workflow increases accountability since everyone uses the same procedures. That means situations can be tracked and recreated, and data about similar and repeated incidents can be collected to help develop best practices and more efficient processes for dealing with incidents.

2. Keep Information Safe

Another point that most ITSM frameworks stress is the need to keep information safe. This includes everything from controlling user access by providing unique user IDs and passwords to limiting what work can be done on certain workstations. It can also mean limiting physical access to the places where information is stored.

1. Always Keep Improving

Perhaps the most important IT service management practice is the mandate to keep improving. Most frameworks suggest that using IT service management should result in systems being continually monitored and refined. This standpoint recognizes that businesses are dynamic organizations that exist in changing environments. IT and IT management cannot be a “set and forget” consideration for today’s businesses. Much like organizations are always looking to improve the way they do things, IT should search for more efficient and cost-effective solutions. Even if an implemented technology is the best one available today, there might be something better tomorrow. Businesses change direction and outgrow old processes all the time; IT service management recognizes that tech departments shouldn’t be any different.

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Topics: IT Service Management, Workflow, ITIL

How to Improve ROI and IT Efficiency

David Millier

Can ITSM Improve IT Efficiency and ROI?

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Even as more and more businesses make the switch to IT service management, some people are skeptical of its supposed benefits. After all, they’ve been getting along just fine with the capabilities they have on hand and upgrading or changing the framework often seems both costly and intimidating. Promises of ITSM improving efficiency and return on investment (ROI), don’t really seem like concrete facts, however promoting efficiency, thereby saving time and money, is at the core of ITSM

IT Service Management Is Efficient

When information technology departments first started cropping up in businesses, there weren’t any guidelines for most professionals. In many organizations, employees simply created procedures on an ad hoc basis, solving problems as they cropped up. Solutions and processes varied not only from organization to organization, but even within different departments of the same company. Eventually, people began to realize that this patchwork set of practices was problematic, and the idea of IT service management was born.

One of the major features of any ITSM framework is a focus on standardization and integration. This means that a procedure will be carried out the same way across an organization. Since procedures can be replicated, time and time again, the end result is that information technology departments become more accountable. Processes can become automated and problem reporting becomes more uniform, which makes identifying recurrent issues easier. The data acquired from using workflow management software can inform a business about where processes could be simplified or improved to cut costs or save time.

These frameworks also focus on ensuring uniform service delivery: upgrades are planned and implemented centrally across the organization. Everyone in the organization is running the same systems and software. It’s obvious that using an ITSM framework can make an IT department more efficient very quickly.

What about ROI?

It’s clear that using a framework like ITIL or Six Sigma makes a lot of sense for most organizations. However, the benefits don’t stop with improving the tech department’s efficiency—businesses can also use one of these frameworks to improve ROI.

For many organizations, investing solely in the tech department can seem like a risky venture. Part of the problem is that many people don’t see the advantages for other divisions in an organization. An excellent example is the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which improved efficiency in every department, from the hospital dispatch team to the security and safety department. Rather than seeing improvement in IT alone, businesses using ITSM see increases in efficiency across multiple departments. ITSM can help cut costs and save time, which, in turn, improves your return on investment in the system—and your business.

Another advantage of using one of these frameworks is that they can help organizations understand where to cut costs, both in the tech department and outside of it. This is especially useful in a tough economic environment; instead of employing the layoff mentality most businesses use during a recession, ITSM can show where processes can be improved and simplified to cut costs. Another bonus? It can tell you which project investments will yield the highest ROIs for your organization—which means tough decisions about where to invest funds are a little easier to justify.

The Sum of It All

The old adage “don’t believe everything you hear” doesn’t quite apply to ITSM; you should most definitely believe that ITSM can and will improve both efficiency and ROI in your organization.

Want to learn more about how you can save time and improve ROI, contact Uzado today for a demo.

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Topics: IT Service Management, ITIL, ITSM Software

What’s the Difference between ITSM and ITIL?

David Millier

Whats_the_Difference_between_ITSM_and_ITIL.jpgThe information technology world loves acronyms, and at first glance, many of the terms that get tossed around can be confusing. Take, for example, ITSM and ITIL. These two terms are used frequently in today’s IT departments, in similar contexts. In fact, it might seem that the two are one and the same—but there’s actually a huge difference.

What Is ITSM?

This acronym stands for “information technology service management.” It’s used to describe a certain paradigm that IT departments can adopt. Under the guiding principles of IT service management, tech departments strive to implement a service-oriented model that allows them to be more efficient and effective. The model includes aspects like workflow management and ensuring that actions are repeatable—thus increasing the tech department’s accountability to a company. Those using ITSM also strive to integrate IT into the company much more so than was done in the past. Rather than having IT sequestered and separated from every other department, IT is centralized and other departments become more integrated. When all of your employees are running the same operating system with the same patches, it becomes a lot easier to manage and solve IT issues.

What Is ITIL?

This acronym is closely related to ITSM, but it is different. The acronym stands for “Information Technology Infrastructure Library,” and it was created in the UK during the 1980s. As information technology was on the rise at this time, a group within the British government realized that IT was not being implemented in a structured manner. Instead, each and every company, sometimes down to the employee level, was creating solutions to problems in an ad hoc manner. The group then set out to prescribe the best practices for IT to implement in companies and especially governments. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library has since been sold to Axelos, who now manages certification of various software and service providers.

How Are They Related?

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a set of best practices for running an IT department. It emphasizes accountability, the repeatability of actions, the integration of IT across departments and divisions, and workflow managements.

That probably sounds familiar—because that’s essentially the description of IT service management. IT service management adopts many of the same ideas and core beliefs that define ITIL. In fact, ITSM could be considered a product of the framework, since ITIL was one of the first.

How Are They Different?

If you read that last sentence carefully, you’ve noted that ITIL is only one of several frameworks. This framework has certain recommendations for what constitutes “best practices” in your tech department. Other frameworks for IT delivery have been developed; among them are Six Sigma, Microsoft’s Operations Framework, and the ISO 20000. While ITIL is certainly the oldest and thus the most frequently used framework for implementing ITSM, it is by no means the only framework that a company could adopt.

The recommendations are still available. Axelos, which now owns the trademark, evaluates and awards certification to software developers, service providers, and IT professionals based on the recommendations of the framework’s guidelines.

Why Is ITIL So Popular?

ITIL, in some ways, pre-dates ITSM; many of the ideas that inform IT service management run parallel to those that were developed by the Information Technology Infrastructure Library in the 1980s and 1990s. The framework remains popular simply because it is the originator; its practices were widely implemented before there was anything else being developed. Thanks to its comprehensive nature, the standards have stuck around. Other frameworks, such as the ISO 20000, even incorporate aspects of it into their own recommendations.

 

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Topics: ITIL