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August 17, 2023

9 minutes read

ITSM Buyer’s Guide: How to Find the Right ITSM Software

By

Andrew Graf

Investing in IT Service Management (ITSM) software is a great step toward increased efficiency, lower costs, saved time and higher customer/end-user satisfaction. Before deciding to purchase ITSM software, there are a few things you should consider as well as information you should know, so that when it comes time to implement the platform you are prepared and ready for it to take off. 

Key Factors in ITSM Selection

When selecting an ITSM tool, there are several key factors that people should keep in mind so that they choose the best option for their organization’s specific needs: 

  1. Low Overall Total Cost of Ownership– When an organization is placed under budget pressure, it is essential to find a solution that meets their service management needs, while, at the same time, finding something they can afford. 
  2. Improve Self-Service Adoption/Usage– Self-service drives down costs and increases satisfaction for both customers and employees. An ITSM platform that allows self-service to be the prevalent way that service is requested and fulfilled gives organizations a large advantage. 
  3. Resource Optimization– It’s important that your ITSM solution can help you provide teams with the tools they need to do the work that they do best while pushing the unnecessary things out of the way (i.e. administrative work, inefficient and error-prone processes, etc.). 
  4. Enterprise Service– Including ITSM and ESM (enterprise service management) on a single platform allows the entire organization to be supported in one place. 
  5. Reduce Manual Tasks– ITSM platforms that allow for automation give space for digital transformation to unfold. Automating tasks allows teams to be effective and spend their time focusing on what is needed the most. 
  6. Reduce Operational/Security Risk– Having your information organized on a single platform allows you to reduce error and risk. 

Top ITSM Challenges for IT Leaders

Common challenges that teams encounter with IT Service Management include organizing work, managing resources, developing a service portal and dealing with end-user self-service adoption. However, a very crucial challenge to note that’s not discussed as often is the difficulty that comes from obtaining buy-in to implement an ITSM platform.  

Companies always have lots going on, meaning there isn’t ever a perfect time to implement something like new ITSM software. So, making sure that your employees will utilize new software and take advantage of all that it has to offer is not an easy task. Changing people’s behavior isn’t something you can do in a day, especially when they are so used to an old way of doing things. However, it is important to make sure you find ways to get everyone on board because once they are, the benefits will come pouring in. 

The main reason why IT leaders find it challenging to obtain buy-in from employees is that there is a general lack of understanding about what ITSM truly is.

Educating people on the world of IT Service Management and the benefits of better service delivery will push them to be more interested in all the things they can do within an ITSM platform.

It’s important to highlight things like the amount of time they can save if more tasks are automated, or if people can solve their own issues using a self-service portal and knowledge base. By showing how they can benefit from the new software, they are more likely to be willing to take advantage of ITSM.

And that’s exactly what Pima County is doing. While the county’s digital transformation journey is starting in IT, there are plans to expand the use of TeamDynamix outside of IT for true Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

“The drudgery of working through mundane, repetitive tasks doesn’t exist just in IT,” Mark Hayes, information technology leader at Pima County, said. “I think the more we can reduce toil within the departments that we support, the more people are going to buy in and understand the value of what we’re trying to achieve. There’s nothing like success to breed more success, and once other departments see the benefits they’re going to want these tools too.”

It’s that success that IT is starting to realize with ITSM and iPaaS from TeamDynamix, “We’ve been able to use our success to drive additional headcount in our organization, to do more and better things,” Hayes said.

“As we being to do automation via workflows it’s only going to make it better,” he concluded. “We’re lucky in that our leadership understands that as the world has changed, IT has become the center of everything. They know that the more they invest in us, the more they can reap benefits and savings in other places.

Selecting the Right ITSM Software

When it comes to finding the right ITSM software for your organization, there are specific features and functionality you should look for, including:

  • Incident and problem management – Look for an ITSM tool that is built on the ITIL framework and delivered, out-of-the-box, with full ITIL support. TeamDynamix allows for proper hierarchies with Service Request, Major Incident, Incident, Problem, Change and Release work classifications. Live dashboards provide managers the ability to see real-time spikes in incidents to allow for the initiation of Major Incident/Problem Management workflows.
  • Asset management and discovery – IT Asset Management (ITAM) and discovery allow technicians to view asset and CI details, status, relationships and ownership. With integrated Asset Management, CMDB and discovery, technicians can plan for changes and view CI configuration history, impact maps and blackout/maintenance windows on dashboards.
  • Self-service and an easily searchable knowledge base – A support call costs $22, but self-service costs just $2 per incident. Drive self-service adoption with a stellar, searchable portal, service catalog and knowledge base. Create multiple portals, leverage chat, integrate with business applications and build workflows – all without coding or scripting. 
  • Conversational AI with automation – Change the way you chat with Conversational AI. Traditional chatbots aren’t built to understand natural language – because of this, they often fall flat. They rely on your input and are unable to process complex queries, offering just basic question/answer pairing – when it works.
  • ITSM workflow – Reduce IT team resource drain with automated ITSM.
    Automatically update the Active Directory, create on/off-boarding workflows, integrate with the HRIS platform and manage ticket triage all without any coding or scripting. Leverage a library of pre-built ITSM integration points with a visual flow builder to create the workflows that make life easier. Use the ITSM workflow builder or go to the next level with no-code iPaaS for enterprise automation.
  • ITIL change management –  Poor change management can cause your ticket volume to skyrocket. TeamDynamix incorporates CMDB-related functionality to service asset and configuration management, meaning each asset and CI are affiliated and visible. Change schedules and history can be easily viewed and all requests are tracked. You can facilitate new technology and maintain continuity by using a single platform to organize and manage plans, execution and communication.
  • ITIL release management – The last thing an organization wants is costly, unexpected downtime following a technology update or rollout. It’s critical to ensure that the implementation of new technology is executed without disruptions. ITIL-aligned release management helps to keep your production environment running smoothly.
  • Enterprise integrations – TeamDynamix is built for ease of use; from how you configure the platform to how you integrate your ecosystem. Quickly and easily connect ITSM/ESM and PPM with your applications.
  • Dashboard reporting – Identify issues before they become big problems, support key stakeholders, identify trends, and get the data you need to communicate the value of IT. Share ITSM dashboards with key stakeholders, publish externally, and integrate with third-party data tools. Highly configurable role-based dashboards and reporting offer a single view across tickets and projects. 
  • Tickets and projects together – Bring tickets and projects together for a single view of work and resources. When tickets related to releases and changes or solutions to problems require significant effort they can evolve into projects. With one platform for ITSM and PPM all work, resources and timelines are in a single view.

Reduce Drain on Resources and Budgets

When IT leaders were asked what areas they want to focus on in order to reduce the drain on IT resources and budgets, the following information was gathered: 

  • 51% said Project Intake– Most organizations need to improve project intake, review, approval and governance to reduce resource drain. Being able to make sure that resources and dollars are being focused on the right projects is crucial. There are so many potential projects, so it is important to be able to justify the projects that you decide to take on by considering which will be the most impactful, which aligns the best with your organization’s strategy, what resources and skill sets are available, what the budget is, etc.  
  • 55% said Portal Involvement– Many organizations do not have portals that are easy to navigate, so they want to focus on how users can access their services and knowledge base. 
  • 42% said Workflow– Focusing on improving productivity and reducing risk through true automation and workflow. These IT leaders are asking themselves how they can automate many of their processes using ITSM tools in combination with new technology like iPaaS (integration platform as a service).
  • 100% said Facing Budget Pressures and Resource Constraints– These budgets and constraints do exist, and every organization has to work around them. Finding an ITSM tool that has a low total cost of ownership while being easy to use can make a big difference for many organizations.  

One Platform Approach- Benefits of Bringing ITSM and PPM Together

A one-platform approach for IT Service Management and your Project Portfolio Management (PPM) makes the most sense. Within organizations, there are resources and people that work on service, change management and problems, while also working on projects and operational work. It wouldn’t make sense for us to look at a resource as only being useful for one task, whether it be something service-related or project-related.

Consolidation is happening throughout organizations and using one platform for ITSM and PPM is one way to improve service delivery with limited resources. 

One significant benefit of bringing the two together is resource management and capacity planning. In a typical IT department, they deal with a variety of things like incidents, service requests, projects and changes. With people working across these four work streams, capacity has to be managed very specifically in order to first, support the needs of the business through the ITSM side, but also, deliver the projects, because that’s what drives business forward. 

A project, by nature, either replaces a service, fundamentally changes a service, or is a new service that is being added. So, when you think about the lifecycle of a service, PPM has a large role in it. Acting like ITSM and PPM are unrelated will cause your organization to go through unnecessary steps and lead to wasted time. 

The City of Sunnyvale, CA is using a single platform approach and seeing great benefits.

“Before TeamDynamix the work was managed essentially by memory,” Dhiren Gandhi, applications and analytics manager said. Kathleen Boutte, Chief Information Officer, said the system they had in place for ticketing and managing IT assets prior to TeamDynamix was very antiquated.

“It was very difficult for us to understand where our resources were, how we were using our people. We needed better reporting, we needed visibility of staff and resource management, but we also needed better asset management,” she said. “We were managing assets on spreadsheets and different systems, if anyone asked how many PCs we have in the city it would take us a few moments to gather that information and give an answer.” 

With TeamDynamix in place, Boutte said they now have all of that information and more at the click of a button.

Hema Nekkanti, project management office manager, touts the benefits of bringing IT Service Management (ITSM) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) together on a single platform, “With one platform now we can actually see the tickets that are being worked on as well as the projects that are in the pipeline,” she said. “This gives us the ability to actually allocate the resources appropriately, and there’s no resource conflict.”

Eddie Soliven, infrastructure services manager, finds great value in the dashboards provided within the TeamDynamix platform. Nekkanti agrees, “The dashboards are the coolest things in TeamDynamix, I enjoy creating them as well as using them,” she said.  Nekkanti said she and her team use the dashboards internally to view projects in the pipeline as well as tickets.

Key Elements for Success

Because service management can become such a crucial part of an organization, it is helpful to have someone who “owns” service management. Having responsibility distributed is difficult, whereas having someone who is in charge of it allows for proper management of ITSM. 

Having a service portal, a well-developed service catalog, a rich and ever-growing knowledge base, a mature service desk and a very experienced project management team with well-defined processes will also lead to great success.

When people are able to solve their own problems there are no distractions and important, more complex tasks can be taken care of. Also, a significant amount of money is saved- the average cost of a level 1 support call is $22, and the average cost of a self-service incident is $2 (according to HDI). If your service portal is easy to search and navigate, incorporates feedback from customers and is easy to build with a responsive design, it will be good to go. 

If people are able to see how much success ITSM can bring to an organization, they are just going to want more. This creates a demand for Enterprise Service Management (ESM). 

Enterprise Service Management

IT isn’t the only department in an organization that receives requests for which they need to provide answers. Integration needs to work with all tools in the ecosystem, not just the ones that are IT-specific. Although each department has different reasons for utilizing service management, they can all benefit from it in a variety of way including: 

  • IT Service 
    • Full support for ITIL 
  • Legal and Procurement 
    • Manage workflow, setup approvals, track request 
  • Projects and Time Keeping 
    • Create cross-functional projects, manage a portfolio 
  • Sales and Marketing 
    • Collaborate, service, track assets and manage projects together 
  • Human Resources 
    • Requests for name changes, promotions, compliance tracking 
  • Facilities/Plant Management 
    • Track work orders, projects, preventative maintenance, inventory and assets 
  • Purpose Built Apps
    • Perhaps you need an app to track peer awards? What else can you spin up using a codeless app design? 

ITIL Support

A good ITSM platform will allow you to implement ITIL constructs that make sense for your entity. 

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework. It doesn’t tell you how to manage IT and it doesn’t tell you how to build an ITSM application. It only tells you what you should be doing to effectively manage IT. 

Despite each organization being so different, the two methodologies of ITIL and ITSM always go hand in hand. Because of this, it would be helpful for every IT employee to be trained on ITIL. Once the knowledge is there, they can run with it. 

What to read more stories from TeamDynamix customers? Check out our customer spotlights.

This article was originally published in April 2022 and has been updated with new information.

Andrew Graf

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