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

Investing in IT service management (ITSM) software is a great step toward increased efficiency, lower costs, saved time and higher satisfaction. Before deciding to purchase ITSM software, there are 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 solution, 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 cost 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 is 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. 

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 align 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 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. 

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. 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: 

  • 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 – codeless app design 

ITIL Support

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. 

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

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