Effective ITSM implementation in 7 steps

15 December 2020| 5 min|Adam Morawski - Senior ServiceNow Consultant, Anna Cwalina - Customer Success Manager

Why should we talk about ITSM?

Have you ever wondered what a model implementation of an ITSM solution should look like? What elements should be taken into account so that your teams can fully benefit from its advantages? Below you will find a few key principles which are the basis for successful IT Service Management implementations.

According to market forecasts published in „Market Insights Reports The Global ITSM Market Research Report Forecast 2019-2025”, the value of the global ITSM market, currently estimated at nearly USD 40 billion, will increase by another USD 9.3 billion by 2025.

ITSM, Information Technology Service Management, describes a number of activities aimed at managing IT services and supporting the user in a way that allows for comprehensive satisfaction of his/her needs in relation to IT. Progressive digitization, related to the growing needs of users, makes the product offer expand and the functionality of already proposed solutions increase with every day.

How to effectively implement ITSM?

Using our and our customers’ experience we recommend 7 elements that contribute to the success of ITSM implementation.

Competence of the implementation partner and responsibility scope

By joining the project, you present an implementation partner with your expectations, possibilities, and organizational or industry constraints for introducing potential changes. It’s also the time and place to ask questions about the construction and technical aspects of the solution, its advantages, operation, or expansion possibilities. At this point, it is also worth asking the partner about best practices, experience gained from the implementation of similar solutions for other clients, and solicited references.

While talking to a partner, pay special attention to their approach to the determination of the individual responsibilities of each party in the project and indicate paths for solving problems that arise during the implementation. An excellent tool for this purpose is the RACI matrix, which clearly defines the above – and is created for each implemented process individually.

Definition of your expectations

The analysis stage may seem like an additional cost and is often omitted or carried out superficially. In fact, it is necessary to understand what direction changes should take and whether the chosen implementation partner is able to provide a solution that properly addresses the challenges in your organization. For such a key deployment as an ITSM solution, identifying and understanding not only the goals for IT but also the organizational and business objectives according to the “IT-2-Business, not IT-2-IT” principle is extremely important.

It is worth to focus on the dialogue and to arrange time for direct meetings and workshops with your partner. By limiting yourself to a standard briefing or inquiry, you risk that your needs will not be properly recognized, and this may put the whole project under question. During properly prepared workshops, you give partners the opportunity to understand your organization, share best practices and experience from other implementations, as well as present innovations that can fit perfectly into your organization’s needs.

Out of the box solution or dedicated application

As a customer, you expect a solution ideally suited to the requirements of your organization and the way you work.

If the solution you expect goes beyond the offered standard, you have to reckon with the risk of incurring additional costs. Therefore, it is worthwhile to first verify the functionalities available within the ready-made solution, in the terminology ServiceNow referred to as OOTB (out-of-the-box). Its basic version should be comprehensive enough to address the key processes described for this area in the ITIL library.

Verification of business needs and costs will help demonstrate whether standard functionality is sufficient or whether it is worth investing in a dedicated application. The latter may require additional work while upgrading your instance to a newer version (here you will find the list of recent versions with descriptions).

The project team

Before you start work, you should form an internal project team, which quickly and efficiently integrate with the implementation partner’s team. Thus, one harmonious squad works on the project, with clearly defined roles (based on the RACI business matrix created by both sides of the implementation). The joint and regularly verified work allows to successfully carry out the whole implementation and improve competencies based on the knowledge and experience of the other party.

Openness, proactivity, and willingness to share knowledge will verify the partner’s working style and methodology. At this stage, you should also check to what extent you can count on technical support and professional advice from the partner, already after the implementation is completed. Cooperation with an expert doesn’t have to come to an end with the Go-Live.

Single-step method

An experienced partner, understanding the need and business context, will be able to offer an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that meets your key fundamental requirements as a B2B customer. In the next steps, along with the partner, you should prepare a sequential plan for further platform development.

This plan will allow to provide the maximum possible value from the implemented applications/processes and build an appropriate sequence and relationship in the context of their mutual communication and broad view of the business process.

Requirements and acceptance criteria

Never start implementation without specifying requirements and acceptance criteria! None of the parties wants to face the lack of acceptance of the individual stages, let alone the final acceptance due to requirements not defined by you and not confirmed by the implementation partner.

Formally confirmed acceptance criteria are as important for the success of the implementation as the full identification and understanding of mutual expectations, setting up a joint project team, establishing an action plan and its execution. The partner must be aware of what to do to ensure the implementation will be approved by you.

Training and information campaign

While starting to implement such a key solution as ITSM in your organization, you must remember to inform all interested parties about this fact. And we are not only talking about a manager or IT team. It is primarily “business”, i.e. internal customers should be aware of the introduced changes and know:

  1. Business objectives of the improvements introduced,
  2. Implementation schedule,
  3. Support agents in case of possible problems.

Before starting the implementation, check if the partner is able to support you and your teams from the technical point of view, as well as in the preparation of a comprehensive information campaign and in the education of your employees on how to use the implemented solution. The recommended training plan should cater to 3 training personas:

  1. App owner (“train the trainer”),
  2. Administrator,
  3. End-users.

First steps in successful ITSM implementation

The implementation of the IT Service Management solution is far too big and serious for us to summarize it in a few points. However, we hope that the hints presented here will prove useful for you and allow you to understand what aspects you need to pay attention to at the beginning of the implementation that should meet the growing development demands of today’s technologies – but above all, by ourselves.

We have prepared a list of questions that will help you gather the information necessary to start the process of ITSM deployment in your organization. You can download it by completing the form below.

More resources

Here’s the list of materials related to today’s article that might come in handy for your process as well.

Want to deep dive? Drop us a line!