CIHS’ 10th Anniversary Recap: Why ITSM is So Hard!


On Monday 7th August, CIHS turned 10 years old. That’s a whole decade we’ve racked up helping people put together fully integrated ITSM strategies, processes, and solutions.

Our goal? Simply, to enable IT services to function the way they were supposed to in the first place.

You see, the thing we’ve learned about ITSM is that no matter how much everybody wants it to be easy… it just isn’t. Sadly, there’s no out-of-the-box software product that will solve all your ITSM woes.

So last year, we had a brainwave. We decided to share some of the lessons we’d learned through years of hard work in the ITSM space, in the hopes it would help people to focus their efforts and resources in the best possible way through free to attend seminars!

Now, in honour of our 10th Birthday, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane to look at some of the most important lessons we covered during the first half of 2017.

See the feedback from the sessions here.

First up…

Do You Really Need a New ITSM Solution?

At the start of the year, we decided to come out swinging. It’s natural to hope all your ITSM problems can be solved by a brand spanking new out-of-the-box software solution… but

Never mind the New Years optimism, we decided it was time to get back to reality.

Because here’s the thing. It almost doesn’t matter what you need from an ITSM solution, the majority of products on the market can do what you need them to. What they can’t do, however, is seamlessly integrate with your processes.

But that doesn’t mean the software is at fault. Most of the time, it’s your processes that need to change.

Pretty much every time we start working with a new organisation, we find the same thing: their processes fall a long way short of ITIL best practice. Hardly surprising, then, that convincing an ITSM solution to integrate with those processes is (to put it charitably) an uphill battle.

The lesson here is simple: Rather than dumping thousands into a new ITSM solution, conduct a full review of your processes first. If they don’t match ITIL best practice, make that your first priority.

Read the full post here.

Assets and CIs… Is There Even a Difference?

Once we’d covered the need to get your ITSM house in order before worrying about whether you need a new software product, it only made sense to look at one of the biggest hindrances to actually doing so.

One of the most common questions we get from our customers is about the difference between assets and CIs. After all, they’re stored in the same way by most ITSM solutions, so is there even a difference?

Well, yes there is, but it’s somewhat arbitrary.

You see, since both assets and CIs are stored in the same place and in precisely the same way, distinguishing between them can be far from easy. If you fail to make the distinction, though, you can end up wasting a huge amount of time and resources, and it can ultimately have a tremendous negative impact on your ITSM operations.

If pushed for a cut-and-dried difference between the two, this is what we’d say: Assets have relationships, CIs don’t.

Imagine your organisation has 10,000 devices, and all of them are going to be recorded in your ITSM toolset. 9,950 of those devices are PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, printers… endpoint devices, in essence. The other 50 are pieces of vital infrastructure, such as servers.

Now yes, an individual PC does have some relationships, but really they aren’t that important. If there’s an issue with that PC it’s going to be annoying for the person who typically uses it, but that’s about it.

A server, on the other hand, is a different thing altogether. If it goes down, depending on which applications or databases are hosted on it, the whole organisation could be impacted.

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between an asset and a CI.

So be smart. Focus your energy on defining comprehensive relationships for a small number of assets (servers, etc.) and keep things to a minimum for the majority of your endpoint devices (CIs).

Read the full post here.

The Shared Service Headache

These days shared service environments are all the rage. But while they can potentially enable partner organisations to save significantly on IT overheads, they also come with some serious hurdles to overcome.

First off, remember what we said earlier? If most organisations we come across have serious process issues, how well do you think the average shared service centre fares? Exactly.

But it goes deeper than that. In almost all cases, groups of organisations go into a shared service agreement with the intention of realising cost savings. Unfortunately, though, in the process of setting up the shared service centre, they do almost everything wrong.

For instance, instead of agreeing a uniform set of processes, services, and SLAs, each partner organisation typically wants to retain everything they currently have in place. As a result, the shared service centre is forced to do things a little differently for each partner organisation. Does that sound like a recipe for efficiency savings? Clearly not.

Second, very few shared service centres ever get to the point of having a comprehensive service catalogue in place. But without this vital resource, its very easy for IT operations to become overly focussed on fixing minor technical issues, because they don’t have visibility into which services are being affected by each open fault.

Finally, data segregation is almost never considered from the outset, but will ultimately pose a huge problem. If data management processes and ownership of individuals assets and CIs are clearly defined from the outset, it’s going to be extremely difficult to divide everything up when the shared service agreement runs its course.

Read the full post here.

The Cloud: Not Quite the ITSM Holy Grail

Recently, we looked at one of the hottest new topics in the ITSM world: Moving to the cloud.

While it’s easy to see the attraction of cloud-based ITSM, we felt compelled to (yet again) provide the other side of the story.

Is it legal?

ITSM data is extremely sensitive, so between the upcoming GDPR, existing legislation, and compliance requirements, there is a lot of legal work to be done to determine whether moving to the cloud is even an option.

In particular, it’s important to know where you’re allowed to store sensitive data. Hint: when the GDPR comes into effect, EU organisations will only be allowed to store sensitive data on servers physically located inside the EU.

Is it secure?

The funny thing about information security is that while you can outsource the process, you can’t outsource the responsibility. As a result, you should choose your partners with a great deal of care.

And we’re not just talking about failing a few legal obligations. If there were a successful attack on your cloud ITSM server, think about what would be at risk: not just personally identifiable information, which you’ll be liable for, but also your firewall details, software versions, asset IP addresses… the list goes on.

Is cloud usability really that much better?

Finally, here’s a question for you. Cloud ITSM usability might well be great at your head office, but what about your satellite offices?

You know, the ones with terrible network connections that make you remember what it felt like to use the Internet in 1997.

Now how do you think those offices are going to get on with a cloud-based ITSM solution?

Read the full post here.

Here’s To Another 10 Years

So there you have it, just a few of the lessons we’ve learned from over a decade helping all manner of organisations with their ITSM. We hope you’ve found it helpful, and you can expect to see much more from us in the coming months.

In the mean time, why not take a few minutes to let us know about your ITSM struggles, or suggest future topics for the blog?

You can get in touch with us here – We’d love to hear from you!

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