19 January

When your ITSM solution becomes the Lernaean Hydra! 3 golden tips to manage your ITSM solution.

The Lernaean Hydra or Hydra of Lerna was a serpentine water monster in Greek and Roman mythology. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid. Lerna was reputed to be an entrance to the Underworld. In the canonical Hydra myth, the monster is killed by the half-god Heracles, using sword and fire, as the second of his Twelve Labors. According to Hesiod, the Hydra possessed many heads, the exact number of which varies according to the source. Later versions of the Hydra story add a regeneration feature to the monster; for every head chopped off, the Hydra would regrow one or multiple heads

Some ITSM implementations become Hydra’s due to all changes implemented over time. These changes are originated from internal requirements, but also from new releases of the product or modifications implemented to cover up process flaws in the service organization. Just to be clear, evolution and changes in an ITSM solution are perfectly normal and are done with the best intentions. These changes mostly have a positive outcome, but what you would like to avoid is a 9 headed monster to be the entrance to your underworld (your IT department): a complex, user-unfriendly, non-maintainable application, with a huge impact risk and possible downtime or service degradation when only performing a small change.

But how to avoid turning your ITSM solution into a Hydra? Here are three best practices that will be helpful in this.

1. Don’t rebuild the “old” ITSM solution

A lot of customers have the intention to rebuild the functionalities of the previous ITSM tool into the new application “because we have always done it this way”. But often the main reason to select a new ITSM application is that they turned the old one into a Hydra. So don’t rebuild your old system in modern technology. Use the implementation of a new ITSM tool as a lever to make a step forward in the maturity of your service organization.

We see that new ITSM applications are built with a different logic based on the latest developments in ITSM and therefore have other methodologies to achieve a similar result. When your ITSM solution is out of the box built upon a proven best practice process model, it gives you a great opportunity to make a huge step forward avoiding the pitfalls other organizations have stepped into. It is a great basis to start with. The number of additional requirements should be minimal which reduces the implementation effort, speeds up the project and prevents you run into upgrade issues in the coming years because you have built another Hydra.

 2. Appoint a Service Owner

In every organization employees are coming and going. Each time a team member leaves the company, knowledge disappears and a gap needs to be bridged by its successor. A Service Owner for the ITSM solution is appointed at the start of an ITSM implementation project and will be responsible for the future maintenance and continuity of the application after Go Live. This employee has a lot of knowledge such as:

  • Why did the organization choose for this ITSM Solution?
  • Which requirements have been implemented on top of the out of the box version?
  • What technology is used by the supplier to administer the application?
  • What is the relationship between the different components in the application?
  • What is the risk & impact when performing a change?
  • Which requirements have been raised in the past and were rejected by the CAB.

Besides good documentation, a good best practice in this would be to keep the Review Board, that reviewed the requirements during the implementation phase, involved as a Change Advisory Board for change requests on the ITSM service after Go Live. It would be a waste of time and effort trying to stick to the standard as much as possible during the implementation and open all doors for changes (that already have been rejected in the project) after the Go Live.

Keep that back door closed after Go Live, otherwise the Hydra monster will pop-up again.

3. Implement Change Management

With this I’m referring to managing the organizational change that is related to the implementation of a new ITSM application. You don’t implement a new ITSM solution just to replace the old one. You should always take the opportunity to learn from the past and improve for the future; new ways of working and transforming into a service oriented organization. All this takes effort, time and guidance to get the best result.

An ITSM solution is the ERP system of your service organization. It should give you the information to run your organization as a business; effective and efficient. Don’t take that lightly and involve the right stakeholders at the right time. That’s the only way to reach your goals and make such an implementation really successful.

I sincerely hope these recommendations are helpful for organizations that are currently maintaining their ITSM application or are at the start of an ITSM adventure with a new solution. If you want to know what a new and modern service management solution can bring you? Calculate your potential saving here when you would execute an improvement project in the service management areaCalculate your potential saving here when you would execute an improvement project in the service management area. Please try our ROI calculator (Click here). You will be surprised.

About the author;

Christophe Dufromont, ITSM Consultant at InfraVision with strong Service Management and Business Consultancy skills.Working with Enterprise Customers for BMC Remedyforce and ITRP.