CategoryITIL

Posts primarily about ITIL

..and what of your ITIL service desk in the shiny digital world?

The strategy is in place.

Consultants and UXers are swarming like excited honey bees. Digital is the nectar.

Fresh mantras are replacing the dusty old ideas. Responsive! High customer experience! Peak user!

The steady murmur of buzzwords hum in the air like electric current – cloud shift, mobile, lightweight apps. Analytics.

This hive is primed and ready to fly into the new tomorrow.

But in this bright, new and shiny world, what of the ITIL service desk? When password resets are all self-service, and applications and infrastructure are in the cloud, how will the future unfold for this historical artefact of a department; they who were not invited to the fiesta digitale.

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Fear and Loathing in IT Service

I recently had a speaking gig at the offices of Zendesk in London.

Now I want to say that they are the vendors of an excellent service tool, which has a distinct focus on the customer, something that’s perhaps missing from their ITIL-compliant competitors. I also want to say that I had a conversation with one of the attendees who was an IT service delivery manager at a media firm, and was also a Zendesk customer. I asked him why he opted for Zendesk instead of one of the compliant alternatives. He said that in his media firm, customers (please don’t make me say users) frequently requested all manner of non-standard and bespoke arrangements. He said that the many of ITIL tools forced him down very trammelled flows. He said that Zendesk was more flexible.

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IT Service – View From The Top

This one’s for the leaders.

Are you CEO or COO? Senior manager? Well-connected big fish in your enterprise? Then please, read on.

In truth, this post is for everyone else too, but it is leadership types whom I am hoping will be those who are most inspired by it.

So leaders – as individuals occupying elevated positions in the organisation, you are probably aware that your experience of IT service is quite different to that of the ‘regular’ staff. Right?

For instance, if you – personally – identify the need for a software application which might create efficiencies in your day-to-day job, or which might deliver considerable business benefit, then you’ll know how to get that utility into the business. If you are a CEO, you’ll probably harangue your CIO or CTO. If you’re a CIO, or another senior manager, you’ll more than likely be aware of the right person to talk to to make it happen.

But what if one of the other people in the organisation – that is, one of the ‘users’ – spots an opportunity for technological innovation? I’m sure you need no reminding of who exactly these ‘users’ are. They are the guys and girls who are the product of the carefully considered and expensive recruitment policy that you’ve implemented. So in this the information age, who do these ‘users’ turn to in order to turn their information technological ideas into reality?

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Beyond ITSM

In November of last year I spent a week in Sweden talking to IT folk about something which I termed post-ITSM. With this phrase my intention was to was to be provocative, yes; but also to suggest a future in which IT service departments work under a new paradigm, something that both encompasses and extends ITSM, while being based on a alternative premise.

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Deconstructing IT Customer Service

Some years ago I attended a talk given by the BAFTA-winning documentary maker Adam Curtis. You may have encountered some of his work on the BBC. His documentaries include All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace and more recently, Bitter Lake.

If you haven’t seen these, they’re well worth the time; you’ll find them highly informative and challenging.

At this event he talked about ideas that have become so much a part of the world around us that we cease to notice them – in effect we take them as self-evident truths. He used the phrase “the water in which we swim” to describe this. I think he was trying to convey the notion that an aquatic organism is oblivious to water in the same way that we’re oblivious to air despite the fact that we (and the fish) are surrounded by the stuff.

For this reason it may sometimes be beneficial to take a hold of these assumptions (or social constructions as sociologists would term them) and under examination we may find that they are not quite of the shape that our lazy heuristics suggest.

Take the phrase customer service. It is no doubt used many thousands of times a day in corporate environments. In IT departments, service managers will talk endlessly about “providing excellent customer service”. However, if one day you stopped one of these with that easy phrase between their lips, and asked them what it meant, they would probably regard you as a crazy person. Nevertheless, I have an inkling that many do not fully comprehend the real meaning of the term.

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The Process Age of IT Service is Over

In the years before I became a specialist in all things data, I worked as an IT service functionary.  I still have a finger in that pie today, talking at conferences about ITSM and (to a much lesser extent) ITIL. I have a fondly-remembered superior to thank for introducing me to ITIL in the 1990s. He was a (somewhat maverick) IT manager at a prestigious London firm and I was the newly promoted IT support manager. “Get yourself on Noel Bruton‘s IT manager course”, he said. “It’s brilliant”.

I did and it was. I picked up numerous shiny pearls of wisdom from the no-nonsense Mr Bruton. He also mentioned en passant an IT support framework called ITIL, which I’d not heard of at the time. When I returned to my desk I spent some time researching the subject and eventually bought the two OGC volumes – Service Support and Service Delivery. I was, it must be said, impressed. It immediately became clear to me that the structure and certainty which ITIL promised would be irresistible to the industry. I subsequently found myself proselyting to all who would listen about the future approach to IT service.

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