We regularly conduct ITSM maturity assessments for our clients from various organisations, of varying sizes and from various sectors.
Despite this huge breadth of clients, there are a number of findings which come up again and again. Here, we describe the common findings, with the aim of helping you to inform your own improvement initiatives.
So here are Top 5 most common ITSM maturity assessment findings.
1. Process documentation
Process documentation typically describes the process (for example, Incident or Change Management) in the form of a flow chart, with defined roles and responsibilities described for each process step. Having a process documented provides a great vehicle for training and awareness, something which is particularly important as we move to more complex multi–Service Provider, Service Integration & Management (SIAM) operating models.
We often ask for process documentation as a means of understanding the intended ways of working. This proves particularly interesting when we conduct observation and interviews to determine whether the process is understood and followed.
Having process documentation should be considered a necessity to drive adoption and aid understanding. It is also useful to drive consistency, which brings us on to our next point.
2. Process consistency
Having established the importance of process documentation, it’s surprisingly common to see organisations with exquisitely documented processes, and wildly inconsistent ways of working.
The process documents are typically shared on a portal, such as Sharepoint. They are never consulted and over time, new working practices evolve. As more people get involved and more time elapses, the interpretation of the process get further away from the documentation. Inevitably the process documentation becomes out of date. As a result, the spiral of process immaturity begins. The documentation is out of date, so no-one follows it, and the more it isn’t followed, the more inconsistency creeps in.
Sadly, we see this more often than not. So, how can it be addressed?
- Appoint a process owner to manage not only the process documentation, but to own its execution and evolution
- Measure the performance of the process against Key Performance Indicators which give an insight into how effective it is and warn you when the process effectiveness is dipping.
- Initiate and develop a continual process improvement plan. And this brings us nicely onto point 3.
3. Lack of continual improvement initiatives
Organisations need to evolve quickly. A solution which was valid a year ago will need to flex as new technologies are explored, new suppliers are onboarded and new IT services are delivered.
In this constant cycle of evolution, it is critical that a continual improvement ethos exists. This should take the form of the process owners described above managing the adaption and evolution of their process areas in response to this changing landscape.
A continual improvement plan should consider not only improvements to process itself, but also other elements such as training, tooling, governance, people and organisation design. On the subject of governance and tooling, let’s move on to our last two points.
We only sometimes see continual improvement featuring prominently in our client teams. Where it is present, it provides an exponential amount of value to the whole technology team. If you don’t have this in your organisation, you should strongly consider it.
4. Ineffective governance
Before diving into this point, it’s worthwhile describing the context of the word “governance”. In this context, we’re referring to process governance. This means the supporting committees which are needed to support the effective operation of the process. One of these could be Continual Improvement, in support of point 3 above.
A further example would also be the Change Advisory Board for the assessment and authorisation of operational IT changes. In fact, this brings me to a bugbear. The Change Advisory Board is typically set up in a very inefficient way. Common red flags are:
- Meetings lasting over an hour
- Multiple meetings in a week
- Meetings containing more than 10 attendees
- Meetings which review every single Request for Change
- Meetings which don’t reach a conclusion.
I think the main advice that I will offer here is:
- Governance committees should have a Terms of Reference which is adhered to. If yours don’t, get one documented
- Ensure that your governance committees are being effective. Consider governance controls to measure the effectiveness of a given committee.
- If you recognise my red-flags above, not just in the context of Change Management, but in other processes, then you need to take action to address this!
5. Failing to capitalise on the capability of the ITSM tool
Finally, we often see organisations who spend vast sums on high-quality ITSM tooling. As we observe process practitioners in action, we are shocked to see how frequently the capabilities of the ITSM tool are seldom exploited.
Common red-flags which tell us to dig deeper are as follows:
- During the implementation, the organisation had no help from an expert tool configuration partner
- The practitioners tell us that the tool is awful, they hate using it or perhaps try not to use it! There are very few “bad” ITSM tools on the market. There are many which are badly implemented which in turn results in the perception that this is a bad tool.
- The organisation is about to replace a perfectly good ITSM tool with another perfectly good tool.
If this is you, all is not lost. Sometimes it’s worthwhile getting some advice on how to capitalise on the capabilities of your current tool, rather than throwing it away and starting again. The only proviso here relates to user perception. If the users of the ITSM tool hate it, you’re unlikely to win hearts and minds by rebadging it. After all, if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig!!
So how do we help organisations like this?
Our ITSM maturity assessments consider all aspects of your operation, including processes, tools, governance, skills and organisation.
The outputs of an ITSM maturity assessment are an assessment report, a spreadsheet containing a list of prioritised recommendations and a visual improvement roadmap. We work with you to initiate improvement initiatives to address the findings such as those described above.
If you’d like to discuss your specific requirements, please Contact Us, we’d love to chat!