Seven Steps to an Effective IT Service Management Strategy

1 - Seven Steps to an Effective IT Service Management Strategy
2 - Use Proven Standards
3 - Provide ITSM Instructions
4 - Be Methodical
5 - Create a Service Catalog
6 - Address User Needs
7 - Develop a Configuration Management Database (CMDB)
8 - Hire the Right People
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Seven Steps to an Effective IT Service Management Strategy

by Darryl K. Taft

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Use Proven Standards

There are many sources of proven best practices CIOs can use to build an ITSM strategy. The two primary sources are Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which focuses on aligning the needs of the business with IT services, and Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT), described as the ITIL of governance and cost management. The most common place to start implementing an ITSM strategy is with three key ITIL best practices: incident management, problem management and change management.

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Provide ITSM Instructions

ITSM can be a reliable GPS for IT, but first you have to upload the data it needs to map your directions. Start with three key things: 1) IT operations and efficiencies to enable you to get the most from current technology; 2) management functions that drive value (i.e., cost, finance and asset management); and 3) business enablement that aligns IT with business requirements and objectives.

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Be Methodical

You don't have to implement a comprehensive strategy all at once. In fact, defining a strategy allows you to address short-term pain points with the confidence that you are proceeding in the right long-term direction.

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Create a Service Catalog

A foundational component of an effective ITSM strategy is a service catalog that defines the IT services in enough detail to outline the technology and processes that are required to provide them. This also makes it possible to align IT services directly with the business strategies they support and has the additional advantage of helping IT show executive management the value it provides to the rest of the organization.

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Address User Needs

As scary as allowing business users to request technical services on their own might be, a scarier thought is the world of "shadow IT" that enterprising users have found outside the firewall surrounding a secure and protected corporate IT environment. Through a service catalog that addresses users' needs, IT can provide automation, workflow and orchestration and establish an approvals process consistent with the company's IT strategy.

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Develop a Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

A CMDB allows the identification, management and tracking of the technology on which business services are built. It also allows IT pros to determine what each service costs and identify the services that could be more efficiently handled by a qualified third party. Implementing an effective ITSM strategy is both a requirement and an enabler of outsourcing and cloud computing. All the information a service provider needs to set up automation and orchestration parameters for a cloud solution is available between the service catalog and CMDB.

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Hire the Right People

A key part of ITSM is enabling communication between IT and business, and IT needs to take the lead on this process. One way to do that is by training or hiring a business strategist—part technologist, part business analyst—who possesses enough technical knowledge to work well with developers and bring business knowledge to IT projects.

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