Most IT service management (ITSM) service providers face multiple challenges in IT operations (business as usual operations) that might lead to customer escalations related to them not meeting business objectives or not delivering against quality-of-service targets and the expected value. This article has been written to help you to understand these challenges and offers associated recommendations for providing better ITSM processes and IT services. Please note that the challenges are discussed from a people resource perspective and not ITSM process maturity or performance. It also refers to ITIL v3 capabilities and not ITIL 4 given that this still has the highest adoption level.This article has been written to help you to understand the common challenges in IT operations and offers associated recommendations for providing better #ITSM processes and IT services. Click To Tweet
I cover the common challenges I see and make recommendations in two sections:
- By ITSM process roles
- Quality of service and value delivery
Across the following ITIL-v3-based service operation and service transition processes:
- Major incident management (MIM)
- Problem management (PM)
- Change management (CM)
- Service asset and configuration management (SACM)
Note – while only the above processes are considered most of the other ITIL processes may have similar challenges.
1 – Challenges related to ITSM process roles
In my experience, these challenges are often observed with people resources with fewer than five years of ITSM operational knowledge and the service providers that have a high demand for competent and skilled resources (incident management, MIM, PM, CM, and SACM process managers and analysts):
- Lack of effective communication in driving/resolving MIM calls
- Process managers don’t understand or lack knowledge of infrastructure technology while handling major incidents, reviewing/controlling changes, and undertaking root cause analysis (RCA)
- Resources don’t meet client service delivery expectations especially on quality and providing value
- Process managers don’t exhibit leadership qualities, especially when driving major/critical incidents or when chairing change advisory board (CAB) or problem board meetings
- Deficiency in ITSM process knowledge
- People are mostly task-oriented
- People don’t have knowledge/experience or a good understanding of the infrastructure landscape/environment and how it’s structured
- Creating multi-skilled ITSM process resources by deploying people in various major process roles (not just one)
- Having a practical ITSM process training HUB – for example, creating a training division/group with real-time training packages. Some of the packages that can be considered are: Live budding in all major ITSM process calls in infrastructure projects; listening to recorded calls of major incident, RCA, and CAB meetings; personal-skills training for ITSM process managers, which includes communication, interpersonal and influencing skills, and region-specific culture-sensitivity training; and creating live MIM, RCA, and CAB calls with mock scenarios that engage multiple infrastructure teams in assigned roles
- All the ITSM roles (IT Operations or process managers) should acquire basic to mid-level infrastructure technical skills. Mainly on infrastructure technologies such as hosting services, mainframe, networking, and end-user services
- Completion of ITIL v3 Foundation certification or ITIL 4 Foundation
- Training for the employed problem-solving techniques need to be upgraded with various basic domain knowledge – for example, Insurance, Manufacturing, Hi-tech, Banking, and Healthcare
- Having a good understanding of business impacts, risks, and how business processes work
2 – Challenges related to the quality of service and value delivery
Based on my experience, many service providers will face major challenges in delivering customer expected value or overall outcomes.
These challenges include:
- Degradation in quality of service due to lack of ITSM process skills/competencies
- Process service levels are met; however, the customer doesn’t see the overall value delivered
- Tasks and activities are completed on time, but no outcome is met
- Frequent customer escalation
- Process improvement or service improvements are carried out without meeting customer pain areas, or the expected value is not delivered
Service providers need to perform a current state process assessment to understand process gaps and identify pain areas that will give overall benefits and value.
However, the current operations ITSM team may not be skilled enough to perform an ITSM process maturity assessment, so you may need to bring in ITSM process consultants or if a service provider has a CoE (Center of Excellence) group then they can likely provide the required support.
This article is based on my experiences as a Service Delivery Manager in an IT service provider. If you’d like to comment or add anything, please do so in the comments section below.