Changing the approach of ITSM training scheme, a necessity for the future (Part 1)

By Laurent Duenas, May 21st 2014 


Why discuss this topic?


ITSM is at the heart of IT and Business Strategies

All companies are concerned with ITSM.  As IT is behind every business operation and is a vital combustible for a company’s success and growth, alignment of IT to business objectives is mandatory. ITSM is a key factor for this alignment. ITSM includes all sorts of the assets an organization creates to build and deliver its services to its customers at the agreed service levels. ITSM is made up of organization choices, management objectives, processes, and policies. It also includes more tangible deliverables such as tools, repositories, and governance reports. ITSM is what makes an IT organization a business enabler by providing utility and various warranties such as performance, availability, continuity and security. All of that supports business outcomes. The deep ITSM value comes from the intelligence and the relevancy that people put into these assets. This largely relies on ITSM understanding, knowledge, and field experience, which are not easy to acquire. Hence, what makes IT people good at anticipating risks, mastering change, and responding to a critical customer request, is the success of IT organizations to adopt these “soft skills” into their inner culture. The purpose of this article is to understand the current situation and its challenges, and to conclude with what could be done to improve the weaknesses.


The challenge


A large scale population to cover with different focuses

One main part of the challenge is that ITSM addresses a large range of competences and applies to all IT department employees. All actors involved in activities within the whole IT Service lifecycle should be concerned by ITSM best-practices. At each stage from design to operations, ITSM best practices provide warranties and quality that build and transition reliable services which comply with business expectations. But because the populations of IT actors are so diverse and specialized, working in their silos with poor transverse vision of what IT Services are, ITSM practice adoption may still be difficult. However, don’t think that just a handful of ITSM specialists would be enough to improve the organization maturity. Things are not working this way. ITSM must be a shared culture adopted by all stakeholders, everyone seeing the value for its specialization and responsibility domain. To anchor a common vision among a large and diverse organization, the challenge is great.


Intangible soft skills

Another main part of the challenge is that soft skills are not easily acquired. Soft skills are everywhere: we can feel them through exemplary behavior of Service-Desk agents dealing with exasperated end-users during peak calling time; we can see rigorous application of risk assessment procedures for urgent changes that protects live environment from adverse impact; we can also fell how fluid and optimized an IT supply chain works where ITSM culture is strong. But, these results are not mechanical; they cannot be expected just by investing in numerous training sessions or communications posts. Nothing can guarantee the perfect attitude of anyone in any situation. Firstly, because people are people and habits are difficult to lose. For instance you would always find in organizations IT “techies” being reluctant to accept constraints and to give up their freedom to implement changes. Secondly because ITSM benefits are not easy to understand until you have a clear vision of what an end-to-end Service is. And this is particularly difficult for IT experts fully focused on technical concerns; also because it is difficult to understand the value provided by a best-practice before having experienced how harmful it would be for an organization to lack it. Acquiring sounded and meaningful ITSM learnings is impossible without genuine practice. This is simply why young professionals cannot learn ITSM skills at the university just by following academic courses. To tackle this challenge, training providers have prepared themselves to compensate for this need of knowledge.



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