An interview with the founder
Cary James, independent journalist, Dallas (Texas, USA), March 17th, 2013
CJ: What is your business?
LDS: We provide Research and Innovation in IT Service Management (ITSM), to help IT organizations to better utilize best practices from frameworks as ITIL (or others), in order to create value to their company or to their customers.
CJ: What do you call « Research and Innovation » in IT Service Management ?
LDS : We create contents aimed at providing guidelines for companies about questions many IT professionals encounter. These online contents are materialized through ebooks to be downloaded or any other digital contents as survey reports, assessment tools, etc. We also provide customized services as data model design, requirement books formalization, or process policies, to editors, outsourcing, or end-users companies.
CJ : Why do you think Research and Innovation is useful for your targeted customers ?
LDS : A lot of concepts exist within the frameworks as ITIL (and others of course). Only some of them are really implemented in the companies. The reason is that for some processes companies see easily how to implement them. This is the case for processes as Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, etc. For other processes, the way is more tough, as for Release and Deploy, Availability Management, Business or Service Capacity Management, etc. Although for implemented processes, looking closer to them, we can find that only few of best practices are implemented and maturity still be stuck to a low level. This is due to a lack of vision on how to struggle with more complex best practices. In some cases, implementation provides “infructuous” results and projects are perceived as failure.
In some organizations, we can observe how complex ITSM processes have become after a few years of practice. Due to design “mistakes” or corrective, may be by-pass, rules stacked the ones on the others. Operationals have to improve their Service Management processes while they are struggling with the urgency of priorities and, sometimes, the heavy workload of their activities. For them, it is very difficult to take hindsight from day-to-day habits. They need external and independent advise to breakthrough with routine and limitations.
CJ : You mentioned that your services are directed to end-user companies, and also: outsourcers, ITSM solution editors, and training providers. Why do you envisaged a so wide opening ?
LDS : As previously discussed, many questions still last to answer inside IT departments within end-users companies. These questions can relate to Service strategy, to organization, to activities and rules to be implemented with processes, to suited tools, to data repository content, and many others Service assets ranging from competences to policies and standards.
For ITSM software editors, as for all automation software editors supporting conception, deployment and support of IT Services, ITSM best practices have to evolve as well with customer’s maturity. Their vision of process functioning (articulation), of the required flexibility to support, no longer correspond to the evolution of companies practicies. One of the most evident case is the CMDB topic. All ITSM solutions on the market provide a CMDB data model and functionnalities supporting the concept of CMS. In the facts, the proposed data model, even though it is based on CIM standard, is not designed to support Service Management activities as it should be. It does merely correspond to end-users company needs and does not allow CMDB projects to be conducted with success.
Training providers are mainly guided by Certification body’s syllabus, framing the all training content relating to official certification. But these training still be perceived as theoretical, and insufficiently practical. So, Training providers should complement their course materials with additional content aiming to increase the ability of the trainer to give answers to the new expectations from their attendees. Those expect more sharing of experience feedback and of know-how. Supplying written material containing practical examples will meet much better attendees expectations much more than theory and vocabulary.
All these players need external input to refresh their value provided to their own customers. A Research and Innovation activity, specializing in ITSM, is able to provide all the expected value through online content and distributed ebooks, that each stakeholder can use following its own objectives.
CJ: Why is ITSM so strategic?
LDS: From my point of view, there is nothing more important than IT Services. Because, this is what IT Departments sell to Business Lines. IT Suppliers have already understood it, because their income is linked to the quality of their Services they sell. If no customers are satisfied, no IT Service Provider (internal or external) can exist.
Above all, a commonly encountered confusion is IT Services are not only Service Desk services nor On-Site Support operations; These are part of the IT Service, as a component (and specifically in this case a choice) of the delivery model. IT Services are end-to-end systems; commercial systems, manufacturing systems, logistic systems, HR systems, and so on, that business lines used every day to deliver their own outputs. IT Services is an end-to-end vision of contribution from application and infrastructure components on which human manage operations to ensure administration and support through processes as change management, incident management, capacity management, etc. If these IT Services fail because one of the component does not meet the required service level, the company could fail as well.
ITSM is a large discipline conveying numerous competencies. So many competencies difficult to find all in a one person! They could be general competences, giving a good overview and consistency of the full set of processes, they can be specialized for improving specific domains as financials, recovery plans, deployment strategies, etc.
Apprehend IT Service Management is difficult and generally demand a significant previous experience in IT. Getting out from university and diving straight into ITSM sound abstractive. Without any understanding of the effect of concepts application on the field, best-practices remain theoretical and never leverage value to the company. Also, IT Service Management asks to be strongly customer oriented and to permanently look for business support. It develops a great sensitivity to service level commitments. These skills do not cohabit in the same person with technical skills. All of that means that ITSM practice relies on collective work, mixing experiences from different horizons, coming from internal and external exchanges.
The communication and vision sharing are keys for ITSM projects success. It is also linked to the ability of organization to share the same vision of objectives, to make people work in the same direction, and agreeing on the same commitments.
CJ: Can you give us some service examples that you plan to provide?
LDS : Ebooks and online survey will be some of our core productions. These publications will aim to tackle core topics, with deep analysis of root cause of mis-functionning, or cultural reason that explains why some best-practices are difficult to make more mature. These publications can be use as a personal lecture to take some hindsight from day-to-day issues, and/or can be used as a collaborative tool, during meetings or workshops, helping to share a vision within a same project team.
What I would call technical contents as Datamodels for CMDB, requirement books for new functionalities as Service Portfolio Management, as Service Models management, are primary dedicated to software editors in order to make them to integrate these new requirements into their solutions. They are also dedicated to end-user companies or outsourcers in order to help them to improve their service maturity through better design of their repositories and processes.
New contents will also appear as online assessments on processes and their relating best-practices. This specific service will help organization to benchmark themselves with other companies from the same economical sector or size.
CJ: How will you distribute your publication?
LDS : As we provide exclusively digital contents, we plan to distribute them through our web portal “theITSMpractitioner.com”, but also we will distribute our ebooks through major distributors all over the world as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Fnac.com, etc.
End of interview
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