Key ITSM challenges?

Published on Wednesday 3 October 2012 by in Blog, News with no comments

‘Part of the Give back to ITSM initiative’ – What are some of the Key ITSM issues facing senior IT managers? 

One of the benefits of being at GamingWorks (unless you ask our wives) is that Jan and I get to travel a great deal and meet many international senior IT managers who are trying to improve their ITSM capabilities. In the previous 6 months we have discussed with more than 25 senior IT managers in Europe,  USA, ASIA, Australasia and Russia. We wanted to gain their views on significant challenges they are facing and improvements they need to make.  Many used the term transformation to describe what they are facing, which is also something discovered at the CIO meeting held at the itSMF event in Norway. We also spoke with a number of senior business managers who also confirmed a need for IT to improve their capabilities, confirming that ITSM is a critical capability. They all recognized the key trends in Business and IT that we presented – an explosion in emerging technologies, coupled with a growing business awareness and demand for IT,  and an IT organization under increasing pressure to deliver with reduced resources in a multi supplier environment. So what did we discover in our discussions?

Giving back to the ITSM community. These are the top key issues we have discovered in relation to IT and ITSM. If you are a training, consulting or tool provider please use these to help you align your service offerings to these needs. If you are an IT professional responsible for improving ITSM capabilities in your organization ensure that you process or service improvement plans take these into account.


  • A need to transform IT to a more business and customer focused culture. There is still a strong internal focus and lack of business understanding.
  • Too little understanding in IT of the business needs for Value, Outcomes, Costs, Risks, coupled with a mismatch in capabilities (People, Process, Product, Partner) to realize this. Often the IT metrics are too internally focused and do not reflect business needs.
  • After playing Grab@Pizza or Bookstore senior managers gain a better understanding of the NEED for service portfolio management however 70% say they are NOT currently deploying this ITSM process. Most are focussing a Service Catalogue management.
  • IT must gain trust and credibility from the business. This starts with demonstrating control and value. Show that we are really customer and service focused. One CIO stated ‘If we cannot demonstrate operational excellence how do we expect the business to trust us with being a partner?’.


  • Top Cultural or behavioral emphasis from senior IT managers (taken from memos, posters, slogans, vision and mission statements) are: ‘Professionalize IT’, ‘Improve end-to-end delivery, team-working, collaboration’, ‘Customer and service focused’, ‘Ownership & accountability’, ‘Better knowledge sharing and seeking help’. There is often a mismatch between these needs and the adoption of framework training and certification. Often when we ask senior managers ‘what does customer focused behavior look like‘? the response is ‘Good question!’
  • Leadership capabilities are a MUST with all management levels in the organization – helping transform and professionalize IT and ensure new behavior is embedded in the organization. Consequence management is being seen as a valuable enabling instrument. This is for rewarding and enforcing desirable behavior, empowering people and for confronting undesirable behavior.
  • A growing need for people and teams to improve their own work. A reduction on long term external spend, means people need to improve themselves, using external capabilities to help enable and facilitate this. As one CIO stated ‘Improving your work IS your work!’
  • Clear need to engage more with the business at ALL levels to gain a better understanding and develop better communication. One senior IT manager stated, after we suggested the MT spend a day in the business watching how It is used, ‘This was an eye opener, everybody in IT should do this.’


  • More focus on the Customer interfacing processes and demonstrating Value from these processes. The ability, through the processes, to demonstrate ‘in control’ – to the business, insight into status, progress, realization of their needs.
  • A need to translate theory into practice. Significant investments have been made into  frameworks such as ITIL, Prince2/PMI, CobiT. The expected value is often not realized and there is an ‘instrumental’ approach to ‘implementing’ or ‘installing’ frameworks as opposed to realizing a behavior change.
  • The need for ‘CSI’ as a core capability. Business demands and IT technology capabilities are in constant change. IT needs a core capability to become flexible and ensure continual alignment to business demands. CSI is often not in focus when adopting and deploying frameworks. There needs to be more effort and energy in embedding CSI in the culture and behavior at all levels.
  • With a reduction in IT consulting spend and a push to reduce external hiring there is a need to improve in-house Project management capabilities. This matches a growing world-wide request for our PM simulations.
  • A clear need to bring demand under control. A growing  focus on Information, Information management (IM) and formalizing these IM interfaces and processes.


  • Clear need for a tooling to automate management, gain more management control and facilitate knowledge capture and sharing, but the tools are not adequately used to enable people and processes to deliver demonstrated value. Value for customer AND value for internal experts.


  • Service management in a multi supplier environment, e.g cloud. In-house Service management capabilities must broker and manage across multiple suppliers and ensure agreements are aligned and well managed.

Many of these customers were frustrated with the current offering in the market from training and consulting organizations as well as tool providers.  Many were seeking help in making change happen, making change stick and enabling IT to successfully adopt and deploy future change.

We are pleased to see there is a growing recognition for the need to address the ABC of ICT (Attitude, behavior and Culture) in both training and consulting providers and Customer organizations. We would like to see the formalized education offerings take the next step for helping translate theory into practice by including more practical or experiential exercises and interventions as part of the curriculum.
If the formalized ITSM framework training and certification does not adopt and implement this then there is a gap in the market for organizations such as itSMF to step up to the plate and offer in their conferences and events streams of ‘practical, hands-on’ sessions. IT

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