Are we stuck in an ITSM timewarp?

Stuck in an ITSM Timewarp

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Everything changes, but it all stays the same

I have been working in IT Service Management (ITSM) since 2000 – I managed to join the IT profession just after the millennium panic was over, so missed all the fun!

I had what could be considered a ‘baptism of fire’ type entry to the industry, being seconded from another department to set up a service desk for a stockbroking company that was going through a rapid and quite painful growth phase. As a daily newspaper journalist I actually had NO idea how I was supposed to do this!

Fortunately, one of my many Internet searches led me to a training organization that was offering a training course in something called ITIL® and this seemed to fit the bill for what I was trying to achieve. I guess you could say that the rest is history!

But that journey is not what this post is all about.

The same old issues

Over the past 16 years I have worked with organizations, globally, on their ITSM improvement journeys and, while technology has progressed dramatically in this time, the issues I deal with on these initiatives have remained depressingly static.

As consultants and ITSM professionals, are we doing something wrong? Why is the message not getting through, why are we still so bad at getting some pretty basic stuff right?

It is not the technology that is letting us down; it is the softer side of IT that we still struggle to deal with.

Communication problems

Going into a new engagement, one of the first things I like to do is just get out and chat to the business customers. The things I hear have not changed in the whole length of my exposure to the IT world. Customers consistently complain about a lack of communication, a poor targeting of the type of communication that is made and a fear of calling the Service Desk because they feel they are made to look foolish.

Improving these aspects of IT service is not rocket science! Take a minute, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and treat them with respect. A lot comes down to actually understanding who your customer is – find out a bit about them, what is their level of IT knowledge and experience. Use this information to correctly target your communications.

Make sure you are listening

When your customers call, take the time to actually listen to what they are trying to tell you. So often assumptions are made without stopping to listen to all the information that your customer is trying to give you.

In a world where technology is advancing at light speed, this should be the easy stuff…can somebody please tell me why it isn’t?

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Kirstie Magowan

Kirstie Magowan is the managing editor of IT Chronicles. Kirstie is an experienced journalist and publisher who has been working in the IT Service Management industry since 1999. Kirstie is a regular speaker at industry conferences globally.