IT Service Management (ITSM) Implementation Challenges – Part I

Having briefly talked about making wise IT investments in my previous blog, we will now discuss some of the challenges that organizations face with implementing IT service management (ITSM). Note that the extent of difficulties associated with implementing IT service management depends upon the current state (baseline) maturity of the business enterprise and IT organizations. For those that are at lower maturity levels, this may mean a fundamental shift in the ways in which business enterprises and IT organizations operate. Major difficulties may include:

Cultural shift and organizational change
For organizations that may have lower maturity levels, ITSM implementation may actually lead to a fundamental shift in the way in which IT delivers its services to the customers and how customers engage IT in providing specific services. Fundamental shifts leading to transformations do not happen overnight and need a consistent and steady approach to incrementally and iteratively improving the services provided by IT organizations.

Technology management vs. IT service management
In many established organizations (not necessarily mature ones), IT is still viewed and managed as a back-office cost center. In most cases, such technology management cultures encourage teams and departments within an IT organization to operate in silos (silo-ed engineering and development, silo-ed technology management, silo-ed request management, silo-ed reporting and communication, silo-ed visions and leadership, and silo-ed supplier management).  Mature service organizations manage their respective technologies in order to integrate with the business needs. Such a shift from being a technology management organization to a service-oriented organization usually is a major one and requires transformations in the way that IT thinks, plans, and delivers its services to its customers. IT components (software, hardware, applications, network, servers, etc) need to be managed to ensure that the respective services that these components support are appropriately managed to meet the business needs. You need one weak link to break the value-chain. One weak component is all you need to cause an outage to a business critical service. End-to-end service management is the only effective and efficient way to guarantee that all components that implement a given business service are managed consistently to ensure that business services are managed such that related business process needs are met. When teams and departments within an IT organization do technology management, they do so in silos and that may lead to a creation of a potential weak link. For IT organizations to migrate from being a technology management organization to one that manages services may sometimes be a challenging task.

In my next blog, I will discuss remaining set of issues that most organizations planning to implement service management should plan to deal with.

To learn more about ITIL®, check out Learning Tree’s course, Putting ITIL® into Practice:  A Roadmap for Transformation.

Ahmad Shuja

*ITIL® is a registered trade mark of the Cabinet Office

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