In this post, we take a high-level look at how you can go about replacing your old ITSM solution with a new one.
There is no shortcut. Time and effort needs to be spent on careful planning and preparation if you want an ITSM solution that meets your current and future needs. Choosing the right vendor and toolset will result in a positive long-term ROI as well as a lengthy and fruitful relationship.
Engage with Stakeholders
Identify all of the stakeholders upfront, look at the roles they are going to play, and get them involved in the project. If any stakeholder groups are missed out, you might have to loop back to an earlier stage in the selection process.
At this point it is important to remember that the solution you select will be one that meets the requirements of YOUR business. Not one purely based on a recommendation by an industry analyst, ITSM consultancy organisation or a peer or colleague. Your requirements may be similar to another organisation but you will likely have ‘specific’ requirements that you need to capture otherwise you will select a solution that may only meet 80% of your total needs. It is also important to determine your mandatory requirements and what are optional or ‘nice-to-have’ features. This is a critical part of the selection process. It needs to be clear what the mandatory requirements are - as these must be the priority for toolset selection. If a solution does not meet all of your mandatory requirements then it will not make the short-list. The optional criteria are what will determine the preferred solution from the short-list of vendors who meet all of your mandatory requirements.
When you have established some high-level requirements, do some market research and determine the ballpark figures for some of the tools on the market that will be able to support those requirements. You will need to determine whether your budget will be sufficient to cover the cost of the purchase, implementation, support, etc. If it looks like the budget is not going to be enough then a case may need to be made to acquire additional funds. Alternatively, the requirements may need to be revisited so that an affordable solution is chosen.
Once all of the requirements have been collated they can be documented in a comprehensive specification of requirements. All stakeholders should be allowed to review and provide feedback to ensure that all requirements have been captured. A Request for Information (RFI) or Request for Proposal (RFP) can now be created. An RFI may be used initially to request information from vendors on their solution before moving on to a RFP, which invites the vendors to bid for the work.
Based on your research or responses to the RFI / RFP a shortlist of potential solutions can now be created. Once the shortlist is created vendors can be invited to present their solution and you have the chance to ask questions that may not have been covered in the RFI / RFP response or need clarification. This also gives you the opportunity to see if the vendor is a cultural fit with your organisation. Determine whether the work styles and personalities are a match for your organisation and team. You need this relationship to be a long and stable one, which is not going to happen if there is a mismatch in values, beliefs and principles.
On-Premise or SaaS
An important consideration in solution selection will be whether an on-premise or SaaS solution is required. There are pros and cons to both. An on-premise solution gives you complete control over all systems and data. Your corporate data is stored and handled internally. You have dedicated staff for maintenance and support.The initial investment may be higher, but can be paid off over time. A SaaS solution means you have no infrastructure costs (e.g. servers or software licensing costs). It is a low cost for service and the 3rd party is doing all the hard work! Hardware setup, source code upgrades, database upgrades, data center security, backup and recovery are all managed by the vendor.
Probably the most overlooked aspect of solution migration is the ‘people’ component and the reason so many migrations fail to deliver on stated goals and objectives. Getting buy-in for the change is critical. The new solution is going to change the way in which people work and may have an impact on current roles and responsibilities. The new solution must not be seen as a change purely driven by IT but one that has commitment from the highest levels in the organisation. Senior and middle management need to be equipped with the business case for the change and enabled to help transition their staff through the change. Senior management commitment helps to convey the importance of the change. The change in ITSM solution needs to be tied to the organisations mission and objectives. If it cannot be tied to the organisation mission and objectives, the reason for the migration should be questioned. Communication is critical. It is easier for people to feel a part of the change if they know what is going on and why. Good communication is always important but even more so when undertaking a change initiative. Communication must start early, be frequent and flow in all directions. Management needs to be equipped with the right messages to address staff concerns and staff need a communication channel to be able to communicate with management, the leaders of the change, and amongst themselves.