While in Mumbai last month I was fortunate enough to spend a day with the Indian itSMF leadership and present at their event in Mumbai (for those interested in cricket it was the day Sachin Tendulkar scored 200 runs in a one day international, the only player to ever do so). The session followed the ISACA Asia Pacific CACS conference and meetings with several CIO’s in which we discussed a range of topics including: the growth of ISOIEC 20000 in India (refer to past blogs by Jeff and myself), the implementation of governance and the rapid rollouts of virtualization, a strong interest in cloud computing and a focus on automation. If you think about it, with a market of 1.2 billion, repeatability and automation are keys to success.
In India, many IT Service Management implementations are moving from the process by process approach where you mature a single process before commencing another, to a cross process approach where you do components of multiple processes at a time. The cross process approach acknowledges the static inputs and outputs and dependencies of each process and is typically based on achieving a maturity level across each of the processes and may be followed by a similar controlled implementation until you reach the targeted maturity level. For instance, many of us walk and run to some level but a professional athlete would develop their skills to a higher level to support their maturity level. Over my time all too familiar with Service Management implementations, I have seen starting and ending with a brilliant incident management implementation with minimal focus on other process. Don’t get me wrong, resolving outages are important, but if you agree with many, better change management in the form of user acceptance, system testing, and regression testing should be considered. For instance, by recent blog on Service Levels, the Toll collection system cannot afford downtime, so isn’t it better to spend additional time in testing of change rather than racing to implement to meet a date and then being spectacular at resolving outages.
Back to India, the itSMF Indian event discussed the theme that is emerging in India where Service Management implementations are now typically on clusters of processes with a maturity level identified and confirmed with the business in advance of the implementation. For instance, the implementation of change management with configuration, release management, capacity and service level management. These processes are all linked and must be implemented in some degree for success. In reality, once the business determines what the business service looks like and is approved, typical attributes include service level metrics, which in turn assist in the determination of capacity requirements and also allows determination of the criticality of the service, thus determining the level of testing (systems, user, integration etc). All this together ensures that when the service is transitioned to production, the support organization will be cognizant of the requirements and can accordingly prioritize support.
Challenges with ITIL and ITSM implementations I frequently see is too much focus on implementing incident management. Getting better at fixing issues over time often has the effect of eroding confidence in IT. Think about your own practical experience, I for instance always ask for my burger without onions and eight out of ten times it arrives with onions. Then I ask for another and it arrives without onions (a workaround in ITIL terms). Now the burger store can be brilliant at dealing with incidents but over time confidence is eroded and think about the impact on the burger store including the waste of time, raw materials and so on. Logic tells me that it is better to work on the ordered (request process) and get that correct. Even better results are experienced when implementing change management, service level management and so on, and implementing a combination of processes is a better method of obtaining a balanced business focused implementation.
One CIO of a large and growing Indian IT organization claimed that by leveraging service management, he has reduced his total numbers of incidents dealt with by staff by 50% with the implementation of self service (described well in the ITIL v3 Service Operations guide). Automation includes password resets, on boarding and off boarding employee’s and the automated virtualization of their Intel server environment, which allows for the automated provisioning based on an automated change process. The savings were also in terms of staffing as well with the redeployment of former level 1 support staff headcount to the newly created roles of business analysts, who are now ensuring IT is working towards business expectations. The deployment of this implementation took less than 12 months and the investment will recover costs in 12 months.
India reinforced for me what the better service management implementations tell me – implement a number of processes in parallel in small manageable sprints that show value to the organization with the additional benefit of ensuring the transitioning culture can accommodate the change.
For my Indian friends, I look forward to spending more time with you later this year.