ITSM Manager first began as a series of casual conversations and luncheon meetings in 2008 among friends who had come to know each other over the course of years of interaction in the IT Service Management community. There was no intent or plan initially to form this venture, but most of these conversations evolved naturally into recurrent themes, among them:
- What they have seen and done with ITSM in various companies and organizations
- The perennial struggle in translating the "what" of best-practice into the "how" of running IT as a business
- Similar mistakes or misinterpretations that they have seen repeated over and over again that slowed, stalled, or outright undermined ITSM adoption
- ITSM leadership demands wide-ranging, cross-discipline experience that can't be gained overnight
Who We Are
Mart Rovers, Bryon Zimpfer, and Ed Williams have all been involved in IT management for many years—collectively, almost 70 years—and have hands-on track records with businesses ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups, to mid-size organizations, to extensive experience with multiple Fortune 500 companies and global enterprise operations. They have held not just senior IT management positions, but business leadership roles up to and including CEO.
Their practical ITIL® experience goes back to the mid-1990s when Mart helped lead the very first program in the United States. In terms of ITIL alone, their collective practice totals almost 30 years. All are also ISO/IEC 20000 early-adopters: Ed was helping lead a baseline assessment at a Fortune 100 company just four months after the standard was first published, and Mart and Bryon each hold multiple certifications in ISO 20000. In fact, among them, they hold almost every ITSM-related certification available today...plus some in other methodologies and practices, including: ITIL, ISO 20000 (formerly BS15000), ISO 27001 (formerly BS7799), COBIT®, CMMI, Project Management Institute (PMP®), and Lean Six Sigma. All have served as officers and board-of-directors members for various entities of the itSMF (IT Service Management Forum), and currently sit together on the board of the ISO/IEC 20000 Special Interest Group. They are frequent speakers at ITSM events, and write regularly on the subject, from whitepapers to books, in venues ranging from the itSMF to VanHaren Publishing.
Why We're Here
Those recurring, conversational themes led Mart, Bryon, and Ed to decide that there was a need in the ITSM landscape that they could help fill. It was obvious that—across geographies and market segments and organizations of all sizes—there were repetitive questions, concerns, and speed bumps along the ITSM road. And while the best-practice frameworks are pertinent for and adaptable to any organization, every company's implementation is unique, driven by factors like its business model, organizational culture, level of senior-management ITSM commitment, ITSM knowledge and available resources, etc.
At one level are the frameworks and standards themselves. By necessity, these must be agnostic and as broadly applicable as possible. Herein lies an oft-repeated refrain heard from IT managers who are learning about formal ITSM for the first time: "The theory sounds all well and good, but how do I start? How do I do ITSM?"
At another level are the vendors of specific applications and tools designed to fit within or make possible an ITSM practice. It's no surprise to anyone that the vendor's primary goal is to sell product, and ITSM practitioners can be deluged with promises that the tool is the how-to solution.
Make no mistake: there are some excellent products on the market and some important information to be gleaned from the vendors' representatives...and in most cases one or more quality tools are going to be needed to facilitate ITSM-driven operations. However, tool selection decisions should come after knowledge of existing culture and operations, extensive knowledge of ITSM frameworks and standards, and planning decisions about how those elements are going to merge. Unfortunately, buying a costly tool and relying upon it to make ITSM happen within a company often leads to a repeated refrain declaiming ITSM as too expensive for its perceived value, as having inadequate ROI. That's killed more than one ITSM adoption.
In the middle ground are consulting firms that can augment a company's in-house resources and provide ITSM and program-management expertise to help plan and execute ITSM implementation. Some of these firms are excellent and have first-class consultants who can be devoted to the project. But they cannot guarantee success any more than the tool vendor can: if senior-management commitment and corporate culture are working against the consultant, all he or she can do is provide guidance and advice.
Competent consultants aren't free. The meter is going to be running for every productive hour and—just like buying a tool too early in the journey—sticker shock can cause the CFO to lose sleep and the program to derail.
Ultimately, ITSM is not another IT project, one with a finite start and stop like moving a data center or refreshing all the desktops in an enterprise. For companies with a project-management culture and years of in-house IT operations, this can be a difficult concept for everyone from the service desk shift supervisor to the CIO to come to terms with fully.
ITSM is a way of doing IT business, not just another project to include into the portfolio of current projects. It isn't something you add to an existing IT operation; it must replace the foundation stone of that operation. For that reason, change has to be driven from within the organization. The best tools and the best consultants can quickly rack-up a multi-million-dollar price tag, but unless sustainable change is driven and supported from within the organization the expenditure will likely end with weak, temporary results and management dissatisfaction.
At ITSM Manager, our goal is straightforward: we intend to leverage our real-world experience and knowledge of multiple best-practice platforms and methods in order to provide convenient access to information that is important to all ITSM practitioners, at all levels of the business organization.
Anyone can buy and study the five ITIL core books or the ISO standards. We recognize that many in our audience will have advanced certifications in ITSM and aren't looking for yet more basic discussion describing what Change Management is and how it interfaces with Service Asset and Configuration Management.
Instead, we will draw from our hands-on experience and years of conversations with other companies in our itSMF work to provide observations from the inside looking out, not vice versa. We are vendor-neutral, draw on multiple frameworks and methodologies, and will offer pragmatic information about what really works as well as expose repeatedly-seen mistakes and misunderstandings. And we'll do this in small, easy-to-manage chunks because we know you're busy and your time is valuable.
Think of us as your ITSM eConsultant®: insight provided a la carte, when you want it, without the expense of a full-time consultant.
Thank you for joining us, and let us hear from you so that we can continuously refine our service to meet your needs.