Mass Customization in ITSM (and Movies) for predictable success

What a season for Oscar!  Golden statues are adorning fireplace mantles in houses owned by Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges and the screenwriter of the movie “Up” (well maybe he still rents).  Watching the Academy Awards Show just a few weeks ago got me all excited about seeing movies again.  Not just DVDs or downloads, but real honest-to-goodness fresh movies.  It’s a way of supporting the industry that produces big time entertainment.  I’m not discounting the independent films that are scraped together with a meager budget and limited distribution (some are indeed great).  Sometimes I’m willing to gamble $10 and a few hours of my life on the chance of having an artistic epiphany.  But most of the time I spend my money and time on a “sure thing” – Hollywood’s guarantee of a fantastic entertainment experience – provided by leveraging proven elements and then re-mixing with some new elements (and pixie dust) to generate a brand new hit.  At least something about either the actors or directors or approach or plotlines will already be familiar to me.  I figure that’s the way it is for most people.


Do you ever wonder how a movie can be so creative but still be a project that comes in on time and on budget?  Sure, there are always some crazy movie projects out there that get green-lighted (usually run by James Cameron or, in his day, Francis Ford Coppola) but, by in large, the movie industry has learned that mass customization works.  I just went to see the feature film “Alice in Wonderland” largely due to the fact that the combination of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp doesn’t usually disappoint me.  I will probably go to the next Disney Pixar animation movie and I don’t even know the name of it yet.  What does it take to create a production franchise (and not just a series of formulaic sequels, which I hate)?  It is a result of experience and trust in the results one will get with talent and a process that works.


So, following this analogy, how can an IT organization get projects done on time and on budget, yet with a predictable level of quality and a successful outcome?  Well, we know that the adoption of ITIL-based processes can help, because they are proven -- they have been collaborated on, used, tested, and refined over time by countless IT organizations.  The ability to codify experience can help.  And how does service management software codify experience? HP believes it is through not only the documentation of ITIL-based best practices, but through the actual out-of-the-box implementation of ITIL-based best practices.  Mass customization in the ITIL world is not achieved using a clean sheet of paper with infinite flexibility to invent all your own mistakes.  It is achieved by building from a foundation of best practices infused into the guts of the HP Service Manager product itself – in the workflow, forms, and pre-configured data such as pre-defined roles, sample service level agreements, service level objectives, and key performance indicators that work time and time again, just like a good production franchise in the movie industry.


 


Does the implementation of best practices limit creativity or force an IT organization to bend to its prescriptions? I don’t think so.  Using ITIL best practices, every instance of HP Service Manager can be tailored to a unique set of customer requirements while still avoiding the excessive re-work that results whenever a fully customized configuration needs to be migrated or upgraded.  This is an approach that makes sense in the real world and a lesson that less mature vendors haven’t yet learned.  Even some of the more established names in service management software take their “best practices” only so far (by providing best practices documentation without providing support for the best practices in the inner workings of the actual product itself).  HP Service Manager is the only offering out there that holds true to the concept of a production franchise by actually implementing ITIL best practices out-of-the-box. Not by prescribing, but by guiding.  Just like the best Hollywood producers.


So the next time you select a movie to see based on your expectations, recognize that it is the mass customization by Hollywood that allows a creative story to be told to an appreciative audience.  Mainstream movies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but, as a business approach, this method can’t be beat.  Now you know the “magic” behind the success of HP Service Manager as well. 

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About the Author
A 25+ year veteran of HP, Yvonne is currently a Senior Product Manager of HP ITSM software including HP Service Anywhere and HP Service Man...
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