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HP's David Cannon receives itSMF Lifetime Achievement Award at itSMF Fusion 2010 conference

I'm tossing my usual drivel for something interesting. I attended the itSMF Fusion conference in Louisville Kentucky this week, along with Mr.. David Cannon. David was gracious enough to lend some of his time to help my team with the CMS best practices library. I knew we had something right when he said, "You got it right." Made my day. This week, David was awarded one of our industry's most prestigious honors, an itSMF Lifetime Achievement. Couldn't have happened to a better guy.

Keeping it real - Some blogs don't help!

I am an avid reader of blogs that criticize ITSM as an approach to managing IT. They fall into three main categories.

First are the blogs that criticize ITSM based on some theoretical point of contention.  These arguments are based on the blogger’s understanding of a term, and the fact that ITIL uses it differently.  These are the subject of heated online debates, and make for some amusing reading, but rarely have any real practical value.  Further examination often reveals that the original blogger has their own publication or framework and is using ITIL to establish their credentials.

Second are the blogs that see ITSM as a passing phase that will be replaced by some new technology-based approach, like Cloud.  “ITIL is too old-fashioned for these new approaches and they solve all the problems that ITSM was trying to solve – just quicker and better”, the argument goes.  Really?  So which parts of ITSM are no longer going to be relevant in the emerging technologies?  Will incidents no longer occur?  We won’t need to manage changes?  Capacity becomes limitless?  Service Levels are automatically discerned and delivered?  I don’t think so!  Here’s what I believe:  Innovation and new approaches bring a huge amount of value, but they also bring a number of new management challenges.  We shouldn’t throw out everything we’ve learned from the past every time something new comes along.  ITSM will have to evolve to deal with the challenges of every innovation, but that doesn’t mean that ITSM is not a valid approach.

Third are the blogs that focus on actual failures and successes of organizations who have used ITSM / ITIL.  These are the most important and relevant blogs to me, because this is where we can learn about how to make ITSM work.  It is only in the real world that we can make something actually work, and where we can learn from failure.  So what have these experiences taught me?

·         Best practice is not a framework.  It’s not necessary to implement the whole of ITSM in order to get value from it.  A successful project should be measured by whether IT gets better at enabling the business to meet its objectives, not by whether the whole of ITIL has been implemented.  Some of the most successful ITSM projects only focused on one or two key processes or services.  Best practice is a set of guidelines based on previous experience.  The fact that it has been documented in ITIL doesn’t mean that it’s compulsory – it just means that it has been made accessible.  Each organization can choose what applies to them and how to implement it

·         Don’t take everything in ITIL literally.  Many projects have been derailed by arguments about the “correct” interpretation of something in ITIL.  In many cases somebody has taken an example or a guideline as an absolute rule, and then there is no way to deal with variations or exceptions.  In these cases, it is important to keep the overall objective of the project in mind, and figure out what will work for that particular organization.  Often, it can be helpful to ask other organizations how they dealt with the issue – the it Service Management Forum (itSMF) can be very helpful here

·         The world of service and the world of technology are not two worlds.  They’re both part of the same world.  It’s not possible to provide services without infrastructure and applications.  Many ITSM activities are performed by technical groups.  Successful ITSM projects focus on both the business and technology, and involve both groups in every phase of the project – and many of the deliverables of the project should be owned and delivered by the technical groups

·         Governance is key.  A successful ITSM project will change the way the organization works.  Having a good project plan and executive sponsorship are necessary, but not enough.  Good project governance will ensure that changes needed for decision-making, reporting, management behavior and execution are properly communicated and cascaded to the appropriate levels of the organization.  Too many projects have failed because the team went off on their own and built a great solution for one part of the organization, but never integrated or coordinated it with other key players

Watch this space for some practical advice on how to get ITSM to work for you no matter who you are!

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About the Author(s)
  • HP IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager. I am also responsible for our end-to-end Change, Configuration, and Release Management (CCRM) solution. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.
  • David has led a career in Enterprise Software for over 20 years and has brought to market numerous successful IT management products and innovations.
  • I am the PM of UCMDB and CM. I have a lot of background in configuration management, discovery, integrations, and delivery. I have been involved with the products for 12 years in R&D and product management.
  • Gil Tzadikevitch HP Software R&D Service Anywhere
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • Jacques Conand is the Director of ITSM Product Line, having responsibility for the product roadmap of several products such as HP Service Manager, HP Asset Manager, HP Universal CMDB, HP Universal Discovery and the new HP Service Anywhere product. Jacques is also chairman of the ITSM Customer Advisory Board, ensuring the close linkage with HP's largest customers.
  • Jody Roberts is a researcher, author, and customer advocate in the Product Foundation Services (PFS) group in HP Software. Jody has worked with the UCMDB product line since 2004, and currently takes care of the top 100 HP Software customers, the CMS Best Practices library, and has hosted a weekly CMDB Practitioner's Forum since 2006.
  • Software technical product manager for HP Strategic Analytics--Executive Scorecard (XS) and Financial Planning & Analysis (FPA). Generate technologically sophisticated IT Performance Analytics use cases in collaboration with fellow HP product managers and design partners. Liaison for XS & FPA product managers, customers, and development team. Draw upon experience and industry pulse to influence the definition of product strategy and roadmap. Primary implementer of POCs for key elements of the company's offering including executive scorecard, financial planning and analysis, and process analytics..
  • Mary (@maryrasmussen_) is the worldwide product marketing manager for HP Software Education. She has 20+ years of product marketing, product management, and channel/alliances experience. Mary joined HP in 2010 from an early-stage SaaS company providing hosted messaging and mobility services. Mary has a BS in Computer Science and a MBA in Marketing.
  • Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Michael joined HP in 1989 and has held various positions in HP Software since 1996. In product marketing and product management Michael worked on different areas of the IT management software market, such as market analysis, sales content development and business planning for a broad range of products such as HP Operations Manager and HP Universal CMDB.
  • Ming is Product Manager for HP ITSM Solutions
  • Having about 15 years of experience, practical and academic, throughout these years, I’ve been always focusing on both strategic directions side by side with achieving critical business goals Mainly focused on IT operations management, strategy and control, my preferred vendor is usually HP, as I believe HP has one of the best Enterprise portfolios among the current trending technologies
  • Nimish Shelat is currently focused on Datacenter Automation and IT Process Automation solutions. Shelat strives to help customers, traditional IT and Cloud based IT, transform to Service Centric model. The scope of these solutions spans across server, database and middleware infrastructure. The solutions are optimized for tasks like provisioning, patching, compliance, remediation and processes like Self-healing Incidence Remediation and Rapid Service Fulfilment, Change Management and Disaster Recovery. Shelat has 21 years of experience in IT, 18 of these have been at HP spanning across networking, printing , storage and enterprise software businesses. Prior to his current role as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager, Shelat has held positions as Software Sales Specialist, Product Manager, Business Strategist, Project Manager and Programmer Analyst. Shelat has a B.S in Computer Science. He has earned his MBA from University of California, Davis with a focus on Marketing and Finance.
  • Oded is the Chief Functional Architect for the HP Service and Portfolio Management products, which include Service Manager, Service Anywhere, Universal CMDB & Discovery, Asset Manager, Project and Portfolio Manager.
  • I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the product since 1996. I love SM, our ecosystem, and our customers and I am committed to do my best to keep you appraised of what is going on. I will even try to keep you entertained as I do so. Oh and BTW... I not only express my creativity in writing but I am a fairly accomplished oil painter.
  • WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner
  • Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HP she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HP IT Performance Suite products.
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