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How an ITSM implementation can help in a recession

(Kristen Caretta, Associate Editor, TechTarget) IT Service Management (ITSM) can often be a hard sell even in a solid economy. Frameworks such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), COBIT and Six Sigma have often been described as "nice to haves" and not IT necessities. But there are ways that midmarket IT executives can embrace ITSM's focus on organizing processes and workflow to reduce costs and increase customer service, even during a recession.

Consider this advice for making the most of what an ITSM implementation has to offer to achieve a quick return on investment without dedicating too many resources:

To ensure you go down the right path, identify up front what problem you are trying to solve with your ITSM implementation. That might be the need to improve IT performance, the need to educate users in what services you can provide, or the need to increase efficiency and process.

"You don't want to implement ITIL if you don't understand the problem that needs to be solved," said David Pultorak, IT consultant and founder of Pultorak & Associates Ltd. in Seattle.

Lee Root, IT division manager for Tulare County in California, created a new ITSM implementation when he worked to merge two county IT departments.

"We had to merge two separate workflows, two separate IT systems, two separate policies and we had to find a new way to manage IT services. We knew what we wanted, we just had to find a less antiquated way to make it happen," Root said.

Rather than creating a hybrid of the two former ITSM practices, Root took the opportunity to start fresh and outline what the IT department had to offer.[...]

If your objective is cost reduction, look at processes over tools and technology. "ITSM implementations do not require a huge investment in time or resources if you pick and choose which aspects will bring about the most efficient return without overextending lean resources," said Ryan Ballmer, principal consultant at Cadence ITSM LLC.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to cut costs and improve operating efficiencies by investing in their ITSM processes and maximizing the ROI for tool and technology purchases they've already made," said Ballmer, who works with midmarket IT executives. "These improvements can position them optimally for larger projects once the capital starts to flow again."

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