Stuck in an ITSM Timewarp

Are we stuck in an ITSM timewarp?

Everything changes, but it all stays the same

I have been working in IT Service Management (ITSM) since 2000 – I managed to join the IT profession just after the millennium panic was over, so missed all the fun!

I had what could be considered a ‘baptism of fire’ type entry to the industry, being seconded from another department to set up a service desk for a stockbroking company that was going through a rapid and quite painful growth phase. As a daily newspaper journalist I actually had NO idea how I was supposed to do this!

Fortunately, one of my many Internet searches led me to a training organization that was offering a training course in something called ITIL® and this seemed to fit the bill for what I was trying to achieve. I guess you could say that the rest is history!

But that journey is not what this post is all about.

The same old issues

Over the past 16 years I have worked with organizations, globally, on their ITSM improvement journeys and, while technology has progressed dramatically in this time, the issues I deal with on these initiatives have remained depressingly static.

As consultants and ITSM professionals, are we doing something wrong? Why is the message not getting through, why are we still so bad at getting some pretty basic stuff right?

It is not the technology that is letting us down; it is the softer side of IT that we still struggle to deal with.

Communication problems

Going into a new engagement, one of the first things I like to do is just get out and chat to the business customers. The things I hear have not changed in the whole length of my exposure to the IT world. Customers consistently complain about a lack of communication, a poor targeting of the type of communication that is made and a fear of calling the Service Desk because they feel they are made to look foolish.

Improving these aspects of IT service is not rocket science! Take a minute, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and treat them with respect. A lot comes down to actually understanding who your customer is – find out a bit about them, what is their level of IT knowledge and experience. Use this information to correctly target your communications.

Make sure you are listening

When your customers call, take the time to actually listen to what they are trying to tell you. So often assumptions are made without stopping to listen to all the information that your customer is trying to give you.

In a world where technology is advancing at light speed, this should be the easy stuff…can somebody please tell me why it isn’t?

The following two tabs change content below.


Kirstie Magowan is an IT Service Management specialist with 16 years experience working with companies in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, helping them to improve their service management practices. As a trained journalist Kirstie is a content developer in the ITSM space, writing for vendors in the industry. Kirstie is a regular speaker at ITSM conferences around the world, sharing a common sense view of how IT services can be made better

February 11, 2016

I really do think that traditional ITSM has missed the service management boat entirely - it was defined way back by the business product managers and marketers to tackle this exact issue - of there being a customer in the mix.

We have allowed infrastructure centric thinkers to define and wrap the true intent.  Its time to have the customer redefine ITSM for us I think... from the 'outside-in'?


@ianclayton There is something that is definitely missing...we all know that we are still getting it wrong, but somehow never seem to do anything to make it right!