Are you happy with your IT service management tool?

IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) people have long bemoaned their service desk or IT service management (ITSM) tools. It’s a fact of life, well ITSM-life anyway, and analysts will often pepper conversations with clients (and anyone...

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IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) people have long bemoaned their service desk or IT service management (ITSM) tools. It’s a fact of life, well ITSM-life anyway, and analysts will often pepper conversations with clients (and anyone else that will listen to them) with comments such as “that on average an organization will change ITSM tool every five years.” Some analysts quote longer, others quote less. In many ways, whether it is three, five, or seven years is unimportant. It is the fact that organizations are changing tools that is.

In a soon to be published joint Forrester and itSMF USA survey and report my colleague, Glenn O’Donnell, offers up an interesting service desk tool statistic: that, with the exception of SaaS tools, approximately 30 percent of responders are unhappy with their service desk tool.

Of course, one could argue that this is a little “glass half empty” (that I’m an analyst trying to line the pockets of ITSM-tool vendors) and that the “full glass” view is one where 70 percent of responders are happy with their service desk tools.

Yes, I could take this view, but I would be doing the ITSM Community a disservice. The big question for me is “why is SaaS only at 4 percent dissatisfaction?”

I’m sure many would say things like:

  • “Organizations haven’t had their SaaS tool long enough to fall out of love with it.”
  • “They just like shiny new toys, the buzz will wear off.”
  • “People are just trying to justify their decision to go SaaS.”
  • “They have been drinking the SaaS Kool-Aid.”
  • I could go on but I’d rather try to consider why I&O organizations appear happier with their SaaS ITSM tools.

I’m sure that some of the explanation relates to vendor and tool-specific parameters such as subscription cost, usability, breadth of capabilities, and customer service. However, looking beyond these somewhat obvious areas, what if the satisfaction (or lack of dissatisfaction) is caused purely by the fact that they are SaaS tools? That:

  • The customer is less likely to “tinker” with the tool to within “an inch of usability,” as they have previously done with on-premise tools.
  • New functionality comes on line more frequently, say three times a year rather than once every 18 months.
  • Upgrades are sold as quick and painless.
  • The customer does not have to host and support the tool. 

  • So they are still technology reasons, but with a “people” twist. In many ways it is replicating what I&O is seeing from the business: A desire for simplicity and agility. And the removal of barriers to change and the headache that is IT-centric IT delivery.

As a final thought, as an analyst you would expect me to be speaking with Forrester clients either considering or in the midst of changing ITSM tool. What you probably don’t expect though is for me to be speaking with clients that are unhappy with their recently implemented ITSM tool. I know I didn’t and I am still shocked when it comes up either directly or indirectly. In a software and professional services market as mature as this I think we all expect better.

Posted by Stephen Mann