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Welcome to the SysAid Blog - the place to go to find out where the IT industry is going, and what is SysAid’s role in it.

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Posted by on in Service Desk

What's Better in ITSM, Getting It Right or Looking Good?

I recently ordered some items from a web site that I’d used before. The checkout price was $30, which I paid with a credit card and then forgot about it and got on with life while waiting for the items to arrive. A few days later I was checking my credit card statement, and there was the transaction, but at $31.85! Of course $1.85 isn’t worth too much effort, but it wasn’t the money, it was the principle. So I went back to the website and submitted a ticket pointing out the error. Within 30 minutes, I had a profuse apology and compensation with $10 worth of freebies - nice!

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Posted by on in ITIL

IT customers

Why do we IT service management (ITSM) people have trouble understanding and predicting how our customers and other colleagues in the business will behave?

Really understanding the customer’s perspective requires more than good intentions. On occasion, our own attitudes and preconceptions get in the way. Sometimes it feels like we’re struggling to understand a foreign language, and there is a reason for that – in a way, that’s exactly what is happening. Our own opinions can deflect us from accurate observations, seeing a familiarity that isn’t really there.

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Posted by on in ITIL

Configuration Management – Learning from the Past

Configuration management is about collecting and maintaining useful information. In IT service management (ITSM), this means knowing about everything from hardware and software through to documentation and people – all of which is used to deliver services. We collect and hold data about those items, including information on how they are connected together.

Configuration management itself is way older than ITSM, with its roots firmly in old-fashioned engineering. Although we don’t know the equivalent term in Ancient Chinese, Egyptian, or Mayan, I guarantee that configuration management was being done in those times. They all must have understood the principles in order to get the Great Wall, the Pyramids, and Stonehenge right. And those creations look relatively simple compared to the bridges, ships, and railroads that mechanical and civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his successors were building – and crucially also maintaining – in the 19th century.

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Posted by on in Service Desk

Service desk rules

My colleague Ivor McFarlane once described the concept of intelligent disobedience to me. This term was first used in relation to guide dogs.  Service animals need to be trained to obey their owners. However, there may be times when the dog has more knowledge about the environment than the owner – for example if the pedestrian crossing light is green but a car is approaching very fast. In that case obedience would actually pose a threat to the owner’s safety. Dogs can be trained to exercise judgement and to refuse to obey orders when this is the case.  This idea has important business applications; we can train staff to exercise judgement rather than always mechanically follow rules or predetermined scripts. Staff who know when they should NOT follow the rules, and who are empowered to act on this knowledge can make better decisions.

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Posted by on in ITIL

ITSM Capacity Management

Capacity management was an important driver for the development of ITIL®. The original team writing the ITIL books back in the 1980s evolved from an earlier team dealing specifically with capacity management and performance measurement.

Initially, capacity management was almost completely technically focused, reflecting the expensive hardware and storage days of the 1980s, where efforts were rightly focused on getting the best possible performance – and maximizing the capacity – of the hardware available, to secure the best possible value for the considerable quantity of money typically spent on that hardware.

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Posted by on in Service Desk

IT service desk warriors

Your IT service desk staff are hopefully warriors, battling incidents and tirelessly delivering against service requests on a daily basis to ensure the smooth running of the technology that supports and drives your organization forward.

But sadly, due to the high intensity of the service desk role, people move on and need to be replaced. So what should you be looking for in an IT service desk candidate? Do you replace “like for like” or do you look to take your team to the next level? A level where the service desk is about more than just providing technical support, with customer service and the customer experience a growing requirement of end users whose expectations are rising in line with their personal-life experiences of technology, service, and support.

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Posted by on in Service Desk

Producing value in ITSM

Ever hear that ITSM (and ITIL) are not about the processes? If that’s true, then why are the ITIL volumes full of processes? Incident management, change management, release, and so on. Twenty-six of them, at last count. What am I missing?

Processes Are Great, But…

If you look at IT from the perspective of the customer – as all IT providers should – it becomes immediately obvious that processes are vastly less important than the outcomes the customer can see. Customers know processes are key to producing outcomes, but frankly, the customers care very much about the outcomes, and very little about the processes themselves.

So, let’s agree on this:

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Posted by on in Service Desk

ITSM management meetings

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re asked to look at a pressing issue and report back your findings and ideas at the next management status meeting.

You interrupt what you're doing, invest time, do the research, and develop a rationale for what's causing the issue, as well as some ideas on how it can be addressed.

The status meeting is well attended by all the right decision-makers. You present your ideas, your logic is irrefutable, your research and data bulletproof. Heads nod in agreement. It seems to go well.

The meeting ends, and when back at your desk a “ding” signals the arrival of an email thanking you for your ideas. A short time later, you hear from others your proposal has been parked.

What went wrong you wonder?

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Posted by on in Service Desk

Service desk value chain

I was riding home on my bike recently when the traffic lights turned red, as they do.  I stopped, and waited for them to turn green again so I could go.  There were cars all around me.  When the lights finally did turn green I pedalled as hard as I could to try to get clear of the traffic and into a safe space at the edge of the road.

Unfortunately, my bike picked that exact moment to develop a fault.

The freehub that is supposed to disconnect the wheel from the chain when you are rolling down a hill decided that now was a really good time to go into operation. But it wasn’t supposed to.  The result was that no matter how hard I pedalled – and believe me, I pedalled as hard as I could – the bike just stayed still, before slowly starting to topple over. I felt like a character in a classic cartoon, working hard but making no progress and heading for a fall.

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Posted by on in ITIL

Supercharging change management process

When creating a request for change (RFC), it's tempting to stick to the bare minimum. After all, most of us have better things to do than populating endless forms with information that nobody really needs to know. I mean what are the chances of the requested change going wrong?

Apparently pretty high it seems, if the oft-quoted incidents-related-to-change numbers are to be believed. So with a high proportion of incidents caused by a change can you really afford to be slapdash when submitting an RFC? So what can you do to make your RFC process, and forms, better? Here are my top tips for supercharging your requests for change.

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