May 16, 2012, 12:49 PM — NEW ORLEANS
Attendees at ServiceNow's Knowledge12 user conference here this week were abuzz about the promise of social collaboration and mobile enablement within their service-management tools. But many organizations are also still grappling with some very basic IT service management (ITSM) process issues.
ITSM is about automating, as much as possible, routine IT services including incident, asset and change management, project management, discovery and related areas. At many companies, the problem is that the processes behind these areas are immature or even chaotic, so throwing automation at a bug-ridden process will only yield more of the same.
ServiceNow, the vendor whose user conference is taking place this week, sells a SaaS-only offering that integrates multiple ITSM processes into a single console. The company claims around 1,200 customers; around 2,000 people are attending this week's confab.
Service process maturity: What's your level?
Gartner Inc. says most IT organizations are at one of three levels of maturity with regard to IT service management.
Level 1: IT is working on incident management problem management inventory management, knowledge management and basic reporting -- basic ticketing and logging of issues. Most organizations have mastered this level.
Level 2: IT implements tools for change management, user self-service, service request management and service level agreements for incident and service requests. Most organizations are just getting started with this level. Gartner rates the average company at level 2.3.
Level 3: IT starts to tackle service visualization, release governance, analytics, reporting, and social IT management and. "To become mature you have to break down the silos within the infrastructure and operations groups and have truly integrated processes. You are gaining efficiencies in service quality through standardization, policy development, governance structures and the implementation of proactive cross-departmental processes such as change and release management," says Gartner analyst Jeff Brooks.
Frank Wander, former CIO at The Guardian Life Insurance Co. (Wander recently left the firm and is now an independent IT management consultant), says his company adopted ServiceNow precisely because it needed to improve its own service processes. He says IT tends to do a good job with process automation for the rest of the business, but when it comes to its own operations the cobbler has no shoes.