ITSM

A Buyer’s Guide to Selecting the Best ITSM Tool

A Buyer’s Guide to Selecting the Best ITSM Tool

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First of all, if you’re reading this article because you know you need an ITSM tool for your organization but you don’t as yet understand what ITSM is, then it may make better sense for you to invest a little time in getting the basics of IT Service Management down before you wade into an article such as this. If, however, you are reasonably well versed in ITIL and ITSM and are just looking for a little ITSM tool selection criteria to help you find the best tool for your organization—then by all means, read on.

Selecting the right tool for where your organization is and hopes to be going is the core purpose of applying ITSM tool selection criteria. If you fail to evaluate and understand your organization’s current position utilizing the ITSM maturity model, then it is practically impossible (or at least highly improbable) that you will gain the most ROI from the investment you are about to make in an ITSM tool.

You must completely understand and apply your current and eventual needs as a business, as well as the current and anticipated needs of your customers, to ITSM tool evaluation and selection. In this article, we outlay the steps you need to take to find and apply the right tool for your organization, no matter where you are in terms of organizational maturity.

The Six Key Steps Toward Successful ITSM Tool Selection

  • Step One—Assessing Your Organization’s IT Maturity

    Assessing how your organization fits into the ITSM maturity model, as mentioned above, is the most crucial step of ITSM tool selection. It is also one that should be completed before moving along into the other steps of selecting an ITSM tool. Which of the ITIL processes do you have implemented? Which are you looking at implementing in the very near future? Knowing where you are in the process of maturing into an organization that has implemented all, or at least most of the ITIL processes, will help you understand which processes you need your ITSM tool to support. Begin with an IT maturity assessment tool.

  • Step Two—Determining the ITSM Features That Fit Your Organization’s IT Maturity Level Best

    Now that you’ve gotten a handle on your company’s IT maturity level, you will need to examine your existing portfolio of operations management tools and identify what is missing. There is little sense in purchasing an ITSM solution that overlaps your existing assets, and even less sense in purchasing one that doesn’t cover the gaps. While finding a comprehensive tool that covers all your gaps without duplicating any of your existing solutions may be challenging or even impossible, the exercise of identifying the best possible solution is hardly a waste of time.

  • Step Three—Evaluating Your Licensing and Hosting Needs

    The next step in the process is to get your heads wrapped around your long-term and immediate hosting and licensing needs and options. For example, do you need a cloud-based tool, or something a bit more on-premises? Can you get by without separate staging, training, development, and production environments, or are they a necessity? Also, make sure you’re evaluating your options from both the perspective of immediate cost for level of service, and what you will ultimately spend over time for each solution. Examine each option from as many scenario-based perspectives as possible.

    You must completely understand and apply your current and eventual needs as a business, as well as the current and anticipated needs of your customers, to ITSM tool evaluation and selection.

  • Step Four—Bringing in the Vendors

    You have held off on bringing in the sales teams for as long as possible. Now, it is time to rely (somewhat) on their expertise. In fact, this step should overlap slightly with steps two and three, so that you have as complete a picture of your options as possible. Keep an open mind and try to get as much from their analysis of your needs as you can. In the end, it may help you make the most informed decision down the road.

  • Step Five—Evaluating and Comparing Vendors

    Evaluate and compare your vendors, starting by following up on their testimonials and references. Speak with colleagues in your industry regarding their experience of this process, what ITSM tool they ultimately went with, and for what reasons. What were the outcomes? What have they learned that they did not know prior to purchasing their tool? Would they make the same choice again?

  • Step Six—Making a Selection With Your Customer in Mind

    Lastly, keep your customer and the perception of your business from an IT perspective in mind when you make the final decision on your ITSM tool. Your customer’s experience (in concert with the experiences of internal and other stakeholders), should ultimately inform your final decision.

Finding the Right ITSM Solution

You’ve examined your organization’s IT maturity. You’ve determined the features you need in an ITSM tool, and evaluated your licensing and hosting needs. You’ve brought in the vendors and done your due diligence. You’ve made a solution that you believe will benefit your organization internally and from your customer’s perspective in both the short and long term. When all this has been done, you’ve completed the process.

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Laura Miller is the Senior Director of Sales Operations, ITSM at SolarWinds. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.