So you’ve been tasked with selecting a new IT Service Management (ITSM) tool solution? Whether you’re upgrading from a simple ticketing system to a full-scale ITIL® suite or just aren’t happy with your current implementation, procuring the best-fitting solution can be a gargantuan task. Many Request For Proposals (RFPs) fail to ask the right questions, thus leading to disastrous ITSM implementation projects and dooming organizations to repeat the cycle all over again every few years.This scenario is not uncommon. In fact, Gartner estimates that by 2020, 90% of organizations that invest in an ITSM tool without factoring in their organizational and process maturity will fail to obtain the intended ROI from their investment. The bottom line is that IT organizations must be willing to laser focus their RFP on business value, and choose an ITSM software solution that excels in meeting only their most critical requirements.
Here are 10 tips you should know when selecting an ITSM software solution and creating an RFP:
1. Always Start Fresh
It’s easy to get caught up in past process. It’s important that your RFP take stock of the organization’s current needs and only focus on requirements that will help fuel growth in the immediate future. Reusing or recycling sections from previous RFPs can do a disservice to the organization as it assumes the ITSM software should function and be implemented the same as the old tool, which is fundamentally problematic. While learning from mistakes made in previous RFPS is important, IT decision-makers should always start fresh when creating their next replacement ITSM tool or service desk requirements.
2. Define Key Discernable RequirementsOne common mistake many organizations make when creating their ITSM tool replacement RFP is that they tend to focus too much on every technical detail and how they will be managed rather than see the big picture. The result is an extensive list of technical requirements from various IT stakeholders and their ITIL processes that end up being overly redundant and convoluted.
Gartner suggests conducting a MoSCoW method (Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have yet) analysis in order to refine RFP requirements and avoid boilerplate checklists that fail to truly address the needs of the business.
3. Stay Focused on Business Value (ROI)
Return on Investment (ROI) should never be overlooked when selecting an ITSM tool for the organization. Like in tip #2, a common mistake many IT decision-makers make is not focusing enough on what the real-world business outcome will be of a new tool implementation.
Be sure to take an extensive look at your organization’s infrastructure, processes, technical requirements, budget and maturity level before making your ITSM tool selection. Failing to do so could result in costing much more in the long run.
4. Don’t Fall for All of the Bells and Whistles
While ITSM vendors like to dazzle prospects with new and exciting features, it’s very important that IT decision-makers don’t fall susceptible to tool solutions that offer a variety of products and features, but fall short in meeting your requirement outcomes. Many times, a highly feature-rich product is hiding shortcomings of a cumbersome legacy system that requires more cost to implement and maintain over time. Be sure to look beyond just the technology being offered and investigate whether or not the solution gels with the requirements you’ve listed in your RFP.
5. Tweak RFP Requirements Based on Delivery Model
Be sure to take note of how the ITSM software will be licensed and delivered when creating your requirements. Many ITSM offerings are sold via SaaS or on-premise with options for both named and concurrent licensing. It’s not uncommon for RFPs to include a mixture of these models, and your requirements should accommodate them when being presented to a tool vendor. For instance, technical questions regarding security for an on-premise tool implementation will be inherently different than questions for a cloud solution.
6. Focus on Vision, Not Functionality
Take a strategic approach when perusing a vendor’s product offerings. You are not looking for merely a product to address technical requirements, but a full-fledged ITSM solution that will facilitate and support the entire business. Approach an ITSM vendor knowing the objectives and outcomes you want of a tool, and let them modify their product to best fit your RFP requirements.
7. Make Vendors Fight (and Write) for Your Business
Yes, believe it or not, ITSM tool vendors are there to earn your business. Make sure they really take a hard look at your RFP and provide long, detailed answers and case studies that clearly detail how their product meets your requirements and is better than the competition.
Gartner suggests requiring vendors to write long-form essays (if applicable) when addressing your requirements. This puts more risk on their end as it costs them more time and resources to answer these questions accordingly, thus weeding out the vendors that just want the quick win.
8. Embrace Change
While often easier said than done, you’re at this point in the buying cycle because your current ITSM solution just isn’t getting the job done. Be willing to change things up and avoid writing RFP requirements that treat a new implementation the same as the one you’re replacing.
9. Take Calculated Risks
Be bold. Don’t just focus on what you need internally, as this implementation project will affect everyone in the entire business. By all means, do your due diligence and research innovative technologies, automation, predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, etc. Talk to references, read case studies, and gather as much knowledge as you can before making a decision. However, if you act too conservatively and don’t embrace any new innovation with your ITSM selection, you may find that your end-users will be frustrated that their IT services don’t address their technological needs, which may cause potential conflicts down the line.
10. Stay Objective
While not always easy, you must act impartial when making your selection and try to avoid any bias toward a brand or company you may have prior experience with. While it’s ok to have favorable (or unfavorable) opinions about a vendor, make sure those feelings don’t influence the direction of the RFP, as it must solely focus on business value.
Selecting a new ITSM tool is one of the most complex decisions an organization can make. However, if you take your time and stick to the recommendations suggested above when crafting your RFP, you should be on your way to implementing a fine solution that will help to support and grow the business.