ITSM: Transforming IT

Here are two recent letters I sent to customers following workshops designed to map out a strategy to transform their IT organization thru the assessment of their people, processes, and technologies and the application of best practices. I thought that these might be beneficial to others who are attempting to do likewise. There are no great pearls of wisdom here, but it might get you thinking about having the conversation. ITSM = IT Service Management.

One client is attempting to synthesize several frameworks (ITIL, Sigma, ISO, and CMM-I) into a multi-year strategy to uplevel their operational capability. They asked for a mapping between ISO and ITIL, to which I replied in the 2nd letter (below).

Hi <--->,

I'm glad to see you are moving forward with this. As we mentioned during our workshop, some clients choose to perform the SunTONE assessment by themselves. Others seek assistance from Sun or a partner. Still others do both... performing an informal survey themselves and then requesting a formal evaluation from Sun. Either way, since I'm just down the street from you, I would like to keep tabs on your efforts and help ensure you get the assistance you need and the results you desire. If you find there are areas that you'd like to target for improvement, I can also help suggest services and/or technologies and/or best practices that will help improve your "score". Of course, it isn't about the score - but a firm's ability to deliver a quality service and experience that meets documented SLOs at a desired level of security and cost.

As I've mentioned, your operational capability is already (it appears) at a higher state of maturity than most. A SunTONE "stamp" will certify this capability and is a badge of honor. You'll join hundreds of other firms that have attained this status, and will differentiate yourselves from the other hosting centers.

If you have a standing meeting to discuss status and actions and gaps associated with this effort, and if you think I could add value to this meeting, I would be more than happy to attend and provide insights and suggestions where appropriate.


Hi <--->,

I'm more of a Sigma guy than an ISO guy... But from my investigation of ISO, it seems clear that a clean mapping exists between ISO and Sigma. These are initiatives to create and document and control processes to ensure a high degree of quality and predictability and continuous improvement/refinement. These are wonderful tools to ensure a process continues to be aligned with expectations and goals, and is as efficient as possible.

ITIL and SunTONE, on the other hand, DEFINE best practices and processes.

See the difference? ITIL is a set of practices/processes, whereas Sigma and ISO are mechanisms to ensure any process is (and continues to be) optimized.

So, in that sense, they are HIGHLY complementary, but orthogonal. I don't believe there is overlap or mapping between ISO and ITIL. You really need both the processes (ITIL) and the means to define and measure and analyze and implement and control (Sigma/ISO) those processes.

Note that both ITIL and Sigma/ISO are systemic/intrusive frameworks that, if done right, will infiltrate the whole organization and will be embraced and promoted from the highest levels. It is a culture change that takes more than a training campaign, MBOs, and a tiger team. You already know this, but many clients fail because they are not prepared to endure the multi-year evolution that this kind of change requires. But, for those that succeed, there are great rewards all along the way... incremental quick-hit benefits that don't require huge time or resource investments.

Many IT shops, I believe, will be outsourced and/or be "consolidated" over the next few years because they can not control their costs, security, and service levels. ITIL+Sigma/ISO is the path to survival and excellence.

Hope this helps!!

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