Do you need an ITSM assessment?

I was involved in a discussion about ITSM assessments on Twitter recently. It all started with this discussion about the value of an ITSM self-assessment…

2014 11 07 Do you need an ITSM assessment

This got me thinking about why people carry out ITSM assessments, and what business value they derive from them, but I really couldn’t express my thoughts in 140 characters so I decided to write about it in this blog instead.

Some people on twitter thought that a self-assessment could be useful, others that it might be better to get someone else to do an assessment. My opinion is that an assessment has absolutely no value in itself. The only reason for doing an assessment is if it is part of a bigger project that has a real business outcome as its objective. In that case it is up to the wider project to understand what it needs from the assessment and that will determine the scope of the assessment, and whether you need an external assessment or you can do it yourself.

For example, the organization might be asking a strategic question like “How can I differentiate myself as a service provider”. Part of the answer to that question might involve carrying out an assessment. In this case I would recommend getting the assessment carried out by someone who has industry benchmark data that they will use to help you compare yourself to other comparable service providers. The scope of the assessment is likely to be quite wide, covering many different ITSM processes, and extending into areas like customer satisfaction.

Alternatively you might be asking “How can we improve our ability to manage incidents and problems”. This would probably require quite a narrow assessment covering just a few processes, and you may be able to do this as an internal assessment, comparing what you do with industry best practice as documented in ITIL or ISO/IEC 20000.

Whatever the reason for your assessment it would be wise to look at more than just processes when you do the assessment, think about whether your scope needs to include governance; vision and mission; attitudes, behaviour and culture; tools and technology as well as processes.

So the answer I gave to Chris Barrett’s question was the typical consultants “it depends”.

2014 11 07 Do you need an ITSM assessment 2

And I hope that this blog has helped to clarify what I mean by that.

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