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The Best of Service Operation, Part 2

Tool Selection Criteria
Originally Published on February 1, 2011

Service management technology plays a major role in our support of the business. There are enterprise wide tools that support service management systems and processes. There are also tools which support the specific lifecycle phases.

You should define your process before selecting a tool. Countless organizations have purchased a tool prematurely, only to find that it does not match the workflow of their newly reengineered process. Defining one or more processes first will help to narrow down the requirements and selection criteria and make it easier for the supplier to demonstrate how their product can complement your new process. Match tools to the process, not the other way around.

Wading through all the options, vendors, suppliers can often be a daunting task. Let’s discuss a technique for evaluating tools and finding the product which will support our goals and objectives.
  • What Requirements?
    • Meet with the business, the technical teams, your process owners, and stakeholders to get their input on tool requirements. Use the MoSCoW technique to define your Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, and Want to Have needs. 
  • Identify Products
    • Identify the products which appear to support your requirements.
  • Selection Criteria
    • Put together the selection criteria and prioritize the list.
  • Evaluate Products
    • Review the list of potential products to ensure that they meet the selection criteria. 
  • Short Listing
    • Create a short list of eligible products. If possible, have the tool vendors come in and demonstrate their product to the stakeholders. 
  • Scoring
    • Score the short list of products according to whether they meet requirements, cost, additional features, etc.  
  • Rank the Products
    • Organize your short list of tools in order of preference
  • Select the Products
    • Recommend your preferred tool and obtain approvals to purchase.  Begin to plan the implementation, training, etc.
Most tools are built to be customized to the individual needs of the customer.  Customizing field labels, drop down category lists, reports, views and workflows is expected. However, extensive functional customization can be costly and may hamper your ability to upgrade the product later.  Make sure the tool is not too complicated to use - the goal is to enhance your product, not hinder it.

Finally, deploy tools to match your ITSM maturity. Provide initial and ongoing training of the tools. Monitor data collection to ensure that staff is complying with process policies and procedures.

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