In my last article I relayed some information about a conversation I had with one of our customers who is currently using our On Premise IT Service Management solutions.
In those discussions, we explored the benefits of moving these services to our SaaS ITSM products. Upon reflection, what I found intriguing about this discussion is that it was not an isolated or unique conversation. As is the case with most IT practitioners who have been in the space for a while, we see that as technologies emerge from the official status of “new and innovative” into “accepted and viable”, these technology alternatives occupy a vast amount of mind-share throughout the entire IT community.
You may ask, “What is it about Software as a Service that compels everyone to discuss this deployment, administration, and ownership model alternative?” (Ok – maybe not those words, but you get the gist…go with me, here…)
Oddly enough, more often than not, it seems that the legacy challenges many organizations have faced for years uncounted is driving much of this interest:
- As an industry, we are still confronted with the dilemma of how best to modernize our processes and practices
- A great percentage of IT organizations have an older service desk solution that does not lend itself to accommodate new business and technical requirements (I hear this from most everyone whose IT Service Management portfolio is based on software that may be two or even three major versions behind a current release)
- I also hear from many IT practitioners that they are just now (or very soon will) emerge from long-term maintenance and licensing agreements…so they want to explore every possible option available to them
- Quite a few of these discussions also include IT’s need to expand the services they offer the business
- Additionally, the more daring of these souls want to dramatically shift the operating models in place today so they can help the business become more innovative
- Lastly- of course – they all recognize the fact that today’s ever-increasing work-load can only be balanced by removing time consuming maintenance /upgrade service management activities….
Cue Mick, “I can’t get no; Satisfaction…no, no, no……”
So, how do we move towards something that is more….satisfying?
Let’s run on the assumption that you’ve done your homework:
- You’ve spoken internally with other departmental customers, users, partners, who are currently using a SaaS application
- You’ve exploited the all of the web resources available to you for basic research
- Though somewhat time consuming, you also have digested all of the industry analysts, media, and pundit reviews and speculations
- You’ve reached out to your social community and leveraged the collective gray-matter of thousands of people who doing “SaaSy” things today
At this point, you know that there are some staple attributes about consuming a SaaS service that have to be present….and “no”… we are not going to wax philosophically on these base elements. We all know that SaaS has to be accountable in terms of availability, security, reliability, transactional performance, service level penalties, flexible subscription terms, etc.
Given that all things in the SaaS model work as expected…where do you go from here? How do you know which SaaS offering is right for you? How do you know that when you go all-in on the SaaS model that the shift in your culture and the technical and business requirements are going to pan-out? Well….just for a moment, let me play the role of Mick Jaggers’ Protagonist,
“And a man (yes, that’s me) comes on the radio - He's telling me (yes, this is you) more and more - About some useless information - Supposed to fire my imagination…. I can't get no, oh no, no, no…”
First of all, get back to the basic conversation of; what am I buying, how does it do what it does, how does it do it better than the other stuff, and why is this important to me and company.
Bottom line, according to the analysts and the realities of our current business and economic climate, we (IT as an industry) have to do things better than we did yesterday…or we won’t be in business tomorrow! Pretty straight-forward, huh? No guile. No deception. No tricks. There are there hallmarks that you have to look for in your ITSM SaaS solution in order to be successful today and tomorrow:
Native / purpose built interoperable discipline capabilities: If you buy into a one-trick pony that may do one thing extremely well, you KNOW from your years of experience that you are going to wind up customizing that thing in order to achieve integration with other IT services, data, infrastructure, etc. Why replace a high maintenance product set with something so limited that the only defensible metric you will have to show over the next three years is the amazing initial low cost (1st year only) subscription fees?
If you think about it, IT Service Management is not just about opening and closing a trouble ticket. So why would you invest your time, money, and political clout in something that really doesn’t do what you need for it to do.
Just like the traditional and sadly much maligned On Premise solutions that provide a wealth of processes, features, functions, disciplines, you should demand nothing less from a SaaS based service, right?
Get to your end-goal NOW: Yeah, this is a big deal. Like any other IT based project, you know you have your list of requirements. You have identified your critical success factors and key performance indicators. Most likely, you’ve also created (based on this data) your total cost of ownership models? So what is the fastest way to hit your goals…or put another way, the shortest distance between two-points? In this case, it is to use the SaaS “product /application” as it was designed. You know the words here, Out-of-the-Box! This means, you need to find SaaS solutions with so many goodies “in-the-box” that you can run immediately without customizing the processes, the data schema, or the products capabilities. And yes, this also ties back to the first hallmark, leveraging the native purpose built interoperations.
Manage IT as a Business: OK – this one sounds easier than it is…or not? Looking towards the future of how IT provides and consumes services, we most likely will enter into a new world of management challenges. A few years back you could not read one IT periodical without seeing something about the new 5th rider of the apocalypse, “Virtualization Sprawl”. Yes, he who should not be named….
Well, as history has proven time and time again, stuff is cyclical and repeatable. The next rider to join the ranks of IT pestilence, may likely be SaaS Vendor Sprawl. No, not a particularly frightening name compared to its Armageddon peers, but still something that should keep you up at nights…
We, the managers and guardians of IT services, to keep a vigilant eye over all of the services consumed by our user and customer communities. We need a SaaS ITSM solution that understands business transparency, service costing, supplier and service portfolio management. Moreover we need to be able to provide to the financial and procurement teams important effectiveness information pertaining to these services (and service providers) to help them select and consolidate their SaaS provider portfolios accordingly. By utilizing an IT Service Management SaaS solution with native/purpose built IT Business Management capabilities (yes, back to the 1st hallmark yet again) we help drive monetary efficiencies and simplify the realm of our management and administration activities. Go figure…cause and effect….nice symmetry, yes?
So, at the end of the day, are these three things going to deliver peace, tranquility, harmony and ultimate satisfaction? They just might. You have to remember to all things there is balance, there is a path to achieving end goals. And even though Mick-and-the-boys, may have suggested that, “You can always get what you want – but if you try sometimes – you get what you need”, I think you‘ll find if you look at the actual application that exists behind the SaaS curtain, you can achieve a high degree of Satisfaction.