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7 success factors in choosing an ITSM tool

IT management is now essential. The information technology department is now central to business operations efficiency. Over the years, its stakeholders have transformed this cost centre into a revenue generator and a catalyst for the customer experience.

This digital transformation does not only bring its share of benefits and productivity but also its challenges. IT Service Management (ITSM) and request management across the organization are no exception.

Through your quest for performance and the search for a new service desk tool (also known as a ticketing tool, helpdesk, management of IT services or IT support centre), some missteps can lead you to a wrong decision.

Below are some tips to get you to the right place and ultimately help you make the best possible choice.

Choose the right ITSM software for your IT management

All software, paid or free, are obviously not equal. Basic or advanced functions sometimes differ and this is where the first mistake lies; looking for software first.

Too often, we discuss ITSM initiatives and are told, “I am looking for help desk software, I have $ 30,000 in the budget (budgeted or in my budget), and I want to install everything on the cloud.” However, this research should be based on issues that can be grouped into 4 blocks:

  • Consolidate and optimize critical business processes
  • Automate and simplify routine tasks
  • Make informed and measured business decisions
  • Satisfy its users by offering quality services

So, what elements do you think I should prioritize in finding the perfect solution?

1. Measure the maturity of your processes: find the right “fit”

The first success factor for choosing the right ITSM system is to evaluate the maturity of your processes – or even if it is not in place – to model the processes you want to support through a ticket office. Drawing on a napkin, does that tell you something? Joking aside, try modelling on Visio or another digital tool instead.

Implementing a service management system usually requires a structured, robust and reliable approach. By cons, any system is not for any organization and/or business context. You must find the right “fit”.

You most likely have a list of requirements, with your essential needs and your “nice-to-have” requirements. These elements lead you to validate this list with suppliers.

A good exercise in determining the maturity of your processes is the model of Axelos, owner of the ITIL® brand. This type of exercise leads you to evaluate the next steps of your project with a strategic and tactical perspective to reach your goals.

These are the milestones in your continuous improvement roadmap – and yes, even after the implementation, an ITSM solution continually evolves.

2. Determine if the ITIL® framework is right for you

Best practices and industry-specific standards provide a framework for IT service management.

Various frameworks are available for implementing IT service management, and one of the oldest and most successful is ITIL. Originally developed by the UK government in the 1980s, ITIL is now a widely recognized standard maintained by a private organization. Over the years, it has undergone several updates and is currently in its fourth iteration. It's important to note that ITIL is not a one-size-fits-all solution; organizations need to adapt its best practices to suit their specific needs. To learn more about ITSM and ITIL, take a look at our comprehensive article.

3. Flexibility or template-only? Think long-term.

Even if the “On Premise” era and modular legacy-type software are less popular, you need to consider the functional flexibility your team seeks. If you have NO resources to allocate to the ITSM implementation project or if the project's scope is very limited, you may rely on a rigid tool where templates are available to you at a low price.

Be careful; this path is sometimes the right one but can limit your future initiatives. Remember that your business moves and evolves like your processes and projects in supporting users.

Do not hit a wall with a short-term bet and a simple request management system.

On the other hand, a flexible tool gives you the potential to start in phases and scale processes, one priority at a time.

4. Is your project built for IT needs only?

When talking about the service management process, there is no need to limit to computers or technology. Yes, a helpdesk is known as a tool dedicated to information technology and IT support centres, but it is not the case anymore. The notion of “tickets” remains, but the tool's capabilities go much further than just “ticketing” management.

A visionary service management project includes the services of the entire organization and its needs, which can be detailed through a service catalogue. Your requests can come from human resources (arrival of an employee, request for access) or from, procurement (approval for an equipment purchase) or legal processes (request for a lost object or a cancelled service). We are now talking about Business Service Management or Enterprise Service Management to describe the scope of service delivery within the organization.

If your future ITSM project does not include your business services, ask yourself if you could benefit from the involvement of your colleagues from other departments. These allies can provide you with even more ammo to advance your project.

5. Expert comparisons are complimentary. Trust the real users first.

Reports and comparisons of all kinds often show different results. Or, at best, these documents only show some of the options on the market. Ensure that the information retained for your short list of suppliers comes from real customers, not from reclusive or niche analysts paid to write reports.

These large audits are relevant but more appropriate for large companies. For SMEs and mid-sized companies wanting to move to the next level, these valued and expensive reports present you with only some of the options. Even less viable options aligned with your budget and your needs.

6. Look for a Long-Term Partnership, not just a Supplier.

Although it may sound a little cliche, the importance of this point can not be underestimated. You do not just choose an IT service management tool; you choose a partner with whom you do business, hopefully for many years. It is important to ensure that the supplier meets its commitments.

An excellent way to evaluate this is to examine a supplier’s ability to meet its product roadmap schedule. Unfortunately, a supplier’s commitment to you may vary depending on the size and scale of your organization. 

However, an SME or an organization that does not have a well-known brand often does not attract the same attention, especially among large ITSM tools providers that focus on the enterprise space. If you are a small organization, be sure to talk to references or peers with the same organizational profile as yours. For example, a government agency or educational institution will have very different needs from those of a pharmaceutical company, a manufacturing distributor or a financial services organization.

The location – or at least the proximity of service – of your partner is also a factor of success. His ability to speak your language, understand the specifics of your requirements and especially, those of your business reality is decisive.

Doing business directly with an editor can make all the difference. Take the example of a reseller or an? integrator of an ITSM system that fails to include a critical requirement or mishandles customer improvement requests; these errors can affect the project’s progression.

7. License types and options

Several types of licences are offered. Named, concurrent, etc.

Some will offer you integrated models and other modular solutions. No matter which avenue you choose, the licence is only part of your investment.

The deployment of the solution, the production and test environments, the training of the users and your administrators are all points to evaluate for a successful implementation.

Especially since with the arrival of the cloud, things have changed. In the past, you invested in perpetual licences and installed on your infrastructure. Now you can evaluate strong cloud options and choose a solution that will follow your maturity and improve your ITSM processes.

In short, beware of the hidden costs that never stop accumulating. Do business with a real software provider and avoid “service specialists”.

What to look for in an ITSM solution?

Now that you have considered the maturity of your IT processes, the tools in place, the discussions with industry experts, etc., it’s time to think about the features. Each solution will offer a variety of features and capabilities. By understanding your specific needs, as outlined in the seven steps above, you are better equipped to find the best solution for your business. Things to consider include:

  • Support for the processes and framework of best practices that your organization will implement, such as ITIL incident, problem, and change management.
  • Ability to automatically assign tickets according to specialization or skills.
  • Integration or support of asset management to track, manage and maintain IT assets, including software and software licenses.
  • Ability to change deployment model (onsite to cloud or vice versa) if your business needs change.
  • Supports integrations with third-party solutions that your business relies on, such as asset management, remote management, mobile device management, and authentication.
  • The ease with which you can configure and modify without the need for expensive programmers (fast setup with minimal overhead).
  • Dashboards, statistics and real-time and dynamic reports.
  • Support the migration of data from existing tools and solutions to the new ITSM solution.