by Roy Atkinson
Date Published March 21, 2019 - Last Updated December 17, 2019

HDI’s SPOCcast is your single point of contact podcast for service management and technical support insights. For Episode 12, I interviewed Doug Tedder, consultant and trainer, via Skype about Enterprise Service Management, the VeriSM™ approach, the value of training, and more. What follows is excerpted; for the full impact, I encourage you to listen to the entire 30-minute podcast.


RA: Let's talk about some of this "Enterprise Service Management" stuff. It's getting to be a popular topic. [There are] multiple definitions or ways of expressing what ESM is. When you think about Enterprise Service Management, how do you express it, and what advantages does it offer to businesses?

DT: I think Enterprise Service Management is one of those topics—I agree it is really starting to gain some momentum—but you talk to several people and you get several different interpretations. My definition of Enterprise Service Management is really with an emphasis on the Enterprise. I like to look at Enterprise Service Management as a way to manage the services and information as they flow through a value stream across an organization. Where I think a lot of companies are maybe sticking their toe in the water with respect to Enterprise Service Management is, they may be doing a centralized service desk and calling that Enterprise Service Management. Or, they’re extending their ITSM tool out to various departments like an HR department or a Facilities department, and say basically, “Have at it. Here you go. Stand up a request catalog,” and calling that Enterprise Service Management. In my opinion, I think those latter approaches really fall short of what an Enterprise Service Management environment ought to be.

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RA: So, when you picture what that environment should look like, what should it include?

DT: It really has to look at the organization holistically. If you think about a company or organization, even today, companies still operate as what I like to call “collections of parts.” There’s the HR department, and they have very definitive boundaries. There’s the IT department—very definitive boundaries. Facilities—very definitive boundaries. The customer service department—very definitive boundaries. There are things these entities do. There’s work and results and deliverables that each of these entities do, but it’s not clear oftentimes how the output from, let’s say, the customer service department, actually impacts the warehouse folks.

And when I think about Enterprise Service Management, that’s the exact problem Enterprise Service Management should be addressing. What is the flow of information, and services, and goods, and products from point of origin to point of delivery? And I think that’s what Enterprise Service Management ought to be attacking. No part of an organization is a silo. It can’t be a silo. It can’t be an island within an organization. It takes all parts of the organization working together with all other parts to move the company forward.

And so that’s where I think Enterprise Service Management can help. And a lot of folks aren’t really looking at Enterprise Service Management in that way.

RA: In my recent conversation with Stephen Mann, he said something very similar to what you said at the beginning, which is that a lot of organizations consider Enterprise Service Management to be a centralized service desk. That’s their view. And you’re taking a much more complete view of the whole organization and way beyond what the desk could do. In another conversation I had with Phyllis Drucker, she brought up the fact that when she thinks about Enterprise Service Management, she thinks of VeriSM™.  Which is something that I wanted to talk to you about anyway. So, how does VeriSM fit with your description of Enterprise Service Management?

DT: Thanks for the question. As you probably know, I’ve been involved with the development of VeriSM from the beginning. I was a contributing author to both books, and also…with a couple of friends from Australia, authored the Pocket Guide. And the way that VeriSM…presented itself initially, and still does, it talks about itself as an approach to service management in the digital age. And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. But the way I look at VeriSM is it’s not just dependent upon the digital age. I think it is an approach to Enterprise Service Management. It really talks about the service provider as the entire organization, not just an entity within an organization.

You know, in the traditional ITSM sense, we tend to talk about IT as being the service provider, and our colleagues elsewhere in the business as being our customers. I’ve never thought that’s true. Folks…in other areas of the business are our colleagues. They’re not or customers.  And our customers are companies or people outside of the four walls of our business that do business and conduct business with our business. In that regard, I think that’s one of the things that VeriSM really starts to promote—you know—the organization as service provider, not a department as service provider, and I think in that regard VeriSM is a fantastic model and provides great advice for Enterprise Service Management, not just “service management in the digital age.”

RA: VeriSM…has grown much more in Europe than it [has] on the side of the Pond, as it were. Do you find as you talk to people about it it’s gaining traction here?

DT: When I do get the chance to talk about it, I think people appreciate the message and they start to see the potential. I think that’s part of our challenge. We’re not talking enough about it over here on our side of the Pond, and I think there’s some work to do. I think, given some of the very core concepts that VeriSM presents—you know I talked about the organization as service provider; I think that’s key. We talk about things moving through the value stream; I think that’s key. I think organizations need to recognize how they interact with one another within their organization to enable that delivery of value. So I think we’ve got some catch-up to do but I’m optimistic, because when I do get to talk about VeriSM, it is a well-received message, and people start to see the possibility.

RA: VeriSM talks about itself as an “approach” rather than as a framework. Can you help people understand what that distinction is like?

DT: Yeah, you know, what a framework does in very simple terms is it kind of gives you these boundaries, if you will. “Stay inside the boundaries but this is what you need to do.” And the way that I like to talk about a framework is, if you build a house, you build a framework. And once you get that framework built, then you’re deciding, OK, this is the color of the walls in this particular room, and these are the appliances I’m going to put in the kitchen, and this is the carpeting that’s going to go in, and so on and so forth. You and I could have a very similarly built house, based on the same floorplan and framework, but the interior of our house is going to look very different because of the choices that we make to satisfy our personal preferences. So that’s what a framework does…

Where VeriSM differentiates…itself from a framework is [that] it doesn’t necessarily provide this kind of guidance with respect to the walls of the house, using the same analogy. But what it does do is provide you guidance with, how do you approach building your house, and things you should consider, and other factors, other capabilities that ought to be considered as well. Frameworks have a tendency to talk about one specific organization within a company, whereas the VeriSM approach is really looking at the organization holistically…

The second thing I would say is that VeriSM is building on other frameworks…. If you are a COBIT shop, or you leverage ITIL®, or you’ve done some things with other methodologies, other frameworks, VeriSM wants to build from there. It doesn’t want to reinvent anything those frameworks are trying to do.

RA: A little earlier on, you were talking about how the organization has to operate as an organization. One of the recent blogs you wrote was about How to Defeat Silo Mentality. Can you talk a little about that a little bit? Because it’s very easy for us to fall into that. “This is what I do. It doesn’t matter to me what you do. I do my part of this assembly of services or parts or whatever and pass it on to somebody else who does something else with it,” which is an assembly line mentality, as we know. How do you get over that?

DT: It’s tough. If I were to point a finger at a factor or a symptom or a cause of this silo mentality that we often fall into, is the way that…companies are organized—the org chart—has a tendency to kind of drive folks into silos. We become internally focused. We want to accomplish our departmental goals, and we focus on that. That’s what we’re rewarded upon. And that causes us to start to think in [those] terms. “Hey, I did my part. I can’t help it what the next person down the line did.”

That’s not how businesses work. And if I’m a customer of a business, I’m doing business with the business. I’m not doing business with just the customer service department, or—if I’m an employee—I depend upon more than just the Facilities organization for me to have a positive work environment. HR and other parts pf the organization also contribute to that as well. And…we overcome the silo mentality [by] recognizing that the only way the organization is going to be successful is first, to collaborate and communicate and second, to recognize that together we all succeed.

RA: What are two or three things that organizations really need to get right about their approach to IT—or maybe it’s not their approach to IT—maybe it’s their approach to their business…. What are some things that we really need to get right?

DT: There’s a couple things that come to mind. I guess the first thing that I would say is, it’s really easy to fall in love with technology. But that’s a fleeting kind of love, because today’s technology is tomorrow’s artifact is next week’s museum piece. Technology is always going to change. So at the end of the day it’s really not about the technology it’s about something else. And what I think that something else is, is customer experience. It really is getting a focus on the customer, understanding the customer. The dynamics of how businesses and customers now interact [have] changed dramatically. It used to be, not that long ago, that it was a very one-sided kind of thing. I’m a business; I supply goods and services to a customer. I have a captive audience. And I can dictate a whole lot about that relationship just based on supply and demand. I can increase supply, I can decrease supply. But the only place you can get what I deliver is from me. In the digital age, it’s not true anymore. I can go anywhere…within the click of a button…

The second thing that we’ve talked about for a long time now—but it really is going to come to the forefront—and that’s the culture of the organization. Culture is not plug-and-play…. It strikes me what would be possible if organizations spent as much time and energy investing in cultural change as they do in other aspects—in purchasing technology or new systems.

Culture is not plug-and-play.
Tweet: Culture is not plug-and-play. @dougtedder @ThinkHDI #servicedesk #ITSM #HDIConf #SPOCcast #podcast

About Doug Tedder
Doug Tedder is a strategic, innovative, and solutions-driven IT service management professional with more than 20 years of progressive experience across a variety of industries. He’s a resourceful and hands-on leader with track record of success implementing ITSM and IT governance processes. Doug is a certified ITIL Expert and ISO/IEC 20000 Consultant Manager and holds many other industry certifications. In addition, Doug is an accredited ITIL Foundation trainer and HDI Support Center Analyst and Support Center Manager instructor. Follow Doug on Twitter @dougtedder, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Roy Atkinson Roy Atkinson is one of the top influencers in the service and support industry. His blogs, presentations, research reports, white papers, keynotes, and webinars have gained him an international reputation. In his role as senior writer/analyst, he acts as HDI's in-house subject matter expert, bringing his years of experience to the community. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @RoyAtkinson.

Tag(s): supportworld, service management, ITSM, podcast


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