Critical Capabilities for IT Service Management Tools: The Complete Checklist 2022
IT service management (ITSM) tools are indispensable for businesses to operate efficiently and serve their employees well. Most commonly used by the IT department to deliver services, handle requests, address problems, and commit changes, these tools make sure your technological infrastructure remains intact and operational – and that your staff members have what they need to succeed.
But what are the critical capabilities of these tools? And how should you choose the right ITSM tools for your organization?
The Critical Capabilities for Best IT Service Management Tools
These are some of the most critical capabilities for IT service management tools:
- Asset discovery and management. Your IT department and your technological capabilities are going to be nothing without technological assets that are connected and operational. Your servers, your computers, and all your devices and accessories need to be accounted for and operating smoothly at all times. That’s why most IT service management tools have capabilities for asset discovery and asset management. For example, you can use automatic discovery to figure out which devices are using your network and properly account for them. You can also use this system to detect when devices aren’t working properly, make plans for replacing certain assets, and conduct maintenance when necessary.
- Incident and problem management. Perhaps even more pressingly, your IT department might need service management tools to detect incidents and problems so that professionals can step in and handle them. For example, you might be able to detect a network outage and get a notification so that you can work quickly to restore operations. Uptime is precious, so anything you can do to hasten the process of identifying and responding to a potential technological threat is going to be valuable.
- Request fulfillment. IT service management tools typically come with request fulfillment capabilities as well. Members of different departments throughout your organization can submit requests for various needs, such as an upgrade for their current device, an accessory to improve their productivity, or new software that they need to complete a specific project. ITSM platforms can make these requests smoother and easier to manage.
- Self-service provision. Modern ITSM tools also provide options for self-service. Instead of talking to an IT professional directly about a relatively common problem, individuals can contact a chatbot or consult a knowledge base to get the information they need to move forward. Installing this type of service has several advantages for your organization; people get answers faster, people enjoy higher levels of autonomy and self-confidence, and your IT department resources are freed up to focus on more important matters.
- Change and release management. What happens when you need to change something in your technological infrastructure? ITSM tools typically have built-in functionality for change and release management. You can document exactly what’s changing and when, push the changes to a live environment, and continue monitoring the situation to make sure your changes are working as intended.
- IT knowledge consolidation and management. ITSM platforms are designed to function as a single source of truth (SSOT), consolidating information and allowing that information to be consulted and exchanged regularly, both within the IT department and outside of it. With more robust knowledge bases and consolidated information, everyone in your organization will have better, more consistent resources.
- IT department collaboration. Collaborative tools make it easier for people within the IT department to exchange information, discuss issues, and work together to solve problems facing the entire organization. In some ways, this can function as a project management platform and team chat in one.
- Process and workflow design and execution. What are the proper troubleshooting steps to follow if you experience any network downtime? How are you supposed to handle specific employee requests? With ITSM tools in place, you’ll have all the features you need to design processes and workflows – then follow those processes and workflows as necessary.
- SLA management. Service-level agreements (SLA) specify the type and level of service you expect from your vendors. In large-scale organizations, documenting and managing these SLAs becomes a significant challenge. ITSM tools have the features necessary to make this easier and more straightforward.
- AITSM and automation. AITSM tools and automated features are designed to minimize the necessity for manual intervention, thus saving time. Automated workflows, automated chatbot responses, and other time-saving features can be extremely valuable.
- Configuration management. Server and network configurations can be complicated to manage, but ITSM tools make them much more accessible.
- Development integrations. You can also manage development integrations, keeping tabs on which platforms are connected to which other platforms and identifying any potential vulnerabilities proactively.
- Operations management. Better IT Operations Management (ITOM) is another key capability and advantage of an ITSM platform. If managed properly, your entire IT department will be more efficient than ever.
- Reporting. You’ll also have the ability to gather data and create reports based on the performance of your IT department, the uptime of your services, device performances, and more.
Selecting the Right IT Service Management Tools
What steps can you take to make sure you select only those vendors with advanced maturity in IT service management capabilities for your organization?
- Identify existing gaps. Your first step is to identify any existing gaps. If you currently have an ITSM platform in place, or something serving the role of an ITSM platform, make a list of the critical capabilities you don’t currently have and compare it to a list of your needs. If you don’t have anything resembling an ITSM platform in place, you’ll need to come up with a list of needs from scratch.
- Shop around. There are dozens, if not hundreds of ITSM tools that you can use to improve your IT department and operational efficiency. Don’t just settle for the first tool you discover; instead, research a variety of different platforms, take advice from technology users and compare their greatest strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, you’ll see a thorough demo or get to try the software for yourself.
- Collaborate and gather opinions. Make this a team decision. An entire department will be using this software, and people throughout your organization will be tapping into its power. Accordingly, you should make sure everyone feels good about moving forward with this specific platform.
- Strive to future proof. Don’t just buy an ITSM platform because it suits your current needs. You also need to think about how your business is going to grow in the future; scalable and customizable platforms are ideal for future proofing.
Additional Factors to Consider
You’ll also want to consider these factors when shopping for an ITSM platform:
- Scalability. How scalable is this platform? If you start using it today, would you be able to continue using it for the next several years? If your number of customers increases 10 times over, or if your number of employees increases 20 times over, will this platform be able to support you in the same ways? Depending on how the platform is offered, you might have to increase your investment – but you shouldn’t have to migrate to an entirely new platform.
- Compatibility and integrations. This isn’t the only tool your organization is going to use, and it’s not going to be the only tool your IT department relies on. Accordingly, you should review your ITSM platform for potential compatibility and integrations. Can you connect this with other systems and platforms you’re already using? If you adopt a new platform in the future, would it be easy to integrate it with your ITSM platform?
- Intuitiveness and learnability. Your IT department professionals are going to need to learn this platform inside and out. How easy is it going to be for them to do that? Modern ITSM Platforms should be designed to be as intuitive as possible, making it relatively easy for even newcomers to learn the basics. There should also be tutorials and knowledge bases available to help people with any questions they have while navigating this platform.
- Design and user experience (UX). Design and UX are about more than just making the platform look pretty. It’s also about ensuring a seamless and fluid user experience. If you choose an ITSM platform with excellent design and user experience, your employees will thank you.
- Customization/modification potential. How much wiggle room do you have for customizations or modifications? Are there add-ons and extensions you can use? Can you practice any custom coding to change certain elements? Can you design your own dashboards or toggle certain features on and off?
- Pricing. You’ll also need to think about pricing. Can this platform work within your budget? If you need to upgrade or expand, are prices reasonable?
- Future plans. What’s in store for the future of this platform? Are the developers committed to continuously updating it with new features, bug fixes, and expanded capabilities?
ITSM tools are most effective when powered by the right AI systems. That’s where Aisera comes in. At Aisera, we have all the AI-powered tools you need to take your IT service management to the next level. Contact us for a risk free AI & Automation assessment today!