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Kovair’s ITSM Expert Ashok Srivastava Interviewed by Sophie Danby of SysAid

Sophie Danby, the Director of Online Communications, SysAid – a leading IT Service Management Company has recently interviewed Ashok Srivastava, the Senior Manager- Solutions and Services, Kovair on his ITSM views. Kovair thanks Sophie for conducting this interview session and is pleased to share the news with you all.

Ashok Srivastava

What exactly is your job?

I’m the Senior Manager – Solutions & Services at Kovair Software and work mainly on out-of-box solution creation and large customer implementations.

I’ve implemented fully customized solutions for both ITSM (IT Service Management) and ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) domains for large organizations. Typically I get involved at the inception of a project and capture the details of customer requirements and processes that they want implemented. I then prepare a plan and work towards implementing customers’ requirements and process workflows through codeless configurations capabilities; train organizational users and help them go live with the product.

I try to enhance our ITSM solution by implementing new features and ideas that I come across while interacting with customers or prospects. The internet also helps me keep abreast of everything that is happening around the ITSM world.

What is the best thing about working in IT Service Management?

The best thing about working in the IT Service Management domain is the opportunity to work with large enterprises. They usually have different requirements both in terms of fields / forms and process workflow definition. I specifically like brainstorming sessions on defining process workflows for IT Service Management process areas with client’s personnel, and contributing by sharing my knowledge and experience gained from earlier implementations. In the process I also learn a lot from client-specific requirements.

What do you think is the most important element missing from traditional ITSM? And why?

The global and distributed outlook is missing in the traditional ITSM industry.

Traditional IT Service Management System relies more on organization’s in-house expertise and is offered as a centralized service based on internal capabilities and people (roles). The processes here are defined exactly the way they are required by the organization with a lesser chance of configurability and customization.

However, the modern IT Service Management system is more process oriented. It provides the catalogue of services and has built-in best practice processes and templates. This helps organizations to manage their IT Service Management operations in a better way. Moreover, modern ITSM practices help the industry to gain maturity and standardize the offerings.

What do you think is the biggest mistake that people can make in ITSM, and how can it be avoided?

I think the main mistake that organizations make is not properly documenting their requirements. With this, I mean to say that in the absence of proper relevant data and process definition, it’s unwise to expect any system to generate reports and dashboards as per organization’s requirements.

Let me explain this with an example. An organization, that has customers located at different geographical locations across the globe wants SLA ‘s to have the facility to calculate time as per customer’s business hours. Now, if time zone and business hours are not captured in a master database, then implementing this requirement will not be possible. I’m therefore of the view that all requirements and use cases irrespective of criticality should be documented. This is to ensure that one can verify that all the requirements mentioned by the organization are taken care of and that a solution is being implemented.

What one piece of practical advice would you give to somebody working on the service desk?

My advice to service desk personnel is to focus on individual tasks, and work as per task based instructions and guidelines.They should also use the knowledgebase to find information about similar types of tickets and resolutions details that are logged in the knowledgebase. This helps in providing quick resolution.

What one piece of practical advice would you give to the CIO of a company with regards to ITSM?

My advice to the CIO of a company is to understand that automation in IT Service Management operations is important to keep track of process workflows that are implemented for managing different process areas of the organization. The efficiency level of those processes should be measured and analyzed on a regular basis. Continuous improvement and modification should also be part of the process workflow definitions based on the metrics data generated from process automation. Since processes mature with usage and time, it is crucial that changes in processes definitions are easily implementable in ITSM tools.

If you could change one thing about the ITSM industry as a whole, what would it be and why?

I would like OGC (The Office of Government Commerce) and itSMF (IT Service Management Forum) to introduce some sort of standardization for the ITSM industry. ITIL provides a generic framework and allows organizations to customize it as per their requirements. The standards should be in line with ISO Standards with properties of ITIL framework. The standardization would help in creating ITSM compliance requirements which would be beneficial for both the ITSM Industry and practitioners.They would have a clear idea on what needs to be done to achieve compliance, thus, both industry experts and practitioners would speak the same language (which would help in increasing productivity). ITSM standards would complement the existing ITIL framework,which would further help the ITSM industry to standardize its product offerings. The ultimate gainers would be the organizations using ITSM.

What do you think the ITSM trend to watch will be in 2014? And why?

The ITSM market will keep on growing and its focus will be on adoption of new technologies and integration with third party tools and smartphones / mobile devices. The reason is that,more and more users are now using new technologies and new devices. This motivates organizations to promote their BYOD (Bring your own Device) concept. In 2014, in my opinion this trend will drive ITSM solution providers to offer solutions accessible from these new platforms. I also feel that because of long term benefits and better ROI, organizations will prefer customized ITSM implementation over out-of-the-box standard solutions.

Where do you see the IT Service Management industry in 10 years time?

The industry will work towards consolidating more on the integration aspect of IT Service Management. Integrations are required to keep processes in sync with technological advancements. Therefore, the ITSM Industry should invest more in the development of people and process maturity models.

Finally, what would be your 5 tips for success in ITSM?

In my opinion, success starts at the beginning with implementation of your service desk tool. Therefore, my 5 tips for a successful ITSM Implementation are:

1 – Document all your business requirements (fields / attributes / forms), roles and access groups upfront. This will help in defining the solution framework and also pre-defined access rights and privileges to the users logging into ITSM application.

2 – Define process workflow requirements clearly for important ITSM process areas such as service request, incident, problem and change. This is effective when processes are being implemented in ITSM. This also helps when process audit are done to ensure that process workflows are as per documented requirements.

3 – Identify business rules and logic for important areas such as SLAs, priority calculation, threshold limits, escalation mechanisms and notifications.The business rules and logic requirements documentation helps in verification and validation of use cases when a solution is implemented.

4 – List out reports and dashboards required for different user groups / roles.The reports and dashboard requirements definitions are very important. It crosschecks that required information (data) is available in a solution being implemented in an organization. If some information is not available then there is a need to make a provision to capture the data.
5 – Ensure that you select the right ITSM tool for your specific business requirements.

Kovair Software is a software product company specializing in the domain of Application Lifecycle Management - ALM solutions and supports global software development and management. Kovair's focus on integrating third-party best-of-breed ALM tools enables creation of applications in a synchronized tools environment.