5 Steps to Building a Tool Selection Scorecard

At the SDI event I attended last week, Ken Goff gave a compelling talk on tool selection.

This is not a new concept and I’m sure many readers would have used similar methodologies, nonetheless the credit for this article goes to Ken and SDI.

In this article I aim to provide an overview of Ken’s logic. The goal is to build a decision matrix for tool selection that is closely aligned to your requirements. The focus is on making an objective decision based on facts and stripping away any emotion or subjective bias.

5 STEPS

  • Step 1: Define your criteria, wish-list and desires of a new tool (This is a whole topic by itself and won’t be covered here).
  • Step 2: From this list define which of your criteria are Must Haves or Show Stoppers, there is no point investing in a tool if these features are not included. The remainder will be ‘wants’ or ‘nice to haves’.
  • Step 3: Assign a weighting score against each criteria
  • Step 4: Score each tool according to the criteria, then multiply the score by the weighting score to generate an overall score. Eliminate any candidates that do not meet the ‘Must’ criteria.
  • Step 5: Total all scores to provide an overall objective rating.
To demonstrate this in action I’ll use this methodology to choose a new house to purchase.

EXAMPLE

  • Step 1: Criteria: I’m looking for a house to buy in Poole, UK. I would like 3 bedrooms, a Sea View and for the property to be in Poole.
  • Step 2: Must or Want: It must have a least 3 bedrooms (Must), The Sea View and Location are nice to have.
  • Step 3: Criteria Score: I will assign a score to the criteria as follows: 3 bedrooms (10), Sea View (8) and Poole location (5).
  • Step 4: Scoring: See table below. As an example Property 1 has no Sea View (Score 0), it has four bedrooms (score 9) and is within Poole (score 8). Total aggregate score of scores versus weightings equals 130.
  • Step 5: Property 3 has the highest score, Property 2 is eliminated because it only has 2 bedrooms (A must) and Property 1 is last.

This method might seem overkill for 3 criteria, but becomes very useful when dealing with 50+ requirements.

I have used Poole in Dorset, UK specifically as an example (The fourth highest land value, by area in the world) since it doesn’t matter how suitable your tool is if you can’t afford it. Indeed, the price range of the tool might be factored into the criteria.

Please let me know if you have anything to add to this process or if you have any experiences to share. 

Review: SDI Software Solutions Day

Image from @SDIrob

I attended the SDI Software Solutions Day at the British Library last week.

In a nutshell, it was vendor beauty parade for interested buyers.

Six ITSM vendors presented an overview of their company to a room full of SDI members. SDI members had the opportunity to engage with the vendors directly and network with their peers.

I think this is a great format. It was crystal clear that if you were attending the event you wanted to hear from the vendors and what they had to say. Vendors support many events but it is rare for the spotlight to be purely focussed on what they bring to the table.

The compere and guide for the day was Ken Goff, who was very keen to stress the importance of building a list of requirements before even thinking about looking for new technology and provided some brilliant insights into the vendor selection process (more to follow over the coming weeks).

“Every product is perfect at what it is designed to do, and rubbish at what is not designed to do” Ken Goff

When the audience were asked what they wanted most from vendors – two answers stood out for me;

  • Be honest about your shortcomings and scope.
  • Deliver on your promises

The first point is particularly interesting. As a former software sales rep I am all too familiar with the pressure to say ‘Yes’ to every question asked. It takes courage and wisdom for a vendor to say ‘You know what, that’s not really our area of expertise’.

Talking of sales reps… it seemed a little unfair for ICCM to send two sales reps along to network with the audience. Strictly speaking I guess anyone who is an SDI member can attend, but it seems a little unsporting when the other vendors had taken the time to build booths and prepare presentations.

My only criticism of an otherwise very useful and informative day is that it would have been nice to hear more from a customer perspective, some vendors mentioned what their customers were doing but there was scope for a lot more. i.e. “Here is someone that was in the position as you are now, this is what they did, these are the hurdles they faced and this is how we helped them”.

Vendors Participating:

Which ITSM Vendors Engage Online?

I was inspired to compile this list of ITSM Vendors in order of online influence after listening to an edition of the ITSM Weekly Podcast in which James West of ServiceDesk360 discussed his list of ‘influencers’ on PeerIndex.

Of all the segments of the IT market that might benefit from social networking and enterprise collaboration – nowhere is it more relevant that ITSM.

Click to View

Vendors have been ordered by their ‘Klout’, a measure of online influence. Those vendors with a higher score are more likely to be:

  • Listening to the market
  • Engaging with their audience online
  • Responding accordingly and
  • Producing good content and thought leadership that people want to share online.

I believe these principles run right to the heart of service management.

I believe it is also worthwhile to identify those vendors that are producing good stuff and listening to the market.

‘Klout’ is not 100% watertight, I’m sure there are ways to corrupt and circumnavigate the system. For example some companies might hire a top notch PR and a marketing company to provide a ‘ghost’ presence but ignore the principles at work within the vendor itself. Looking at the list I believe it provides a fairly accurate view of genuine influence – you could have a gazillion friends and followers and pump out updates every minute but still not have ‘Klout’.  It is important to note that this list also ignores some of the great work by the service management community offline.

This list is by no means exhaustive, I will add to it and expand it over time.

If you have any recommendations for changes please contact me. The table is compiled from this list. See also – Punditry

Punditry and Getting Started in ITSM

I have found Twitter to be a great source of information and updates on the ITSM industry.

As a newcomer I have found it useful to listen in on the pundits as they share expertise and opinion. There is the usual bellyaching about the finer points of ITIL, but generally it is a good source of news, humour and insight.

You don’t necessarily need to join the conversation. It is quite easy to set yourself up with a twitter account, follow the people that interest you and put yourself in ‘listen only mode’ from the comfort of your mobile device.

To help fellow newcomers looking to explore the industry I’ve compiled a list of ITSM pundits and ranked them by Klout.

The ITSM Review – Top 10 Pundits by Klout

Klout is a measure of online influence. It is by no means exhaustive but it indicates that, generally speaking, ‘the crowd’ appreciates the updates from those individuals with a higher score.

If you would like to make any recommendations for alternative pundits or changes please contact me.

Other Useful Resources

itSMF – The Glue That Unites the Service Management Industry

Not-A-Pink-Shirt
Ben Clacy, UK CEO, itSMF

As I begin my journey into the world of ITSM what better place to start than with The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF)?

I recently met with Ben Clacy, CEO of itSMF UK to discuss the recent changes to ITIL and the announcement of a new professional credentialing scheme for service management professionals.

ITSM Review Q. For those not familiar with itSMF –what do you do?

We are community of over 12,000 UK based service management professionals. We were born out of ITIL and are essentially an ITIL user group. There are 53 chapters of itSMF around the globe, all of which are not for profit groups run by volunteers. It’s all about giving back to our members and helping them deliver better IT services.

Q. If I’m a new recruit in a support department or have just started a service management related role – how can the itSMF help me?

As a member of itSMF there is a variety of resources you can gain access to. We have a knowledgebase so that members can learn about all aspects of service management, a quarterly journal where members can learn about all the latest hot topics and events – from our annual conference through to smaller regionals events.

The ‘forum’ part is the most important aspect of the itSMF. It’s all about learning from your peers. Professionals who specialize in particular areas lead our events, allowing others to benefit from their real life experiences.

Ask itSMF members what the biggest benefit of membership is – and they’ll tell you it’s the ability to reach out to other members and understand how they can do something better.

Q. What is prISM?

The industry already has a good qualification scheme based on ITIL, but a lot of people question it because it is only a qualification. You can read the books and take the exam but it does not take into account your experience and your others skills as a service management professional.

prISM is a credentialing scheme for the service management industry.

Credential – “a qualification, achievement, quality, or aspect of a person’s background, especially when used to indicate their suitability for something” Source

The idea behind prISM is to provide, as many industries do, a recognized level of accomplishment that takes a broader view of the individual and their qualifications.

Q. So miles on the clock and hours at the rock face are taken into account?

Yes, to a certain extent, experience is certainly part of it. prISM looks at the job they do, what that involves, the knowledge they have and other training courses that might be relevant to service management. The goal is to provide a bigger picture of that individual’s professional experience.

Q. Could you provide a high level overview of the prISM credentialing levels?

The levels are:

  1. Student in Service Management (SSM) – for students with an interest in ITSM
  2. Associate (ASM) – for entry-level professionals
  3. Professional (PSM) – for mid-level, experienced professionals
  4. Distinguished Professional (DPSM) – for senior, experienced professionals and leaders.
  5. Fellow (FSM) – recognized for making significant contributions to the profession and its body of knowledge.

Q. Could you share your opinion on ITIL 2011? I’m a from an enterprise software background so from what I understand it is a minor release in order to resolve a few bugs and not a major version – is that a suitable analogy?

ITIL are trying to move away from version numbers. The UK government owns ITIL and things take a little longer than many people would like.

Some would prefer it to be a more of an iterative update. It has been out since the late eighties and version three was released in 2007. It has only had two significant updates.

ITIL 2011 is an update not a new version. The structure has remained the same. The first book on service strategy has had a significant overhaul but the other four books have only had minor adjustments. Service strategy was a new concept for a lot of people back in 2007 and this update makes it more accessible.

Q. So going back to my new recruit who has just landed on the helpdesk and has never heard of ITIL – what would you recommend? What is the best path for learning about all of this?

The best way to begin the journey with regards to ITIL is to attend a one-day training session that some training companies offer which is effectively a game or a simulation.

This experiential form of training puts you in a real life scenario (the Apollo 13 mission, a shop, a trading floor etc.) with the group running an IT department.

It soon becomes apparent the mistakes being made, the damage being done to the business and the money being lost. Gradually the ITIL processes are put in place so that the people taking the course can witness real life improvements being made. There is commonly a light bulb moment when people realize what effect these changes can have on their own business.

 Q. How is the itSMF linked to ITIL?

ITIL is owned by OGC and we have no real formal link to the 2011 update – but 90% of our members use ITIL as a framework for their business and all of the authors of ITIL are itSMF members. ITIL is the theory and the itSMF provides the real life context, allowing members to learn from others who have implemented service management in line with ITIL principles.

Further Information