People, Process, and Technology

The Triangle of IT Service Management

One of the concepts of ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) is the triangle of people, process, and technology. Some claim it is overworked, particularly in marketing literature. The triangle is typically invoked to claim there is more to consider than just a tool - it's not just the tool (the technology), but it is the process of implementing it, and the people involved.

Many IT shops certainly have shelfware - tools that are purchased but not implemented. Technology by itself doesn't always cut it. Consider a company that requested a Configuration Manager 2007 upgrade from SMS 2003. When I started asking questions about the hierarchy and how many clients were involved, it was discovered someone had run the setup program on a server some number of years ago, and stopped after that. No clients were discovered, no inventory information was being collected, there were no software packages waiting to be deployed. That was an interesting example of shelfware - software licensed and supposedly implemented, except it wasn't - and no one even realized it! In that case, the technology had no process for configuring or managing it after installation. And there definitely was no people component.

Microsoft products at one time had the mantra that they were so easy all you had to do was run setup. With the System Center suite, you quickly realize that running setup doesn't accomplish much. You then have a console that you look at and say, "What do I do next?" (This actually was the inspiration for my authoring the System Center Unleashed series of books.) System Center really does need all components of the triangle to work well. This coordination between technology, processes, and people can result in improved quality and productivity.

Consider for example Service Manager, first released in April 2010. Service Manager is a help desk and change management tool. It provides built-in processes for incident and problem resolution, change control, and configuration management. However, what needs to be considered as part of its implementation is the people using the tool. The users for most System Center products are "IT Pros." As a help desk tool, Service Manager's primary users are different from IT Pros and different from what is typically considered an end user. A successful Service Manager implementation will apply the service triangle with the help desk in mind.

While the triangle may be considered overworked by some, it is definitely a useful tool to use to verify you are on track when implementing a project.

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