To learn more, BriefingsDirect sat down with Trung Quach, ITSM Manager at Desjardins in Québec, at the recent HP Discover conference in Las Vegas. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Here are some excerpts:
Gardner: First tell us a little bit about your organization, you have a large network of credit unions.
Quach: It’s more like cooperative banking. We are around 50,000 people across Québec, and we've started moving into both Canada and the US.
Gardner: Tell us a little bit about your IT organization, the size, how many people, how many datacenters? What sort of IT organization do you have?
Quach: We're around 2,500 and counting. We're mainly based in Montréal and Lévis, which is near Québec City. Most of them are in Montréal, but some technical people are in Lévis.
Gardner: Tell us about your role. What are you doing there as ITSM manager?
The ITIL process
Quach: I joined Desjardins last year in the ITSM leader position. This is more about the process, the ITIL process and everything that's invloved with the tool, as well as to support those overall processes.
Gardner: Tell us why ITSM has become important to you. What were some of the challenges, some of the requirements? What was the environment you were in that required you to adopt better ITSM principles?
Gardner: What, in particular, were issues that cropped up as a result of that decentralization? Was this poor performance, too much cost, too many manual processes, all of the above?
Quach: We had a lot of manual processes, and a lot of tools. To be able to measure the performance of a team, you need to use the same process and the same tools, and then measure yourself on it. You need to optimize the way you do it, so that you can provide better IT services.
Gardner: What have been some of the results of your movement toward ITSM? What sort of benefits have you realized as a result?
Quach: We had many of them. Some were financial, but the most important thing, I think, is the services quality and the availability of those services. So one indicator is a reduction in major incidents of 30 percent for the last two years.
Gardner: What is it about your use of ITSM that has led to that significant reduction in incidents? How does that translate?
Quach: We put our new problem management approach to work as well with the problem processes. When we open tickets, we can take care of the incidents in a coordinated way at an enterprise level. So the impact is everywhere. We can now advise the line of businesses, follow up with the incident, and close the incident rapidly. We follow up with any problems, and then we fix the real issues so that they don’t come back.
Gardner: Have you used this to translate back to any applications development, or custom development in your organization? Or is this more on the operations side strictly?
Quach: We started all of this on the operations side. But then we started last year on the development side, too. They're involved in our process slowly, and that’s going to soon get better, so we can support the full IT lifecycle better.
Gardner: Tell us about HP Discover. What's of interest to you? Have you been looking at what HP has been doing with their tools? What's of most importance to you in terms of what they do with their technology?
Quach: I can tell you how important it is for us. Last year we didn't go to HP Discover. This year, around eight in my team and the architecture team are here. That shows you how important it is.
Now we spread out. A lot of my team members went to explore tools and everything else that HP has to offer -- and HP has a lot of offer. We went to learn about the cloud, as well as big data. It all works together. That’s why it was important for us to come here. ITSM is the main reason we're here, but I want to make sure that everything works together, because the IT processes touch everything.
Gardner: I've talked to a number of organizations, Trung, and they've mentioned that before they feel comfortable moving into more cloud activities, and before they feel comfortable adopting big data, analytics platforms, they want to make sure they have everything else in order. So ITSM is an important step for them to then go to larger, more complex undertakings. Is that your philosophy as well?
Quach: Yes. There are two ways to do this. You use that technology to force yourself to be disciplined, or you discipline yourself. ITSM is one way to do it. You force yourself to work in a certain manner, a streamlined manner, and then you can go to the cloud. It's easier that way.
Gardner: Then, of course, you also have standardization in culture, in organization, not just technology, but the people and the process, and that can be very powerful.
Quach: If asked me about cloud -- and I have done this with another company -- in a 30-minute interview about cloud, I would use 29 minutes to not talk about technology but about people and processes.
Gardner: How about the future of IT? Any thoughts about or the big picture of where technology is going? Even as we face larger data volumes, perhaps more complexity, and mobile applications, what are your thoughts about how we solve some of those issues in the big picture?
Time to market
Quach: IT more and more is going to have a challenge for meeting the speed demanded for improved time to market. But to do that, you need processes, technology, and of course, people. So the client, the business, is going to ask us to be faster. That’s why we'll need to go in that cloud. But to go in the cloud, we need to master our IT services, and then go in the cloud. If not, it would be like not going to the cloud and not having that agility. We would not be competitive.
Gardner: Looking back, now that you have gone through an ITSM advancement, for those who are just beginning, what are some thoughts that you could share with them?
Quach: In an ITSM project, it's very hard to manage change. I'm talking about the people change, not the change-management technology process. Most of the time, you put that in place and say that everybody has to work with it. If I would redo it, I would bring more people to understand the latest ITSM science and processes, and explain why in five or 10 years, it's going to really help us.
After that, we'll put in the project, but we'll follow them and train them every year. ITSM is a never-ending story. You always have to be close to your clients. Even if they are IT, they are your client or partners. You need to coach them, to make sure they understand why they're doing this. Sometimes it’s a bit longer to get it right at the beginning, but it’s all worth it at the end.
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