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Common ITSM Platform Selection Mistakes

Common ITSM Platform Selection Mistakes May 14, 2021

by Greg Smith

In my many years in ITSM, I have often found myself linked to ITSM platform implementations (or “ticketing systems” as we used to call them).  I’ve personally been on the project team and often tasked with implementing (and administering) nine different ITSM platforms. I have seen several demos of at least a dozen more. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, quirks, and “mindset”.

However, regardless of the platform, I have seen many mistakes made. Here is a list of common mistakes made when selecting and implementing an ITSM tool:


Avoid buying a platform that has features your IT Organization won’t be ready to implement in the next few years (if ever).

Don’t buy a platform that has heavy focus on automation if your basic processes aren’t well-defined (Optimize then Automate).

Be wary of platforms that require heavy configuration and/or customization to achieve results.

“Set it and forget it” or “No administration needed”

Be wary of platform sales demos that promise their product is so easy you can “set it and forget it” or that there is “no administration needed” after it’s initially set up. If a platform genuinely didn’t need ongoing administration, it’s going to be limited in capability and in its ability to grow with you.

This doesn’t mean you need to find a product that requires a team of administrators. Just recognize that some continual resource effort will likely be needed as you use – and especially grow the use of – the platform.

Letting the platform define your processes

I have had clients tell me they “have” Change Management and later find out that they state this only because there is a menu item in their platform. In reality, they don’t have the process defined or understood. They tell me that when they’re ready for Change Management, they’ll just use what the tool has.  While this may be a good starting point for a start up IT Organization, failure to define and understand the process is a mistake.  Without realizing it, you’ll be locking yourself into that platform as you’re unlikely to find another that handles each process the same way.

Making your new platform behave exactly like your old platform

Okay, so this is more of a mistake I’ve seen after selection, but it’s a big one. In general, people resist change. They want things to be familiar even if they’re new. But by mirroring the behavior of your previous platform, you are likely missing benefits of the new platform and going against its “mindset”. Also, you may find behavior from the previous platform was a workaround to a process it didn’t inherently support.

So what are some ways to ensure your platform selection – and subsequent implementation – is a success?

  • Work with a platform-agnostic consulting firm that is not tied to a vendor. Ensure that it has experience with multiple platforms to help match one with your IT Organizations maturity and needs.
  • Seek the platform’s user group(s) and read through their message boards. Get a feel for the issues current customers experience and the responsiveness of the vendor.
  • Request a sandbox instance of the platform to have a hands-on test and not just a sales-led demo.
  • If you have identified a platform, seek companies or peers who have used the platform and would be willing to provide you:
  1. A demo of their implementation
  1. Their feedback on implementation, the vendor, the product, ongoing support, etc.
  1. Recommendations on resources they used during and after their implementation 

By following the above suggestions, you can ensure that you don’t struggle with implementing the wrong ITSM platform for your business.

If you need help with getting the most value out of your ITSM platform or identifying a new platform that is the right fit for your organization, contact us.  We’d be happy to help you on your ITSM Journey.