Now, I think this post probably relates equally to any application in your service catalogue, so regardless of the service you are providing, hopefully there will be some food for thought here.
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So why is it that so many businesses go back to market to replace their toolsets every five years or thereabouts? I have seen a couple of excuses for this, I won't call them reasons!
- You believe that your current tool does not meet the business requirements
- You have a new CIO/Service Desk Manager, or similar who prefers the tool they used at their previous engagement
- The grass on the other side of the fence looks way tastier than what you have on your side
- My account manager (and sadly this is a real comment from a Service Desk Manager) has bad breath and terrible body odour and I just don't want to deal with him any more!
Its a bit like getting out of a marriage and going back into the dating game...each potential new partner looks to have exciting new features that the old one was lacking, but once the honeymoon period is over you may start to realise that perhaps partner #1 was not really all that bad, pretty well impossible to go back though!
The first step, when you are looking at changing your tool, is to go to the vendor of your current software, sit down with them and find out just what the real gaps between what you have and what you want are, you may be surprised to find that they don't actually exist...you just may not be utilising the tool to its full potential. Get involved in some "relationship counselling", do you really need to get out, or can this marriage be saved? Let the vendor know that you are ready to walk, and see if they care enough to put an effort into the relationship.
The best option is actually to avoid this situation in the first place. Both customer and vendor have a responsibility to keep the relationship alive and keep communication channels open. For the customer, this ensures that you get the best use out of the tool and are able to communicate any new feature or change requests to the vendor. For the vendor this communication is critical...the most profitable part of a business is being able to keep the customers you already have...gaining new business is much more expensive. Talking with your customers also gives you opportunities to learn what enhancements may improve your offering.
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If your current relationship with your toolset vendor really cannot be salvaged, you need to make certain that the next "marriage" is made to last. Ensure that you select a vendor who wants a relationship beyond the contract signing and is prepared to enter into a dialogue with you on a regular basis. Talk to their other customers and find out about more than the tool features...do they listen, do they work at maintaining a relationship and making it work?
Divorce is costly, so do your best to keep the spark in your vendor relationship! Oh, another suggestion, don't burn bridges with your current vendor, or customer...you never know, the next acquisition of an ITSM tool may see you unexpectedly back in that old relationship again!