Migrating to a New ITSM Platform
 
 
Why to Migrate
 
With the evolution of best practices and IT Service Management (ITSM), the Computing Services Centre (CSC) has been planning for years to upgrade its IT Service Automation platform. The old Help Desk System has been used since 2001. The plan is to migrate from an on-premises implementation to a Cloud based ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) solution as one of the Cloud’s first initiatives.
 
The objective is to ignite ITIL, improve the quality of services, productivity, efficiency and accuracy through best practices and automation. At the same time, it is necessary to track the essential data to facilitate management control and planning.
 
The scope of the initial project is to build up a Service Portal for Incident Management and Work Request Management.
 
What is Needed 
 
  • an ITSM solution based on ITIL, not only a Help Desk System
  • an unified solution with data integration among Service Management, Asset Management and Configuration Management database (CMDB)
  • a cloud-based solution (Software-as-a-Service model)
  • no coding is required in modifying user interface and data form
  • business logic can be embedded in workflow, user interface and rule
  • a platform for developing new applications
 
We have spent almost two years in searching for a solution. This began with:
  • studying product on-line materials and attending demonstrations
  • checking the tools being used by other Universities either in Hong Kong or abroad, sharing their implementation details and experiences
  • reading ITSM reviews which provide resources for tool comparison
Then we applied and tested an evaluation instance and arranged a Proof of Concept (POC) installation with high potential vendors. It is believed that by choosing an IT service management tool, we are also choosing a business partner, hence it is important to pick a vendor who has vision and commitment.
 
How to Migrate
 
Three months before the launch, we started to configure our development instance. These include
  • Compiling some background jobs, on-line functions and web services
  • Defining user details and system parameters
  • Employing a new Service Tree
We arranged a number of briefings, internal training, Q & A sessions about the new platform and launch; we even captured our briefings into YouTube videos to ensure no one will miss the training.
 
Besides introducing the new platform, we also presented some new concepts to our colleagues such as the difference between Incident and Request, Service Catalog, knowledge tree and SLA.
 
We chose a working day after Christmas during the semester break to launch the new platform because we expected calls would be minimal on that day and all our support staff would be readily available.
 
No data was migrated from the old Help Desk System. Old records would be closed through the old system. New records would be created through using the new platform.
 
Finally we successfully cloned everything from the Development Instance to the Production Instance.
 
Future Plan
 
After the new ITSM platform has been run for several months, we plan to
  • Deploy Problem & Change modules
  • Deploy Asset Management
  • Deploy Discovery (CMDB module)
  • Develop more applications
 
To conclude
 
Some ITSM solutions may be too costly and complicated for small-sized organisations if using them for Help Desk or Incident Management only. Hence we need to evaluate our needs first before acquiring a platform. It is more important that we understand our business goals, work flow and practice. At the same time, we also need to know the strengths and limitations of our tool.  

There is NO magic wand! Out Of the Box (OOB) solution is not a Universal Panacea. We need to think Out Of the Box all the time. Try not to be tempted or restricted to use OOB solution only as it may flex our business rule which is undesirable.  On the other extreme, beware of too much customisation that may cause difficulties in system maintenance and jeopardise the idea of ITIL and best practice.