Monday, October 10, 2011

Concerning ITers; Or, Being An ITSM Vendor Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

We're looking at Service Desk toolset vendors. There. I said it. How many of you out there are bold enough to make that statement on a widely read public blog? Or even this blog?

Not many I bet. And why is that exactly? We in IT are generally quiet, hardworking folk who are quite distrusting of those outside the Shire. I mean data center. We like only having 2-3 choices for our vendors, and we prefer when we initiate the dance. Get too serious too fast, and we'll back away, saying things like,"It's not you, it's me."

The years of abuse from the dark lords Cisco, Microsoft, Symantec, and Oracle make us a little leery of fast talking outsiders. Of course we still love them. All that talk of mysterious strangers like open source and cloud is just that. Talk. We end up, like always, renewing our commitments no matter how painful they've become. Think of the users. What would happen to them if we split up? There's no telling what kind of crowd they'd end up with. Before we knew it, we'd start finding brochures for Salesforce hidden under the mattress, overhearing hushed conversations, picking out words like "social" and "consumerization". It's too awful.

So, you see, we have good reason to be a little jittery when it comes to all this sales talk. My advice to you, the prospective vendor, is to walk a mile in our purely functional loafers. More specifically...

1.  We really do prefer to come to you first. Amazingly, we've done research. Unlike our corporate brethren, we LIKE figuring things out for ourselves. Many of us go so far as to enlist outside resources to help us determine what toolsets are more likely to work well for us.

2.  Don't try to bond with us by impressing us with technology. We're nerds. We have the geeky stuff we really want (Remember all that Cisco & Microsoft stuff above?). Cloud and such do little to inspire us.

3.  On the other hand, we do have real problems requiring real solutions. Remember the 1990s? We sure do. Sigh. Those days are over and we're having a hard time adjusting. Our corporate partners are being unreasonable and asking, nay demanding, we validate our existence. They're saying we cost a lot of money, and expecting us to show them why. Or worse. Some get no further than the "cost a lot of money" step, and tell us to stop costing so much.

4.  So, please don't just use words like "value" and "alignment". Learn our hopes, dreams, and nightmares. Show us how you've reduced pain for others like us. Be specific. Give us the references so we can check for ourselves. It's not that we don't trust you. We don't trust anyone, remember? And we like verifiable data.

5.  We don't return calls. Ever. It's not that we don't care. You see, we do real work. We make lights blink. We're busy. Nothing personal. We haven't forgotten you. When there is something we need, you'll hear from us. If you don't, we didn't find the need. Pretty simple, actually.

And never forget: We truly love our smials. They are more than just houses for us. They are family.


  1. Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" comes to mind.

    ITSM vendors are IT guys too. Some good points here though. The 90's were a special time in IT for sure. The boom years for helpdesk, and the Y2K panic was great for businesses on many levels.

    Good times.

  2. This post made me smile. :) Very accurate and entertaining at the same time.