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You don't actually need that many hats. Why tech startups and SMEs should embrace IT Service Management.

Updated: Mar 4

IT Service Management (ITSM) has traditionally been viewed as the preserve of enterprise-scale businesses and public sector organisations. For a start, to have all those process owners that ITIL talks about, surely you'll need way too many people? Or if not, the people you do have are going to have to wear an awful lot of hats!

It's true that there have been tomes written on how to do ITSM 'properly'. There are frameworks (eg ITIL, COBIT, SIAM), architectures (eg IT4IT) and an international standard (ISO/IEC 20000), and these are all incredibly valuable resources which can help businesses on their maturity journey. But when you're a new or smaller tech business, wanting to grow out the services you offer to customers, investing precious time and money in designing and implementing processes and policies to help in the management of IT services probably isn't high on your list of priorities.

However, there are a few ways in which thinking early on in your journey about how some of the key principles and practices of ITSM could help you might really make all the difference as you grow as a business. Here are 5 of them:

  1. Risk Management: identifying what the key threats are to your tech business (whether that's rapidly changing technologies or requirements, scarce resources or the risk of supply chain issues) is essential when you're still a small business. ITSM can help you identify, assess and mitigate those risks.

  2. Change Control: change is one of the biggest causes of interruption to IT services and yet, when you're a growing business, you have to change to survive. Looking at how ITSM can help you manage changes to your services to minimise the risk of introducing downtime for your customers and jeopardising the productivity of your employees can be a big differentiator for your customer experience and your profitability.

  3. Cost Control: Startups and SMEs operate under budget constraints, and effective ITSM can help in controlling costs by identifying and eliminating unnecessary rework, optimizing resource utilization, and preventing potential issues that could lead to costly downtimes.

  4. Scalability: As startups and SMEs grow, their IT support model and all the underpinning technologies need to scale accordingly. ITSM provides frameworks and methodologies that can be implemented in a light touch fashion at the outset but which can be fleshed out as the company grows. This allows you to keep pace with changes in the marketplace and to look at bidding for bigger and bolder opportunities in the future, safe in the knowledge that the foundations you have in place can grow with you.

  5. Customer Experience: In a tech startup, user satisfaction with products or services is key. ITSM ensures that the technology supporting these offerings is reliable, responsive, and meets user expectations, leading to higher customer satisfaction. It allows you to ensure that you design your services with supportability and user experience in mind.

ITIL has 7 guiding principles ( which are really helpful as part of this discussion. Two of my favourites which I'd like to leave you with here are:

  • Start where you are: if you're a small organisation with just a handful of people, you aren't going to have process owners for every process. Familiarise yourself with those which look like they will support your pain points and see how you can adopt and adapt the guidelines and principles to assist you;

  • Keep it simple and practical: there is no need to over-engineer a process or introduce governance for the sake of it. How can you simplify what you are doing so that you remove redundant or unhelpful steps whilst keeping the end goal in mind?

If you're a tech start-up or SME and you'd like to learn more about how BID-IT Services can help you with some of your service management and delivery pain points, please get in touch with me at I have a really bad taste in hats, but I don't usually wear more than one at a time.

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