IT and ITSM are at a crossroads, where they are being pulled in several directions. On the one hand there is high demand to speed up, be innovative and engaging, yet they must also ‘keep the lights on’ and protect the IT assets of their organisations and customers.
With the spread and complexity of technology and searing the pace of change, most IT organisations need to wake up to the fact that they can’t do both of these things. They really can’t do it all, certainly not with old legacy organisations based around 80s and 90s technologies and structures.
So, how do we manage to solve the ‘2-speed’ dilemma? How can we deliver new innovations and speed up our delivery times, whilst still delivering value through accountable, sustainable and robust systems and processes? We need to respond more quickly and with ‘agility’, yet we also need to do the basics of e.g. ITSM well – and better than they ‘ve been done before.
How can IT departments re-invent themselves? Its difficult for many IT people in large or heavily process driven organisation to appreciate some of the ‘new’ concepts like ‘DevOps’ – since this has been effective and valuable to new thrusting and entrepreneurial companies – particularly in the technology sector. It’s a far cry from a cool Cloud start-up in the Bay area to a local council in Sheffield, or a long established insurance company in Merseyside. Of course all organisations differ in terms of focus and maturity but at some point all companies and enterprises will face the challenge – that many are already facing – of how to balance safety and security with energy and speed. Those that don’t face the challenge will lose competitiveness, or cost effectiveness, or both. The 2-speed dilemma is here to stay.
Whilst there are many current challenges – there are also several opportunities that can tune 2-speed ITSM into win-win ITSM.
So what do we need to do? Here are some key points:
- Focus has to be on business outcomes and customer experience, which can then help to define key IT elements and services that are needed to support these. In order to do this properly we need to engage with our customers and define and map our services in terms of supply chain and value chain – ie who does what, where are the costs and real ‘nuggets’ of IT value.
- The discovery work required in defining these ‘services’ will also identify areas where there is the opportunity for cost reduction, automation and improved speed of service, via removal of administrative tasks – e.g. things like request management, equipment ordering , provisioning and procurement.
- The key is how to prioritise – if we can’t do everything ourselves (and most IT organisations can’t) then we need to use automation, delegation and multi-sourcing to take care of commodity and time-consuming work in order to be able to focus on strategic and high-value work.
- There are now many excellent tools that can provide this and which also meet the millennial generation’s requirements for more self-determination and automated interaction – e.g. self logging, self-healing. Many outdated, slow and costly processes and bottlenecks can be replaced with slick, automated ordering, approval and provisioning tools that run quickly and efficiently at a fraction of the current cost.
- Also, many traditional ITSM tools have been transformed as collaboration tools using ‘social’ type interfaces. As a result there has been a significant increase in the use of these tools in back-office service areas beyond IT – e.g. HR, Finance, Marketing, Legal. There has been a consolidation of portals and catalogues for all of these areas into a single functional interface – which has been made possible by the improvement in User Interface and simple configurability of these tools.
- Significantly this is enabling IT departments to become positive ‘can-do’ enablers and solution providers, rather than the isolated and non-communicative ‘guys in the basement’ from the past. The challenge to engage and the opportunity of new technology have combined to offer IT the change to re-invent itself…
- Finally there is also a more mature and ‘joined up approach’ to managing the various lelves of outsourced or multi-sourced services that IT departments (and other teams through shadow IT) have evolved into managing. Multiple Service Integration and SIAM (Service Integration and Management) are emerging as new mantras for IT organisations to use to finally get control and also deliver business value.
- This requires some re-thinking and refreshing os skills and roles – with more commercial focus and relationship management required.
IT is now effectively a supply chain business and part of its evolution involves growing pains – this is a great time of opportunity for IT and those that grasp this and see the future will definitely cement their place in it.
Transforming User Experience – 6th March, London
The ITSM Review are holding a free seminar in central London this March entitled Transforming User Experience – Enterprise Service Management and Self Service, which will help to address this subject. For more information click here