Transforming IT from a Technology Management to a Service Management organization means a significant change to the traditional IT culture and structure. This change is not a natural evolution that occurs through the introduction of process re-engineering and improvement and service management tools. It requires planning, design, deployment, management and ongoing monitoring and improvement at all levels – organization (people), process and technology. All are required to improve performance, productivity and profitability.
The introduction of IT Service Management (ITSM) with frameworks such as ITIL, focussed on process re-engineering and improvement to align IT goals, objectives and processes with the Business vision, principles and processes. ITSM software vendors and service providers quickly re-engineered and repackaged their Help Desk tools to ITSM tools. However, very little attention has been paid to transforming the IT organization’s structure and culture. This has caused many IT service management and process improvement initiatives to flounder and, in some cases, come to a stop.
Traditionally, IT has focussed on delivering and supporting technology solutions from an inward, technical and reactive perspective. There was minimal to no interaction with the business units and minimal understanding of the business, the customer, their processes or “services” and their service requirements in business terms. The language and perspective of the traditional IT group is very technical and silo based (e.g., infrastructure, network and application). One of the consequences is that IT is not perceived by its customers (the business units) to be a team, particularly not a team that understands their requirements and supports their goals, which quite often leads to the business choosing external service providers that do.
To become a Service Management organization, IT’s focus needs to shift to an outward (customer), service and proactive perspective, with an Account Team approach to planning, designing, delivering, managing and supporting services. To effectively engage with their business unit partners, IT’s language and understanding needs to expand to encompass business process and services terminology. In order to shift this focus, engage with their business unit partners, and become a recognized and contributing business unit within the enterprise organization, the organizational transformation of IT’s culture and structure is mandatory.
The following provides an example of what needs to be considered for an IT organizational transformation.
Culture is generally described as a group’s attitudes, ideas, beliefs, values, knowledge and behaviour.
- Lead IT: IT needs to be run like a business, which means it needs leadership to plan and design, and management to deploy and operate. Within the enterprise, IT must be a viable and visible business unit at the enterprise executive round-table for strategic planning, forecasting and management. Today, more than ever before, businesses (including government) rely on technology to be successful and survive. IT has two customers to support – the internal enterprise business units and the external enterprise customers and potential customers – and they need to ensure the services and enabling technology employed are always available, stable and reliable.
- Brand IT: A new name to reflect the change in structure and culture, e.g., Information Services (IS) or Information Service Solutions.
- Market IT: The internal Service Catalogue and the external enterprise Service Catalogue or website are primary marketing tools.
- Communicate IT: The communication language facing the internal and external customers should be business service terminology.
- Finance IT: As a major contributor to the bottom line and the success of the business, IS should be considered as a cost management centre or a business centre versus a cost centre, i.e., adopt the same terminology as the business units. IS financial management should also be based on a service based model.
- Process IT: Information Service Management processes are basically Business Service Management processes – successful businesses operate on established processes with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. ITSM technology can enable and support not only IS processes, but also business processes.
- Staff IT: IS needs customer- and service-minded leadership, management and staff as well as technology-minded leadership, management and staff.
An example of an Information Services Management organization based on distinct functional groups:
- Service Management – Service Desk, Customer Engagement (Business Relationship Managers), Service Strategy and Planning
- Applications Management – Development and Support
- Technology (Infrastructure) Management – Network, Servers / Mainframes, Storage, Database, Directory Services, Desktop, Middleware, Internet / Web
- Operations Management - IT Operations Control (console management, job scheduling, backup and restore, print and output), Facilities Management (data centres, recovery sites, consolidation, contracts)
- Professional Services Management: Program / Project Management, Architecture and Standards, Service Portfolio Management, IT Service Continuity, Supplier Management
In organizations with decentralized IS functional groups, it is recommended that there be an established relationship with the Enterprise Information Services CIO to ensure an enterprise-wide Information Service Management approach.
Functional Position and Process Roles: An Information Services Management structure must clearly define the functional positions as well as the associated process roles. A functional position has a person or group with the required skills, knowledge and tools to carry out one or more processes or activities, i.e., people have multiple roles with associated accountabilities and responsibilities.
Examples of Information Service Management roles:
- Service Management Lifecycle or Process Owner: Strategic role championing and accountable for process and service improvement and governance.
- Process Manager: Tactical role managing processes and responsible for implementing process improvements.
- Business Relationship Manager: Customer engagement role (usually full-time position) with the ability to understand and translate business plans and forecasts to service projects and technology solutions with associated risks and impacts.
- Service Owner: Tactical service subject matter expert role with the ability to understand and translate a customer’s service requirements into technology specifications and technology solutions to service solutions.
People change organizations! On the road to Service Management organizational transformation, there is a need for Leaders to plan, design, communicate, champion and drive the culture and structure transformation, and for Managers to support, manage, communicate and implement the changes.