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We IT people are an interesting bunch.  On one hand, we often preach about how we want to be seen as a reliable and consistent service provider, so business can trust us to deliver predictable, repeatable results.  We talk about wanting to be the ‘trusted advisor’ to the business in the use of technology to drive opportunities for improvement and open up new market spaces.  We promote how IT wants to be seen as providing value, while at the same time, being cost-effective.

Did you notice something there?  We “want to be”.  We want to be, but what we often do can often be interpreted as “fire-aim-ready”.

IT always wants to deliver solutions quickly, but often doesn’t take the time to internalize the company’s mission, vision, and goals.  As a result, often the solutions that are delivered are overly expensive and don’t meet long term business needs.

IT wants to be seen as a trusted advisor, but produces reports that are in “IT terms” (does anyone outside of IT really care about CPU utilization?) and doesn’t provide any transparency into IT.

IT doesn’t want to be seen as an “order taker”, but doesn’t take the time to produce a true Service Catalog that discusses the value of IT Services and the business outcomes that are enabled through those services.  Instead, IT produces a list of applications, products, and systems (again often in “IT terms”) that resembles the menu board at a restaurant drive-through window….”May I take your order please?”

IT doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity to teach the business about what IT does and explain why a PC provided and supported by IT costs $3000 instead of $499.  Because these conversations are sometimes difficult, IT will put itself into positions where it is making business decisions on behalf of the business, and avoid having business representation in CAB meetings or working with the business to develop IT Service Strategy.

How can IT shift to a “ready-aim-fire” perspective?   I would suggest a great place to start is with the Service Catalog.  In my experience, business is willing to pay for quality IT services, but not willing to pay for IT just for IT’s sake.  The business would like to trust and count on IT, but needs IT to speak in business terms, then translate into IT-speak internally.  IT wants to better articulate the business value it provides, but may not know how to start that conversation with those it serves.  Working with the business to build a Service Catalog is a great way to address these issues and more.  In time and done well, the Service Catalog can help establish IT as the trusted advisor and reliable partner it wants to be, and lose that perception of being an “order taker”.

My next few blogs will explore some of my thinking about the Service Catalog.  If you have some thoughts to share, drop me a note!  I look forward to the conversation!

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