Is your IT service management “future ready”?
A recent MIT Sloan Management Review article discussed how organizations must become “future ready”. The article stated that becoming future-ready requires change to the enterprise on two dimensions: the customer experience and operational efficiency.
Of these two dimensions, the customer experience will drive competitive advantage for businesses. Is your service management ready to enable and drive that differentiating customer experience?
The Future’s Impact to today’s (IT) Service Management
For many organizations, service management continues to be narrowly focused on the day-to-day operations within IT and follows a “service provider/internal customer” approach. To become “future-ready”, this approach to service management must change.
The organizational mindset of an internal service provider/internal customer construct must change to an enterprise service management approach. The business exists to serve customers, not just others within the same business. In other words, all parts of the business must work together to drive business success.
Value streams are the threads that link the parts of the business together for producing and delivering products and services.
Every part of a business is part of one or more value streams that delivers products and services to customers. Technology underpins those value streams; by itself, technology doesn’t provide value to a business. But because technology use is so ubiquitous within businesses, the line between technology (or IT) and business functions have become blurred. In some organizations, the line does not exist.
This has two implications for service management.
- Service management processes must be “waste free”. Any bureaucracy or non-value-added work within processes must be eliminated. Eliminating waste, bottlenecks, and manual intervention in processes help facilitate a good customer experience – things just “work”.
- Service management processes must reflect and support the entire value stream, not just the IT portion. IT’s contribution to enterprise value streams, while important, is only a portion of those value streams. Having good enterprise service management processes facilitates good handoffs between contributors within the value stream, enables measurability, helps drive effective workflows, and promotes viewing value and outcomes from the customer perspective, not an internal perspective.
This means that service management must move out of IT and into and across the enterprise.
What is the impact to IT?
When service management moves into and across the enterprise, what does this mean for IT?
First, having strong business acumen becomes critical for IT. Some IT organizations are too focused on technology and lack business acumen. Business acumen must be a core competency of the IT organization. Why? Because the business is about the business first, not technology. Technology only enhances or enables what the business wants to do. Having a strong business acumen helps IT understand why, not just how, technology can help.
IT can then become the trusted advisor for exploiting technology for business advantage. IT must help its business find the right balance between “leading edge” and “tried and true” technologies; again, dependent on business goals and objectives. To do this, IT must internalize business goals and objectives to understand and develop competencies and awareness of current and emerging technologies.
Lastly, “order taker” IT organizations will be outsourced. If an IT organization cannot demonstrate or promote how it delivers true business value, IT will appear to be a commodity. And commodities can be obtained from anywhere.
But if your IT organization is practicing good service management, IT can take a leadership role in expanding service management across the enterprise.
Get Service Management “future ready”
To get service management “future ready”, here are four things you must do:
- Service management must be (re) envisioned from the customer perspective – the true customer. The true customer is found outside of the organization, not inside the organization. This means that you have to understand how value is created and flows through the organization (or value streams). Service Management must underpin the entire value stream – from the customer through the business and back to the customer. Service Management must take an “outside in” approach so you can understand how work is getting done – and where obstacles and bottlenecks may exist.
- Shift the service management focus to the entire organization. – The objective is to ‘float all boats’ in the service management ‘harbor’, not just the ‘IT boat’. Why? The customer does business with the business, not with an individual component within the business. Siloed business operational models must end. If one part of the value stream fails, the entire value stream fails. This means that service management must expand to include all parts of the enterprise so you can work transparently and deliver an outstanding, consistent, and repeatable customer experience – as an aligned, integrated organization.
- Automate. Humans have better things to do than call a service desk to reset a password or request products to which they are already entitled and eligible to receive. Now take this idea one step further – do you really want to irritate your customers with such tediousness? Drive toward automating those day-to-day operational activities so you can free up people to do what they do best – innovate, imagine, and problem-solve.
- Invest in knowledge management. Knowledge management must become an enterprise-wide capability. In the “always connected, always on” digital economy, organizations can ill afford to spend time rediscovering what is already known within an organization. Neither can there be siloes of knowledge within an organization. Effective knowledge management is a key enabler of a “future ready” service management approach.
Service management can no longer be about just IT. Service management has never been about this or than methodology – frankly, there is no “one-size-fits-all” methodology – it is about delivering business value and results. The future-state service management approach is a blend of several methodologies and practices from all parts of the business (including IT) that enable the whole business to deliver value and results. Get “future ready” now by moving service management beyond IT and into the enterprise.
Need to expand service management into the enterprise, while still leveraging your existing investments? With our Next Generation ITSM consulting service, Tedder Consulting can help you get the best of both worlds – contact us today!
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Picture credit: Shutterstock
 Weill, Peter and Stephanie L. Woerner., “Is Your Company Ready for a Digital Future?”. MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter, 2018.
 Westerman, George. “Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy”. MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring, 2018.Share