Service Management must move out of IT

Why Service Management must move out of IT

Share twitterlinkedinmail

Is your IT service management “future ready”?

A recent MIT Sloan Management Review article[1] 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.[2]  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.[3] 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!

For more pragmatic advice and service management insight, click here to subscribe to my newsletter!


Picture credit:  Shutterstock

[1] Weill, Peter and Stephanie L. Woerner., “Is Your Company Ready for a Digital Future?”. MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter, 2018.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Westerman, George. “Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy”. MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring, 2018.

Share twitterlinkedinmail

15 thoughts on “Why Service Management must move out of IT”

  1. Although the article is absolutely accurate, I do not agree with the header. IT should stop seeing itself as something special, because the time when IT was the miracle maker has long gone. Sure, IT technology is important for many modern organizations, but so are all other facilitating departments as without the combined effort there is not product to sell and therefore no organization. IT is nothing more than “just” another facilitating department. In other words, the header would resemble more reality when it would sound something like “Why IT has to move into service management”. I think that we have reached a point in time where organizations should start organizing their internal department like a retailer does. And where SCM is leading in a retail organization, BSM should be in these organizations. With it, IT becomes just one of the departments that will be managed on a higher level as it should be. And because of it, IT processes will become more retail aware and with it fit better in, and align with, other processes actually running a business service or organization in general.

    1. Thanks Ben for your comments. I would agree – IT is just a part of an organization’s value chains and must be viewed and act in that manner.

    1. I would agree – knowledge management is a foundational element for effective service management. The need for good knowledge management will only become amplified as service management moves into the enterprise. Thanks for reading the article and for your comments!

  2. ITSM is an important part of the business. It centralised approach and value add to the organization is imperative. All of the modules that come with I/R/P and Change Management including knowledge and Automation are a value add to every organization. It is the center point of what makes the organization run the investment is worth the effort but you have well trained knowledgeable people implementing it. With a countious important life cycle. This comes from a proven and dedicated person that wants to add value for the capital expenditure and deliver.

    1. Thanks Peter for reading the post and for your comments. I agree that ITSM can provide great benefits to any organization. Having said that, I think if those benefits are limited only to the operational interactions with IT (Incident, Request, Problem, Change, Knowledge), then that organization is only getting the benefits of IT Operations Management (ITOM) and not ITSM. While there is value in a well-designed and functioning ITOM implementation, it is not the same value of an ITSM implementation that includes the complete service lifecycle. Taking this idea one step further (as described in the post), IT is only a part of the value streams of an organization. Without understanding and completely integrating IT into those value streams, the organization misses out on even more value….hence the need to move Service Management out of IT and into the organization.

  3. Thought provoking information and comments. To add the obvious that without proper testing in Dev/Test, Model Office/Pre-Prod with UAT sign-off, the customer focus is strictly on the management pushing out technology without putting the customers best interest first. Though the praises of completing a project has value the customer will decide in the long run where they will do there business. Add in

    1. Thanks Christopher for posting your thoughts. Indeed, the customer will decide where they will do their business… and delivering value to the customer must be approached from a holistic business perspective. No more hiding behind this or that department – a business is successful as a whole. Likewise, service management must be approached holistically….and not just as something that one department within a business does.

  4. Very good article. These issues clearly indicate the need for a scientific approach to service management and a clear definition of the categories of service management and IT service management which, in my view, apply both to the general and to the private. Or, in other words, the service management object is wider and includes the object of IT service management.

  5. Great article Doug, I could related to it and as part of our ITSM roadmap I use the ESM model to illustrate the business value from ITSM to evolve to ESM for the enterprise in areas like, Customer Service Management, HR Delivery Management, Vendor Management. ITSM professionals could help the rest of the enterprise apply similar ITSM processes and good practices and easily gain business efficiencies especially when you could close the gap and provide faster resolution to a customer calling about a service issue and you are able to easily route that issue within the enterprise and obtain timely resolution, implementing ESM could be an enabler to improving overall customer satisfaction for your company.

    1. Thanks Tony for reading the post and for your comments – I think that we will soon no longer refer to “ITSM” but rather to “ESM”. Organizations must take an end-to-end approach for delivering value and providing the right experience to its customers.

    2. Hi @Tony Di Perna. I agree with your thoughts, although for me ESM is BSM without the means to measure every component of the business chain. I have worked with, and for companies who embraced, BSM for many years. The problem is that most organisations only appreciate the IT features BSM offers. This is sad, because the real power of BSM is to measure the entire Business chain, not just IT, including external suppliers and customers. And it is able, based on trending, anomaly detection and AI, to initiate fully automated mitigation actions. In other words, it is ESM on steroids. BSM can be compared with Enterprise Resource Planning, and primarily focusses on internal work processes, including the ones that benefit the customers. While BSM on the other hand can be compared with Supply Chain Management which handles the flow of an organisation and its products from external (raw material) suppliers, through the entire organisation (technical, operational, strategical, and human resource) all the way through to the customers and/or end users (or customers customers). If I want to stay in control of what my organisation, my co-workers and my suppliers and customers do, I would be choosing for a BSM solution as it combines all thinkable processes into one that rules them all 🙂

  6. Great article and spot on. The number of customer engagements we (ServiceNow) are seeing around ESM (Enterprise Service Mgmt) have grown exponentially. As this article illustrates – Service Management is simply a disciplined/defined way of delivering service. What Six Sigma did to create lean manufacturing by driving waste and defects out… Service mgmt – properly executed – will do for any service organization. Customer, vendor, partner, HR, operations, and of course IT-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *