I read a lot about how organizations have stood up a centralized service desk, a self-service portal, and called that “enterprise service management”.
While these two deliverables may be good things to do, I don’t think that these two deliverables in and of themselves represent “enterprise service management”. Such an approach only perpetuates what many organizations have done with ITSM – just address the (relatively easy) operational aspects of service management, without doing any of the needed work to identify and underpin the end-to-end flow of value within IT.
What expanding ITSM could do for the enterprise
Having said that, I do think that expanding ITSM into the enterprise could have a significant and positive impact on the organization.
Expanding good ITSM into the organization would standardize how work gets done. Standardized work improves both the productivity and the throughput of work through the organization.
ITSM would bring clarity and transparency into how value flows through the organization. Good ITSM would result in the identification and definition of services and processes that underpin the organizational value streams of a business.
Good ITSM across the enterprise would bring repeatability, reliability, and measurability to all aspects of the organization.
All of the above are good things that expanding ITSM could do for the enterprise.
But how do you know its time to expand ITSM into the enterprise?
Nine signs that it may be time to expand ITSM beyond IT
Here are my top nine signs (in no particular order) that it may be time to expand ITSM beyond IT.
- Published IT performance reports depict business measures or results, not IT or technology metrics. Published reports reflect success measures that are outcome-based and relevant and meaningful to the business.
- Business colleagues outside of IT take an active, engaged role in service management activities. Business colleagues actively participate in CAB meetings; the ITSM steering committee has significant participation from business colleagues, and some (most) services have a service owner that does not work within IT.
- IT is a valued contributor and partner in business strategy development. The IT service portfolio is regularly reviewed by key business decision-makers and is a critical input to technology investment decisions, work prioritization, and managing demand. IT personnel – at all levels of the organization – participate in business strategy and planning meetings.
- The IT-Business relationship is one of being “colleagues”, not “service provider and customer”. With IT and business colleagues working as an integrated entity, efforts are focused on the true customer – the person or business that ultimately buys a company’s products and services.
- Business colleagues have a consistently good experience in their interactions with the IT organization. Performance is predictable and consistent. Communications are appropriate, relevant, and timely. Issues are addressed and managed in a professional manner. There are active, positive business – IT relationships.
- The IT organization is working as an integrated team. There are no “Dev vs. Ops vs. QA vs. Security” attitudes within IT, but rather a culture of collaboration. The IT organization has recognized that there is no “one size fits all approach” and has learned how to effectively incorporate and leverage the strengths of different methodologies to deliver business value.
- ITSM processes are lean, effective, and provide “just enough” control. Processes are as simple as possible, friction-free, and have little, if any, waste. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, understood, and embraced. Processes facilitate getting work done, rather than act as a barrier to getting work done.
- The IT organization acts and communicates in business terms. The service catalog articulates what IT does in terms of business value and outcomes. IT consistently demonstrates good business acumen. The business relationship management function is established and proactively ensures that the business realizes value from its investments in IT.
- IT promotes and communicates how ITSM is benefitting the organization. ITSM successes (and learnings) are regularly publicized – and the business is feeling the positive impact from ITSM implementation and use.
But even if all nine (or most) of these signs are present, it still may not make sense to expand ITSM into the enterprise.
The ultimate sign that it’s time to expand ITSM into the enterprise
What is the ultimate sign that it’s time to expand ITSM into the enterprise?
Your business colleagues ask for it.
Just because IT thinks this is a good idea isn’t sufficient justification for expanding ITSM across the enterprise. Expanding ITSM into the enterprise must be a business initiative, not an IT initiative forced upon the business. Why?
Business colleagues may not know anything about ITSM. They may not even be aware that the IT organization is doing service management. But, business colleagues feel that they have consistent, good experiences in their interactions with IT. They get real business value from services delivered from IT. They see how wider use of the concepts being used by IT can benefit the organization. And, most importantly, they want to expand those concepts across the enterprise.
But to have success with expanding ITSM concepts into the enterprise, Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is not as simple as dropping the ‘IT’ and adding an ‘E’. The business must own ESM. The business must dedicate and invest resources to ESM. There must be commitment to ESM being successful. There must be a willingness to do the required “care-and-feeding” across the organization, not just within a department or two. The enterprise must adopt an attitude of continual improvement.
Getting ready to expand ITSM into the enterprise
While there is much that can be leveraged from a good ITSM implementation to jumpstart an ESM implementation, here are six steps that will ensure that ESM will be successful.
- Build the compelling business case – Business value consists of five factors – increased revenue, decreased cost, improved productivity, competitive differentiation, and improved customer satisfaction. The business case for ESM must address at least one of these five factors; doing so will help you get the support and funding needed for ESM.
- Form a cross-functional team – Again, ESM has to be a business initiative. This means that a cross-functional team consisting of both business colleagues and IT staff are required for ESM success.
- Identify enterprise-level services – An IT service only depicts the “middle part” of an enterprise-level service. There are business activities that occur both before and after the IT service is consumed. What are those activities? Who is accountable for the quality and results of those activities? Identifying and defining enterprise-level services is critical for ESM success.
- Identify organizational value streams – How does work get done across the enterprise? Just like an IT service often involves multiple parts of the IT organization, the same can be said for enterprise services. Rarely (if ever) does an outcome or result delivered to the customer only involve a single department or work group within an organization. ESM must underpin an organization’s delivery of value.
- Define good processes – IT’s expertise in defining good ITSM processes can be leveraged to help the enterprise identify and document its processes. But processes must facilitate, not control, getting work done. This may represent a mind shift change for those new to service management.
- Take an iterative approach – As with ITSM implementation, ESM implementation must be an iterative activity. Start with a smaller enterprise value stream. Define and apply service management concepts, learn what worked well, identify improvements, then repeat the cycle with the next enterprise value stream. There is no need to “boil the ocean” – make steady, incremental progress toward ESM goals. Adoption and success will be much greater.
The digital consumer is demanding that businesses act as unified entities, rather than collections of parts. This means that all parts of an organization must collaborate to deliver the value and results that the digital consumer wants. Expanding good ITSM into the enterprise is a way to meet the demands of both the digital consumer and the digital economy.Share