Tag Archives: value stream map

Future-Proofing Higher Education With Employee Experience

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Higher education is facing many obstacles. The entire industry has shifted over the last few years and many higher education institutions are having to adjust how they operate to meet those changes. This article will explore how employee experience and good service management can help higher education institutions overcome those obstacles.

The Changes in Higher Education

One of the biggest changes in higher education is the shifting student demographic. Just a few years ago, student populations were made up of 18-22-year-olds, who lived on campus, went to school full-time, and were working toward a 4-year degree. Today, many students are adult learners, part-time students or taking classes completely online. Many individuals are questioning whether a traditional higher education degree is worth the financial burden and are opting out of traditional higher education altogether.

Additionally, students on campus are dealing with different struggles than past students. Many students are forced to balance multiple jobs while in school to make ends meet. This has resulted in students struggling with increased financial pressure and higher education has become plagued with mental health problems.

And on top of all of those changes, higher education is struggling with decreased funding, increased competition, and budget cuts. Higher education institutions must find innovative and cost-effective ways to engage current, prospective, and past students. The best, easiest and smartest way to do that is by engaging their employees.

The Need for Engaged Employees

Perhaps most worrisome among higher education institutions is that they are struggling with employee engagement. Simply stated – many higher education faculty and staff members are not engaged. Gallup performed a detailed study on employee engagement across several industries. After performing 258 million interviews including 75,000 with faculty and staff members, Gallup found that just 34% of faculty and staff within higher education are engaged at work. This engagement score is lower than most of the industries that Gallup measures.

Unengaged employees could be costing institutions at the bottom line. The faculty are often the institution’s frontline for their students. An engaged faculty can provide students with tools they need to overcome the obstacles they’re facing, which will not only help students stay at the institution, but can help create a dedicated and successful alumni network.

Also, engaged employees are more likely to stay at the institution. Studies have shown that focusing on employee engagement can result in better retention rates and cost savings over time. In fact, according to the American Council on Education, Iowa State University estimates an average savings of more than $83,000 per faculty member retained when engagement practices are applied. Employee turnover can be costly – so imagine how much that adds up over time when good faculty members are retained!

The Institution’s Role in Employee Experience

The question is what can the institution do to support employee experience? Mike Bollinger, global AVP of thought leadership and advisory services for Cornerstone OnDemand notes, “Faculty and staff members help create the student experience, and it’s up to the institution to provide their employees with the learning curriculum, professional development opportunities and recognition they deserve to help both higher education employees and their students succeed.”

Higher education institutions can leverage technology and services to create a better employee experience that includes professional development, learning opportunities, and better operational management.

Digital is an obvious choice for most of these experiences. Higher institutions are already successfully implementing digital-first experiences like digital workflows, online onboarding, training programs, and online learning management systems.

But future-proofing higher education with employee experience requires more than creating digital-first experiences. Technology alone won’t guarantee an exceptional employee experience. Good service management is necessary. The service management I’m referring to is not just IT service management. I’m referring to the holistic approach of delivering value through the use of services, based on the use of technology. Some refer to this as Enterprise Service Management. Whether you call it Enterprise Service Management, service management, or IT service management, one thing needs to remain the same: you must focus on how organizations can co-create value and then deliver that value using technology.

What can higher education leaders do to create exceptional employee experiences?

Institutions must acknowledge the silos that exist among their faculty and staff before they can begin to consider the technological needs. Silos are culturally embedded in higher education institutions. There are silos between faculty and staff. There are silos among adjuncts, full-time professors and tenured professors, as well as, silos among departments. Working to create open lines of communication and to empower the entire institution to collaborate to run higher education as a business. It’s important that both faculty and staff adapt their thinking and actions in terms of value and outcomes instead of activities and things.

This is where IT can take the lead within an institution. Higher education CIOs can work with the rest of the institution to understand the overall goals and determine how technology can help the institution meet those goals.

There are two steps a CIO can take to begin this process.

Identify, map, and manage value streams
When a CIO maps value streams across the institution and identifies where technology is used to support those value streams, they can begin to identify and eliminate redundant spending and waste. They can also begin to find process improvements that can support better employee experience.

Establish an experience center
An experience center is a little like an expanded IT service desk. It is a single point of contact for reporting and managing service issues. Successful experience centers have well-defined processes supporting defined value streams. The experience center can benefit both the student and the faculty and staff as it supports the entire engagement lifecycle of both the students and the faculty. It reduces any frustrations or problems using technology so they can be quickly solved.

Higher education is evolving and the evolution isn’t going to slow down any time soon. While there are many questions about the future of higher education, one thing that remains certain is that the time is now to engage employees and strengthen the brand, operations and bottom line of an institution. This approach of addressing and improving the employee experience of faculty and staff on the front line can create a ripple effect that will leave the end-users, the students, feeling satisfied, cared for and supported by their institutions.

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Good AI Will Not Fix Bad ITSM

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If you google “AI ITSM,” you’ll receive almost a million results of various articles, predictions, and guides detailing how AI will transform ITSM.

The promises in every headline are exciting:

  • You can learn how AI can “make great things happen in ITSM”
  • There is a guide to how AI can “make your service desk great”
  • There’s an article on how AI-based ITSM apps deliver friction-less employee experiences

And that’s just a few of the hundreds of thousands of results!

As an ITSM consultant with decades of experience helping organizations implement healthy and effective ITSM practices, all of these articles make me feel confident and excited about the future of this industry.

But at the same time, they also raise deep concerns in me because I see history repeating itself. I’m concerned this initial excitement about the transformative power of AI will have IT organizations rushing to fix every problem they have – this time, it will be with AI.

And that just won’t work. It’s going to cause bigger problems down the line. AI is not a silver bullet. It won’t solve all of your problems and no matter how powerful your AI technology is, it simply won’t fix “bad ITSM”.

In order for AI to deliver the maximum benefits, you may need to clean up your ITSM act first.

What is Bad ITSM?

Before we get into everything AI can do for ITSM, let’s first take a look at bad ITSM. You might be wondering if you are suffering from bad ITSM.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Services are not defined. The IT organization has a list of applications, systems, and activities, but there is no discussion of how these things interact to add or enable business value.
  • There is no documentation describing the value of what IT is doing or how that value is measured.
  • Projects are not evaluated according to desired outcomes or opportunities for involvement. Instead projects are evaluated strictly by cost or resource requirements. Instead of doing the right things, IT is trying to do everything.
  • There is no business case for ITSM or a clear understanding of the return on investment on ITSM.
  • Solutions are “frankensteined” together with data from one area, tools from another, and whatever resources can be afforded. Or perhaps even worse, there are multiple systems (which means higher costs) that essentially deliver the same solutions.

Other symptoms of bad ITSM also include siloed departments, frustrated team members, and unexplainably long delivery times.

Many organizations notice bad ITSM, but they struggle to clearly diagnose the problem. They see the problem as an isolated one. But once you take a step back, you will be able to see that every symptom of bad ITSM is actually interrelated. This means that fixing bad ITSM requires a holistic approach.

What Role Will AI Play?

It’s important to note that while AI may not transform ITSM, AI can play an important role in ITSM. There are 3 common cases where AI can benefit ITSM:

  • Amplify IT resources
    • AI will enable IT staff to have more time to innovate, strategize, and focus on larger, more complex problems
  • Eliminate silos
    • The use of AI technologies will promote standardized approaches to processes and workflows.
  • Data drives actions
    • Effective use of AI requires good data and information. AI adoption can encourage IT organizations to develop good habits in capturing the data and information needed to make AI use effective. By capturing good data and information as part of ITSM activities enables the organization to take advantage of the introduction of AI.

Consider these roles if you have “Bad ITSM.” Can AI amplify resources if services are not defined or if the business value of those services is unclear? Will it eliminate silos if solutions are consistently “Frankensteined” together without any guiding process? Can AI take effective and appropriate actions when data and information cannot be trusted?

While AI can be extraordinarily powerful, it needs the right environment to thrive. Organizations with bad ITSM practices don’t have the right environment.

How can you cure “Bad ITSM”?

ITSM is not just about one process or one tool. There needs to be a bigger picture of how ITSM fits into the organization, drives business value and provides services to end users.

You can start to cure bad ITSM by using outside-in thinking. Look at your ITSM efforts from the business perspective. Define how IT contributes to the needs of the customer. Then work inwards defining the services, designing the processes, and implementing the tools needed to meet the needs of those customers.

Then ensure your organization has the skills necessary to exploit and maintain AI are available:

Process design
Do your ITSM processes consistently deliver expected results? Have you clearly articulated processes for frequent tasks? Do you periodically review these processes to ensure they remain relevant?

Value stream mapping
A value stream illustrates a process as part of the larger ecosystem and is made up of all the people, activities, and departments necessary to create and deliver value. Value stream maps establish a holistic look at the process and prevents tunnel vision.

Knowledge and data management
AI can only learn from the data you provide. If your knowledge is not properly captured or your data is not well maintained, AI will struggle.

Once you’ve cleaned up your bad ITSM, you’ll be in a better position to exploit the benefits of AI. You’ll have a solid grasp on the challenges AI can solve and you can predict the desired outcomes it can provide. Then you can make a compelling business case for implementing AI.

Remember AI isn’t a silver bullet. It’s only going to thrive in an environment that has built the right foundation, and that foundation includes good ITSM. So if you need to clean up some bad ITSM, do that work now, so your AI investment will pay off in the future.

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Why your company isn’t so excited (but should be!) about ESM

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Enterprise Service Management (ESM) describes the use of service processes and technologies across an organization.  ESM also describes business management software which provides an integrated view into business practices. [1]

And what part of any organization doesn’t rely on the use of processes and technology for running its business?  None!

But organizations have traditionally taken a departmental or system-based approach to processes and technology.  Such an approach usually focuses on the needs of a specific department, or those directly impacted by the implementation of a system.  Rarely (if ever!) does this approach address the entirety of a value chain, or the movement of work and information from a point-of-origin through the point-of-consumption.  Value chains within an organization typically involve multiple departments.  But because of a disjointed approach to processes and technology, work efforts are usually disjointed, and the organization works as a collection of parts.

ESM could fix that, as a good ESM implementation would facilitate and integrate the flow of information and activities within an organization.

Why your company needs ESM

The idea of ESM is not new, but there is now a renewed focus on the need for ESM.  Why is ESM suddenly so important?  I would argue that the most compelling reason why ESM is so important is the customer – especially in the context of today’s digital world.

A challenge often encountered by customers today is that one part of the company is unaware of what the other parts are doing, much less how their activities impact or depend on those other parts.  As a result, departments within companies often tend to work in isolation without regard for any upstream or downstream processes.  Things simply fall through the cracks.

And in the digital age, customers simply will not deal with organizations that act in this manner.  They will quickly (and quietly) move along.

An effective ESM implementation can result in an organization acting and working as an integrated enterprise.   Done well, ESM enables a frictionless and differentiated customer experience, as it reinforces an enterprise-wide, process-oriented approach for providing value to a customer.  By underpinning an organization’s value streams, ESM:

  • Can help identify and ensure that proper interfaces between individual systems are in place.
  • Brings clarity to the organization and breaks down internal barriers and silos.
  • Results in clearly defined and integrated value streams across the organization, not just within a department.
  • Brings transparency, consistency, and measurability into the movement of work and information across the organization.
  • Reflects the true picture of end-to-end service delivery.

Sounds great, right?  So why isn’t your company excited about ESM?

What is in the way of ESM?

ESM adoption has its own set of unique challenges.

  • Success with ESM will require a change in organizational behaviors. The internal service provider/customer model utilized in many organizations must end.  The “customer” is outside of the organization, and all parts of the organization must collaborate to deliver products and services to that customer.
  • Most organizational structures are hierarchical – which is a barrier to collaboration. A hierarchical organizational structure is typically pre-disposed to not collaborate with other parts of the organization.  This is because most organizational compensation and recognition schemes are focused inwardly on departmental goals and objectives and not enterprise goals.
  • Organizations lack defined, enterprise-wide business processes. Business processes are typically defined only at the departmental or team level and tend to focus only on a particular domain or area.  How business processes interface is at best poorly defined, if defined at all.
  • Technology has been used as a band-aid. Because organizations took a departmental approach to process and technology use, additional technology was often deployed to close the gaps between disparate systems within the enterprise.
  • Lack of clarity regarding organizational value streams. No single part of an organization is independent of the rest of the organization; It takes all parts of an organization to deliver value to its customers.  But often, there is no clarity or ownership regarding value streams within an organization.

Don’t repeat the ITSM sins of the past with ESM

Some organizations have approached ESM as just an extension of their current IT Service Management (ITSM) implementations.  I would agree that many ITSM concepts, such as having a centralized service desk and taking a coordinated response to service requests and interruptions, are applicable across the enterprise.  But I would also argue that for many organizations, if the ESM implementation mimics the approach taken for ITSM implementation, ESM will fail.  Why?  Because many ITSM implementations just aren’t delivering on their potential.

  • Many ITSM implementations only addressed operational issues and not the entire IT value stream. As a result, ITSM became a barrier, rather than an enabler, for working within IT.
  • ITSM was driven as an IT initiative, not as a business initiative. Rather than identifying, promoting, and delivering business value, ITSM became an obstacle for getting IT to do any work for the business.
  • IT services were defined as “things that IT does” and not in terms of business value and outcomes. As a result, there is no clear definition or shared understanding of how IT provides business value. To the rest of the organization, IT appears to be a cost center, not a value enabler.

Three things to do to get ready for ESM

To really make a positive impact, ESM must be more than just establishing an enterprise service desk or rolling out a self-service portal.  ESM has to reflect and support the true end-to-end delivery of products and services throughout the enterprise.  But ESM will require strong management commitment and an investment of time and resources.  It will not get done overnight.  So how do you get started?  Here’s my tips for getting ready for ESM:

  • Work on getting your ITSM house in order. IT is one of the few organizations within an enterprise that has a true enterprise view of the organization.  If current ITSM processes are ineffective, or if services are poorly defined, now is the opportunity to improve and learn.  The knowledge and skills you gain from making those improvements will be valuable as your organization begins its ESM journey.  Your business colleagues will also notice the improvements as well – this is critical, because you’re going to need their support.
  • Become an expert on the business of the business. This means learning the language of the business; what the business does to deliver value to the customer; understanding how the parts of the business interact to deliver that value to the customer.  Tools like COPIS (or “backward SIPOC”) diagrams are useful for capturing how value is delivered from the customer perspective back into the organization (in other words, from the outside-in).  This will also help you gain the support and credibility you’ll need from your business colleagues.
  • Develop a strong, compelling business case. Perhaps the most important question to answer is “Why should your company implement ESM?”. How will the gains in effectiveness and efficiency from ESM adoption translate into bottom line impact across the enterprise?  Perhaps ESM will result in improvements in the cost per sale or unit.  Maybe ESM will result in the reduction of lead times for product or service delivery.  Whatever the impacts may be, your business case must articulate the clear value proposition in terms of increased revenues, decreased costs, improved productivity, company differentiation, or improved customer satisfaction.

The digital age demands that organizations execute as frictionless, integrated enterprises. But to do so will require many companies to rethink how they are organized and how they collaborate to deliver both customer and business value.  Done well, ESM will transform organizations from “collections of parts” to an integrated, customer-focused enterprises, providing both an outstanding customer experience and improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.

Worried that your ESM efforts will fall into the “bad ITSM” trap?  Want to make sure that your leverage, not abandon,  your ITSM investments as you expand  into ESM?  Let us introduce you to VeriSM – the service management approach for the Digital Age.   Tedder Consulting can help you leverage VeriSM to achieve ESM – contact us today!

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

Picture Credit: Pixabay

[1] Wikipedia, retrieved May 30, 2018.

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Why Service Management must move out of IT

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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.

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Four Steps for finding your misplaced Service Owner

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Has your IT organization defined services and named service owners?

Have you identified the right person as the service owner?

How do you know?

Let’s start from the beginning

What is a “service”?

According to ITIL®, a service is “a means of delivering value to a customer by facilitating the outcomes that a customer wants without the ownership of [specific] costs and risks”.[1]

A service is not a discrete unit of delivery, but an on-demand flow that is (should be) continually improved to deliver the outcomes required by the ever-changing needs of business.

A key service role is that of the service owner. The service owner “owns” the service – that is, the service owner is accountable for the quality of outcomes resulting from the consumption and use of the service.

Many organizations have identified IT people as its “service owners”.

But who decides if a service is delivering the desired outcomes? Who decides if the service quality is adequate and appropriate? The customer.

That confusing “customer thing”

Who is the customer?

That’s the thing that seems to cause all kinds of confusion within organizations – the term “customer”.

Who is the customer?

  • The ultimate buyer of solutions.
  • The ultimate judge of quality and outcomes.
  • Who the business is trying to entice and retain in the buying of the products and services.

This means that for many services, IT can’t be service owner.

If the service is an “IT service” – that is, the service is provided by IT and consumed within an organization, then yes, someone in IT is (better be!) the “service owner”. But many services that involve the use of technology result in outcomes that are delivered externally – to the true customer. This means that a lot of IT’s work is done in support of delivering value to a customer that is outside of the business.

But typically, IT is not directly involved in interactions with the customer.

Finding the (true) Service Owner

So, who is the service owner? How about the value stream owner?

In their book “Value Stream Mapping”, Martin and Osterling define a value stream as being “the sequence of activities required to design, product, and deliver a good or service to a customer, and it includes the dual flows of information and material”.[2] They also describe a “value stream champion” as “someone who’s accountable for the performance of the entire value stream. In a hierarchical organization, [this person] is a step or two closer to the work than the executive sponsor”.[3]

ValueStreamGlobal.com describes the role of a value stream owner (VSO) as “an experienced manager or executive servant leader who is accountable to senior management for improving the value to non-value ration of a product family within an enterprise”.[4] Among the responsibilities of the VSO are[5]:

  • Ensuring the Value Stream itself is correctly identified, defined, mapped, optimized, managed, and improved over time…. Including specific definition of the product/service family and related components
  • Coordinate with business functional areas that contribute to the creation of value in the flow.
  • Demonstrate to senior management that the outputs of the value stream are competitive in the marketplace and meet current customer* demand. The value stream must be able to quickly adapt to changing market conditions.
  • Maintain a holistic view of the organization and understand where in the large scheme of things their value stream fits… includes not sacrificing one area for the sake of optimizing another, but to optimize the whole.

“Value stream owner” …. sounds like a “service owner” to me.

Why IT isn’t (always) the Service Owner

If the service owner owns a service from end-to-end; that is, from point-of-origin to point-of-consumption, this means that (in most cases) the service owner cannot reside within IT. While IT may manage and perform activities as part of service delivery and support, IT cannot possibly own a service from point-of-origin to point-of-consumption. Why? Because IT does not have customers – the business does.

IT typically acts upon business needs. Rarely (if ever!) does IT lead business initiatives or interact directly with the (true) customer.

Therefore, the value stream owner must be the service owner. IT’s role may be that of service manager (responsible for particular aspects of the daily operation of a service), but in the situations where value and outcomes are realized by the true customer, IT cannot be the service owner. IT controls only a portion of any given value stream involving the true customer. If IT tries to take ownership of services for which it cannot adequately or appropriately be accountable, it is setting both itself and its business colleagues up to fail.

But on the other hand, since IT does own “IT services”, then IT cannot be passive and wait for something to happen or for someone else to provide IT with its “marching orders” regarding those services. IT must step up and take ownership – in the complete context. This means making the tough decisions like investing in security versus the risk of getting hacked. This means decommissioning infrastructure from the environment as services transition to a retired state.   As the owner for IT services, IT must drive value add, eliminate non-value-added activities, and also drive efforts that are necessary but non-value add – and live with the consequences of those decisions.

But the same applies for any service owner, not just IT service owners. A service owner must drive value added activities, eliminate non-value-added activities, and drive efforts that are necessary but non-value add. And live with those decisions.

That might be a different way of thinking for some. For some, it may be downright scary.

Because with ownership comes accountability and great responsibility.

What’s in the way?

The idea of a service owner being outside of the IT organization may be a bit scary to some. What’s in the way?

  • Attitude – Sometimes the thinking is that if it’s anything involving to technology, it is automatically an “IT issue”. Or conversely, if a colleague didn’t request a feature or ask the right question, then that’s a “business issue”. Organizations must look holistically at how value is created and delivered – there is no room for a “us and them” attitude.
  • Fear of losing control – Sometimes the IT organization feels that if it doesn’t own services, they will no longer have control. The fact is IT really never has been in control. Yes, IT is a part of nearly every value stream – but cannot own all value streams from end to end. It isn’t (should never have been) about control – it is about collaboration.
  • Lack of acumen – There’s often a ‘lack of acumen’ within the organization. IT often lacks business acumen – an understanding how the business works, what influences the business, or understanding the environment in which the business competes. Business colleagues often lack technical acumen – how technology works, how technology could be or is currently used within the organization, or are intimidated by technology.
  • Lack of clarity regarding the value stream – While many may have a deep understanding regarding their particular contributions to a value stream, often there are only a few that have an understanding of the end-to-end view of the value stream.
  • Services really weren’t defined – Rather describe services in terms of value and outcomes, “services” were defined as activities and things.

Four steps for finding misplaced Service Owners

Here’s my four-step approach for identifying and enabling the success of service owners.

  1. Identify and map value streams – Identify and document how value flows through an organization. Mapping the value streams provides a holistic view of the organization.
  2. Identify the value stream owner – While many contribute, who ultimately is accountable for the delivery and quality of the value stream?
  3. Understand the relationship between technology and the value stream – This provides the context for services and where IT “fits”.
  4. Define the service portfolio – Captures how technology underpins and enables value streams and enables fact-based decision-making.

Taking these steps will remove barriers within organizations by depicting how the members of the business work together to deliver value. It also moves the business to act as a complete business – not collections of parts – by enabling the mindset shift to “our value streams”.

In the digital era, all parts of the organization must work together seamlessly to deliver true customer value, and identifying the true  service owner is critical to value delivery.  Our Organizational Value Stream mapping workshop helps you visualize how value flows through your organization, so you can identify the true service owner, correct where there may be bottlenecks and missing handoffs,  and ensure smooth interactions with your customers in the digital age.

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

Photo credit:  Pixabay

[1] “ITIL® Service Strategy”. TSO, 2011. London. P. 13

[2] Martin, Karen and Mike Osterling. “Value Steam Mapping”. McGraw Hill Education. 2014. New York.

[3] Ibid.

[4] https://valuestreamglobal.com retrieved 2/13/2018.

[5] Ibid

*There’s that word again!

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Let’s Stop Playing “Service Provider” and “Customer”

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The concept – at a high level –  wasn’t all bad.

The concept was that IT organizations should adopt a service-oriented mindset when it comes to working within the business.  The attitude of the IT organization must shift from “technology is cool” to “what’s best for our business”.

So best practice advised IT to become a “service provider” to the “customers” found within the business.

But in practice, IT taking on the role of “service provider” and treating business colleagues as “customers” sends the wrong message to the business – and within IT.

It’s the wrong message

When IT treats colleagues as “customers”, and colleagues view IT as a “service provider”, it puts up barriers with an organization.  Not only does it artificially separate the IT organization from the rest of the business, it makes working with the IT organization needlessly more difficult.  Under the mantra of “the customer is always right”, IT often jumps through unnecessary hoops to make the “customer” happy.  Being referred to as a “customer” gives some colleagues a sense of entitlement in their interactions with IT.  Some within the business make and have unrealistic expectations of the IT organization.

Perhaps even worse, the service provider / customer definition divides the IT organization.  The development team makes demands of the operation team.  The security team makes demands of the development and operations teams.  Demands all issued under the guise of “I am your customer – serve me”.

We’re really not service providers.  They really aren’t customers.

If IT was really a service provider, it would find itself competing in an open market place within a business.  IT would have the ability to (really) sell its services at market rates, scale as needed, and invest in new and emerging technology as it deemed fit. But that is not the reality of enterprise IT.  IT has a budget that has been allocated and agreed within the business to which IT must adhere.  This means is that IT really cannot scale resources or significantly alter or add services without agreement and funding from the business it serves.

If “the business” was truly the customer, they could shop for IT services, both from within and external to the business.  “The business” could contract with whatever service provider it chose and not be concerned with interoperability, security, maintainability, and every other -ability with which enterprise IT must be concerned.  But in reality, “the business” is (mostly) a captive user of its organization’s IT services.

IT is not a “service provider”.

The “customer” is not an internal group or person.

So, what are we?

What we are is a business.

A business is an organization aligned by purpose, vision, and goals, with each member working for the benefit of the organization and for the success of all other members of the same organization.   It takes all parts of the business – HR, Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, IT – for a business to have success.  No single part of a business can stand on its own and be successful without interactions with and cooperation from the other parts.

By working as an integrated entity, a business has unlimited potential.  But what a business does not have is unlimited resources.  And when a business loses sight of the fact that it does not have unlimited resources, it often looks like this:

  • Multiple “number 1” priorities

o   But no additional staff is allocated to help

o   And no postponement or cancellation of other initiatives

  • Lack of investment in “keeping the lights on” – not doing the “care-and-feeding” needed to maintain current operations
  • Quality is often sacrificed to meet target dates

And then, IT often becomes an obstacle for getting something done.

Then in an effort to keep up (or dig its way out), IT overcommits and takes on additional work without fully understanding the demand or impact on its (limited) resources.  And when IT can’t deliver, then IT is looked at as being too slow to respond or react to business needs or changes in the business environment.   IT becomes the “black hole” where business innovations go to disappear.

But here’s the conundrum.

Business – by definition – is an opportunistic endeavor.  Success in business means being in the right place at the right time with the right solution.

But to be in the right place and the right time with the right solution means that a business – including its IT capability- must be prepared.

Become opportunistic – holistically

To be opportunistic means that a business must be prepared.  Because when an opportunity does come along, the business has to be able to make a decision based on the best information available.  But too often, business decisions are made based on “gut feel” or seeing only part of the big picture.

And especially in the digital age, technology – managed by the IT organization – is critical for business success.  Here are four things to do to get prepared.

  • Drop the “service provider / customer” speak. All members of the business are on the same team – there can be no “us” and “them” within an organization.  And to be clear, the customer is not part of the organization.  The customer is who a business is trying to entice to do business with the business. The business is the service provider to the customer.  Stop referring to internal resources as “service provider” and “customer”.
  • Define the service portfolio. A service portfolio articulates and establishes a shared understanding about how the business is using and is planning to use technology-based solutions from IT.  But more than that, the service portfolio provides a holistic view of resource commitments, current and future value, and the total cost of ownership for providing those technology-based solutions-all in terms of business outcomes.
  • Map the value streams of the business. Mapping value streams facilitates visualization of how information and material flow throw an organization to create or deliver value to a customer.  A value stream map helps help “connect the dots” regarding how the various parts of an organization (including IT) work together to deliver that value.
  • Share knowledge – all knowledge. Being prepared to seize opportunities depends on having available, timely, accurate, and relevant knowledge from all parts of the organization, throughout the organization. Knowledge is the basis for good decision-making.

How does doing these four things help?  It’s about being prepared to make a timely and informed decision when opportunity knocks.  A business that does these four things not only understands what it is doing today, but also has the needed insight into how its capabilities could be leveraged when presented with an opportunity.

It’s time for another mindset shift

The service provider / customer concept may have been a good way to start the mindset shift that many IT organizations needed.  It’s now time for IT organizations and businesses to stop playing service provider and customer.  The business landscape is rapidly changing, and technology is becoming the cornerstone of a business in the digital economy.  Being prepared is the best way to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the digital economy.

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Fund Services, not Projects

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Businesses are demanding more speed, agility, and responsiveness from their IT organizations. The work that IT does must provide the means for business to quickly realize value.

What does this mean for IT? Roy Atkinson sums it up nicely when he says that IT “must go faster”.

In response, many IT organizations are adopting Agile methodologies to help them “go faster”. But soon after the Agile decision, many IT organizations soon encounter one of the biggest challenges of all.

“How do we pay for this?”

A long-standing challenge that many IT organizations adopting Agile methodologies often encounter is the drive for agility using Agile conflicts with traditional budgeting and project cost management and accounting.[1]

Surely someone has figured this out.

Turns out that someone has…. Well, almost.

Problem solved… well, not quite

As I was thinking about this challenge, I started to do some research. I found an article titled “Lean Budgets” which does go a long way toward resolving the challenge.   The article proposed a set of practices that fund and empower value streams rather than projects, while still maintaining financial controls, by establishing portfolios of value streams. This approach seems to address many of the challenges faced by IT organizations adopting Agile approaches.

But I think the problem is not quite solved.

If we only focus on application development and do not consider the total cost of ownership of a service, we’re not providing the full story to the accounting folks. And accounting folks do not like surprises.

If we make funding decisions based only on the application development perspective, isn’t that like buying a new car, loaded with lots of features, but not considering the other costs involved with owning the car? To really understand the total cost of ownership of the car, we also need to consider fuel cost, taxes, licensing, upkeep, and so on. Only then can (should) we make a judgement regarding the value of purchasing (or investing) in that new car.

To bring it back to IT terms, while application development is an important aspect of designing and instantiating a service, it does not represent the entirety of service provision – things like the underpinning infrastructure, on-going maintenance, vendor agreements, and consumer support. Application development is only one part of the cost.

The key is that we have to look at the complete IT value stream, not just the software development component of that value stream. In other words, we need to define services that reflect the complete IT value stream.

A value stream map paints the “big picture”

The key to getting this holistic view is to map the value stream – the complete value stream.

A value stream represents the sequence of activities required to design, produce, and deliver a good or service to a customer.[2] The value stream includes the dual flows of material and information.[3] Application development is just a portion of an IT value stream. Shouldn’t the IT value stream also depict how underpinning infrastructure enables information flow? How external vendors are involved? How consumer interactions are managed?

In my opinion, the short answer is ‘yes’. Value stream mapping, when applied to the IT organization, is a great way to fully understand how the outcomes provided by IT enable business value. In other words, IT services.

Enter the service portfolio

Can a true service portfolio help?

By defining a service in terms of the complete IT value stream provides a holistic view on which real value can then be evaluated. Looking at these IT value streams within a service portfolio provides an organization with a much different perspective and more complete way to evaluate value.

And as Mark Schwartz states in his book “The Art of Business Value”[4], value is “whatever the business decides it is.”

It is not for IT to decide what is and is not valuable to a business. But it is for IT to present a complete picture of what it does – application development, end-user support, maintenance and support, and more – to contribute to business outcomes. This is why defining services in terms of the complete IT value stream is important.

But there’s more that goes into a making a service portfolio even better. A good service portfolio can be enhanced by underpinning it with things like:

  • Customer portfolio – Who is buying what services? What revenue is resulting from provisioning of the service?
  • Supplier and Contracts Portfolio – What vendors are involved in the delivery of what services? How much is the organization spending on vendor support?
  • Application portfolio – What applications support what services?

Providing this information in a service portfolio facilitates informed business decisions about investments in technology by providing the holistic view of services.

Then organizations can fund services, not projects. Fund services, not just application development.

The best of both worlds?

Make no mistake – Agile can provide many benefits for both the IT organization and the business it serves. But by defining the service portfolio and funding services and not projects, organizations can realize the best of both worlds.

This approach allows the IT organization to exploit the benefits of an Agile approach:

  • Smaller and more manageable iterations of work
  • Value delivery more quickly and more frequently
  • The product owner, representing the business, provides guidance regarding desired features and business direction.

The IT organization also realizes the benefits of a service portfolio. A service portfolio:

  • Clearly describes how IT underpins business value
  • Enhances the perception and reputation of the IT organization being a good business partner
  • Enables the business to make informed decisions about IT investment.

The business also benefits:

  • A service portfolio provides business colleagues with a holistic view of IT services
  • Investment decisions can be made based on the ‘complete picture’ of an IT service
  • Based upon service investments, the IT organization can use the best approach to meet business requirements – Agile or otherwise.

Defining a service portfolio is just the way that a business can have the best of both worlds – agility and control.

Need to modernize your service management environment and incorporate emerging practices like Lean and Agile, 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!

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[1] “Lean Budgets”, www.scaledagileframework.com retrieved 1/28/2018.

[2] Martin, Karen and Mike Osterling. “Value Stream Mapping”, McGraw Hill Education. 2014. New York.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Schwartz, Mark. “The Art of Business Value”, IT Revolution Press. 2016. Portland, OR.

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The Importance of Good ITSM in the Digital Economy

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The digital economy is upon us.

Regardless of industry, businesses are experiencing the impact of the digital economy.  In the digital economy, the “store” is always open and customers expect that systems are “always on”.  Customers can (and will) do business whenever and from wherever they want – using any internet-accessible device.   Customers expect a differentiated, frictionless experience that provides value.  Encountering system downtime or unavailability simply is out of the question.

What does this mean for IT?  Simple – in the digital economy, the role of IT within an organization is more critical than ever.

The critical role of IT

IT has a critical role as an organization prepares for the digital economy. In the digital economy, the technology managed and delivered by IT is the crucial connector between a business and its customers.

But is the business ready to effectively leverage that technology and enter the digital economy?  Is your IT organization ready? Maybe not.

One of the significant challenges presented by the onset of the digital economy is that many businesses don’t understand their processes.  As a result, the details of how work flows within an organization is unclear.  Critical systems are disjointed, resulting in bottlenecks and needless delay. IT finds itself trying to glue these poorly designed (or non-existent!) business processes together by throwing technology at the issue.   Compounding the situation is that IT processes are often no better – IT processes are poorly designed, poorly documented, or even worse – non-existent. IT itself works as a collection of disjointed parts, with no clarity how work flows through the IT organization.

Yet, IT – good IT – is critical for the digital economy.

Can the IT organization move beyond acting as an ‘order taker’ and become the innovator, leader, and partner that businesses need in the digital economy? Can IT help business understand how work flows through an organization?  How can IT proactively work within the business to eliminate bottlenecks?  How can IT help the business deliver better business?

Good ITSM can help.

Hallmarks of Good ITSM

What does good ITSM look like?   Here are some attributes of good ITSM:

  • Reliability, consistency, repeatability – Businesses and their customers can depend on the services delivered by the IT organization.
  • Measurable contribution to business value – The contribution from the IT organization delivers agreed business value quantified by relevant, meaningful measures.
  • Defined and documented services that underpin how value flows through the organization, and enables businesses to make informed decisions about investments in IT.
  • Data-driven, efficient processes – Data, not human intervention, drives process execution and improvements.

Where many of today’s ITSM implementations frequently fall short

Unfortunately, many of today’s ITSM implementations have fallen short for a myriad of reasons:

  • ITSM was driven as an “IT initiative” and not a “business initiative”. To the rest of the business, ITSM investments were monies thrown into a black hole, with little to no identifiable business value in return.
  • ITSM implementation was driven from a “tool first” approach, rather than from a business value and outcomes approach. Tools were purchased and implemented in the hopes of a “quick fix” for IT delivery issues, without first understanding the business challenges.
  • The myth that ITSM is an “IT Operations only” or “Service Desk” thing and not part of business strategy or service and product design. What part of today’s business doesn’t have at least some reliance on the use of technology?  None.  Technology use is a critical factor in the realization of business strategy as products and services are delivered.  Then how could ITSM ever have been approached as an “IT operations only” initiative?
  • IT Services – how IT supports business value chains – were not identified or defined. Rather, “IT Services” were published as a list of things that IT does, like reset passwords or setup new PCs, reinforcing the notion of “IT as order taker”.

Such ITSM implementations are not ready to take on the demands of the digital economy.  Because of this, internal IT organizations are at risk of being “left out” as business is forced to move ahead with other technology providers.

How service management must evolve to meet the demands of the digital economy

Good ITSM, however, isn’t quite enough to meet the demands of the digital economy.  ITSM implementations have typically been inwardly focused.  In the digital economy, good service management principles still apply, but the focus of ITSM must shift to an external, “outside in” approach – looking at customer experience.  How should service management evolve?

  • IT must shift from a “department” to a “capability”. IT must take on a leadership role and help business successfully exploit its technology capabilities. This means that IT must improve its business acumen and lead business process designs and improvements, leveraging ITSM principles.
  • Service management must shift from being an “IT thing” to the way that business fully utilizes all parts of the organization. ITSM principles can help by helping business understand the complete value stream – how work moves through the entire organization to deliver value both to the customer and for the business.

Get Service Management Ready for the Digital Economy

The digital economy requires a holistic and collaborative effort from all parts of the organization.  No single department alone can experience success without support and interaction from the other parts of the organization.  Looking at a business from an “outside in” perspective, the customer does business with the business – not an individual part of the business.  Effective service management will help a business act and present itself as a holistic entity and not a collection of parts.    Here are four things to do to get service management ready for the digital economy:

  • Identify and map value streams. Don’t just look at the IT contribution, but the complete value stream – how value flows through the organization.  Identify what parts of the organization – sales, manufacturing, distribution, IT – are involved in delivering value. Mapping value streams helps identify services, and also helps align the organization along common goals.
  • Identify and eliminate waste in current processes. Any waste – bottlenecks, variability, delay – will inhibit automation of processes and negatively impact the customer experience.  Needless manual intervention is typically indicative of a lack of defined processes and not a need for human judgement.
  • Identify and collect comprehensive service measures. Many current service management implementations only measure and report technology-centric measures. Service measures must quantify and report on the business value and outcomes delivered by the service – not just some of the components of a service.  Relating measures to the organization’s mission, vision, and goals is a good way to ensure measures are business-relevant.
  • Understand the customer experience. One way to do this is to develop customer experience journey maps. These maps describe how a customer interacts with a business, emphasizing the intersections between customer expectation, business requirements, and supporting technology. Looking at interactions from the customer perspective helps the business identify and implement improvements to both its services and processes.

The digital economy is the next evolution for business, regardless of industry.  A strong service management approach will help ensure success.

Need to raise your service management game?  Tedder Consulting can help you get ready for the demands of the digital economy – contact us today!

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Are your processes in the way of ITSM?

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What is IT Service Management (ITSM)?

Some will say that ITSM is ITIL®[1]. Not true – while ITIL is the basis for many ITSM implementations, ITSM doesn’t have to be just ITIL.

Some will say that ITSM is something that is just for IT operations. Also, not true. However, because many ITSM implementations stop after addressing only the operational aspects of IT, this is a common misperception.

Some will say that ITSM is the design and implementation of processes. Well, not quite.

ITSM is about how organizations make the best use of their IT capabilities to provide value by enabling or delivering outcomes needed by the organization. This value is determined by the organization; that is, just because IT thinks what it does is valuable doesn’t make it so. ITSM is about effectiveness, efficiency, repeatability, reliability, responsiveness, and continual improvement. ITSM (done well) gives an organization a way to ensure a good customer experience with every interaction with IT. ITSM is about safeguarding while exploiting an organization’s most valuable assets –its data, its expertise, its services. ITSM is about optimizing the know-how and skills of people through the use of process and technology for the benefit of an organization.

Yes, ITSM does define, implement, and leverage processes. But those ITSM processes should be the means to an end – delivering value – and not the goal.

Yet many IT organizations become so focused on processes, that they lose sight of the goal – provide services based on the use of information technology that deliver value for money by facilitating needed business outcomes.

ITSM is not about process for process sake. It’s not a competition about how many processes can an organization define and implement. It’s not about this framework versus that methodology, but how to leverage these frameworks and methodologies in such a way that produces and ensures value.

So why have so many IT organizations become obsessed with process? Perhaps it’s because those organizations didn’t identify the business drivers for ITSM. Or they took a ‘process cookbook’ approach to implementing ITSM. Maybe it’s because they didn’t approach ITSM as a collaborative effort between IT and its stakeholders. Or they don’t understand or can’t articulate how IT delivers value.

So, they implemented process for process sake, and hoped for the best. But because they looked at process implementation, rather than value enablement, as the goal, ITSM processes became bottlenecks rather than facilitators.

Enable your processes to become enablers

If the above sounds like your ITSM implementation, don’t despair. And don’t throw all that work away and start over. Rather, take a few tools from the ITSM toolbox and enable your processes to become enablers. Here are six easy steps to make it happen:

  1. Map the current process flow from beginning to end. What are activities of the process? Who is involved? Make this mapping very visual – that is, literally draw it out on a big whiteboard or a wall-sized piece of paper.
  2. Next, measure process throughput – how long does it take, from beginning to end, to turn a defined input into a defined output?  You now have a simple “value stream map” (VSM) in Lean terms.
  3. Recall those people you identified as being involved in the first step? Invite them all to come over to have a look at your VSM and discuss what is needed, what works, and what could be done differently.   Write it down on a flipchart next to your VSM. Sounds like what Agile would call a “story board”.
  4. Prioritize the identified needs and ideas of what could be done differently. Agile would call this a “product backlog”, Lean would call this an “improvement board”.
  5. Break down improvement efforts into small incremental improvements – or Kaizens. Involve the stakeholders in the development and implementation of these improvements, whether that be through communication or having them contribute effort. Measure process throughput before and after each Kaizen. Display the results and outcomes of those improvements on another flipchart. Repeat this step until all items listed in the product backlog or improvement board have been addressed.
  6. Now map the new process flow from beginning to end. Measure the process throughput. Compare that process flow to the one from step 1. Compare your throughput measures to the measures from step 2.

See the improvement? Congratulations! You have enabled your process to be an enabler.

Need to change your processes from being ‘barriers’ to ‘enablers’?  Then our ‘ A Better Process-In 5 days!’ workshop is for you!  Don’t wait – contact Tedder Consulting today and  get started!  

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[1] ITIL® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.

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A Cure for “Bad ITSM”

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Is your business suffering from “bad ITSM”?

What does “bad ITSM” look like? Some examples:

  • Every request for change (RfC) goes before a change advisory board, because there’s no criteria or models defined that would facilitate reviewing a RfC any other way.
  • “Services” are not defined. Instead, the IT organization has a list of the applications, systems, and activities that it supports or performs. Many of the items on that list  appear in what is being called a “service catalog”. There is no discussion of how the things on the list add value or provide required outcomes to the business.
  • “Service level agreements” are just whatever IT configured within its ITSM tools. No documents describe the value of what IT is doing or how that value is measured or reported. There is no evidence of reviews with the business regarding what is configured within the ITSM tools as “service level agreements”, much less any signed agreements between the IT organization and the business it serves.
  • New projects and applications are primarily evaluated based on cost and resource requirements, instead of desired outcomes, opportunities for improvement, and current investments and capabilities. As a result, IT winds up trying to do all projects instead of the right projects- often using the same resources that are already being used to support existing applications, systems, and activities.

Look familiar? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, the above scenarios describe many ITSM implementations – “bad ITSM”.

What is the cause of bad ITSM?

Usually there is no single cause of a bad ITSM implementation. In some instances, a business case was never developed and agreed. If the business case was developed, it focused only on buying technologies rather than articulating  the business value and return on investment of the ITSM implementation.

In other cases, a holistic approach to implementation was not used. In these situations, the implementation took on a ‘frankenstein’ approach. The IT organization identified a solution looking for a problem, took some data from here, a tool from there, drafted a couple of resources that weren’t doing anything else and somehow cobbled it all together into some sort of ITSM thing.

Sometimes the initial implementation was very successful. But due to a lack of communications or an agreed plan or management support, the ITSM train lost momentum. The sense of urgency quickly faded and the organization moved on to the next big thing.

But there is good news, even in the face of the bad ITSM implementation. The good news is that you’ve started. But if nothing changes, “started” is where the ITSM implementation will “stop”.

What is the cure?

Like many medicines, the pill may be bitter and hard to swallow. But if the right medicine is used, the result will be improved ITSM health.

The tendency with many bad ITSM implementations is that the organization looked at process improvement only at the process level. The ITSM implementation gets lost in the details of the process and optimizes only a few parts (or a single part) of the overall IT value stream. ITSM becomes the bottleneck rather than the  enabler.

The cure? Stop looking at ITSM as a collection of parts.   Good ITSM is not just about implementing this process or that tool. Good ITSM must be all about the business you’re serving – in its entirety. This means you must take a “big picture” view and drive ITSM from the top-down.

Why? Because the better your ITSM implementation helps the business achieve its the goals and objectives, the better your ITSM implementation will be. But to do that, IT organizations have to take a different approach to ITSM to ensure the “big picture” view.

Get the “big picture”

Having trouble seeing the big picture? Here’s a few techniques that will help.

  • Use “Outside-In” thinking.   An “Outside-In”  mind-set  looks at a business from the customer’s perspective, then designs the processes, tools, and products based on what the customer requires. Good ITSM must take the same approach – look at ITSM from the business perspective and define how IT contributes to what the customer requires.
  • Develop Value Stream maps. What is a value stream? A value stream “comprises all the people, activities, departments, and hand-offs necessary to create and deliver value to the customer, be it a product, service, or information”. [1] A value stream map illustrates that a process (or processes) is a part of a larger ecosystem. Using value stream maps can help prevent a ‘tunnel-vision’ approach to ITSM that results from focusing on process improvement at the expense of the overall value stream.
  • Define the Service Portfolio – really.   I almost didn’t suggest this approach because many organizations don’t get the concept of a “service” correct, which then contributes to “bad ITSM”. But I also believe that ITSM can be used to help ITSM, and defining a service portfolio is a great way to see the “big picture”.   A well-defined and maintained service portfolio demonstrates that the IT organization understands how the services it provides contributes to the success of the business it serves. As business conditions change, the service portfolio changes as well. In other words, IT sees (and is part of) the “big picture”.

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[1] Michael A. Orzen and Thomas A. Paider, The Lean IT Field Guide (Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2016), p 22.

 

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