Tag Archives: value

Nine signs that it’s time to expand ITSM into the Enterprise

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 caseBusiness 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 streamsHow 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.

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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!

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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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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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Photo credit: Pexels

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Five Lessons for Successful Transformation

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I received an email from a well-known web hosting provider titled “Transform your business with a second phone number”. The email stated that with a second phone number, I can separate my business calls from my personal calls – and do that using a single device.

I suppose that would be an interesting use of technology. It might even be an impactful change in how I’m doing things. But would it really be ‘transformative’? Or just a change?

Change vs. Transformation

What is the difference between ‘change’ and ‘transformation’? A change results in current things being done in an incrementally different way. Transformation is a process by which current ways of working are converted into or completely replaced by something completely different.

For example, business transformations consist of new lines of business, an acquisition, or a spin-off of a business unit. Digital transformation results in new business models, moving from a pipeline approach to a networked ecosystem of providers, producers, owners, and consumers. Service management transformations introduce methodologies and new mindsets to facilitate business value delivery based on the use of technology.

Has ITSM been transformative for your organization?

ITSM, done well, is transformative.

Has that been your organization’s experience with ITSM? I’m guessing that for some that read this article, the answer will be “no”.

Why haven’t some ITSM implementations been transformative? In my opinion, because those implementations only made incremental changes – not transformed – how IT was utilized. There was no effort to map IT’s contribution to business value chains. There was no effort to defining services in terms of business value and outcomes.

In these implementations, the focus was only on operational activities like how an incident was being handled. What was implemented as “ITSM” was really an incrementally different way of doing what was already being done. The IT organization was already taking calls from its business colleagues before there was a service desk; it was already reacting to outages before formally defining an incident management process.

ITSM is transformative when the utilization of IT within an organization becomes dramatically different. The (whole) organization talks, acts, and works in terms of business value and quantifiable results. The focus is not about IT-business alignment, but rather an integrated, collaborative approach within an organization (yes, the organization includes IT) working toward achieving shared business goals.

Unfortunately, many efforts to promote ITSM as transformative failed because ITSM was presented as a just a tool or a support solution, and not as a way for IT to deliver business value.

In short, the ITSM implementation was just an incremental change to what was being done, not a transformation.

What makes it a ‘transformation’?

Transformation requires rethinking the current ways of doing things. Transformation is wide-reaching and pervasive across an organization. Transformation is often high risk, but also high reward if the transformation is successful.

Transformation is really a leap into the unknown. Transformation requires courageous actions in the face of resistance, confusion, and ambiguity.

I am convinced that IT must transform…or IT will die. Many IT organizations are approaching (if not already on) the brink of irrelevance. In many organizations, IT is viewed as an order taker. A cost center. Nonresponsive and slow to deliver. Too expensive. A black hole.

IT should be a valued collaborator. Innovator. Partner. Leader. Integrator. Enabler. This is the transformation that will result from good ITSM.

But in many organizations, IT is viewed as the former and not as the latter. ITSM – done well – can transform IT. If IT doesn’t transform – and soon — IT will no longer be relevant.

Lessons in (ITSM) Transformation

If transformation is critical for IT, and good ITSM is transformative, then why have so many ignored the lessons from transformations that fell short? When I think about transformation and ITSM, there are five things that I’ve learned.

Don’t start until the desired business outcomes are defined, understood, and agreed
ITSM presented as a technology or IT-only initiative will (eventually) fail. Too many ITSM implementations have only addressed the operational aspects of service management and never the strategic or business aspects.

What is the business trying to achieve? What outcomes does the business require? How can ITSM help business achieve its goals and deliver the required outcomes?

The closer you can align ITSM with the vision and goals of the organization (through measurable, business-relevant contributions), the more successful you’ll be with ITSM.

Don’t blindly believe all of the hype
An organization should not pursue a ITSM transformation just based on the what they’re reading or hearing from industry analysts, a consultant, or a tool vendor. The fact is that your company is unique. Companies must evaluate the potential advantages and difficulties of ITSM for their specific organization with a critical eye.

This means that you must do your homework. Learn what is “good ITSM” and the investment that is required to achieve success. Know that there will be missteps, false starts, and mistakes. There are no transformation cookbooks, no shortcuts, or instant fixes. You must evaluate what will be best for your company, develop the business case, define the plan, and execute.

Don’t lead with technology
Abraham Maslow stated in his 1966 book, The Psychology of Science, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. When you start ITSM implementation based on a tool, there will be a tendency to try to solve every issue using that tool before completely understanding the issue itself.

Before you can determine what tools are needed, first identify and understand the requirements of your ITSM implementation. Have discovery conversations with business colleagues to understand their particular challenges with and expectations of technology. Determine how ITSM can help. Then identify the technology needed to support the required ITSM solution.

Don’t underestimate the need for cultural change
Transformation with ITSM can’t happen without providing a compelling reason for change, rewarding and recognizing those that embrace the change, and making the resisters part of the solution. This means that you must market, communicate, and train those involved with ITSM.

Then you have to do it again. And again. A single ‘town hall’ meeting or a memo from senior management will not cut it when it comes to cultural change. And even when you think the transformation has become rooted within the organization, you must continue reinforce the transformation by investing time, energy, and resources into the attitudes and behaviors required for good ITSM. Cultural change is not a one-and-done event, but must be an everyday effort. Without this ongoing investment, it is too easy to slip back into the old ways of doing things.

Don’t assign accountability without also assigning authority
An important aspect of ITSM implementation is establishing ownership and accountability. Having ownership and accountability not only drives transformation, it also enforces a sense of urgency. But assigning accountability without also assigning authority is not only ineffective, it is also demotivating for both the change agents (those that have been made accountable) and those that want to transform.

Authority provides the needed “permission” from senior management to drive the transformation that results from a good ITSM implementation. This means that senior management must recognize that authority must go across the whole organization, and publicize that authority has been given to those that have been made accountable for ITSM implementation.

If your ITSM implementation wasn’t transformative, there’s still time – but you must act. Don’t just make an incremental change. These five lessons will get you on the right path for successful transformation.

 

Is your ITSM implementation transformative … or just an incremental change? Consulting services from Tedder Consulting transforms ITSM implementations. Don’t wait to transform – contact us today!

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After the Party is Over – 7 Things to Sustain your ITSM Implementation

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The party was a raging success. The CIO talked about the significance of the implementation and the great teamwork that went into this transformational milestone within the IT organization. The CEO thanked the team for their efforts, then stepped over to the side of the room with the CIO for a more private conversation. The consultants and account executives from the software vendors milled through the room, offering congratulations to members of the team. Everyone enjoyed the festive atmosphere while sharing stories about the behind-the-scenes close calls, conflicts, late nights, and seemingly herculean efforts that resulted in the successful ITSM implementation.

As the evening wore on, the party began to wind-down as people left. The crowd soon dwindled to a few people, who decided to continue the celebration down at the bar. Soon, associates from the facility came and tidied-up the room, turned out the lights, and closed the door. The party was over.

And the consultants went home.

The account executives moved on to the next customer.

Company management turn its focus to the “next big thing”.

And six months later, the excitement from the ITSM implementation party had become a distant memory.

It’s easy to lose momentum

A gentleman from a client I had worked with a few years ago recently gave me a call, to chat with me about their ITSM implementation. It was great to catch up – I hadn’t spoken with anyone from this client in a couple of years or so. He shared the great strides they had made, going from that ad-hoc environment I had found to having formally defined processes, process owners, new ITSM tools…. the whole bit. They truly had had success.

But he was noticing a loss of momentum within their ITSM program. Tell me more, I said.

They were about to take the next steps in expanding and improving their ITSM implementation, but were being met with some resistance. Senior leaders were questioning the investment of time and resources. IT associates were questioning why they had to do this or that when it came to following processes. No one, other than the core ITSM team, was excited about taking those next steps. What should they do? They didn’t want to start all over, but in some ways, it felt like that’s where they were.

As I spoke further with him, some of the reasons why ITSM had lost momentum became apparent.

In the two years since their initial implementation,

  • Five of the 10 people that had completed advanced ITSM training had left the company.
  • The metrics that were being reported from their ITSM tools were all IT-related metrics.
  • There had been no formal, ongoing communications about ITSM.
  • There had been no investment in on-going training or skills retention.

The ITSM implementation had become a one-time event.

Seven things that sustain ITSM implementation

Don’t let your ITSM implementation lose that momentum from the initial implementation. Here are seven things that will help sustain your ITSM implementation:

  • Formalize Knowledge Management – Knowledge Management is a way to empower consumers of IT to be more effective and efficient by making relevant, accurate information available as needed, when needed. But good knowledge management isn’t just for the consumer of IT services, but also for the IT organization. By making knowledge available throughout the IT organization, IT can focus efforts on innovation rather than rediscovering things that it already knows. Good knowledge management also reduces the risk of knowledge loss when personnel changes occur.
  • “Sell, sell, sell” – I’ve often said that if IT doesn’t tell its story, someone else will – and IT may not like what is being said. The same goes for the ITSM implementation. Tell the ITSM story at every opportunity – both within and external to the IT organization. This means being prepared with timely elevator pitches, delivering business-relevant dashboards, and making ITSM presentations at staff meetings and town halls. Most importantly, be sure to tell the whole story. Don’t just talk about the successes, but also discuss the challenges, and how ITSM was used to overcome those challenges. Not only will telling the whole story build credibility, but it will also build demand for more of the good things that ITSM is doing for your business.
  • Measure everything, but report the right things – For example, while measuring the number of calls to the service desk is important for IT, your business associates do not care. From their perspective, the service desk is supposed to accept calls – who cares about the volume of calls? So, measure everything, but report the right things; that is, report on those measures that make sense to the intended audience. Rather than report the number of service desk calls (from the above example), report on things like cost per incident (resolving an incident quickly is cheaper), or impact to business productivity (resolving an incident quickly means the consumer can get back to doing her job).
  • Measure with purpose – As you’re designing and implementing ITSM processes, define and establish performance goals that are aligned with business goals and objectives. For example, “99% availability” is meaningless when an individual cannot access a service. But restating and measuring that availability goal as “Provide sufficient service availability such that the company can ship a minimum of 10,000 widgets per week” not only provides a purpose to the availability measure, but is much more relevant and meaningful to the business.
  • Training cannot be “one-and-done” – Ongoing training is a critical element of a sustainable ITSM implementation. Ongoing training helps the ITSM team keep up with changes in industry, identify both the good and bad in current ITSM processes, and retain good employees.
  • Clearly link ITSM to business value – Simply put, define IT services in terms of business value and outcomes, not as a list of things that IT does. The latter commoditizes and diminishes IT in the eyes of the rest of the business. Relating how IT contributes to and enables business value chains in the form of IT services establishes the business value of ITSM.
  • Get real about continual improvement – The business that IT supports is continually evolving and reacting to market pressures and trends. Formalizing continual improvement enables IT to be more responsive to changes within the business. But don’t just stop at being responsive – if you’ve done a good job of relating how ITSM provides real business value and established purposeful measures, you will be able to apply continual improvement to proactively identifying business opportunities as well.

Keeping and nurturing that momentum from the initial implementation is critical for the ongoing success of ITSM. These seven things will help prevent your ITSM implementation from becoming a one-time event.

Do you have other ideas to keep the momentum going?  I’d enjoy getting your feedback – so post a comment below!  Or for more pragmatic advice and service management insight, click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

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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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Photo credit ArtFamily

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

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If IT only acts like a utility…

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What is a “utility”?

According to dictionary.com, a utility is “something useful; a useful thing; or the capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want”.

Often I hear IT organizations refer to what they do as being like a utility, much like a telephone system, public transportation, or electric system.   Just like when one flips on a light switch and expects a room or area to become illuminated, consumers of IT services expect to be able to surf the internet, read email, send and receive instant messages to other colleagues both inside and outside of the organization… oh, and use company-provided systems and applications to do some work–anytime they power on their PC or laptop. IT organizations strive to achieve a level of reliability, consistency, and repeatability commonly associated with being a utility.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully agree that IT being reliable, consistent, and repeatable are absolutely right things to do.

It’s because all of the things that we in IT do into making the use of IT reliable, consistent, and repeatable that the user can surf the internet, read email, send and receive instant messages, and use business-provided systems and applications to do work. But wait a minute — isn’t that what is *supposed* to happen? I mean, that is what we in IT are supposed to be doing, right?

Heads up. If all your IT organization wants to be is a utility, then I would argue that all your IT organization wants to be is outsourced. Your IT organization is under promoting and undervaluing what it is doing.

Utility is (should be) just part of the value proposition that should be delivered by IT. Is utility valuable? Absolutely. But make no mistake—utility simply means that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.  If all an organization is looking for from IT is utility, it can find that utility in a number of service providers that aren’t on the payroll.

If IT organizations want to be seen as being valuable to their businesses, it can’t just be about what is being done. It must also be about the why and how it is being done.

If you’ve completed any foundation-level ITSM training, you’ve heard two definitions for value. The first definition is value is made up of utility and warranty. Utility is also referred to as being “fit for purpose” or “it does what it’s supposed to do”; warranty, or “fit for use”, is “how it is being done”. The second definition is value is always from the perspective of the customer. When we talk about ourselves as a ‘utility’, we’re leaving out (at least) half of the value proposition – the warranty! Our goal is (should be) to influence the customer’s perception of value by differentiating what we do in terms of how we do it.

This means that IT organizations must define the value of what it is they are providing. IT must partner, if not take the lead, with the business in driving innovation and competitive advantage in the use of technology and data. Services must be defined in partnership with our business stakeholders in terms of outcomes and business value, not products and applications. Metrics and measures must reflect how IT is contributing to the business meeting or exceeding business goals and objectives, not just how many incidents were logged or changes were completed in the past week. The value enabled and delivered by IT must be crystal clear, well-articulated, and the focus of all parts of the IT organization.

Because if we in IT don’t promote the value of what we’re doing – in terms of both utility and warranty – no one else will.

Because if we in IT don’t deliver value in what we do – someone else (not the internal IT organization) will.

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