Enabling IT Service Transformation in a Digital Age
A White Paper by Fox IT titled ‘Enabling IT Service Transformation in a Digital Age’ which explores the role of IT Service Management in the changing demands on the IT Organisation.
This paper explores the role of IT Service Management in the changing demands on the IT Organisation. The shift from traditional IT towards a digitalised business is creating a fragmented mindset between a technically managed environment and the need to support business innovation through an ‘agile’ and accelerated behaviour. While IT is accepting this challenge of Bimodal operations, the success of this is underpinned by integrating IT and business goals through fit-for- purpose, good practice Service delivery.
Digitalisation & Consumerisation
The advancement of Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud technologies and the “Internet of Things” has created an environment of digitalisation and consumerisation, raising IT’s customers’ expectations to a level where IT strategy must be in full alignment with key business goals. In practical terms this means IT Organisations (ITOs) need to increase their value proposition by shifting focus from merely managing networks, servers, storage, databases and applications to also providing end-to- end, high quality, business-oriented services at low costs and minimal risk. IT service management (ITSM) has the potential to deliver the customer experience and business outcomes required to foster innovation and gain the competitive edge. IT’s new role is to proactively harness the benefits of evolving digital capabilities to improve business processes, boost productivity, facilitate innovation and drive business revenue as well as maintaining the traditional IT responsibilities. This ‘Bimodal’ approach enforces the importance for IT to integrate and contribute to the business goals and in doing so, provide an over-arching set of services so the business can focus on achieving them.
From Disillusionment to Enlightenment
Although the IT landscape is changing, the core objectives of ITSM remain the same: to create a cost effective and scalable way to meet and surpass current and future customer requirements, measured through service definitions and service levels. However ITIL (the IT Infrastructure Library framework), which is the defacto model underpinning this objective, continues to have its critics because it’s NOT taken in the context of what it truly is – a framework. Through correctly leveraging ITIL we can build a fit-for-purpose, flexible and agile support and delivery model which meets the constantly changing business demand. Those organisations that are moving towards a digitalised business recognise that it must evolve from a pure technology provider to one that speaks a more business oriented language on how it can work ‘with’ the business towards its goals. IT Service Management (ITSM) principles can create a service-oriented environment, where IT Services can be accepted by the business as an integral building block into the overall solutions it provides to its customers.
The consumerisation of digital devices, with initiatives such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), results in the workforce progressively learning to establish business strategies with the inclusion of technology without the initial input from IT. This is accelerating the need for IT to create digitalised behaviours rather than evolving naturally, which in turn is driving an increased need for structured operations and accelerated methodologies to keep up with the pace of business decisions. This requires the adoption of both ITSM disciplines and DevOps / Agile methodologies pushing further this behaviour of bimodal IT.
Maturity & Transformation
A potential hurdle to successful IT transformation is the readiness of the IT organisation and the business to integrate towards true digitalisation. According to Gartner, IT is on a journey from IT Craftsmanship to IT Industrialisation, where IT is run as a business within a business. Leading edge IT organisations are now entering the 3rd era of enterprise IT: Digitalisation. It is true that we are heading towards an ever more digital age, but in reality the vast majority of businesses have not yet even mastered the 2nd era: IT Industrialisation. This era requires the goals of the business and those of IT to be truly aligned, IT staff evolve from technical specialists to IT service oriented professionals, and that new technologies are being successfully harnessed to meet them. The development of IT services, together with the underpinning policies, principles and processes are the rights-of-passage for IT to integrate with the business. Without these processes, IT cannot truly integrate with business processes and have sight of business goals.
The three phases of the evolving IT Organisation
Measuring ITSM Success
The three phases of the evolving IT Organisation –
Traditionally ITSM strategies have measured success using efficiency criteria showing, for example, how many tickets IT has closed in a given period. To bring IT into alignment with business goals we need to measure progress using business KPIs such as financial value and customer value. In other words adding economy and effectiveness to efficiency – the 3 ‘Es’ principle. The primary concern should be the impact that IT performance has on the customer and the business at large. By introducing these types of business oriented reporting and inferred decision making, the business will start to accept IT as a partner rather than a supplier – a key perception in a digitalised business.
Automate to Accumulate
To create an agile ITSM strategy that radically improves delivery while reducing costs, also requires standardisation, automation, consolidation and service delivery optimisation. Applying automation tools to infrastructure and operations processes that work with the existing flow of information increases efficiency by reducing human error, saving time and freeing up creative energy. It becomes an exercise of growing the business, not just running the business. Of course along with the processes and tools, success is largely dependent on the quality and expertise of the people that make up the workforce. The transition to a digital, service oriented IT organisation requires strong leadership. Choosing and training the right people to spearhead the transformation has never been so important.
Bringing together two worlds
We truly believe the most successful businesses are those that adapt and innovate – not only in their products and services but how they operate internally. The fundamentals are built on their people and the way in which they work together delivering services, underpinned by the policies and processes that govern and make up those services. We are also seeing a desire to accelerate this activity with quicker outcomes, primarily through the adoption of Agile methodologies. Many seasoned IT professionals argue that these disciplines are contradictory, but we believe they can co-exist and that they have their place. Both are adaptable and Agile and Scrum can be integrated within a flexible ITSM environment.
Whether embarking on a new journey or revisiting the service delivery model of the IT organisation, a good starting point is to understand where IT is, how it is performing and meeting business demand (now and in the future). A high-level assessment will provide the early actions required to commence this journey, and enable a plan to be built on how to make service improvements.
10 Steps to ITSM Success towards Digitalisation:
- Evaluate the current maturity level of the IT organisation and the business and determine the business’s overriding goals.
- Evaluate your customers’ expectations.
- Define the current flow of information and the informal ways in which business is carried out so you can capitalise on them.
- Project a clear vision from the CIO that demonstrates the benefits to the workforce.
- Prioritise the action to be taken so that IT transformation is integrating with these goals
- Create a clear Road Map with a phased and iterative approach to success.
- Use governance and progress metrics at every stage that reflect the impact of the new strategy on the business.
- Combine a reliable automated, iterative and agile approach in combination with the ability to capitalise on new trends and technologies.
- Continually reinforce the roll-out with marketing campaigns, open communication and feedback from customers.
- Maintain a balanced perspective of people, processes and tools (and partners) ensuring that no element is neglected, and determining at each stage of transformation which area needs to be prioritised.
As we integrate the ITSM strategy into the business goals we will begin to see People, Processes and Tools converging to enable genuine IT services transformation, allowing them to capitalise on the benefits of new technologies, future proof their business and gain a competitive edge in their industries.
The first step towards achieving successful transformation in the way your ITO delivers its services is to understand what you have today that can be leveraged and where immediate benefits can be drawn from early improvements (steps 1 to 4 above). This needn’t be a lengthy or arduous exercise and will contribute to the business case for moving towards IT’s role in digitalisation. Call our team at Fox IT to learn how we’ve helped organisations meet this vision and realised the benefits of good practice service management, and talk to us about what would help your organisation.
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