Your Next ITSM Tool Should be Neither

TL,DR; decouple IT operations from customer service and development. Then realize the incredible savings and benefits thereof.

The term “ITSM” has always bugged me, and I think I know why.

The primary customer of ITSM is IT; everything else is lumped into “customer service” and “customer experience”.

ITSM_WikiEven Wikipedia says there are too many “fluff words” and that ITSM has an unclear definition.

But in IT, we know better. We understand what we’re talking about when we say Service Management. It’s a standard way of operating so we don’t fail.

So why would any business person buy Service Management?

To keep the lights on.

“But that’s what we hired you for! We don’t care what you call it. We don’t want to buy it, we want you to DO IT!”

Then I’ll need $1.5m every three years to replace my tools, redesign processes and…

Wait, $1.5m? Don’t you remember when last year we were managing changes via email? Don’t you remember the spreadsheets of Assets? Why $1.5m?

Technology has become complex and our colleagues want to reduce risk. Some also want to understand the value and depreciation of assets. ITSM is just IT Operations Management + Customer Service.

DING DING DING DING DING DING – we have a winner! Here’s your $1.5 million. But why every three years?

Think of ITSM tools like a car lease. Three years comes along, and it’s time for a fresh smelling one, the latest one with all the bells and whistles.

Do the bells and whistles keep the lights on?

No.

Then why keep upgrading and rebuilding your operations empire?

The tools and practices that surround Service Management change, and they change often.  Have you considered who benefits from that change?

Consider separating your systems of operation from your systems of service. It gives you the freedom to change platforms without impacting your customers.

The impact of this is far greater than you realize. We believe in building systems of engagement separate from systems of record. To understand the nature of this problem:

 

systems-of-recordDoes this image describe your problem? If so, you’ll be interested in understanding our approach to enterprise software. Read more here, or just call us directly: 1-651-556-1030

Be a Provider… NOT a Broker!

At Kinetic Data we’ve been talking for years about Service Integration and Automation (SIAM) and building software products to enable Service Providers to deliver at scale.  Understanding the SIAM concept has real value for enterprises looking to achieve successful delivery where service models are distributed across fulfillment silos, and customer experience is of paramount importance.

For Shared Service IT organizations, most have an understanding of the Handshake above 2brokering concept with respect to infrastructure delivery.  In this context, the brokering concept is often referred to as the Hybrid Cloud infrastructure model. In this model, Corporate IT is typically the central provider of infrastructure services, while the actual components making up deployed technology stacks live both internally (corporate data centers) and externally (partner provided, Cloud-based data centers).  Often, Corporate IT may involve many back-end partners in providing those infrastructure components.

At a high-level, the Service Brokering concept appears to solve challenges associated with delivering enterprise IT service in the complex world of today’s global economy. In this model, services are made up of component functions where fulfillment tasks are sourced to provider-partners responsible for delivering their individual part.  While this may seem like a broker model, the reality is that if you view things from the customer’s perspective, the “Service Broker” concept doesn’t make sense at all.  

When I think about my experiences with brokers, some are great and some are not.  Regardless of how good the broker, I’ve ended up (as the customer) having to directly interact with downstream providers to resolve issues related to the service I’ve procured.  I’ll spare the gory details, but offhand I can think of examples with healthcare, investments, house-buying and home repair that make up my experiences.

Each time an issue came up in the delivery of a complex service (home-purchase) and I had to get involved in solving them, it was time-consuming, costly and frustrating. More than once, I decided that regardless of how good the broker was in my initial interaction, I would not use them for the same service in the future as it was easier for me to handle things directly with the downstream provider.  That’s an anecdote for IT outsourcing if you are keeping score at home!

Ultimately, the underlying issues with all of any of these challenging “Service Broker” experiences I have lived were due to the difference between my perception and the reality of the service model I was procuring.

As a customer, I expected an experience where the service being provided was truly integrated end-to-end regardless of who was doing the fulfillment.  What I got was a disparate and distributed service experience that was notintegrated and left me looking for an alternative provider for the future.

So, with respect to Enterprise IT and the idea of “Service Brokering”, think about:

  • A customer procures (requests or buys) a service and expects delivery of it, not just “part of it”.
  • That customer has an expectation (SLA) for that service with corporate IT.  It’s not the customer’s responsibility to coordinate sub-contractor agreements (OLA’s) between back-end fulfillers that comprise the component Sub-Services, nor is it their interest to have any complexity added to their experience.
  • They don’t care if Vendor A is responsible for Sub-Service 1, and Vendor B is responsible for Sub-Service 2.  All they want is simple access to the service and a great experience in it’s delivery.   

If there’s an issue with a downstream fulfillment by Vendor B, it’s ridiculous to expect a customer to care about a missed OLA or further, to get involved in the resolution of a stalled service.  When they come to get service from Corporate IT, they expect a great experience by a Service Provider, not a Service Broker.

If you understand what goes into end-to-end service delivery where there is afocus on customer experience, Service Brokering is nothing more than marketing-speak. Another attempt by industry vendors to try to re-label what already exists and sell it to you as “new.”  The multi-sourced delivery model has existed for decades.  It is not new, and there are real Service Providers out there that truly understand the value of Service Integration in driving excellent customer experience!


Remember:  What matters most is customer experience.  Be a ServiceProvider NOT a Broker!

Eight Top CIO Concerns for 2016: Research and Resources

Rapid business change combined with the increasing importance of technology across all aspects of business operations have raised the profile of the CIO role—as well as the challenges.

And with close to half of all current CIOs now in their 50s and 60s, the coming decade will see not just significant changes to this role, but also to the backgrounds and perspectives of the people coming into those jobs.

SIM 2016 IT trends studyThose are among the conclusions from the Society for Information Management‘s (SIM) IT Trends Study 2015.

Summarizing the report’s findings for InformationWeek, Jessica Davis writes that the report provides a “snapshot of (today’s) CIOs…(along with) insights into the technologies their organizations regard as essential today” and offers a close “look at what’s on the minds of these key executives.”

Continue reading “Eight Top CIO Concerns for 2016: Research and Resources”

8 Things We DON’T Hate About IT

It’s easy to bash the IT department; to deride it as the land of no and slow, a roadblock rather than a resource, a group it’s easier to work around than to work with when addressing urgent and rapidly changing business needs.

But given the current and on-the-horizon risks of digital disruption of business models (example: one-hour photo shops were a rapidly growing business in 1988, but their numbers have plunged from more than 3,000 shops across the U.S. in 1998 to less than 200 today) from developments like 3D printing, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), technology is playing a bigger role than ever in businesses of all kinds.

8 reasons NOT to hate ITThat makes IT’s role more vital than ever. Practices, processes, and in some cases even attitudes need to change, to be sure, but now is the time to engage IT, not hate it. Forward-thinking companies like Nordstrom and Starbucks—while not “technology companies”—are embracing IT internally and externally to improve both operational efficiency and the user experience for customers and employees alike.

Yet inside many corporations, IT is viewed as an impediment rather than an enabler in embracing digital change. In her article 8 Things We Hate About IT, Susan Cramm acknowledges that “nobody hates the people in IT—it’s the system that’s broken. Continue reading “8 Things We DON’T Hate About IT”

Six Ways to Deal With the “Crisis” in IT Communications

This couldn’t be happening at a worse time.

According to a recent study by the CIO Executive Council, poor communication is resulting in “a state of crisis between IT and non-IT employees, which could prove disastrous” in the current environment of unprecedented digital disruption.

How to fix the crisis in IT communicationsWriting in CIO magazine, Brendan McGowan details the research findings. IT leaders recognize that building trust and credibility across their organizations is critical, but most acknowledge significant shortcomings in their groups’ communication abilities.

Continue reading “Six Ways to Deal With the “Crisis” in IT Communications”

Top 10 Service Request Management Posts of 2015 (So Far)

CIOs and other IT leaders are confronted with rapid and significant change on all sides: digital disruption is transforming business models, cloud computing is transforming infrastructure, and consumerization along with the increasing influx of millennial workers are transforming expectations of IT and its role in the enterprise.

2015 Top 10 Service Request Management Blog PostsIt’s no surprise then, looking back at the top 10 posts here of 2015 so far, that current trends and predictions for the near-term future dominate the topics.

The top three posts all present research findings pertaining to technology trends and their effects on the future of IT service management and support. The fifth-most-read post even asks if the term “IT” is still appropriate (or whether “business technology” should replace it).

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Should We Stop Calling it IT? The Case for Business Technology

Now that cloud computing and the consumerization of technology enable non-technical business process owners to address many of their own data needs—and digital technology is finding its way into a vast range of products (i.e., the Internet of Things) —is the term “IT” still useful and accurate?  Or is the abbreviation for “information technology” now too limiting, even counterproductive, in describing this function?

Should IT be renamed Business Technology?That’s the intriguing question raised by Robert Plant in a Harvard Business Review post. Plant writes that IT as a term “is no longer appropriate in a business context” and continues:

Continue reading “Should We Stop Calling it IT? The Case for Business Technology”

Three Practical Strategies for CIOs in the Digital Enterprise

The tsunami of change washing over the landscape for CIOs can perhaps best be summed up by the phrase “digital enterprise”—a catchall term encompassing the fundamental redesign of business processes to adapt to big data, the Internet of Things, the consumerization of IT, cloud computing, and other developments.

CIO strategies for the digital enterpriseThe movement is nearly universal: in a recent Altimeter Group survey, 88 percent of “digital strategy executives interviewed said their organizations are undergoing formal digital transformation efforts this year.”

And there is no shortage of opinion about how this is reshaping and expanding the responsibilities of CIOs: a Google search for “CIO role digital enterprise” yields more than 920,000 results.

Continue reading “Three Practical Strategies for CIOs in the Digital Enterprise”