5 Ways a Line-of-Business (LOB) can increase Competitive Advantage - through the Service Desk

I recently ran across an article by an independent analyst that discusses this 2012 prediction from Gartner:  By 2015, 35percent of enterprise IT expenditures for most organizations will be managed outside the IT department's budget.  The online article is about a year old but it caught my eye because 35 percent represents a lot of IT money. It occurred to me that we do indeed see growing interest from Line-of-Business (LOB) managers for our ITSM solutions, both for Service Anywhere  and Service Manager. Is this prediction about IT expenditures becoming a reality?

 

Today, a paradigm shift is underway that has been ignited by cloud, SaaS, big data, mobility, social IT and other innovative technologies.  These changes are causing a shift in the way businesses operate, how users consume technology and the role of central IT.  This shift is also dramatically increasing the role technology plays in gaining competitive advantage.   LOBs are examining their delivery model for technology based solutions from both a
management and a platform perspective. These new disruptive technologies coupled with the trend of shifting budgets (as cited by Gartner) are giving LOBs more alternatives as to how to deliver and consume technology. The ITSM area is garnering attention from LOB owners as over the years with the adoption of ITIL, the service desk once considered a more commodity solution like email, is now recognized as a key component in the business value delivery chain that when properly managed can drive better delivery, higher customer satisfaction and ultimately more sales.

 

New service desk deployments as well as refreshes offer an opportunity to increase competitive positioning.  Whether cloud or on-premise, the new question becomes:   Is it better to use a service desk under  central IT or be autonomous under the Line of Business?   This answer is “it depends”, but here are five ways that placing the LOB service desk within the business unit may contribute to competitive advantage:   

 

#1:  Better Business Alignment

 

Managing your service desk as part of the LOB keeps decision making within the business unit.  Strategic and tactical moves can focus solely on the benefit of the LOB without a need to balance requirements from other areas that can often lead to compromises.  The alignment starts with the acquisition of the solution where an LOB may have less broad, more specific requirements, and it’s important to the organization to be able to evaluate the proposed solution through proof of concept or other  "try before you buy"  features as part of the acquisition cycle.

 

#2:   Strong Financial Oversightgraph.png

The LOB completely controls all aspects of the budget. Costs are easier to identify, apply, analyze and manage.  The LOB owner can prioritize the budget spend for innovation, service quality, technology upgrades and so on, to achieve a mix that supports the LOB strategic direction. 

 

#3:    Enhanced User Relevance

Having a dedicated system provides the opportunity to customize, tailor, configure and enhance the entire user experience.  From the GUI to the processes to the data presentation and  integrations, users can easily consume and respond to the system as it speaks their language.  Users are not distracted by unneeded process, meaningless displays or generic customizations made to accommodate different business users. This optimization leads to efficiencies as well as a more satisfying work environment which impacts the bottom line through less turnover, ease of learning  and more collaboration work environment.

 

deploy.png

#4:   Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

A successful service desk ties performance to business goals and objectives—and having an autonomous service desk makes it easier to more precisely define, implement and act on performance indicators as the LOB  IT staff is in tune with the business. There are hidden treasures in your service desk that can be uncovered by those who understand how to transform service desk data into business actionable information.   This is harder to achieve in a central IT environment because of competing needs for resources and different metric priorities.

 

 

#5:   Added Agility

As business conditions change, you can respond faster in a dedicated environment as compared to a shared services model. Integrations can be added, processes changed and operations adjusted – all without involving heavy change processes and strict scheduling  that can be characteristic of large IT organizations.

 

 

More Change Ahead

 

Are you experiencing the impact of cloud, big data, mobility and other disruptive technologies in your organization?   Are you seeing IT budgets shift out to the Lines of Business?  How many service desks are deployed throughout your organization?  I’d love to hear what trends you are seeing at your organization and others.  Based on Gartner 2013 predictions - big changes will continue to dominate the landscape. I am excited to see what the future holds.

 

Comments
chuck_darst | ‎04-26-2013 10:09 AM

Mary, Good stuff here.  I submit there is another interesting, but tangential, angle - BYOD (almost). Instead of bring your own device, it is buy your own service. This goes along with cloud, saas, and all - often driven by agility as you note. A SaaS based service desk could be one example. There is an increasing amount of attention on "multi-supplier integration" (MSI also sometimes labeled Service Integration and Management aka SIAM) where IT has to be better prepared to incorporate and manage suppliers or services brought in by different LOBs. Some of the concepts have been around a long time, but variability has gone up as more and more "stuff" can be sourced out of "cloud" as opposed to being originated inside of IT. How this moves between a LOB and central IT merits more discussion - say a future blog post (or two).

 

I was just dying to say MSI and/or SIAM!

 

Chuck

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About the Author
Mary is a member of HP’s ITSM product marketing team and is responsible for HP Service Anywhere. She has 20+ years of product marketing, pro...
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