IT Service Management - is this an outdated concept?

Isn't the whole service management thing the story from yesterday and the transformation something that the majority of the market already undertook? This is a question I got recently, after a webinar on service management transformation.


No, I don't think so! Service management has been and is the talk of the town, and it is as important as never before. A solid service management foundation is vital in a complex IT world driven by initiatives like data center transformation, cloud computing, virtualization and the like.


Further, IT executives continue to struggle with balancing the objectives and expectations from their customers and stakeholders:

  • Cost and budgets do not tend to increase but rather the opposite. IT has difficulty to ask for money while their business unit counterparts can always throw in direct impact on the company metrics.
  • Growth, or more concrete, the creation of new business value to support growth initiatives. This requires the appropriate investment into innovation. The investment needs to come from the existing budget, meaning IT needs to change the ratio of innovation versus maintenance investment.
  • Quality, which has a direct impact of how well the maintenance portion is executed, typically measured via service level agreements (SLAs). At the end of day IT needs to carefully look at where quality can be impacted and where the wrong decisions can change the maintenance investment ratio to take a turn for the worse.
  • Finally, agility or the ability of IT to quickly respond to changing business needs and to support the time to market requirements. 

For all of the above, resources are finite, and IT cannot optimize all angles at the same time because they are conflicting by nature; nevertheless, expectations are by far higher than what IT can shoulder.


How can this be resolved? This Gordian knot cannot be cut by incrementally improving the existing approaches - it needs to be cut by changing to a service centric approach. Service orientation is the fundamental concept required to support your other initiatives and transformations like data center transformation and cloud computing initiatives. An appropriate level of maturity regarding service management has to go along with it and is a critical success factor.


But what does maturity mean? When using the term maturity I do not want to imply the notion of good or bad that, according to my experience, many people associate with it. I rather use it in terms of competencies that IT needs to develop and that IT needs to measure themselves on.


And, competency does not just equal technology - that would be too simple. It also has to include the processes to run IT and the people who run IT. Means, service management competencies support IT to do the right things, do things right and do it consistently across the organization.


My last point on maturity is that there is no single, one and only maturity goal - every business and every company should find out where they are and where they want to go, given their specific company goals.


So, service management transformation is a journey - a journey from A to B, and it is your journey! Ask your IT Service Management vendor, whether they have all the tools, methodologies, services, technologies and - equally important - the people and experience - to effectively help you find out what your service management journey is and help you execute it successfully.


By the way, another question I got was, whether a service centric approach means "all or nothing", leading to never-ending, costly projects? Definitely not, the journey can be very pragmatic, resulting in quick wins along the way, ... but that's a different story.



Michael Pott

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About the Author
Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Mic...

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