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How do you transform IT to be service-centric?


New Style of IT - Core Qualities.jpg


By Tony Price, World Wide Lead for Strategy and Transformation Consulting, HP Software Professional Services

The world of IT has changed massively. We could say everything is now part of IT: social media, cloud, Big Data, security, infrastructure, bring-your-own-service (BYOS), wearables, you name it. So we need new skills to be able to harness and exploit all these things. Inevitably organizations will not possess all the skills they require and will need to build or acquire them, often via “as a service” or cloud approaches. This means that rather than just providing IT services, IT now needs to act as a service broker—coordinating services from multiple sources, internal and external—to deliver value from all the suppliers in the IT delivery chain.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this new style of IT is aspirational. It’s not! It’s reality, and you need to address this today. At a session at HP Discover Barcelona, my colleague Craig Alexander will describe how you can transform your organization to deliver the new style of IT.


The brave new world of IT services
Today we are seeing new channels to market and new services being provided that wouldn’t have existed just a few years ago. For example:

  • Companies now monitor social media to capture customer sentiment and quickly respond. As a case in point, look at the airline KLM’s Facebook wall, which offers 24/7 service in ten languages.  
  • Companies use social media and other information sources for real-time analysis of trends and hot topics around the service desk.
  • We can now perform proactive problem management in real-time using Big Data and analytics.

In today’s enterprise, IT and the digital business are so closely tied together, it’s difficult to differentiate between the two. This convergence means that failure in the IT delivery chain or poor supplier performance directly translates into a negative impact to the business. Consequently companies need IT service broker skills immediately.

Becoming a service broker is key to great customer experience
What we hear now from industry analysts is, if your company wants to make more money and thrive, IT must focus on the customer experience. Though I applaud the analysts for highlighting this, it’s hardly rocket science. It’s about time IT woke up and realized how important the customer experience really is! And I should stress, IT needs to think about all its customers for all its services—internal, as well as those it provides to the business.

For example, IT organizations often proudly state they offer services via a catalogue. But they don’t really understand the customer’s perspective. When I speak to IT users in these organizations, they often say, “If only I knew which of the 30 catalogues they offer to look in.” And business users say IT is too slow to respond to changing business needs.

What a great example of not really focusing on the customer experience and not really understanding the customer’s perspective. But by taking a “single pane of glass” approach, IT could radically improve the customer experience, aggregating all its catalogues into one view and speeding up responsiveness to changing business requirements. Check out HP Propel to see how to achieve this.

So how do you become a service broker and deliver excellent customer experience? Here are two critical steps.

Step one: Know what services you offer
Firstly, you have to know what services you offer—and understand this from the service consumer’s perspective, not from a technology perspective. This is easier said than done. IT has become infinitely more complex (and will continue to do so as we harness the Internet of Things). People have moved beyond BYOD and expect access to multiple corporate systems with any device, at any time, from anywhere, in effect bringing their own services. And IT is on the hook to support these services.

We have to recognize that the platforms we provide can be the building blocks for services we did not expect, and that services will evolve far more dynamically in the future. The service lifecycle no longer follows traditional approaches.

Step two: Understand the value your services deliver and where they fit in the IT Value Chain
For years, IT has looked at processes in a standalone way. But in today’s multi-sourced environment IT needs to bring those processes together across multiple vendors. To do so, we need to stop thinking about processes in a siloed manner, and instead think about the value of IT services.

Take incident management as example. IT organizations have worked hard to optimize this process. But what is the point of having the best incident management in the world? Wouldn’t it be better to look at how you stop incidents in the first place? So if we stop “process silo” thinking and start thinking “value” we logically move away from talking about incidents to the value chain of “detect to correct.” In this way we focus on how to proactively prevent incidents and how to respond when they inevitably occur.

Thinking from the perspective of IT value chains in my opinion is going to be incredibly important in the future. In HP Software Professional Services we use this approach to help you transform your IT services, providing a reference architecture you can use to break down silos and connect end-to-end everything that IT does. To learn more, come to this session at HP Discover Barcelona: Transforming Your Organization to Deliver the New Style of IT.

tony price.JPGTony Price has 35 years of IT experience, originally starting his career in mainframe technologies and data center operations. Tony was also an author/contributor to the ITIL® publications and has extensive experience in IT Service Management. He has personally delivered several global IT transformation projects and has a passion for delivering business outcomes.

Related links:

•    Blog post: Your IT maturity checklist: How mature are you?
•    Blog post: Want IT to reduce costs and demonstrate value to the business? Combine shift left with pay-per-use
•    Blog post: Savile Row SaaS: Here's what you need to know about new ways of consuming software
•    Blog post: 3 signs you’re ready to graduate from basic SaaS
•    Blog post: You want to implement software out of the box? Here’s how
•    Ebook: Deliver business value

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