IT Service Management in the Age of the Consumer

Consumer Pressure on Technology Organizations

Is it any wonder that IT organizations today are struggling to meet the expectations of their users and customers? Internal IT’s competition is injected right into the walls of their organization since their own personnel are the very consumers that are engaging, learning, and adopting all of this technology at a rate that outpaces the organization’s ability to respond. They already know the tools exist that they need to do their jobs more effectively because they’ve applied them successfully in their everyday life.

The evolution and use of powerful personal technology has introduced a whole new level of consumers in the work force. As individuals adopt these technologies in their personal lives they start to realize and internalize their value. They apply them in new and unique ways that enable efficiency and effectiveness in the “personal business” of their life. Because they apply them for personal gain, they are much more motivated to engage, learn, and adopt these tools without the need for training. This socially-motivated group materializes as a collective power in the workplace that can exert a very high and often-unobtainable expectation out of the IT organization.

Low and no-cost technical solutions and services are amplifying the effect even further. Consider all of the technical software and enterprise-caliber services that are available for collaboration and information exchange with little to no financial investment required. The average person now has the ability to operate in a more agile manner than any traditional business has ever been able to. Furthermore, this operational agility at low investment means that business threats can come from anywhere at any time from any one.

Technology as a Strategic Business Asset

The reality is that business and technology are becoming less inseparable, and technology is more heavily influencing business decisions. Unfortunately, business strategic advantage is lost as organizations continue to manage each domain of “business” and “technology” as independent silos that “report to one other.” Technology as a business competitive advantage is about organizing around services and capabilities and presenting them in a way that can be used to make strategic decisions. This means IT thinking about technology as a business capability now more than ever. The IT organization must begin managing and reporting on what they are achieving (not doing) to deliver IT services and be able to relate its performance to business outcomes.

Armed with that data, business will be able to incorporate technology as a component of strategy. Today’s most successful and progressive companies are building completely new business processes and policies within this new consumer technology paradigm. In turn, they are able to boost profits and improve employee satisfaction.

Organizing Technology for Business Outcomes and ROI

When business and technology work together to define the IT service portfolio, they have the context necessary to make strategic decisions. The portfolio contains a complete list of the services being managed by the service provider (IT). This means keeping track of business services as well as the infrastructure services necessary for supporting the business outcomes. The portfolio is broken into three sections: pipeline, catalog, and retired; and is organized by lines of business. It contains services that are being planned, developed, currently offered, and formerly offered with historical data which allows for more precise evaluation of business impact. This capability provides a comprehensive view in which to prioritize services and focus delivery on increased business value.

This unified view of IT services with business outcomes captured in the portfolio now allows the organization to measure IT performance in relation to business goals. This ability to measure means transparency in value and improvement in efficiency that can be invested back into the organization.

Measured Agility

So how do the consumerization of IT, digital disruption, and the service portfolio relate to one other? It is a matter of capability, agility, and risk. Consumerization of IT and digital disruption essentially give individuals the agility and capabilities for efficient and effective delivery. Since individuals can assume more risk than a business, the organization must measure and correlate effectiveness much faster to make decisions to reduce risk.

The service portfolio and all of its supporting information systems provide the means to view performance data in the proper organizational context. The result is:

    • Identification of waste and redundancy
    • Operational agility
    • Improved communications
    • More accurate financial management
    • Overall more intelligent decision making

IT service delivery timelines are shortened and quality is improved in order to align to time to market goals and maintain customer satisfaction. This allows the organization to make fiscally responsible, lower risk, agile decisions that result in faster and effective delivery.

In the end, it is about providing the customer something they want in the timeline they want it—whether they are external or internal.