Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) has long been thought of as simply a service desk or a structured way to manage incidents, problems and changes within an IT organisation. However, the advent of new technology options and service practices has enabled the scope of ITSM to extend more broadly across businesses, enabling organisations to adopt ITSM for many processes. This is opening up potential for Australian business leaders to drive operational excellence through ITSM innovation.
When I meet with clients I often start by talking about the opportunity for ITSM, and why they shouldn’t limit their thinking about ITSM to just a service desk. There is a range of activities and different processes you can standardise in your IT organisation to make it more effective and deliver better value to internal staff and external customers and clients.
ITSM principles can be implemented for any business process, including HR, security and finance. For example, within KPMG we are putting in a new tax workflow system using the ServiceNow platform. As long as you understand the business process you can manage and improve it with ITSM.
An Australian Bank is currently doing a Workday implementation and has chosen ServiceNow for HR case management – another example of how the potential use cases are not limited to IT functions.
Any time you have standardisation you drive better outcomes in a more expeditious manner. Repeatability, predictability and the ability to measure how well you are delivering services comes with having a robust ITSM practice. That’s the opportunity for ITSM, and its largest benefit.
Business leaders are beginning to see how IT really impacts other parts of the organisation and external customers, but most organisations remain low on the ITSM maturity spectrum, particularly with their problem management structure.
They realise there is a better way to run an IT organisation and the requirement for ITSM is changing accordingly. However, a lot of organisations are struggling with taking ITSM from what they have now to the next level. Where do you start? Look at your operating model, service desk and how it responds to incidents.
At KPMG if a client is struggling and wants to implement ITSM quickly we can bring a ‘gold build’ to them, which is a set of pre-built processes on the ServiceNow platform. This is like a plug-and-play capability, is less expensive and delivers industry-proven best practices for processes that have been refined over time.
Looking at the business challenges Australian organisations face I can distill them down to three main problem areas. The first is not having well defined processes in place and not even knowing what is ‘broken’ from an operational standpoint. Managers know services aren’t meeting business expectations, but don’t know how to improve the situation with existing, antiquated processes.
The next thing is people: who are the right people and what are the right roles the company needs? Businesses don’t have a lot of resources to do things that are not as predictable as they could be. What does a ‘good’ IT shop look like? This question often remains unanswered from the head of technology to the director level down to the individual level.
Thirdly, there are big challenges around the quality of suppliers providing services to business. Organisations are struggling to maintain or take back control of services. Instead of suppliers dictating what the organisation does, businesses need to set up contractual obligations for suppliers to ensure effective service delivery.
ITSM overcomes these challenges and creates a path to better practices less obstructive to growth and change.
We recently completed an ITSM project at a large Australian financial services company and it was a perfect scenario of operational improvement we would like to repeat globally.
It was well known internally the company wasn’t operating efficiently and IT spending was too high, but there was no clear plan for how to fix it. We performed a gap analysis across key areas of the business and looked at the processes to help redefine how they work.
Without the luxury of a greenfield implementation we created a roadmap to re-engineer processes and select a platform for automation wherever it was possible. Contracts were renegotiated to ensure new KPIs for processes and then we reviewed the operating model.
With five different types of IT leaders in the company, a layer of directors and managers and then suppliers below those, we concluded the new streamlined processes should have this operating model, including how many people are in key positions. This resulted in good insight into the total cost of ownership for running IT, what the model should look like and who should be in charge of what.
The outcome was well received and we implemented a standardised set of processes for everyone, including suppliers. Now there is one source of information across multiple processes and operations are on a solid path to best practice.
We have since been selected as the service provider to deploy a cloud-based ITSM solution to automate processes and reduce duplicate data across multiple systems.
Start your ITSM journey by analysing where service delivery is sub-optimal with a view to changing your operating model and redefining processes. Engage an ITSM specialist with strong consulting and process management expertise and one willing to understand your way of working.
Once ITSM has improved the basics, it’s difficult to keep it away from redefining the way your organisation operates.