torsdag 27 juni 2013

Who is the customer of IT?

I know, business first. The following scenario is not a contradiction to service management and customer-centric focus in any way or an attempt to say its wrong, i am a strong believer so do not get me wrong. I like to challenge anything comprehensive and try to simplify it a bit too far. Lets just skip the traditional thinking and look at IT equipment as means to do something. The person that is trying to do something with the help of IT equipment is an IT consumer. The consumer has goals and needs just like anybody else independent if they work within IT or not. Hopefully everybody's goals are aligned so that they all work for the same cause, business and IT. Lets take a look at a normal situation where IT has staff that handles tickets in an ticket handling tool. There is also a Business application where business staff performs their work.

In both cases there is an application and a users of that application. One significant difference though is that the IT staff is using their application when there is an incident/change/request on the business application. I know it is very simplified but anyway. Who is the customer in this case? Where can we do improvements that could have significant positive impact on the final cause that all are working to achieve. Should not we treat IT staff the same way as business staff? IT staff has goals and ways to achieve them with help of IT equipment (the ticket handling application for one). Now this is getting a bit complicated if we say that IT itself is delivering services within IT. But is not that the case?

When talking about IT Service Management we always talk about the business customer and the importance of understanding their needs and to empower them in achieving their outcomes. IT should measure it's contribution to that and so on. I do not disagree but i play with the idea of performing IT Service Management within IT. There are probably tons of stuff we could do better by behaving more as service providers within IT itself. Lets continue on the scenario mentioned earlier. 

Lets treat the IT support organization as the customer. That includes anybody within IT (could also be external providers) that is involved in handling an incident/change/request (lets call them interactions). Of course the handling of any "interaction" inherits it's circumstances from business needs but nevertheless, it just boils down to different targets that the IT staff will try to achieve. That is their outcome. To handle the interaction and achieve the outcome based on specific targets. The needs/targets vary from interaction to interaction but they are still there. What would happen if we treated the support organization as the customer and started to define the services that they are consuming with IT service management. Lets empower the support organization to reach their goals (what ever they might be) and measure our ability to enable/empower that, just as if it would be the business. What would happen if we did and succeed? 

One thing is for sure. Any business that would rely on that support organization would probably experience it big time. And now we have not even talked to the business about IT services or involved them in anything that they might not even be focused on or not understand. I know that this would not enable IT to drive and evolve the business which pretty much is the end game but anyway. What it would do, is that if IT could succeed internally, we would learn the IT organization the practice of IT service Management, establish new behavior and culture, and be good at it before we try to practice it on somebody else. We would experience all the good and the bad and learn from our misstakes, first hand.

I am thinking if we can not do it small, why on earth do we think we could do it big. When we nail the small we could proudly and confidently embark on the big. Just a tought :)

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