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Improve IT muscle tone

By Bart Perkins on Aug 19, 2011
Bart Perkins About the author

Bart Perkins

Bart Perkins is managing partner at Louisville based Leverage Partners,  Contact him at BartPerkins@LeveragePartners.com.

You know you should exercise regularly to improve your physical health and emotional well-being. But you’re too busy. You need to find the right regimen. It will be easier when the kids are in school. Or when they’re out of school. The list goes on and on. Many IT organizations approach IT service management
(ITSM) in a similar manner. They know ITSM provides a foundation for improving existing services and reducing costs by standardizing processes such as incident management, change control and asset management. But most IT organizations are already overcommitted and under-resourced. Absent an infrastructure crisis, they will defer ITSM until the budget gets bigger or “things get better.” (When will that happen?)
Here are some of the things organizations can do for you:


Expand metrics:
Engineering-based companies place a high value on metrics for everything they do, while faster-paced industries such as financial services and entertainment are less focused on metrics. But every executive team wants IT to demonstrate that it delivers high-quality, cost-effective services.
Unfortunately, comprehensive metrics programs require significant investment. If your organization’s IT metrics are inadequate (or nonexistent), ITSM systems provide an excellent foundation. Each ITSM process has service-level targets and associated metrics that facilitate cost and service analysis, enabling comparisons with peer organizations.

Even if the analysis shows that your IT cost-of-services is higher than your competition’s, the information functions as both rationale and justification for instituting an ITSM program.

Improve transparency:

Even in companies with excellent IT organizations, IT is often viewed as a mystery. Many executives complain that they don’t understand what the IT staff does, that IT fails to offer options when presenting budgets, and that the benefits of IT investments are unclear.

These accusations are difficult to refute without a clear understanding of IT costs. ITSM systems analyze the cost of each service and help IT management construct service-based budgets. Service-based budgets are easier to justify and help improve the understanding of IT services.

Enhance the service desk: The help desk/service desk is the primary point of contact between IT and its customers. Most employees’ perceptions of IT are formed through interactions with the help desk. An ITSM system provides helpful information, logs and tracks customer interactions, and flags unresolved incidents and service requests.

A more responsive service desk improves customers’ perceptions of IT. Good ITSM tools facilitate analysis of incident and request patterns to identify underlying problems.

Serve as a model:

Most service management tools were originally designed for IT organizations. Similar tools designed for other departments are often less robust. But all departments have incidents, change requests, assets, etc. ITSM processes and tools are being adapted to HR, accounting, manufacturing and other departments.

Do what you know is best for IT’s health. Use ITSM to increase efficiency, improve critical processes and defend IT services. When you need to justify next year’s budget, you’ll wish you had those ITSM metrics. Be proactive — get your IT organization in shape
before the next round of IT budget wars. And before your annual performance review!

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