IT Service Management lets business and IT set course for the digital age. [shutterstock: 573023260, Rawpixel.com]
A CIO who wants to set course for the digital age must drive servicing forward within the company and be involved in helping to structure the business model. The interaction between IT and the various specialist activity areas is critical to success. What is needed is business-IT alignment, a ꞌdemand organisationꞌ and good capability management.
The digital transition demands new paradigms. These days, ever more is demanded of CIOs as shapers and added-value creators. They have to transform their IT into a service-oriented organization, directing business processes and IT services precisely to the companyꞌs needs.
Yet this requires a very high degree of business-IT alignment. This means interweaving the process management and IT service management as seamlessly as possible.
To do this, firstly, IT must genuinely understand the business and what the specialist departments need. Following its new view of itself as a ꞌdemand organisationꞌ, IT should be permanently asking itself what the companyꞌs specialist departents require.
The aim here is to match, better than competitors do, the demands of an increasingly digitalized business environment and changing customer wishes.
The correct answers to that question facing IT require a new way of thinking: “The customer first” must be the new maxim. This is because the classic business model, namely business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C), is now already shifting to become consumer-to-business-to-business (C2B2B).
So CIOs have to simultaneously launch several paradigm-changes at once for their IT departments – to take on the new kinds of projects that the future will bring.
IT and specialist departments must learn to understand each other
It is especially crucial to have a continuous dialog between the IT department and subject-specialist departments. Internal competence centers create a robust basis for this.
For instance, in a competence center for the production process, mixed teams from both ꞌworldsꞌ work on approaches to optimization and innovation. That way, IT team members find out what support is needed in individual manufacturing sequences.
Conversely experts from the specialist areas get to better understand the IT colleaguesꞌ way of seeing and considering issues and their digital possibiliities. What is feasible? What resources and technologies are needed for this?
In turn, these questions are closely tied-in with the third success factor, namely capability management. Does the IT department in fact already command the capabilities it needs to realize all the specialist departmentsꞌ requirements in a prompt way, a way with scope for the future?
CIOs and Heads of IT must jointly identify competence gaps and quickly close them through tuition and additional training measures. They may also need targeted recruitment of new specialists.
If capability management lacks transparency, new services and process solutions are sure to fall short of expectations. Valuable areas of potential offered by Enterprise Service Management (ESM) remain unused.
Last week, in an article titled “IT Servicing Ahoy!”, we drew an analogy to a cruise ship. ESM leads the CIO and the IT department from out of the depths of the engine rooms, where they have (too) long had to tough it out, right up to the shipꞌs bridge.
This analogy can be carried further, to include business-IT alignment, demand organization and capability management. A cruise gets travelersꞌ (customersꞌ) enthusiasm going if the services match their wishes in every respect.
This spans from the journey to the accommodation and the food and drink, through to the entertainment.
If business-IT-alignment, organisation and capability management all perform, the crew (specialist departments) takes on new wishes (customer needs) straightaway.
These are then communicated directly to the helmsman (CIO) and the navigators (IT department). These team members set up product offerings that match needs, as well as efficient new service processes. This is how they all jointly keep the ship on course (for success).
Putting this in a business context, top-performance Enterprise Service Management strengthens the company because business-relevant services – and IT services specifically – interweave seamlessly.