This is the second posting in a three part series on Effective Service Management. Posting one discussed three focus areas for success. This week's post discusses the "Components of Effective Service Management - People, Process, and Technology".
The Components of Effective Service Management
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of service management is the management of people. While day to day operational management has its difficulties, building a culture that understands the value of effective service management and further, governs its attitudes and behaviors based on that value proposition, can be a daunting task. It requires careful planning and execution.
The ‘people’ component of service management is most often ignored, yet ‘people’ can dramatically affect success. IT Service Provider executives must focus on winning the hearts and minds of the IT staff and the customer ensuring that everyone is engaged and accepting of the service management vision and strategy.
Many organizational change best practices are available to provide strategies and techniques that can assist the IT Service Provider in building a culture that supports service management outcomes. Kotter’s 8 Step Model, ADKAR®, Six Change, McKinsey’s 7S Model®, and other best practices provide structured guidance on changing culture and helping staff adapt to change. The models vary but the underlying themes are consistent. [See Footnote 1]
1. Organizational change should be planned. A vision and strategy should be developed for the initial required change and then revisited as part of the annual planning cycle.
2. Communication regarding changes is key to build support and momentum and to reduce the amount of anxiety that may exist in the organization. Strong communication will foster a desire to participate.
A well designed communication plan is the foundation of any change initiative.
3. Staff engagement is crucial to success. The staff has knowledge and expertise that should be considered. Engagement will also reduce the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that may exist about the outcomes ultimately allowing for a smoother implementation.
4. Metrics are a necessity. Measure the current state, set goals, routinely measure progress, and publicize the outcomes. When the right goals are set and accountability is in place, metrics can tear down silo’s by highlighting teams that may be having challenges; find unexpected opportunities where changes may not be having the intended result; provide focus to financial savings as well as investment opportunities for the IT budget; build camaraderie as success can be celebrated; and identify new services required to meet business outcomes.
As developing an environment which effectively supports organizational values is critical to success, ongoing changes within the IT Service Provider organization cannot be ignored. Integrating an organizational change model into the project management methodology should be explored in an effort to ensure the ‘people’ aspect of change is always considered when new products or services are in development.
People are the cornerstone of effective service management. Maintaining performance and continuously improving service management practices requires performance and reward systems that incentivize the right behaviors. Consideration should be given to anchoring service management values by updating performance objectives, job descriptions, policies, and other relevant materials to ensure alignment with the desired service management outcomes.
Service management processes focus on more than just the IT Operations environment. They include the development lifecycle as well, thereby linking projects and service management with applications and technology.
Over the years, many best practice frameworks and standards have evolved to provide some guidance on standardizing the approach to service management. TheITIL®, COBIT, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 20000, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Six Sigma, and other best practices effectively support the service lifecycle.
The effectiveness of service management is dependent upon a well-defined service delivery model which is supported by mature, documented processes. Best practice guidance provides a strong foundation for developing a model which meets the needs of the IT Service Provider. By coupling best practice guidance with proprietary knowledge and management discipline, the IT Service Provider can create a competitive advantage by enabling the development of unique solutions or services, strengthening the quality of the existing services, and optimizing the cost of the service provided.
Repeatable service management processes enable a consistent, customer experience allowing for the provision and operation of IT services in a manner that is aligned with expectations. To create this experience, process scope, boundaries, and relationships must be defined along with policies, roles and responsibilities, metrics, training plans, communications, and a continual improvement strategy.
To ensure the IT Service Provider’s strategy and policies support the business objectives, risk is managed appropriately, and policies and processes are effectively implemented, a governance structure should be established. Effective governance includes diverse representation from across management domains and it encourages service oriented decision making. Governance maximizes the opportunity to align IT investments, resources, and performance with business needs.
Service management lends itself well to automation. Just as the IT Service Provider seeks to understand business requirements to develop effective services and solutions for customers, it should evaluate service management requirements and invest in the technology required to support the business objectives.
Automation opportunities exist in every facet of service management so investments must be managed judiciously. The IT Service Provider should consider investment opportunities that will result in a positive impact on the quality of service, faster time to market, a reduction in cost, and/or a reduction of risk. Automation opportunities should be fully vetted to ensure an appropriate return on investment (ROI).
Don't miss part three of the Effective Service Management blog series. - What is the Service Experience?
Reference:  Underlying theme information is quoted from “ITIL and Organizational Change” ©Pamela Erskine, Published by ITGP 2013
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