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Whipping ITSM into BDSM

By | August 5, 2014 in Service Desk

Whip IT Service Management into Business Development Service Management

Why do I keep reading such statements as “get rid of IT from ITSM?” Is it that Service Management simply needs to get out of the IT world? I can get that—we want to try and project the belief that IT has been growing its involvement with the business. In fact, there are the ongoing debates on whether IT will survive the next 10 years, if it'll take over the business, or if regular users will become so technically adept, that the business will eventually do away with IT. Since I'm not an astrologer, I can't predict what's going to happen in the next decade, although if I had to guess, I’d say not much will really change and all of this talk is mostly hot air. But I do have an issue with just stating "get rid of IT from ITSM," and the issue is simple.


Look, people can grasp the idea of Information Technology. Ask anyone, and they'll probably say "its computers and stuff." Easy. In fact, I'm all for dropping "Information," since technology itself is a good enough descriptor for defining our use of computers as tools. But if we completely get rid of IT from ITSM, then what are we left with? Service Management? Can you imagine meeting new people at a party (and I mean a real party, not Fusion, Pink or SDI, and telling someone you work in Service Management? I've just started getting used to the blank stares I get from newly met friends in stating I work in IT Service Management - they can at least get the idea I work in IT, which then leads into the next question of how best to prevent viruses (incidentally, the answer is to stop visiting religious websites since porn has become safer to surf). Not only that, but the word "service" can have several different meanings. In the US, it's most closely associated with a call center or help desk. I've given up a long time ago in trying to reeducate my fellow man that a service, according to the ITIL® Foundation, is "a means of delivering value to Customers by facilitating Outcomes Customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific Costs and Risks." I think people tend to think of services in such a way, but when actively being questioned on the definition, few of the people outside of ITSM can really describe a service as eloquently as the standard ITIL® definition.

That now brings me to the people already working in IT. How common is it for an organization to provide an accurate, useful and practical map of its services? The closest I've seen to such a thing is a CMDB that has applications listed as the services. This lack of understanding of how to map technology to actual business value is a driving force for pushing to have IT understand the business, and it's a great philosophy that every CIO should push in their organization, but it's still not forefront in the mind of the day-to-day developer or sysadmin. In essence, why focus on the phrase of "Service Management" when IT itself still doesn't know what to do with it?

While I think dropping IT from ITSM is a bad idea, I am not against changing the verbiage to better describe the growing trends we're seeing in IT. As IT and the business grow into the impending singularity (which I still have some doubts about, but I'll go with it), I'd like to suggest a description that fits how IT is moving from the role of technology provider to that of strategic partner. We should consider Business Development Service Management (BDSM). That's right, business development - the act of supporting the business for long-term growth and profitability. Making this distinction will play in our favor in a few different ways:

  • The BDSM discipline places the IT culture and mindset around the concept of ongoing growth and search for new opportunities.
  • BDSM isn't about tying up resources specifically to focus on new growth, but also it’s about binding with the aspect of Service Management, which is key to having IT act as a strategic partner.
  • There have been references to the idea that future COOs will be those coming from an IT background. With a history of BDSM, the next generation of business leaders will be able to position traditional business processes to be more aligned with the agile practices and DevOps culture growing in IT.
  • With growth and change being constant in business development, BDSM will be able to better prepare practitioners for the pain involved in continual improvement, something so prevalent in ITSM.
  • The business could then take blindfolded confidence in IT, knowing that the primary goal of the BDSM mindset, as run in IT, is to guide the business for new development, instead of being subservient in the technology support role, thus becoming a true strategic partner.

As the role of IT evolves and takes shape over the next few years, we'll be seeing several changes. Some analysts predict the end of the service desk. Others predict that the business side will start to develop its own solutions. Even others have predicted an end to IT. While I doubt such prophesies will come true overnight, as IT moves into the business world, we’ll eventually have to determine the role which ITSM will play. By verbally shifting focus of ITSM from IT to business development, we can prevent cuffing ourselves to the traditional sense that we only care about technology, and instead embrace ideas of strategic growth and value.

Who’s with me?

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Michael Slabodnick

About Michael Slabodnick

Started working in IT in 1999 as a support desk analyst as a way to help pay for food during college. Studied Electrical Engineering for two years before realizing biochemistry was more fun than differential equations, and so ultimately graduated with a Biology degree in 2006. Having (reluctantly) failed at getting accepted into dental school, embraced working in IT and has gone broke becoming an ITIL Expert. Likes to jog, sing camp songs, quote Mel Brooks movie lines, make dumb jokes, and spend way too many hours into the late night playing Call of Duty to relive his immature teenage years.
 

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