Do you know what is holding back or pushing forward your service management implementations? If the answers don’t roll of the end of your tongue, consider reviewing this quick and poignant post by Ahmad Shuja about seven critical success factors for a service management implementation to succeed. First things first: Shuja uses the term “business service management implementation”, which is “managing business services such that IT performance can be measured not in IT terms but in terms of business value delivered.” This is, Shuja admits, a bit shift in the way IT looks at products and services, but helps align IT and business. Regardless of the definition, the critical success factors can be taken for traditional service management implementation or business service management implementation. The first success factor is management commitment; both on the side of business and IT. Without the highest levels of support no implementation will be as successful as possible. The next tip is being able to prove return on investment ““ and this is something that applies to the idea behind business service management: business needs to see what the value is and what they are getting. This hasn’t been a traditional mindset for IT, but being able to prove that an effort is worth time and money goes a long distance in getting buy in from the business side. The success factor Shuja provides is communication:
Marketing and communication are the most critical components of trying to implement business service management. IT has traditionally been weak in sharing the success stories. Businesses and / or customers only get communications when something breaks down. Communicating good as well as bad to the customer is critical. Most of the time, we are focusing on only bad and leave the good out. As IT organizations embark on making improvements to products and / or services that they produce, communication planning and execution is critical. Service Level Management process provides means and ways in which service target achievements should be shared. In addition, business relationship or account management functions can prove very useful in communicating with the businesses and customers, identifying / defining services, and negotiating service level agreements. Scorecards, dashboards, heat-maps, and other displays must be made available to customers all the time. This is critical to maintaining IT credibility.
Other success factors include having an objective self-assessment of the IT organization and its abilities/maturity, having a system of personnel performance management, and recognizing that not everything that matters to IT matters to business. Instead, focus on components that help the business the most: what makes the most impact on quality or most revenue? These are the areas the business will benefit from the most, and the ones that will make the business and IT have the best chance of alignment.