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The Terror of Self-Serve IT

If you’re a corporate IT department, there’s nothing quite as scary as letting employees have control (*gasp*) over their own technology. But as Stuart Power in an ITSM Review article assures us, there is nothing frightening about self-serve IT. In truth, the really dreadful prospect is in losing fresh talent because your company appears to be stuck in the digital Stone Age (i.e. – the 20th century).

People at the Center

Of course, the move to self-service is more about people than it is about technology. Yes, you’ll have to replace heterogeneous hardware and software with standardized services. You’ll need to deliver those services through a centralized IT management system. And before any of that you’ll want to define both the service portfolio and the service catalogue accordingly. But in the end, all of it will need to center around the technology needs of employees instead of IT departments.

Automation is another important process of a healthy self-service environment. However, Power cautions that bad process automation is actually worse than no process automation. To hedge against this possibility, he suggests that each service be standardized on its own terms to minimize the potential for error. You will want to be clear about cost and value:

Equally as important is ensuring that users understand the value of the service they receive. If no cost or value is attached to a service, users will consume it at will, creating additional and uncertain cost and workload for the IT department. Equally, if a price is attached to a service without defining every aspect of the service being provided, business users and managers will invariably see only the hardware or application they are consuming.

Consumerization of IT

If executed properly, this model of service will mimic the experience users get when they consume technology outside of work. But to do it right, you’ll need to make these services centralized, and you’ll have to make it clear that they’re a better, cheaper option than unregulated shadow technologies. Power leaves us with these five steps to delivering secure and un-scary self-service IT:

  1. Define and standardize services.
  2. Integrate processes.
  3. Assign value to everything.
  4. Ensure compliance.
  5. Prioritize universal accessibility.

Read the original article at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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