Prove the worth of ITSM and get the Traffic Moving Again
If you find that your customers are bypassing your IT Department and getting their services elsewhere, how do you stem the flow and prevent the eventual and seemingly inevitable demise of the internal IT function of the business?
The answer is in your hands. This detour around in-house IT is a symptom of a broken relationship and you have the power to fix it. You took your eye off the ball, the landscape of IT service provision changed around you and now you need to get back in the game.So how do you keep the traffic on the highway?
- Firstly – communicate! When any relationship is broken the core issue can almost always be traced to poor communication. Does the business actually understand your capabilities? Do they know what your skills in IT service management (ITSM) can do for them? Do they see how you can make a positive impact on productivity, innovation and affect the bottom line of the business by ensuring that IT services are coordinated, supported locally and that there is a single point of contact for all IT services?
- Secondly – grab some quick wins, look for the opportunities that exist when business units are struggling with vendor support and help them out. ‘let us take care of that for you’ is a powerful little statement. Vendor management is a discipline fraught with issues, in IT we have learned the hard way about this process, use that knowledge to help the business even if they have left you out of the loop. Every point you put on the board by helping out is a point closer to winning the business back for the internal IT organization.
- Thirdly – get in front of the right people and remind them of the investment that they have made in the internal IT. Help them understand that you are their experts in delivering high quality, reliable IT services to the business because you understand IT and service management, and you understand the business they are in. That puts you ahead of any external application provider.
If the business is not listening, then consider bringing in some help with external ITSM consultancy and training providers who can speak to the business on your behalf and offer education that will see both sides speaking the same language.
Once you get the people who pay the bills on your side and committed to keeping IT capability in-house you need to work out how you are going to ensure that every IT related service comes via you in future. You will need to find each and every side street that business units have been taking and direct them back to the internal IT services highway.
There are a few ways you can do this…using the ‘carrot approach’ and making it far more attractive to use the internal IT capability is by far the best. You will be getting your customers are on board because they want to be there, not because they have to.
Another option is to put a few barriers in the way of using those alternate routes…that is what was initially tried to fix the traffic issues I described in my previous post…speed bumps were installed on the side streets to slow the traffic down, making taking this ‘shortcut’ less desirable. That helped a little, initially, but gradually people just decided that it was worth the hassle of the speed bumps and kept taking the side streets.
The least desirable option is to use a big stick and remove any ability to take the detours. Then you end up with customers who do not want to be there and who will make your life difficult in many ways. You will need to work out what consequences there are going to be for taking this alternate route to service, and they will have to be sufficient to ensure that it is not worthwhile to simply bare the cost and still travel that back road.
That option has also been tried on our traffic issue here, signs appeared stating that the road was closed to all but local traffic from 7am until 9am, Monday to Friday. Fines were promised to anyone disobeying the rules. Problem was that, while the consequences were costly, the cost of policing the new rules turned out to be too expensive. After a couple of mornings where traffic patrols stopped cars taking that side streets it simply became the traffic equivalent of a ‘Swear box’, and sadly that has not worked either.
Our traffic woes will only be fixed when the new four-lane highway that we have been promised for the past 15 years is constructed. You can fix your issues with detouring customers far quicker than that!