SaaS applications in the business have changed IT Service management
If you have not noticed a change in the role of the internal IT department, it is definitely time that you woke up and had a look around. The days of in-house development teams are diminishing and we are going to see a huge reduction in the need for employing infrastructure specialists, particularly in small and medium enterprises.
Increasingly IT needs to build its capability as a service broker and coordinator, managing IT services that are provided by third parties to individual business units. The proliferation of SaaS applications ‘coming from a cloud near’ you does not reduce the need for in-house IT Service Management, but it does change it. The new ITSM specialist will need to have excellent skills in Vendor and SLA management, keeping the business working is going to mean developing outstanding coordination skills to bring in all the elements that are going to be needed
Don’t think you are going to be able to disregard application support. The internal IT organization needs to maintain its place as the single point of contact for all service calls. Understanding the individual applications and being able to answer the ‘how do I?’ questions and solve common issues keep your service desk team working, the customers happy and keep third party service costs down.
As use of cloud services grows in your business, IT needs to establish itself as a real business enabler, a strategic partner, bringing external providers together under one umbrella of service coordination, ensuring the organization gets the best deal and the best service from the myriad of application providers who could be knocking on the door of the business.
Building a strong reputation in the service coordination role will make it easy for the business to come to you with their requirements, ideas and suggested solutions rather than approaching the vendors directly. If you lose this role, ultimately the business will suffer as you lose oversight of the IT Services needed by the business.
I was asked recently to write an analysis paper for a business unit of a medium sized organization. They had been talking to a vendor about the new SaaS version of a business-critical system they currently hosted in-house. The new features available in the cloud-based version were very appealing and the vendor had a very good salesman. A quick chat with the CIO at the organization made my recommendation very easy…while the main office has good internet connectivity, outlying offices have pretty slow connections and there is limited ability to improve this in the short term. Putting this critical application in the Cloud would have been a disaster for the business, but it very nearly happened, simply because there was no internal coordination of these services.
The impact of uncoordinated use of Cloud based tools around this organization is a major issue. As I mentioned in a previous article, this is purely because the business has lost faith in its IT organization. They think that an outside vendor understands them better than their own IT experts, who have worked in the business for years. That is a pretty sad state of affairs!
To succeed in this new ITSM role you need to start brushing up on those negotiation skills, get to grips with best practice in vendor management and ensure that the business understands your new capabilities in this role. Most of all – make sure you really understand the business and the people involved in it…enable business growth with forward thinking and strategic vendor choices. Try not to say ‘No’, there are better ways to direct the traffic than putting up roadblocks.
Think of yourself as the conductor of group of musicians – how harmonious the music is will depend on you setting the beat and bringing them in at just the right time and making sure that no one section over powers the others…are you going to be the London Philharmonic or a group of preschoolers bashing away on xylophones and drums with the odd recorder thrown in?