Starbucks puts I.T. on the menu

Three years ago Starbucks’ IT department found its services as muddled as a ‘venti soy, decaf mocha, double shot, one pump, sugar-free vanilla, no whip.’ The business side was frustrated and IT was in jeopardy of earning a reputation as a black hole.

“We were really ineffective,” admitted Ray Schutte, Starbucks’ recently retired IT manager. “It took us days or weeks to deliver the simplest, rudimentary IT services.”

The mandate was clear. Fix this.

Schutte’s solution was to create a comprehensive IT services catalogue which not only gave him a clear view into IT workflow, but also improved customer satisfaction and proved once and for all IT’s value to the business.

The first step to a successful service catalogue initiative is to document a comprehensive list of the services that IT offers — in terms the business can understand.

“Spend the real money on analysis,” Schutte advises. “You really have to understand what you’re doing, so you can shop for a tool that fits your operation.”

Once you have the list of well-analyzed services, a common mistake is to publish it to the company intranet and forget about it. Information-only catalogs don’t provide value to the IT department or the business side, and they often end up gathering dust and taking up valuable server space. The catalogue must provide a familiar shopping experience, and customers must be able to order the services, complete authorization forms and track the progress of their requests.

The catalogue should also include a method for collecting customer feedback. Orders and feedback work in tandem to track service ordering trends, delivery and fulfillment timetables, and customer satisfaction issues. That data can then be used to put IT’s resources toward serving the business better, as demonstrated by the business side’s shopping patterns.

The IT service catalog places the power to make or break the IT business in the hands of the IT managers. The business just wants IT to work. The service catalog ensures that IT works well.

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