Can CIOs create a service-defined enterprise?

Logicalis wants to make your IT department a linchpin of the ‘service defined enterprise’. Next week, the firm will announce Jumpstart, a service that will roll out IT service management modules for IT departments seeking new ways to work with internal business users.

The idea is to haul IT departments into a new culture, in which they provide IT as a service to users. In turn, those users become more like internal customers, picking the kinds of services that they want from IT, and being sure of predictable outcomes.

This is a long way from where IT started. Back in the day, IT didn’t need to think about its operations in a user-centric way. IT was a dark art that few people understood, and the users got what they were given.

These days, IT is far more transparent, and business users are more educated about it. They can also source their IT more easily from external providers in the cloud if the IT department doesn’t co-operate. So a more service-driven culture is necessary.

JumpStart will be based on ServiceNow, which is a services management platform designed to help organisations offer easily-digestible portfolios of services to their users. At the back end, administrators can manage these services end to end, monitoring the cost of providing them, assessing their performance, and managing their status. A lot of this can be automated so that instead of handling service provision by exchanging emails, service events are triggered automatically.

This kind of thing extends beyond mere software, though. It takes a set of involved steps on the part of the IT department, which must start by assessing its current service strategy (and it may not have one). Designing the services that it will offer to the business entails some lengthy conversations with the various business departments to understand how they’d like to see these services defined.

IT services can fall into different categories, ranging from collaboration (such as the provision of unified communications systems or team management systems), through to infrastructure (internal hosting services, or managed desktops).

Where this gets really interesting is when IT departments and business departments realise the potential for service management software outside the IT department and begin working together on those services.

For example, human resources departments may want to provide a service that enables an employee to be on-boarded into the company, with all of the associated information updates and account registrations happening automatically. That onboarding process might mean accessing several applications from different vendors to achieve the desired outcome. The IT department could help the HR department to package that service and offer it to departments itself.

For many companies, that kind of collaboration may be a long way off. But in the future, the IT department could become a pivotal partner with other departments, enabling them to redefine the way that they offer services to the business.

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Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with over 20 years' experience writing about security, software development, and networking.

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