IT service management strategies are getting more complex as IT functionality becomes more important for organizations. A recent IT-Online report explained that this shift toward greater dependence on IT has put a spotlight on the way that business users are the customers of IT departments. Organizations need to put a greater emphasis on customer service, and ITSM excellence is the best way to accomplish this.
The problem is that most companies have long approached ITSM as an operations-focused department, so they haven't always created the types of leadership roles needed to manage service delivery across the support and IT stakeholders involved in ITSM processes. Moving forward, businesses need to seriously evaluate the possibility of creating a service management officer to take on the strategic leadership of the company's ITSM operations.
Understanding the importance of the SMO
The news source explained that the entire role of the IT department is changing. In the past, technology teams were focused solely on supporting operations. As such, they were often considered a cost center - a place where companies poured money into systems and personnel, but didn't see resulting value. With technology playing a more important role in supporting business operations, organizations are starting to need their IT departments to deliver meaningful value, not just absorb costs. This emphasis on value creates pressure to improve the experience for the customer, making excellent service management essential.
This sounds simple enough, but ITSM operations hinge on connecting operations across support, development, production and other technology teams. The result is an extremely challenging operational environment that organizations must manage with care. This is why high-level leadership is necessary to support ITSM excellence, and the SMO role needs to be created to help organizations meet these needs.
Barriers and benefits to deploying an SMO
The major difficulty of creating an SMO is that many corporate leaders have not yet changed their perception of the IT department and support teams. The report explained that even though IT is becoming more strategic, many business users still see IT as a cost center and struggle to understand the full importance of giving technology and support teams everything they need to take strategic ownership of operations. Removing this perception and establishing an SMO is critical to delivering the value that technology and support teams are increasingly asked to deliver.
The importance of overcoming perception and establishing an SMO becomes clear when one considers the potential benefits that come with creating a leader to handle operations across multiple technology and support teams. The report explained that an SMO will take ownership of the various processes, policies and operational goals that govern IT service management strategies. This oversight is critical because it positions the IT and support workers in an organization to have a positive impact on the business side of operations and demonstrate their ability to generate a return on investment.
Getting the technology you need to support strategic IT and support operations
Creating the SMO role and putting a greater emphasis on strategic gains and value creation is only the beginning of establishing an effective ITSM plan. Organizations also need technology that is flexible, scalable and sophisticated enough to meet their current needs while positioning them for the future. Leading ITSM suites are beginning to move beyond the basic management modules and introducing functions like business intelligence that provide greater insight into operations.
Tools like business intelligence systems provide the knowledge and data you need to fully understand the nuances of how ITSM systems operate and how IT and support teams function in concert with one another. This information plays a key role in guiding leaders like SMOs to maximize the value delivered through ITSM plans.