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Business value of ITSM – Part 2

In my earlier post about linking Projects to Business Value I talked about my 5 simple rules to ensure that the technical deliverables from projects achieve the ROI anticipated in the Business Case.

I wanted to expand on the theme a little, and talk about how we’ve applied the principles to a number of IT Service Management disciplines, and not necessarily in the context of a new project.

So here goes;

The approach I described for Projects can also be applied to reinforce the ongoing benefits of Service Management tools in a ‘business as usual’ context. Simply by describing them in terms of the business functionality they deliver, and the implications if they were unavailable, it is possible to build an undeniable justification of the value the tools deliver. Since the majority of my experience to date has been with the IBM Tivoli portfolio, these are the specific tools I’ll use to illustrate my point, but the same thing applies to other vendors.

An example would be in the case of Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager (TADDM); TADDM’s ability to maintain accurate and up-to-date configuration information about the IT Infrastructure components, and how they combine to deliver end-to-end Services, underpins just about every ITIL Service Management process. Without this technology, a huge amount of manual effort would be required to gather and collate configuration data, and it would always be out of date. Thus critical decisions would be made based on incomplete and inaccurate information with disastrous and potentially hugely expensive consequences.

Furthermore, every organisation has a compelling need to maintain patch levels, to mitigate exposure to malicious attacks, and to efficiently deliver application upgrades to maintain competitive advantage. By highlighting the risks associated with an inability to deliver these updates effectively, the cost to the business in lost productivity, and the staff overhead of manual changes, a compelling argument can be built for the use of Tivoli Endpoint Manager.

The scenarios above are just a couple of examples that illustrate my point; To ensure that the contribution of effective IT Service Management to the continued reliability of the business infrastructure is understood outside of IT, we must describe it in terms understood by Business Managers, and reinforce the message regularly.

A particularly effective technique is to canvass opinion from the users who benefit from the newly delivered services. When the response is positive, then their feedback is a powerful tool that can be used to support our claims. Should their response be less enthusiastic, it gives the project the opportunity to investigate the cause of their issues and resolve them, thus improving the image of IT.

Regular SLA reviews are another mechanism by which constructive feedback can be obtained. Simply by maintaining communication with the user community, their perception of IT will be improved.

If you’d like to know more about this topic, or need help pulling together a Business Case, feel free to give me a call at Orb Data on +44 (0)1628 550450 or email me at steve.lawrence@orb-data.com.

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