As companies use data and digital technology to improve more and more of their products, sales channels, and internal operations, IT teams have to support their company in different ways.
In essence, they’ve had to move from being tech experts – the ones that foretold a technology future and helped line managers make sense of it – to letting line managers take the lead. This is because, as it becomes an essential leadership competency for all managers to be able to get the most from the technology and information at their disposal, line managers often know more about the technology in their field than anyone in IT will do. The key is to help them integrate that technology into the rest of the firm’s infrastructure, and get the most from it.
One of the most common ways that CIOs are now doing this is to provide IT support through an “end-to-end IT services” or a product management model. This is where IT packages all technologies, processes, and people to support business outcomes.
Three Things to Keep in Mind
And, just as digitization represents a massive shift in how companies operate, implementing end-to-end IT services is a significant change for IT teams.
Introducing an end-to-end model should follow a phased and iterative methodology, and all IT teams should keep three things in mind early-on in their transition.
Get support for the model early: Implementing end-to-end IT services changes how IT interacts with the business, with focus shifting away from technologies to business outcomes and capabilities. Not only that, it also drastically changes how IT approaches its activities. Given the extent of these changes, expect resistance from those in IT, and over-invest in efforts to gain support and buy-in.
Start by identifying everyone in IT and the business who will be affected by the change. Take time up-front to clearly articulate the value and benefits of the end-to-end IT services model, and what changes they can expect in their day-to-day work.
Start small, learn, and then expand: Operationalizing end-to-end IT services means a steep learning curve for the IT function. While it is tempting to roll out many services simultaneously, IT teams will struggle to adjust to a new way of working and thinking.
Instead, start by identifying areas that will benefit most from services. This allows both IT and the business to adjust to the new operating model and keeps the workload more manageable for service managers.
Know when good enough is good enough: Ultimately end-to-end IT services are about changing IT to support the business better. Focusing on finding the perfect metrics from the start is counterproductive. The same is true for unit costs and cost models. Spending time determining unit costs delays service roll out and may even erode some of the support for the end-to-end IT service model.
In the short-term, use metrics that help demonstrate the value of the new model. An iterative service methodology enables service managers to launch a service and refine and expand the metrics overtime. Once a service is live, service managers can work with service consumers to determine the appropriate metrics and cost units.