In our last blog „Digital Economy – Is it a hype, a success factor or even a revolution?" we already took a stand on the question whether the digital transformation concerns all companies similarly, irrespective of their size and line of business. The answer clearly is: Yes!
The rapid and parallel development of key technologies such as cloud, mobile computing and internet has led to a revolutionary change of information, communication and consumer behaviour both in the private and business sector over the last few years.
Booking hotel rooms and train tickets using the web, downloading airline tickets and timetables of public transport easily to one’s mobile phone, making an appointment for a car service online or simply shopping over the internet, without having to think of opening hours. Settling payments online and tracking shipments up to delivery with a click. In the meantime, this has become a convenience to many of us and we will never want to do without it again.
We use these services because they simplify and accelerate our numerous daily tasks. Consistent, digitally linked processes as we know them from private life currently do not exist in most companies and present a considerable challenge to organizations.
How does a company become a digital business entity?
Digitalization in a company does not only mean automating processes and linking companies to each other, but it goes an essential step further: It connects users and machines, machines to each other, processes to processes, companies to their customers and partners. The organizational structure has to be aligned correspondingly, as rigid, hierarchical structures do not meet these challenges.
The high information density and number of news related to these trends make it difficult for companies to objectively consider their importance for business, regardless of public and media opinion. IT departments are particularly affected by these changes as they have to create the technical and organizational conditions.
IT becomes a business partner for individual departments and an integral part of business!
The expectations of corporate IT have changed fundamentally in recent years. Products and technologies fade into the background and there are more requirements than just ensuring availability and security. IT services become more and more important instead. IT organizations are for example faced with the requirement of speciality departments to digitally map business processes quickly and at low cost. Common mobile devices shall be supported, too.
As it is often difficult for IT departments to rapidly implement such requirements using their classical methods, speciality departments procure the necessary IT solutions on their own, for example from the cloud with some clicks of a mouse. A shadow IT emerges with department-specific cloud services that often do not meet the corporate requirements on control, documentation, security and availability.
Without service management, you may lose track
The times are over when an IT department provided all services used in a company by itself. Today, IT services are increasingly interconnected and no longer offered centrally, but by a variety of external providers. With the use of cloud services on the rise and the dynamic generated in application development, the question arises whether classical IT Service Management (ITSM) has had its day.
Modernizing and transforming IT
Those who did not execute IT at a service level so far, will be faced with a difficult process of learning. As IT has to expand its range – from a specialized vendor to a highly competent contractor who defines, automates and orchestrates projects and processes beyond department and company boundaries. Even if «Build», «Test» and «Release» can be entirely automated, there are still a lot of ITSM tasks which will gain in importance in terms of strategy. But basic ITSM processes will remain important, too. Some examples are listed below:
1. Digitalized service catalog as a basis
Services offered by external and internal providers have to be listed in a central service catalog and their quality and cost parameters have to be defined. Service catalogs should be made available to users via a central portal so that services can be subscribed to there.
Subscribed services are handled by defined and automated workflows with all parties involved.
2. Incident & Problem Management
Incidents and problems will also exist in a disruptive business community. A support organization that records incidents and coordinates their elimination with all parties involved needs a high degree of maturity to perform comprehensive analyses and target-oriented escalations.
3. Change & Configuration Management
Changes will increase and each provider will have his own LifeCycle Management. The coordination of all parties involved will become crucial, to be able to prevent negative surprises in an agile world. In dynamic environments, the individual changes should, however, be verifiable at any time and their impacts should be understood. Responsibilities and processes have to be adapted and redefined where required, but the overall responsibility for the services in use remains unchanged.
If IT departments succeed in integrating and automating services, particularly if they are able to create them as bookable and callable services for users, such a concept could be transferred to other corporate services, too, for example to Human Resources.