ITIL Part 2: Service Strategy

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In my previous post, I talked about the benefits of implementing an ITIL based management approach to your organization.    As mentioned the framework is very complex and detailed.  At Cima, we take a methodical structured approach in helping organizations implement their ITSM strategy.   Planning is a large component to the success of any project, the same holds true for implementing an ITSM framework.  Perfect execution of a plan can still result in a project failure if the strategic planning is flawed.  The CimaCare vCIO is designed to help implement a service strategy that is valuable and functional for the organization.  In this segment, I will talk about the idea of Service Strategy and the role it plays in technology.

What is Service Strategy?

The service strategy and its  process is a way to move the IT department from being simply a cost center driving the business towards its organizational goals; being an enabler of the business rather than a necessity.  The ITIL framework stresses the importance of having an understanding of not only the business but the industry in which the organization is a part of.  Having that insight will allow the organization to develop a strong strategy that will differentiate itself and drive it to the desired business outcomes.  It doesn’t end there.  Once the strategy is defined, the IT organization needs to have a focus on how that strategy will adjust and grow with the business.  As with any organization, IT leadership should be focused on continually improving it services and deliverables with little or no additional cost.  Although, delivering that high value is not enough.  In addition to providing value to the organization, IT must produce results that are congruent with the changing business needs.

Service Strategy as an Asset?

Once a solid strategic approach is in place, the IT dept will have the ability to use the strategy as an asset.  By understanding the business and how IT plays a role, the organization will be able to solicit feedback and create a mechanism for continual strategic improvement.  Proper development of the strategy will allow for this feedback to be inherent and ingrained in the working fabric of the organization.  Taking all feedback whether it be positive or negative, and seeing value in that feedback, will take the IT organization to a higher level of maturity.

Financial Value

Defining a strategic plan and how that plan will adjust with the organization is only half of the recipe.  Another important component to the strategic process is understanding the financials of the organization.  Effective financial management will allow IT to quantify its role in the company.  Through that quantification, the IT dept will help the organization realize the value and be able to effectively utilize IT to drive business.   A strong Return On Investment (ROI) analysis will put often hard to quantify services, such as IT, into a format that makes sense to organizational leadership.   The 4C approach to ROI is suggested as a guideline.  A Credible, Conservative, Customer-focused, and Comprehensive analysis will normalize IT services and provide a clear picture to the organization.  Another useful tool in showing financial value to the organization is a Business Impact Analysis (BIA).  A BIA, along with ROI, will allow you to show value to the organization.  However, the BIA goes a step further and help the organization understand the total cost of ownership for a particular service.  Again, painting an even clearer picture for the organizational decision makers.

If you don’t know where you’re going

“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”, is a phrase that is often repeated in organizations that don’t have an ITIL based approach to providing services.  Creating, managing, adapting and driving business through a solid service strategy will allow organizations to have a clear understanding of where they are going, and when they have arrived.

Is your organization lacking a strategy?  Or do you think your organization should renew their focus on creating a clear strategic plan?  We can help.  CimaCare vCIO (Virtual CIO) is designed to help organizations take a structured approach to providing IT services.  Utilizing ITIL methodology our well tenured professionals can help lay the groundwork for a successful transition to an Information Technology Service Management focused organization.  Feel free to drop me a note at jcunningham@cimasg.com to discuss how your business may benefit. Learn more about CimaCare today.

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– Jim

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