When it comes to understanding what IT service providers do for customers, it helps to view the work in terms of IT service management. This framework takes a customer-centric (rather than technology-centric) approach to IT managed services. While your organization might employ this person:
A more accurate or ITIL-based service model might look like this:
A simple observation is that there are there are five different services here, each potentially requiring a different mindset or specialized skill set. The service shown front and center – in this case, service requests – is the most visible as well as the most demanding.
The question business leaders must face, then, is: Does your company have a 5-headed person capable of managing all of these services effectively? How many people within your organization are versatile enough to be able to teach a receptionist how to change margins in Microsoft Office Word and then have a strategic business discussion with the CFO?
Assessing Value: Core vs. Chore
The central challenge in IT service management is understanding the value each IT service brings to the business. To do this, let’s add a new set of qualifiers to the chart: “core” and “chore.” Core services are not only critical but valuable – in measurable ROI terms – to the business. In order to deliver these services effectively, an IT service provider must have specialized knowledge of the organization and its needs.
Chore services, on the other hand, require some initial knowledge and documentation, but they are rarely directly measureable in an ROI calculation. In fact, for many organizations, attempting to measure the cost of these chores is percieved as more expensive than actually doing the chores themselves.
Most IT services will include both core and chore tasks. When creating an IT service management model, it helps to break down what proportion of tasks are core vs. chore within each service.
Every provider of IT managed services builds a chart like this, in some form, to understand the cost of delivering services to clients and what to invest in. What organizations that are not in the business of technology services need to do is understand the cost to their organization in delivering these services. For example: Use this chart to assess the value of core and chore in your own organization.
Now that you have performed this exercise, the next step is to make a decision. Does your current 5-headed IT person have the ability to deliver all of the value you have assigned to each service? Can you take the existing value they deliver and improve the ROI by investing in them to support the core of the business? You can use this chart to understand the cost of your “chores” when selecting a managed services provider. Do they understand the principle here? Can they provide experts in each area, or do they, too, have a 5-headed IT guy?
Nimsoft customer Bob Deasy is the Chief Strategist at Lead I.T. Consulting. Bob brings a thorough knowledge of business strategy to Lead I.T. He understands how business leaders think because he is one – Bob spent more than 20 years as an executive in the high-technology sector, working for organizations such as Intel, Sequent, Mentor Graphics, Floating Point Systems and the U.S. Military. Follow Bob online via Twitter and Linkedin.
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