And that was itSMFnz 2015, a.k.a the New Zealand National IT service management conference.
One of the most enlightening topics for me was a panel discussion on Stakeholder Engagement and I will explain why in just a minute.
In my own presentation I thought I had stuck my neck out by accusing the ITSM community of not being able to communicate the business value ITSM delivers to the wider management team. This covers two points: the first is understanding the business value that ITSM enables and the second is to then make it relevant to stakeholders for them to understand and agree.
My background is in selling application development and consulting, so the desired business outcome has always been a clear goal of any engagement. In suggesting ITSM needs to be able to communicate business value I mean increase revenue, improve customer satisfaction, ensure compliance or deliver a new service.
One of my clients recently got a significant business case signed off with the business driver being meeting contracted service levels to customers. This has to be an ideal business justification for an investment in the operational maturity that IT Service Management brings.
A powerful tool we have used is a business service catalogue. This document defines the services the business expects, or even better, the service "paying" customers expect and to what service level they expect it. At the same time it also defines the enabling systems, people and third party service providers.
This linear approach very quickly identifies who needs to do what and to what service level to meet client and business expectations. If you can't meet those expectations then at least you can have a grown up conversation about the consequences of not investing.
Where IT Service Managers can align this business value with ITSM functions they are seen to be adding value not just cost and red tape. They also get budget signed off. And bigger budgets at that.
Now to that panel discussion on stakeholder engagement. Owen McCall made a big statement that when he was a CIO: to be of interest anyone presenting to him had to be of relevance.
To him, ITSM wasn't relevant as it’s the outcome not the process that is of value. Not being of relevance diminishes the perceived value that ITSM delivers and so the perception of the value that IT Ops Management delivers. By lacking commercial acumen they failed to identify the business value they delivered and so lacked credibility with the senior management team.
So, can you communicate to your peers the business value that you enable? If you can't, then call me.