The headache of IT has always been the infrastructure, with IT
spending so much time focusing on infrastructure that there’s
been little time for services or innovation. That ratio is changing.
The service model is taking over: software-as-a-service, platform-
as-a-service, desktop-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service—
you name it. It’s all about service. In the future, IT will spend less
of its time handling infrastructure and more of its time managing
and enabling service relationships throughout the enterprise,
whether those relationships are between IT and their business
peers or between the dozens of service domains that exist inside
and outside of a company.
But in order to manage and enable those relationships, having
insight into its internal workings is critical. IT should have a firm
understanding of its own services (if only to be able to compare
them financially and operationally with other options). Those who
work in IT should become their own service engineers before they
can apply their service expertise to other service disciplines.
The problem is that IT spends much of its time helping every
other department implement systems to the detriment of its own:
project management, service desk and systems management
all tend to be fragmented and frustrating for everyone who
comes in contact with them. These systems contribute to IT fire
drills when they should be contributing to IT fire prevention. In
short, IT requires systems that help it manage IT. Only then can
it adequately—and even, in time, superlatively—extend the IT
service model to automate service processes for other internal
service domains within the enterprise, including HR, facilities,
legal, finance, operations, etc. This same model can also be
applied to service relationships that extend beyond the walls of
the enterprise to customers, providers, suppliers and partners.
Three IT transformations can help IT get its own house in order to
become the proactive partner of the business. By applying these
concepts, IT departments at major enterprises are changing the
way they engage with their business peers.
Transformation No. 1: Service Consolidation, Standardization,
The first transformation starts with getting
IT systems under control. That involves consolidating
fragmented and redundant service systems to standardize
operational processes for global usage. Just as ERP systems
brought finance, manufacturing, human resources and other
applications into a single system, IT needs its own single
system of record. Ideally, this “ERP for IT” uses one data
model, one code base, one set of APIs and one user interface
to give IT staff complete visibility into the business of IT.
Imagine a single window into everything relating to management:
the service portfolio, cost, governance, project portfolios and
reporting. Imagine a single window into operations: the service
catalog, planned changes, release schedules, incidents, software
development phases and service levels—and being able to
communicate about them in real time. Imagine a single window
into the infrastructure: the configuration management database,
automated discovery, asset management, orchestration of
automated workflow for cloud
and VM lifecycle management,and even a way to create
custom applications. As Peter Argumaniz, VP of tool and automation at
financial services firm AIG, noted at the user conference,
his company found itself with 2,000 management tools. It’s
already consolidated close to 100 service applications,
with more being moved onto the ServiceNow Platform
this year. “Now we have one system of record,” Argumaniz
said, adding that the platform has worked so well that the infrastructure and application
development teams are moving onto it, too.
A director of IT for a major chip manufacturer noted that his
company has used ServiceNow to consolidate 70 systems within
IT down to 40. “Each of our IT employees uses this platform to
make us more service-centric,” he said, “because as our CIO
says, when IT is mediocre, our enterprise is mediocre.”
Transformation No. 2: Consumerized Service Experience.
Once IT transforms the way it manages its internal workings, it
can turn to how it interacts with users. Users aren’t generally
keen on interacting with IT, because it is more often frustrating
than fruitful. Consumerization is the idea of delivering a
consumer-like service experience—making access to enterprise
systems as easy and intuitive as consumer applications such
as online banking, e-commerce or social media. In those
scenarios, when consumers have questions, they have a
multitude of options. They can get what they need through an
intuitive service catalog; they can search for answers using
keywords, engage in collaborative social streams and chat in
real time with a customer service representative.
NYSE-Euronext North America CIO Paul Cassell remembered
when he first came to the exchange, it was using a competing
trouble-ticket application. The traders on the floor hated it so
much, “they wouldn’t touch it—they would just call IT.” After the
exchange deployed ServiceNow, IT worked with the traders to
set up a system that was easier to use. “Now the traders enter
their requests from the floor, something they would never do
before,” says Cassell. The new system completely changed how
traders interact with IT, making IT more accessible and integral
to business efficiency.
Transformation No. 3: Service Automation
This may be the most important transformation of all: moving from manual,
time-intensive, resource-intensive activities to automated ones. Just as
IT spends too much time on infrastructure and too little time on
service, it tends to spend too much time on handling processes
manually and too little time on analyzing them to see what can be
automated. This is not a subterfuge designed to reduce numbers in
IT; it is a way to make IT more efficient and to redeploy staff away
from repetitive, mindless work toward more strategic capabilities.
It is an opportunity to systematize what IT does in such a way that
it can be done faster and more efficiently.
This kind of automation will drive a new level of efficiency in the
enterprise, enabling IT to scale the delivery of service to support
the overwhelming demands of the business. As consumerization
and self-service come together with automation, the future of
IT begins to unfold. Operational activities happen automatically
and correctly. Employees and IT beneficiaries receive faster
and more consistent service, while IT can scale service delivery
processes dramatically. Consumerization and self-service becomes
the backbone of the typical service experience. All
of this activity will be trackable and auditable.
Automating a business process also gives enterprises the
opportunity to rethink IT, to question why it’s done a certain way.
When Underwriters Laboratories started automating some of
its IT processes, it discovered that some of those processes
had been unchanged for decades. A typical change-request form had
90 fields; it took a long time to fill in, and the need for all those fields
wasn’t always obvious.
Alison Collop, director of global IT for Coca- Cola, uses ServiceNow to automate not only third-party access
management, serving thousands of customers, vendors, bottlers
and partners, but also its hardware and software provisioning.
“The systems used to be very fragmented, but now we have a
catalogue where we present applications,” she said. “It links into
the ServiceNow workflow for approvals.”
occurring in IT. Bob Melk, senior vice president of IDG Enterprise,
reported on the most recent results of CIO magazine’s “State of
the CIO” survey, noting that the percentage of CIOs who felt they
were perceived as a “service provider” dropped between 2011 and
2012. The percentage of those who thought they were perceived
as a “business peer” climbed 5 percent, while those who felt they
were perceived as a “cost center” dropped 6 percent.
Melk also noted other shifts in the way in CIOs’ priorities were
focused more now than in previous years on service rather than
maintenance. “Where CIOs once focused on cost, they’re looking at
growth. Where they once looked at efficiency, they’re now looking
at speed and customer satisfaction. They’ve moved from worrying
Cassell automated software delivery for his company’s
eight stock exchanges, which all used different bug tracking
systems. With ServiceNow, development, QA and project
management are all tied together, so that software delivery
can happen faster than ever before. “We can deliver hundreds
of new packages over a weekend, so that IT is no longer the
bottleneck for new features,” he said.
Sometimes the automation of processes doesn’t even have to
be IT related. In many cases, the ServiceNow application has
been adopted beyond IT. GE Energy sells, services and maintains
equipment for power generation, water process technology and
gas turbines. “We use ServiceNow as more than an IT service
platform,” said Reggie Acloque, information management leader.
“We’re using it to automate workflow processes of our engineering
team, which uses it to enter questions about servicing. We use it
to process claims as well. It’s transformed the way we operate.”