So You Want To Transition As A Service Provider - a 12 Point Service Management Checklist
More than one large government organisation is looking to transition themselves from a narrow inward focus to a new role of an IT service provider. Without exception these transformation projects carry high risk, and in the government world that immediately means high visibility too, creating a perfect storm of risk if not managed well.
The nuts and bolts of the technology are usually in very good hands: the servers, the database, the applications, the network, the desktop and end user devices - the tech transition itself can be tested, piloted, corrected and implemented. This is not where some of the real risk resides.
There is real danger is when you overlook service management. As someone said at the recent ITx Conference "Imagine doing an engine transplant while the aircraft is still in flight".
Having done this before, there are some simple checkpoints to consider from a service management point of view.
- Start with the overall key guiding principle. In government departments this may be something like the Digital Transformation Strategy - this is a key input document or artefact
- Look at the total technology landscape. This is usually contained in the overall Enterprise Architecture - key input document or artefact
- Identify the technology components that are going to change. It might be the infrastructure, the database, the applications, or even the network, or end user devices; this should be in the high level technology road-map - key input document or artefact
- With a little bit of luck, a programme has been set up and it has broken this down into individual projects, each dealing with one aspect of the technical change - key input document or artefact
- A key part of this is drawing up a matrix outlining when each technology component will be changed for which customer or business - input for project planning
- From a business perspective, you may be moving to the cloud, changing suppliers, outsourcing, multi-sourcing, in-sourcing and/or positioning yourself as a supplier of IT services to others in the sector. It doesn't matter which, all of these have Service Management implications that need to be considered, and form the high level requirements - input for service design
- While it's common for every project to have granular technical work-streams, the following should be also be added as over-arching work-streams:
- commercial, legal and procurement
- certification, accreditation, risk and security
- service management tools
- communications and cultural change
- From a Service Management perspective, translate the overall digital transformation strategy into a high level Service Management strategy. Doing so is going to help inform the high level service model - your key output
- Using any number of frameworks and best practices, and my preference is to use TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework), look at the "as is" and in collaboration with your internal and external stakeholders define the "to be" Service Management model - another key output
- To inform the Service Management Project Plan, use the high level technology road map and the program or project plan. This will ensure that service management related cut-overs are locked and synchronised with the technology and/or partner and/or business changes - this output completes the puzzle
- The steps above are very much in line with GEA-NZ which I would use as a guide. GEA-NZ also recommends "sprints" and perhaps you could use it to design and implement each ITIL process.
- With respect to transitioning, my preferred approach is to gradually wind down support for the old service on the old model and old partner(s) over a period of time and all new services supported by the new model and new partner(s); piloting or running in parallel where one can - as opposed to a big bang cutover.
Transitioning to becoming a service provider is a big step with some scary risks, and usually people have it in hand but the golden rule is to remember your end user. They're the ones who are going to feel the smoothness or roughness of this transition, so make sure your service management is damn near perfect.
Sunit is a Wellington based IT Service Management Consultant and author of the published book 'Strategic Lean Service". He's a keen mentor to the start up community and while not at work, can be found hitting the highways and open roads on his Royal Enfield Bullet motorbike. Connect with Sunit on LinkedIn.
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