[CSG Spring 2010] Service Management – CIO Panel

The morning is all about service management topics. My notes are going to be pretty sketchy because I’m coordinating the workshop and giving several presentations, but I’ll do my best and put up the slides from my parts.

Klara (Chicago) notes that culture is key in trying to implement service management. Steve (Iowa) agrees. At Iowa they built lightweight service and project management frameworks because that’s what the culture would tolerate. It’s a trigger-based process. Different events are recognized by service managers or owners and then initiate a review of a service. They put a lot of accountability on the service owner – they have to bring the right metrics forward. The review process gives them a chance to have some oversight of those metrics.

Bill Clebsch (Stanford) – doesn’t like ITIL or anything that looks like it comes from the outside to tell the organization what to do. So tries to talk first about accountability – that’s how they brought time tracking into the organization. Before that they did metrics – “a star performer’s best friend”. Put up customer-facing metrics, work they did with MIT. That was foundational to moving culture to more of a performance orientation. They’re a big Remedy shop. Every help desk at the university runs through their Remedy. Often people’s only knowledge of the organization is the service desk, so that’s a good place to start. Now working on change management. Remedy is good if you want to drink the kool-aid. They started a service portfolio effort about three years ago. Budget cuts are the best friend for getting these things done – makes your own organization aware, and makes your clients aware that they can’t behave in aberrant ways. Setting ambitious goals is good.

Kerry (Carnegie-Mellon). In addition to culture, timing is key. Service portfolio effort started at CMU in the central IT organization when Joel first became CIO – didn’t understand what services were being provided. Was beginning to have success when an external advisory board visit – CMU was growing from being a start-up to a global enterprise. Changed the conversation. “Who is responsible for a service” was a hard question. Started answering by “whoever Kerry or Joel calls to fix it.”

Bill – every year do an extensive client survey, and scores have gone way up in recent years, as have metrics and employee surveys. Having the organization much more outwardly focused matters as much as the data. Sense of ownership is huge.

Klara – Chicago is not as mature, yet deans still want to give things up to IT.

Steve – the role of technology is changing, which makes people more willing to cede control of it to the central IT group. Bill – when things get boring or risky, hand off to central IT.

A question about the relationship of project management to services. At CMU the transition from project to service was difficult because they didn’t yet know how to declare a project done. They’re now paying a lot of attention to review of projects and transition to services. Klara – important to be mindful about how to operationalize a project – bring in the other stakeholders like service desk, operations, etc.

Question about how to decide to stop doing services – Steve- service reviews help, when utilization is declining and other alternatives exist, then there can be a project to shut down the service. Bill – have a dedicated service portfolio team that looks at what services should be brought up and shut down. They have actually shut down some services. Team is made up of service managers, some directors, some executive directors. We’re moving into an era of being more service brokers than providers, and will do less provisioning. That will require a different kind of service managers. They have a few people in the organization who are explicitly service managers, with no other role.

Question about cost of services. At Iowa they allocated all of the IT costs to services – it was a lot of work, but the data was very interesting and started good discussions. In the process of trying to automate that. Tension between being efficient and being able to invest to help research and teaching to be better.

Time tracking is essential to doing costs of services.

Critical to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Shel notes that Bell Labs decided to got to activity-based accounting and four years later the internal accounting department had grown to 450 people.

Shel – you have to make the judgement on what your allocation model is for given services. You may not make the perfect decision, but you need to decide.


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