Service management means many different things to different people. Many people tend to think of service management as a fancy euphemism for ITIL and think of incident, problem, change, etc. processes as ‘service management’. I think of it very differently and a couple of analogies come immediately to mind that illustrate the more profound importance of thinking in service management terms.
Service management can serve as a ‘Rosetta Stone’ between IT and the business, essentially translating all of the technical terminology used to run IT organizations on a daily basis, into terminology that business leaders can understand. Most technical people are familiar with the concept of different generations of programming languages and the inexorably evolution over time to third and fourth generation languages that provide progressively greater layers of abstraction from the bits and bytes that exist within our run libraries. Service management is maybe the third generation language that IT can used to talk to its business clients.
In prehistoric times(like the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s) IT would routinely go to its business clients and talk about its needs in terms of programmers, programming skills, hardware(e.g. servers, storage, etc.). That lingua franca gave way over time to buzz words like ERP and CRM and SCM systems – business leaders didn’t know much about the technological foundations of these systems, but the buzz words were a convenient way to shield them from the more elemental components that made up such systems.
Service management takes the dialogue one step further. It forces IT to talk in business terms, not IT jargon. A case in point: during a recent service management review with one of our internal clients at BMC we were reporting all of the standard IT metrics including response and remediation times for incidents of various severities, total Sev 1(outage) times, ticket aging times, etc. At one point during the review, our client stopped us and asked a simple question: ‘how many times did a transaction fail because of an IT problem? From his perspective, if an IT incident did not impact the successful completion of one of his financial transactions, it wasn’t a problem from a business perspective.
Third generation languages may not be easy to develop or master, but our business clients are ready, willing and able to assist us in building them!