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Service Management - An Epic Evolution

By Wilhelm Hamman The utility or on-demand computing phenomenon has been great cause for IT industry excitement in recent months. And although some believe it's yet another vendor created market, I believe it might be an indication of things to come.
Aug 22, 2004

ITSM Watch Staff


By Wilhelm Hamman

The utility or on-demand computing phenomenon has been great cause for IT industry excitement in recent months. And although some believe it's yet another vendor created market, I believe it might be an indication of things to come.

Whichever way you look at it, we operate in a disruptive age, where we are tested on all things we hold dear, and especially the strategies we use to run our business.

On-demand computing promises IT on demand, with the emphasis on demand. In layman's terms, what will be our products, what will be the demand for it and will we be capable of managing this demand? With this in mind we have seen the evolution of IT service management. Fortunately, we're not starting from scratch.

Indeed, we have the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) standard to help us with processing, and the biggest and most epic evolution of IT service management, the people.

Author Tom Peters speaks quite angrily in his book, "Re-imaging! - business excellence in a disruptive age" about the barriers of innovation we have created in our organizations. It is all about control, and this is especially applicable to IT in business today.

    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." --General Eric Shinseki, chief of Staff, U.S. Army

Peters also continues by exploring the concept of a PSF (professional service firm). He claims that the future success of organizations starts with individuals and departments acting as a PSF. He presented the following generic PSF model, which is broadly applicable to departments such as finance, logistics, engineering and even HR.

There are four basic building blocks:

  1. Product-ize it
    Translate every "departmental" activity into a discrete WWPF (Work Worth Paying For) "product." If what you do doesn't add value to your organization, stop doing it!  
  2. Web-ify it
    Put all of your products on the web. Be brave, and display it to the world and your company  
  3. If it ain't great outsource it
    If you are not (demonstrably) great at it, hand it over to somebody that is. Stick to what you are great at doing.
  4. If it is great, celebrate it
    Whatever remains, becomes a "Center of Global Excellence." Hold on dearly to what you are good at.

This thinking is not confined to IT or HR. At Iscor, South Africa's largest steel manufacturer, I volunteered to assess whether the Engineering Department falls inline with the Business Excellence Model of South Africa (BESA). A critical issue derived from the assessment was the inability to think along the services model and a lack of entrepreneurship in management.

Indeed, I have dealt with multiple scenarios regarding the years-old question of "what's the value of this investment." I have built up a generous pool of knowledge on the evolution of the typical IT department, and it is always the same; an inability to move to a service concept and managing IT demand.

The role of management
Managing is never easy, but it is the best place to be. The transformation of IT business as we know it is not solely about the vendors, the tools or boring long planning sessions. It's about a fresh new management style.

We need entrepreneurs focusing on enabling the new, laying the foundation for transformation and fighting the battles for the brilliant men and women that produce extraordinary products and services in the IT department today.

Forget the old MBA models generated for the industrial age, and except the new thinking engulfing our age. It's the business of change, innovation, young people, new technology and great products and services.

My list to IT service Management success:

  • PSF
  • ITIL (engineered for your use)
  • New management style
  • Change Management
  • New technology innovation
  • Weird ideas incubation; and
  • Read: All the new age models for managing technology and change-drop the old.

Wilhelm Hamman is a business technologist and principle consultant for Computer Associates Africa (based in South Africa) focusing on business development for the company's infrastructure management solutions.

His career with CA includes extensive working experience with all the major outsourcers and top banking and industrial clients on infrastructure management strategies and solution design covering enterprise management, security and storage. Hamman is an ITIL foundation certified professional and has also represented CA Africa at various international conferences on topics ranging from services management in banking, service desk strategies and regulation in banking (Basel II).


Hamman has an Electrical Engineering degree (B.Eng Electric and Electronic) and Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

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