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For IT Process Owners, A Bright Future

Nov 26, 2007

Michael LaChance

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In summary, process owners are accountable for design, implementation, compliance and continuous improvement of their process. It is fairly easy to achieve quick wins rolling out ITIL processes, but larger gains and long-lasting benefits accrue to organizations that actively manage the effectiveness of the process and look for improvement opportunities. Such involved and long-term commitment is crucial to effective process owners.

The best process owners are leaders who can negotiate on an equal footing across all the different service areas that will to be asked to participate in the new process. It’s important the process owners have the clout and authority to deal with political issues and break down strong silos or functional mindsets and otherwise assist in the larger ITSM transformation program.

Good process owners focus not just on the process, but also on the underlying technology supporting that process and especially on key performance indicators that measure effectiveness and compliance.

You Can't Outsource Accountability

Above all, process owners must be collaborative facilitators able to operate in evolving, sometimes ambiguous and likely highly matrixed organizational structures. The real sustainable value of ITIL results from maturing cross-process integration within the service lifecycle.

Many organizations are pursuing business process outsourcing and many IT organizations are sourcing or considering sourcing IT services. But it is not a best practice to source accountability for a business or IT process, especially when multiple service suppliers are employed. The role of process owners in these situations is even more critical to the success of the company. Process design, indoctrination, measurement and compliance across multiple organizations increase the challenges and risks and demand the best and brightest leaders the company can afford.

Process ownership is a significant career opportunity for mature and promising leaders in IT organizations. While we may not have aspired to be a process owner as a child or even throughout our career as IT professionals, given the increased commoditization of IT services, process ownership will be a key IT leadership role and a viable career path for many years to come.

Michael LaChance is vice president of IT Production Services for The Travelers Companies in Hartford, Conn. He can be reached at mblachan@travelers.com