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The Importance of Policy Management

Jul 30, 2009

Phara McLachlan

Creating awareness of new policies and procedures is not enough. People hate change. However, if you can build awareness, show the true value of the new system(s) and obtain buy-in, the future will look rosy again. There will also be less criticism when the new standards are in place. Some possible activities/tools that can be leveraged are: employee newsletters, email announcements, town hall-style meetings or other employee functions, employee bulletin boards, and involvement in planning sessions.

When policies and procedures are nearly complete and after the internal awareness campaign has taken place, an aggressive education or training program across the enterprise would serve as a platform to decrease any issues that may arise in the future. Some possible activities/tools that can be leverage are brown bag lunches, training sessions, and ongoing education.

Change is the nature of any company; whether it’s a promotion or inter-office or group personnel moves or new employees. Similarly, policies also change over time. Therefore, an ongoing effort to keep employees aware of those changes, indoctrinate new employees of existing policies, or reinforce them with current employees is important.

In terms of ITSM, creating awareness and training staff on the systems are crucial. The basis of ITSM centers around giving good customer service and the customers, in this case, are usually internal. The focus is to improve the internal process in order to be more efficient for the company’s external customers. If employees are unaware of what service support or service delivery is available to them and how to access it, having policies and procedures in place is pointless.

Financial Benefits

When ITSM is backed by a solid policy that is properly enforced, there are a number of benefits that can be measured and translated to financial benefits.

  • Cost of change implementation is significantly reduced with minimal impact on the business.
  • Recurrent incident or process failures can be identified quickly and reduced or eliminated, resulting in significant cost savings over time.
  • Maintenance contracts for vendors (both hardware and software) can be reduced or even cancelled, saving large, multi-national organizations millions of dollars annually.
  • Drastically improved efficiencies among IT staff and employees can be achieved.
  • Ability to adapt to new requirements and market developments is enhanced.
  • Services will not be over-engineered, but designed accordingly to meet specific needs.
  • Right-sized service expenditures that can be forecasted accurately year-over-year.

With the ever-changing landscape of business, policies are particularly meaningful today. Case and point, the three major ratings agencies―S&P, Fitch and Moody’s―will soon likely have additional regulations added to the industry. If and when new federal regulations are enacted, the internal policies will need to be revised or completely revamped quickly. If there is no structure within the companies to do this, there is a danger of significantly increased risk due to significant compliance gaps. Companies like the ratings agencies that rely on people and their expertise to deliver a product or service and have to follow federal regulations and other guidelines, need to have policies and ITSM to boost employee efficiency and maintain compliance.

Phara E. McLachlan is the president and CEO of Animus Solutions, Inc., a management and IT consulting firm based in Tampa, FL. Focused on developing solutions, engaging people who implement them, and creating a plan that fits from top to bottom for strategy, compliance and results, Phara brings a wealth of experience to the company and her partners.