Balance in Service Operation
In every organization the one constant is change. In operation all functions, processes and related activities have been design to deliver specific level services. These services deliver defined and agreed levels of utility and warranty and doing so while delivering an overall value to the business. The catch is this has to be done in an ever changing environment where requirements, deliverables and perceived value changes over time. Sometimes this change can be evolutionary or can take place at a very fast pace.
This forms a conflict between maintaining the status quo and adapting to changes in the business and technological environments. One of the key roles of service operation together with processes from the other stages of the life cycle is to deal with this tension between these ever changing priorities.
This struggle can be broken down into four general imbalances so that an IT organization can identify that they are experiencing an imbalance by leaning more towards one extreme or the other. At a high level it can provide the service provider with the opportunity to develop some guidelines on how to resolve these conflicts and move towards a best practice approach in resolving these discrepancies.
- Internal IT view vs. External business view
- Stability vs. Responsiveness
- Service quality vs. cost
- Reactive vs. proactive
The one we will focus on here is the most common conflict that IT organizations can find themselves in. This is between the external business view (IT is a set of services) and the internal IT view (IT is a set of technology components).
- The external view is the way services are experienced by the users and customers. They often have no concern about how the service is delivered or the technology used to deliver it. Their concerns lie with is the service available when I need it and does it enhance my ability to create the desired business outcomes.
- The internal view is the way IT components and systems are managed by diverse and sometimes competing teams and departments who are focused on the performance and availability of their particular systems.
It is crucial that we achieve a balance between these two views. Services must be design and delivered around customer’s needs and requirements. They must have the ability to create the desired business outcomes for the users and deliver necessary value to the customer. At the same time however it can be possible to compromise those needs and requirements by not planning and properly executing on how those services will be delivered.