A New Language

There is a shifting language within IT departments.  In the past IT Support used to be about how we reactively fix IT when its broken.  IT departments have grown up though in the last 10 years and we increasing talk about IT as a collection of Services rather than just technology.

A theme I will refer to throughout all of these ITSM articles will be that IT does not just provide technical solutions, it provides Business Solutions.

Each “Service” that IT provides the business such as HR, Payroll, Messaging all provide a “Business Value”.  In Healthcare the Business value is all about keeping people healthy and alive.  In Local Authorities it is about providing access to citizen data and ensuring that our citizens are provided the best possible experience.  In the Private sector IT Services are more often aligned to making sure that the business can trade, that the business can maximise profits and keep its competitive edge ahead of the competition.

This is relatively new language for IT.  Many departments I have visited have often not understood the relationship between a server fail and what impact that has on the wider business.

IT Service Management has evolved.  With this evolving we have not just changed the language that IT departments use, but we have also fundamentally changed the approach we take.

Step One: Identify Your Services

The first step any organisation needs to take is to understand what services they provide. 

When I workshop this with customers I usually start with a blank whiteboard and look to define:

  • Business Objectives
  • IT Objectives

I then look to list out all of the “Services” that IT provides.  These may be known as “applications” or in some cases “Servers”, “databases” or even “Teams”.  Looking to understand these at the highest level will identify also the Business Value that that each service delivers.

Step Two: Categorisation: Business Impact Assessments

Which services do we put most effort into providing?

If defining Services is step one, then defining criticality needs to be Step Two.  Categorisationwill vary from sector to sector. 
Business Impact Assessments need to categorise how important each service is to the overall business objectives. For each service ask:

If this Service fails

  • Do people die?
  • Do we lose money?
  • Do we lose Market Share?
  • Do we lose reputation?
  • Do we lose our competitive advantage?

Scoring each service will identify which are the most important services we need to consider – as this process will form the basis of our roadmap for changing the way we deliver IT.

In the next article I will be describing how putting these ranked Services into a Service Catalogue will improve ITs relationship with the business.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please talk to your TAM or contact us.


Simon Hall

Operations Consultant

Service Management Practice, Premier Support UK.