Let’s look at the first type of balance to be achieved in service operations. Internal IT view against External business view. You can see that the two ends of the spectrum are placed on a balance.
Internal IT view is management of systems and components by the IT organization. Some examples include management of servers, switches and desktops among others. In a typical IT organization you will have a number of teams working on IT aspects – like a team for managing servers, a team for networks, and a team of storage systems and so on.
Each IT team is made responsible for the management of their systems and up keep of components. The team’s focus is on system performance and availability. The internal IT view organization focuses on these individual elements rather than how they add up to deliver the service.
For example, in an email service, you have servers, applications, networks, desktops and laptops making up the entire service. A company that is internally focused will provide a list of responsibilities, activities and roles related to specific technology and teams. Whether the roles and responsibilities as carried out by the server team for example translates into meeting customer’s requirements is not a priority.
Here is a real life example. The KPI for a particular server is 99%. And, the customer’s requirement for email service availability is 99.9%. If the server goes down, the email service goes down with it. And, with a KPI of 99% for the server, the IT organization will underperform on the promises made to the customer.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have external business view which is the way IT services are seen by the users and customers. Examples are email, internet and file storage services among others.
An organization that is extremely focused on its external services rather than what is happening internally do not care about the technology that is being leveraged, the way the company is managed and the architecture that is employed. They end up making promises to the customer without knowing the ground reality of how they can achieve what is being asked of them.
For example, a customer asks for all priority incidents to be resolved within 2 hours. The customer is fair in asking whatever he wants, for all we know, he may ask for us to put a man on moon yet again. It is up to the IT organization to agree or disagree on this requirement – that is resolving all incidents within 2 hours.
An organization with extreme focus on the business will perhaps agree to this demand without checking with the team managers and practice heads whether implementing this requirement would be practical and possible.
To sum it up, an IT organization which is focused internally ends up not meeting the business needs and an IT organization that focuses externally under delivers on the promises made to the customer. An IT organization needs to be both internally as well as externally focused. They need to have one foot on both ends of the bridge. They need to understand the internal reality and also be customer focused to make the customer feel important and wanted. Today, you will find mature organizations with good management teams achieving this balance.