A three-point test to assess the usefulness of your Business Services

IT/Technology groups too often spend weeks or months of time designing Business Services and modeling their costs only to have them complicate and confuse the business, rather than making the conversations easier.

Here is a simple test to see if you have identified the Business Services that your internal customers need:

  1. Are your Business Services the things that your customers directly use and interact with in the course of their daily work? If you are a core infrastructure group, your customers are other groups inside of IT (like Application support groups) and they really are consuming Servers and Storage to do their jobs. For IT as a whole, your internal customers are using things like a warehouse management system, a plant floor machine interface, SAP, Peoplesoft, Workday, Tableau or the laptop you provided them with – not Servers and Storage directly. Those services they consume and have control over are Business Services.
  2. Do your Business Services have units (and unit rates) that are actionable levers for your customers? You might not have calculated the rates yet, but as you define those services, make sure the units you define are the actual ways that the business can consume and measure as part of their work. If you create an SAP Business Service, but you are going to measure it in units of compute cycles consumed, you have a broken service. Your SAP admins might have installed a nifty dashboard, or may be using the ST06 transaction to collect information on compute or memory cycles. They might even be willing to give you that information in a report you could leverage each month to calculate bills. STOP before you get that far.

Just because you have data available and have tools that are capable of building intricate, complex models does not mean that you should.

Your end users do not have visibility into how much CPU or memory they are using when they process a transaction or run a report. Even more importantly, they may not have the option to decide NOT to run it- it may be mandated by business processes. For standard operational use, the actionable lever they have is at the level of licenses assigned. Charging them for a service in units they have no visibility to and cannot control will only cause more frustration in your conversations.

3. Do your customers have to order many different things to get one task accomplished? It is well documented that having too many options is worse than having none at all. There is even a name for this: Overchoice. If every time a manager has to order a computer they have to order the type of computer, with the type of keyboard and the type of mouse and the type of monitor (and maybe a memory configuration, hard drive storage and software……) You have committed the consumer sin of Overchoice. Your services should be standardized at the level of consumption with variety to support the work people need to do, without frustrating them when they go to order.

So how do your services stack up? Do you have services that make life easy for IT or have you refined your Business Services so that they solve Business problems?

Is it time to revisit your service catalog? We can help.

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