SERVQUAL, CMMI, Six Sigma, and ITIL suggest that larger gaps indicate less quality and utility to customers. These gaps are potential opportunities for improvement.
Selecting and Justifying
Here is where the rubber meets the road for BSM. We’ve defined our services, ranked them based on business value, conducted gap analysis to identify shortcomings, and assembled a list of activities we could be working on. This leads to the next question: Where do we begin?
Assuming we subscribe to the Theory of Constraints as suggested by PMBOK, PRINCE2, COBIT and other management best practices, we should allocate resources to deployment or improvement of high value services while drawing resources away from low value services. If we combine the gap analysis data, service ranking data (based on business value), and the service hierarchy, relationships between gaps and services will emerge. We can now focus our limited resources on deploying new services, or improving existing services, that have high business value and base these decisions on data obtained from the business and customer.
The Benefits of BSM
There are many near and long term benefits of successful BSM. The most immediate is its role as mechanism for communicating IT strategy and resource allocation in non-technical business terms. This helps IT departments and service providers move beyond the lingering image of a cost center. BSM facilitates productive, business oriented dialogue, and provides tangible evidence of business alignment. With BSM real business/IT alignment becomes achievable and measurable.
Successful BSM also facilitates objective demand management for IT program management offices and project managers by working with customers to jointly assess the business value of their requests and differentiate between needs and wants. We begin to see that just because a gap exists, or a request is made, doesn’t necessarily mean resources are justified.
Sometimes “good enough” is perfect. From a business value and financial perspective, it becomes apparent that not every gap is worth fixing, and not every quick win is worth winning. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. A more subtle benefit of BSM is as a mechanism for objectively re-allocating scarce resources in down economic cycles by drawing them away from low value services and doing so in a manner that doesn’t alienate customers.
BSM represents a shift away from IT’s past role as a purely technical operation, to one of partnership with the business and customers. Those who are successful at BSM may undergo a transition from IT managers who support business customers to a trusted business partner who understands how to maximize the business value of technology resources.
Shane Deay is the president, CEO, and co-founder of CourseSeeker. Prior to CourseSeeker, Shane was the founder of Avant Corporation which specializes in ITSM education and consulting services. He is also a co-founder of The National Association for Business Service Management. With over 17 years of IT experience, Shane began his career as an applications/database programmer in the financial services industry with progressive shifts towards operations management consulting roles for various industries including telecomm and hospitality.