Service Management 

How mobility is changing the game of change management

Mobility is raising business’ expectations of the service management professional to new heights.

During an event in a London hotel recently, I found myself in the unfortunate position of needing to call for assistance with Internet access. As a self-proclaimed “geek” I would rather “self-resolve”. In this case, I was constantly swapping one IP connection for another as I moved about the hotel, and I noticed that I needed to login again and again. I called the service desk operator who asked me how many connections I needed. I replied with the number “five” and was quickly given an “unlimited” code, as according to their records I was already at five, yet I was only dealing with a single device that was still not connected!

That incident reminded me of the challenges of change management within IT growth and the exploding number of mobile devices running applications. The conundrum for most IT service management organizations is that these mobile apps more often than not bypass the IT infrastructure and our service management processes, yet users are expecting us to provide support as if we “owned and ran the service”. In short, mobility is accelerating business expectations of the service management professional like never before.

The app update mentality

Think about the latest app you added to your smartphone. That app evolves in frequent updates, almost daily in some cases, and the consumer thinks little about the update process (in fact many, like myself, set them to auto install). Reading the list of enhancements on any given app update, it usually starts with a detailed roster of bug fixes. It’s all driving a new attitude and expectation around service, as should an app fail, the user anticipates that an update will be available in a few days. If not, they will turn, as I usually do, to an alternative product if it’s a convenience or productivity issue.

Working in the service management world over the last decade, I know that many of my peers and I have been maniacally focused on the performance, availability, quality and reliability of systems that were often buggy and failed regularly. To resolve what some called the “traditional operations problem”, we implemented highly structured and rigorous systems using frameworks such as ITIL for Incident, Problem, Change, and Release Management, and these have worked well with major changes across organizations. For instance, we removed developers’ access to production systems, grouped changes into releases that were only implemented within specified change windows, and “de-risked” everything – almost to the point of organizational paralysis.

But don’t forget the back end

Today, the delivery of IT-enabled business is quite consistent in quality and availability. The new generation of savvy business professionals is leveraging technology as a major disruptive weapon, but in an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary way. Yet we still have back-end systems that our business depends on for day-to-day functioning, and these must be effectively managed to ensure not just availability, but more importantly the integrity of the information and the business processes they support.

Clearly, all change is not created equal, and the fault of many IT organizations is that we have been treating it that way. Therefore, the traditional service management approach must evolve from a scenario where all change is equal to one that is flexible, agile and better meets rapidly changing business expectations.

What do you think? If you’re at the HDI 2015 show, we’re sponsoring and exhibiting in booth 315. Stop by and say hello!


Robert Stroud is VP of innovation and strategy for IT Business Management at CA Technologies.…

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