IT is going the way of advertising; it is all about consumerization—personalized services that are all about the client/customer. Good IT service combines technical knowledge and the ability to receive this knowledge at any time.
The TV show “Mad Men” depicts advertising as an industry that tells people what they want, but anyone who has been online in the past 5+ years will know that this is not how (effective) advertising is done anymore. It is all about the consumer. It is about what the consumer wants and how they want it and if they don’t get what they want, the consumer goes somewhere else.
This is very similar to where the IT industry is headed. Customers used to accept what service they got and if they were on the phone for hours, they just dealt with it. Today, they know IT can do better.
Today, consumers expect what is being called “IT-as-a-service (ITaaS),” “24/7” or “always-on” IT service. They want to make a call any time of day or night and get their problem fixed quickly. The difference between advertising and IT is that a frustrated employee can’t turn to a competitor to fix their problem; they will do something much worse. If you are not providing quality, around-the-clock IT support, your employees are going to turn to the internet to solve their problems and likely compromise the safety and security of their devices in the process. In many cases, you are working with two audiences: your employees and your customers.
Benefits of ITaaS
When done correctly, ITaaS can:
- Increase IT productivity resulting from automated and proactive delivery of services
- Increase user satisfaction through consumer-like interaction with IT
- Improve security through context-aware service delivery
Create better alignment of IT with business goals
What is IT-as-a-service (ITaaS)?
ITaaS is not a new concept, but it is not common enough to have a standard definition. The best, albeit generic, description we could find was in a blog post from BMC:
“A service oriented approach to the consumption, organization and delivery of information technology such that all details of the service are abstracted from the business consumer except the service’s: function, capacity, cost and agreed level of performance.”
This is the best definition because of one key phrase: service oriented. You will only achieve the benefits of ITaaS if your employees are willing to use it. So whether you create an IT helpdesk, phone service, website or hire an ITaaS company, you need to customize the service to your company and employees’ needs.
How to customize ITaaS
Customizing and implementing an ITaaS system at your company is becoming a necessity, but it is not going to happen overnight. IT consulting company Sovereign Systems suggests you first implement a pilot program and be willing to grow and change throughout the process. Here are a few of the best practices for an ITaaS program as suggested by Sovereign Systems:
- Use a phased approach; do not wait until the end result is clear.
- Pick a friendly group of users for the Pilot; Dev/QA users and internal IT are excellent resources.
- Keep in mind that service catalog and the initial self-service portal will grow and change as the pilot progresses and new groups are added.
- Make sure IT remains the central control point of the pilot – acting as the ITaaS brokers and administrators.
- Expect automation in the pilot to expose the need for more automation.
- Document risks, costs and successes and socialize within your organization.
- Address organizational alignment challenges that may be exposed during the pilot.
Setting up an ITaaS program at your company is no easy task, but it is much easier (and cheaper!) to set up this system than to deal with the consequences frustrated employees or customers.
Do you have an ITaaS program at your company? We’d love to hear about your successes or challenges, below!