Demystifying IT Shared Services & Service Providers to Ensure Service Accountability

Recently I was reflecting on our solution overview on service accountability and thinking about what it means to be a service provider. ServiceNow® users may have observed how the company is pushing their “everything as a service” mantra, arguing that every department within an organization is essentially a service provider. Marketing provides service to Sales, HR provides service to employees, and so on. However, the broader issue is that the concept of a service provider can often get complicated quickly, leaving IT organizations to mull over what provider can help (or harm) which process and with what IT shared services.

The interesting part is when we dive a bit deeper into service providers within IT, there are names we think of immediately: Infosys, Accenture, HCL, Wipro, ServiceNow. Yet there are also combinations of multiple providers behind services such as mobile pricing tools and supply chain applications — whose collective accountability isn’t easily defined. Of course all of this makes it difficult for IT to package these providers into a complete service and still provide the quality of service that internal and external teams need to run their business or organizational function.

So what are the different types of service providers that IT deals with?

Vendors and Outsourced Service Providers

Of course there are the Infosys and HCL power players of the world — brought in to help offload Tier 1 support from IT teams and improve efficiencies and CSAT while driving down operational cost. While great resources, these providers are only as good as your incident and task management processes allow. Your team must bolster knowledge management, categorizations, and processes to make the most of such providers. But where do you start and which lever can you pull to make the most impact? How do you make adjustments quickly before customers complain and point the finger at their in-house IT organization (i.e. you)?

SaaS Providers Like ServiceNow, Numerify, Workday, and Others

Software continues to consume the world, and getting access to cloud-based applications can be as easy as a credit card swipe. Other systems are a bit more complicated to get up and running, but delivery times and the complexity of individual applications have dropped dramatically. Getting ROI within days is expected, and zero downtime is the norm. It can be easy to point fingers at your SaaS provider when things go wrong or don’t turn out as expected.

But what if you have multiple SaaS providers connected to form a business service? Perhaps those SaaS applications are integrated by yet another middleware provider? Now throw in an on-premise connection and you have chaos. Where do you look first when issues arise? How do you determine accountability?

Internal Technology Service Providers and IT Shared Services

Surely you’ve worked with the “network team” or “security team” on projects within your organization. These folks own specific, IT shared services that everyone uses to ensure their application remains connected and secure. Most of the time these providers are also using service providers of their own to deliver what’s needed for the business. This can become an extremely complex web of services — forcing IT to unravel these connected service providers to identify the root cause of issues and isolate areas where improvements can take hold.

What All of This Means for Your IT Organization

The IT landscape continues to change considerably, and these changes seem only to be accelerating. IT has gone from a builder of technology to a broker of interconnected business services. In today’s world IT ownership focuses increasingly on connectivity, integrations, and the relationships with service providers. Luckily there are systems of record like ServiceNow and others for call center, SDLC, project management, and IT asset that allow IT to store the data necessary to assess performance and availability. These systems also enable IT to drive accountability with each and every provider. But having these data sources locked in silos will keep IT from driving the business forward and delivering the five-star service experience that their customers demand.

Check out the webinar to learn more about how Numerify Business Analytics can help increase service accountability for your organization.

[Photo credit: Flickr.]

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