Effective service governance provides clarity and improves consistency throughout the service lifecycle
As I discussed in my previous blog posts, establishing a good IT Service requires that you build a customer-centric and efficient high quality enterprise portfolio of services which are consistent and easy to navigate. Now let’s talk about governance and compliance, which are keys to successful IT Service Management.
Building governance from top to bottom
The first prerequisite for effectively defining and administering service governance is the establishment of a service governance council, from the top down. Done properly, good governance is a set of rules that actually makes things work better at the level where the work is being done, because those workers are enabled to make their own decisions, consistent with the governance.
Figure 1: Establishing a service governance council from the top down defines and administers service governance.
Clarity at the top translates into efficiency and consistency throughout the rest of the enterprise and the entire lifecycle. Without an efficient, consistent factory-like motion over the service lifecycle, you’ll achieve very limited success in designing and delivering effective services your customers will enjoy and appreciate.
If we are going to build a consistent service design process, we must get it in use across IT. Otherwise, what’s the point? That means we want people from the entire IT operation to imagine and build the services they want to offer. Is there another group of people to do this other than the people who understand the services they are delivering? No, there isn’t. But in order to do this we must give them the process and enable their learning and use of it.
UL-like seal of approval
How can we get it accomplished? The answer is through service governance, and applying an efficient "Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) like" approach. When a product has a UL label on it, it means that it went through rigorous testing and met standards established by stakeholders. It helps promote safety and informs consumers on the quality of products. But UL doesn’t come to your office and tell you how to build a toaster oven. Instead, they publish the testing standards, and publish guidance on how to best build to meet UL standards. A UL seal isn’t applicable to IT Service Management, but an approach that is thorough like UL can help ensure a consistent, efficient and high-quality Services.
Here’s how to go about it:
- First, provide the tools and guidance on how to create / draft the Service.
- Once the Service is drafted, submit it to Governance for review.
- Governance provides feedback on what still needs to be done to ensure compliance.
- Once corrected, the Service is approved (given a “UL” like seal of approval).
- Last, the Service is published in the service catalog.
This approach benefits all the parties. The providers, who understand the potential services customers are asking for are able to understand the rules and draft a service that is in compliance following the guidance / recommended best practices, without having to ask for approval every step of the way. The management, which might need to approve hundreds of services from dozens of internal providers, have an efficient, lightweight and consistent way of review and approval. The customers get an enterprise portfolio of consistent, high quality services – which they love!
Why is Governance and Compliance so important to us? Because poor, inconsistent services reflect poorly on the people who own the service catalog – us, not the people who created the services. This is because we are the owners of the service catalog. In the next blog post, I’ll talk about Ownership and Manageability. Stay tuned.
About the Author: Don Casson is CEO of Evergreen Systems, an IT consulting firm helping medium to enterprise public and private sector organizations to dramatically transform their IT operations. Don is a frequent writer, blogger and presenter, and has delivered over 50 webinars on topics in Service Management, including IT and shared services.