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HP Software's community for IT leaders // October 2013

How IT leaders shift in a service-driven era

Forrester analyst Glenn O’Donnell says “IT as we’ve known it is dead,” and the best CIOs understand their services from the user’s perspective.

Without argument, today’s IT is all about the ability to deliver services. Glenn O’Donnell, a principal analyst with Forrester Research, sees this in many of the leading IT organizations he deals with. “IT teams need to think in terms of their customers and ask: ‘What is an IT service, really?’ I ask people this all the time.”
End users are largely driving the transformation to what HP calls the new style of IT. O’Donnell, speaking in an executive video session at HP’s Sept. 2013 online event, Power to Change, said failure to understand what an IT service really entails is a key stumbling block for IT leaders.
“Sometimes I hear them say it’s a server, a network link—that’s not what we’re talking about,” he said. “Business users don’t care how you get there; they care about what they can accomplish with the technology you deliver.”
O’Donnell said he has been seeing a new era of IT management evolving.
“IT as we have known it is dead. We’re user-focused, and we’re moving to a more industrialized model—much more like we’ve seen during the Industrial Revolution.” He said CIOs must understand that there’s a supply chain associated with IT servers. That means IT may get bits and pieces of technology from other places and need to integrate them and broker a service, adding value as they integrate and deliver.
 “Service management needs to move to a higher level, and we’re starting to see this now,” O’Donnell said.  “Believe it or not, IT is starting to go out and talk to internal customers, and then develop a portfolio that meets their needs. This is an essential shift in behavior.”
A core IT job, he said, is to hide the complexity of technology from end users.
“The individual who uses technology doesn’t want or need to worry about how things work. They don’t care if you give them two soup cans tied together with a string, if it works,” he said. “IT’s job is to build a layer of insulation around technology so that users can do what matters most to them.”
O’Donnell stressed the need for IT leaders to lead the charge in getting their teams to focus on customer needs and preferences. “Look at things through the customer’s perspective. Not doing this has been our number one cardinal sin in the past. It’s what the ‘service’ in service delivery is all about. Once we look at things through the eyes of the customer, everything else will fall into place.”

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