Last Thursday I attended the Engage public sector forum run by Numara Software. Ian Osborne, Director, DTI/Intellect DTI gave a whirlwind tour on the current and future landscape of technologies, service based computing and the new wave of innovation – from companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM. He covered the move towards a Service Oriented Enterprise and distributed computing paradigms: distributed computing, grid computing, utility computing, the cloud, dynamic service provision, on demand scalability, SaaS and IT as a Service.
Ian also covered IT for sustainability and the role that IT has in reducing carbon emissions – we should stop wasting time and get on with it!
David Tidey, Assistant Chief Executive for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea brought us back to reality. He summarised the challenges that local government and their IT departments face today:
• More for less – the continual battle to respond to this challenge and the need to benchmark
• Managing data – massive data growth, demand for access and data quality
• Taming applications – enterprise vs. local needs, central vs. local, long term planning for business and IT application services
• Managing suppliers – made harder as the number of suppliers to local government is reducing and the greater need to join/share applications
• Professional development – its importance as the IT industry “grows up”
I was lucky enough to do a presentation with Yvonne Batchelor, about Service Birmingham’s journey to achieving ISO/IEC20000 certification. Yvonne is the Service Management Programme Manager for Service Birmingham that provides ICT services to Birmingham City Council. The council is the largest Council in Europe and its objective is to achieve cost savings of £1billion over the next ten years. Service Birmingham started in April 2006 with no consistent service management processes. It achieved certification within two years and one week (Easter got in the way!). The BSI committee that developed BS 15000, the precursor to ISO/IEC 20000, expected organisations to be able to achieve certification within two years, starting from scratch. Service Birmingham demonstrated that this is possible.
At the end of the presentation, one of the delegates asked a question, one that I am often asked. Are the requirements to achieve ISO/IEC 20000 certification too stringent for some government IT departments? Whilst I could understand, being asked this question a few years ago I now expect, as a tax payer, that a government IT department should implement good service management practices i.e. the requirements in ISO/IEC 20000. Projects should also use the ISO/IEC 20000 requirements to ensure that new or changed services can be delivered in accordance with the business and customer needs. Perhaps the key is to start on the journey rather than worrying about should we or shouldn’t we?
However, some people will always want to take small steps – “walk before you run”. This is where capability and process assessment models can help. As Jenny Dugmore covered in her blogs, (20 March and 3 April), we are learning from the work we are doing on process maturity for service management (ISO/IEC 155504 - Part 8), in parallel with the development of the second edition of ISO/IEC 20000. We are working with the IT systems engineering and software specialists from around the world to come to a consensus on the approach for capability and process assessment for IT service management. Some of the questions that kicked off a lively debate earlier this year in continual service improvement were:
• Are we improving the IT services to deliver what the business and customers need?
• Are we improving the service management processes?
• Are we improving the Service Management System?
• …or all of these?
• Can you in fact have one without the others?
As an organisation needs to be a legal entity to achieve certification for a management system standard like ISO/IEC 20000 is this sufficient for measuring services across enterprises? With the shift to the Service Oriented Enterprise we may need to look at alternative approaches to developing standards for IT services. What do you think?
Any feedback and comments are always welcome!