Gauteng Business News

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CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Change Management - a Key Ingredient in Service Strategy


Recent Gauteng Business News

IT Service Management (ITSM) has a number of benefits: it provides organisations with the opportunity to improve the quality of their service, increase productivity and customer satisfaction, reduce costs and achieve operational excellence, and meet their information governance objectives.
However, there are many challenges around achieving these promised benefits.
Successful ITSM means knowing what to expect and how to overcome these hurdles. Marval SA draws on local and international experience to offer some insight and set you on the road to ITSM success.

Marval SA has worked with a number of local businesses across a variety of industries and also makes use of the best practices of international parent, Marval UK.

The challenges

Says Edward Carbutt, Executive Director at Marval SA, "Sometimes ITSM does not live up to expectations, with organisations being 'let down' by hidden costs, poor implementation, or a solution that may align in theory but does not meet the practical demands of the organisation's operations. ITSM is often regarded as a buzzword. In addition, there is little or no buy in from various levels within the organisastion. This resistance to change can radically impact the success of a sustainable ITSM implementation."

Making ITSM more successful begins with understanding the most common reasons for the failure of implementations. It's a case of understanding 'what not to do' and establishing how an implementation can avoid the pitfalls.

Key pitfalls include:

. insufficient understanding of business needs . weak corporate strategy which will lead to a weak business strategy . lack of executive commitment .
a 'gap' between business and IT . lack of structure . cultural resistance .
lack of sustainability

"All these factors need to be taken into consideration and any weaknesses shored up to enable proper strategic planning and change management," says Marval SA Business Strategist, Marco Roodt.

"However, a lack of true understanding of business needs leads to weak strategic planning and failure of the service strategy."

Research plays an important role in understanding as is performance, service components or processes. It's important to conduct research within and outside the organisation to understand objectively what is wrong inside the organisation and how external stakeholders, including clients, view the company.

An organisational audit delivers the necessary facts to work with, and makes strategic planning and planning for change easier, highlighting the 'what'
that is needed within the service strategy. It also addresses potential lack of executive commitment. Often, executives have their heads buried in a number of issues and can't see the wood for the trees. They thus resort to low level decision making and fire fighting.

In cases where a proper organisational audit was conducted senior executives immediately became interested in the issues they face and in how they needed to commit to resolving the issues that had arisen. It is key to 'face the facts'.

Implementing the ITSM solution is the next step.

Service strategy and change management

Organisational culture is shaped by ongoing organisational development, popularly known as change management. To ensure a successful service strategy one needs to consider all relevant elements highlighted above - including change management.
Roodt adds, "At lower levels in the organisation cultural resistance can present a challenge. Here the staff are used to doing things in a certain way and change does not come easily. A successful service strategy hinges on creating a corporate service culture where all, regardless of title, take pride in seeing the fruits of service par excellence and all buy in to the service strategy. Then, if something mars this pride, staff, regardless of their position, will take action to resolve the problem. If you can achieve this, you will have reached a total commitment at all levels."

Sustainability of the service strategy can be addressed by getting the financial planning right, but the human side of the equation also needs to be addressed. A clear organisational communication strategy addresses the 'human side' by constantly finding ways to keep staff informed and rewarded for excellent service delivery.

Factors for success

As ITSM is an ongoing 'live' initiative, bear in mind that processes and procedures need to be continually honed, keeping up with business changes and developments.

Carbutt advises, "To keep pace with this continual change, it is important to embark on a commercial reinvention strategy that is revisited on a regular basis. This means repositioning as well as communication of that change to affected parties. Couple this with a strong corporate business strategy and a well aligned organisational culture and your ITSM Service Strategy will be well on its way to success."

So when embarking on a service strategy, keep these considerations in mind - the execution, implementation and sustainability of the strategy will be significantly more successful.

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