Why "IT Service Delivery and Management" should be an Academic Discipline

IT Service Delivery is where "the rubber hits the road". Without sufficiently capable and reliable IT infrastructure every other piece of the IT equation - Architecture and Design, Business Analysis, Project Management, Software Engineering, Software Maintenance, Information Management, Data Modelling. ... - becomes irrelevant. All other effort is wasted is the services don't run for the users.

All the potential benefits of IT, the 'cognitive amplifier' effects and leveraging people's skills and experience, rely on the delivery of IT Services.

Where is the academic discipline that:

  • Defines IT Service Delivery (and it's OAM components - Operations, Administration and Maintenance)
  • Provides a framework to compare and audit the performance of IT Service Delivery in an organisation to benchmarks relative for the industry.

  • Defines absolute and relative performance of individuals, teams and IT organisations.
  • Defines and explores performance, effectiveness, utilisation and 'service benefit conversion' metrics?

If the goal of IT/IS is to "deliver a business benefit" - but the benefits aren't trivially measurable, the deep knowledge/experience of the discipline of Marketing can be brought to bear. The first step in every project is to define 'the desired benefit', how it will be measured and reported, and the break-even or cancel point.

The academic discipline that informs practitioners, management and the profession on how to actually realise the benefits of IT/IS systems in practice.

ITIL and ISO 20,000

"ITIL" (IT Infrastructure Library) was first formulated in 1989 by the UK OGC (Office of Govt. Computing) to provide a common language and framework or conceptual model for IT Operations (now 'service management') - necessary for the process of tendering and outsourcing.

In 1999 it was re-released ('version 2') and new books written.

Mid-2007 sees the release of 'version 3' - another rethink and rewrite.

In 2000 ITIL spawned a British Standard, BS15000, revised and updated in 2002. In Dec 2005 BS15000 was adopted internationally as IEC/ISO20,000. It sits alongside "Information Security Management" ISO17799 [formerly BS7799:2002] and "Information Security" ISO27001. BS25999 address "Business Continuity".

Forrester Research in early 2007 reports (in "CIOs: Reduce Cost By Scoring Applications" by Phil Murphy) that 'IT Service Delivery' (Forrester calls it "lights on" operations and maintenance) is accounting for a rising percentage of IT budgets. Referenced in "Maintenance Pointers".

Reasons for a discipline of IT Service Delivery and Management

  • The Forrester survey of October 2006 reports IT Service Delivery consumes 80% of more of IT budgets - up from 60-65% ten years ago.
  • 100% of the User Utilisation of IT Software, Systems and Services is mediated by Service Delivery. It's where "the rubber hits the road".

  • IT is useful in business because it's a cognitive amplifier - it amplifies the amount of useful work that people can perform/process. IT provides "cheaper, better, faster, more, consistent/correct".
  • Business and Government are now dependent on their IT. We've crossed the event horizon where [in the 'developed' world] it's possible to resile from IT systems.
  • IT is arguably still the greatest single point of leverage [staff effectiveness amplifier] available to organisations.
  • Service Delivery is the anchor point for "What Value does IT Deliver?"

Where the 'IT Services' discipline belongs

There are two requirements for a faculty teaching 'IT Services' or 'IT Service Management'

  • Business and Management focus, and
  • Ready access to large, complex "IT Services" installations
Traditional computing and IT faculties are focussed on the internal technical aspects of computing. 'IT Services and Management' is about delivering and realising Business Benefits - the managerial focus. The necessary disciplines and knowledge/expertise already exist in Business/Commerce/Management Schools - and are somewhat foreign to traditional CS/ISE/IT Schools.

Canberra, accounting for 20% of the IT expenditure in Australia, is well placed to initiate 'IT Service Delivery and Management' in this country.

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