InterComms :: International Communications Project
  Intercomms Issue 23

FNT - when transparency matters logoIT Industrialization: Striking the balance between customers and infrastructure

InterComms talks to Patrick Büch, Head of Business Line Service Management, FNT, about current trends and challenges in Service Management and game changing concepts to approach them

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Patrick Büch, Head of Business Line Service Management, FNT
Patrick Büch, Head of Business Line Service Management, FNT

Patrick Büch heads the business line Service Management at FNT GmbH. Previously Patrick was responsible for Product Management and Marketing of the ARIS Enterprise Architecture Platform at IDS Scheer AG and Software AG. With more than 15 years of industry experience in Enterprise Architecture, Business Process Management and Business Service Management he is a frequent speaker and evangelist on these topics.

Q: If we look at the Service Management market today, we observe that more and more companies, regardless of whether they are a service provider or running a classic IT, are driving service management initiatives through the adaption of best practices and standard processes. What is in your opinion the next evolutionary step?
A: Today, the provisioning, monitoring and improvement of IT services through standardized processes and best practices is more and more established in service organizations. As a result of this companies have been able to realize significant cost savings and improved their organizational efficiency. Especially the adoption of best practice processes from the IT-Infrastructure-Library (ITIL®) played a role. But the focus was mainly on the processes of incident-, problem- and change-management. Now the emphasis is more and more on the service strategy and service design processes and the actual service delivered, more specifically the value the service delivers to the business process it supports. However the question is not only what business services should be offered and delivered, but also how they are created. As a matter of fact too often customers are treated like projects. As a result every service is designed from scratch and thus it is nearly impossible to realize scale effects and reuse in the IT infrastructure, not to mention the negative effects on delivery, support and other business processes.

Today’s big challenge is how to leverage customer orientation and infrastructure optimization at the same time. The answer can be found in the adoption of industrial concepts. In IT we need to move away from a project orientation towards a product orientation. In my opinion this will be the next big leap in service management.

Q: Where do you see the main challenge for companies in aligning customer requirements and infrastructure operation today? Can you give some examples?
A: The dilemma IT is facing today can be very well described with the Porter curve which documents the difference between the economy of scope and the economy of scale. According to Porter, market success can be achieved by concentrating on one business model, either scope or scale and not something in between. But this is where IT is positioned today. On one hand side IT needs to deliver solutions especially tailored and aligned to customer requirements. On the other hand side IT is forced to produce “scale” due to more and more hybrid and complex IT environments through an increased mix of standard IT, cloud services and outsourced components. Let’s have a look at airport operators. Operating an international airport is not only about planes, it is also about providing IT services to offices and shops of various companies, like for instance internet services, telephone services and managed applications. The IT of an airport operator is becoming a profit center which needs to be competitive on the market by providing customer oriented products to modest prices.

Q: How do these companies deal with these challenges? What does a solution look like?
A: First of all we need to focus on the entire end-to-end-process in service management, starting with the service strategy and service design phases which are not very present in most IT organizations, over offering and contracting to implementation, operation and billing. Additionally one of the biggest challenges today is that there is no common language defined and established along this end-to-end process. People are using the same terms to express different things. So we need a common methodology for the service design and service architecture which serves end-to-end and provides governance. In my opinion the methodology which addresses these challenges the best is the bE_Methode®. It is aligned with ITIL® and enables organizations to decompose IT services according to industrial concepts like modularization and standardization. With this very unique approach we are able to produce “scale” while delivering “scope” to meet customer requirements at the same time. This is comparable to the configuration (“scope”) and production (“scale”) of a car.

Q: That means the bE_Methode® is an approach to close the gap between customer needs and infrastructure operation, right?
A: That’s correct. The emphasis on the business services, the increasing importance of service strategy & design, the growing need for IT agility to leverage time-to-market and time-to-value can be seen as trend, which we address in providing a game changing solution based on the bE_Methode® and the corresponding software FNT ServicePlanet.

Q: What does that mean to the existing service management organization and the corresponding tools they are already using, like for example helpdesk systems, monitoring tools, ERP systems, and so on?
A: Introducing the bE_Methode® and FNT ServicePlanet means strengthened service design and service strategy processes. Consequently it has an influence on the organization as there need to be roles and responsibilities assigned to these processes. But there is no option. Cars are designed before sold and this is true for services as well. By establishing our solution the existing tools of the service management tool landscape can be used more efficiently and effectively in supporting the end-2end-process. What you have not defined properly in the beginning just gets more expensive in the end.

Q: Overall this sounds like a very promising approach, however the question automatically arises: How to start? What would be your recommendation?
A: Strengthen and emphasis on service design and strategy. It’s OK to have service operation in good shape, but the only chance to close the gap between customer needs and infrastructure operation is to start defining your product and service portfolio from the very beginning. Thereby it is crucial to decompose products and services into reusable and standardized parts to leverage industrial production in IT.

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