• Review of: “Designing and Transforming IT Organizations”.
  • Publisher: TSO
  • ISBN: 9780117080744
  • Reviewer: Alexei Proskura, Security Strategy and GRC Adviser @ Auspicatus Consulting, Prague, Czech Republic

This book by Job ten Hagen sheds the light on the topic that often stays in the shadows when the IT management is discussed. While many books are written on the technical or procedural side of IT transformation in the organization, the topic of organizational transformation of the IT service itself is raised at best as the concept of “people make the difference”. This book is one of the very few that goes into details of how to plan for and build effective and efficient IT Service Management (ITSM) structure.

The book discusses processes, outlines roles and responsibilities in IT service management, and provides a series of frameworks that allow for systematic and holistic approach to ITSM. Designing and Transforming IT Organizations is the first book from a series that addresses common ITSM pitfalls. The six pitfalls defined in the very beginning are far too familiar for any IT practitioner and have been observed separately or combined in ITSM organizations across the world and in companies and corporations of different sizes. Those pitfalls, according to author, are:
– Neglected organizational structure during ITSM project implementation.
– Focusing on process output instead of business value, during ITSM project implementation.
– Limiting the project to only process based best practices.
– Responsibility conflicts arise between line and process management.
– Too many stakeholders in the project with too little ITSM implementation experience, missing role profiles.
– Evolutionary change in IT organization lacks a drastic approach.

The author walks the readers through the overall organizational principles of ITSM (Chapters 2-4), discusses the human factor and governance (Chapters 5-6), shows how an ITSM organization is designed and developed (Chapters 7-8), describes the approach to organizational change (Chapters 9) and, finally, provides the reader with ITSM implementation guidelines (Chapter 10). The book is very well organized with an extensive amount of diagrams, making it easy to find specific topics or principles.

While the book defines the target audience widely, ranging from CIOs to HR and incident coordinators, it will be most beneficial to decision makers and people responsible for the management and efficiency of ITSM. So, is this another one from a long line of “high-level theory” books? Is this another framework difficult to understand and even more difficult to implement in the real world IT organization? No, it is not.

Unlike many other books where IT management principles are described, this book offers an extremely practical approach. Each part of the described framework can be used separately to close existing gaps in your existing ITSM organization. Do you have formal processes defined, but without the required performance KPIs? Do you have properly defined roles and responsibilities, yet people who are assigned to defined roles lack the required skills to carry out these responsibilities? While creating the processes, did you give enough authority to process managers to ensure high quality of process outcomes? This book provides clear guidance to address those and many other questions. But where the book truly stands out, is in following the relationship between employee, role, process, and final business outcome. It is for a reason that highly effective ITSM organizations are so rare – there are too many moving parts and whoever is put in charge of the ITSM organization, even given a proper set of components, has difficulties to assemble a well working mechanism. “Designing and Transforming IT Organizations” provides the reader with the blueprint and the main principles of how to build new or transform existing components to ensure they fit well together and comprise an effective ITSM organization.

Activities are the basic building blocks of the process. Activities are performed by employees. To build a business process one has to define activities, combine them, assign roles and responsibilities to organization members. This is very often where the work stops. Processes has been successfully implemented, the organization was created and carries assigned functions. But businesses evolve – grow, expand, change. Business changes bring change requirements upon the ITSM organization. It is this ability to change in an efficient and cost-effective way to satisfy new business requirements that sets organizations of high maturity apart from the rest.

Where to start? The team concept is nothing new and means the cross-functional groups are formed to achieve a common objective (e.g. project). Using the team model as an example, the author carefully explains options and strategies for achieving the desired state for the organization. Holding on to the practical approach, different types of teams are discussed, as well as principles for teams composition and team-members rotation prinbciples. Members of the team get assessed on their skill level that enables employee development, which in turn enables transformation of the whole ITSM organization by means of assigning them to a new roles, thus bringing us back along the full PDCA cycle until the next change.

All in all book fills a long standing gap and is bound to change readers’ perspective on how the ITSM organization is perceived. Processes do not deliver high quality outcome by themselves, regardless of how well designed they are, or how strictly they are enforced by KPIs. People, once hired to fill specific roles, grow personally and professionally. Businesses change, and so do their internal organizations. It is only bringing all these components together that enables the creation of a lean, cost-effective and efficient ITSM organization. This book sets you well on the way to do so.

This article was published on www.itsmportal.com. Click to go there.

Also on InternationalBestPractice.com. Click to go there.

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