Evolving towards Modern Service Management in the Public Service
Written by Matthew Catania
Traditional IT Service Management has largely been the leading approach for delivering value to public entities and organizations. As technology evolves however, so does every business including Government, presenting the service providers with transformed demand and higher needs for quality.
The need to evolve is at times associated exclusively with fast-paced software development organizations where progressive philosophies often prevail, supported by cultures or methodologies like DevOps, Lean, and Agile amongst others. In reality, any organization, whether it develops application software or not, and across any industry being served, realizes it is increasingly required to be more agile and move faster to accommodate demands.
In fact, in this digital era, slow is the new down. This implies that Service Management is to evolve from potentially rigid, traditional approaches towards modern ways of delivering value through services. Service management is no longer strictly about designing and administering a monolithic application running on an operating system residing on a physical server within the same building. Indeed, in varying contexts this is still valid and well-serving, but as more time goes by, the Service Management vision is embracing new elements and ways of working to ensuring faster flow of value.
The need is to have a strategic vision for Service Management supported by an iterative plan and subject matter expertise to execute over a period which often lasts months and years. Even with the right expertise, knowledge and supporting champions, this is not a simple plan but a demanding journey with considerable organizational change management being required.
What are the modern ways that can accommodate organizational needs in this digital era? What makes Modern Service Management? It is safe to say that there could be no one-size-fits all answer. Yet, various points converge towards a common set of elements, making traditional IT Service Management gradually less useful.
Whatever the current velocity of the IT organization, or the type of customer collaborating with, service management is to be underpinned by a plan, amongst others to:
- Embrace the cloud – ensuring the ongoing capacity and capability to manage not just servers or physical networks but entire ecosystems of code providing amongst others virtual resources on-demand, pervasive telemetry, root cause analysis, chaos engineering, and more
- Automation – consistently eliminating toil from manual work and exploiting the capabilities of technology (including cloud) to do more with less, with more accuracy and consistency while permitting human resources to focus on more valuable work such as analytics and innovation
- Process reengineering – permitting controlled experimentation, learning from blameless failure, and moving away from rigidness to ensuring faster processes such as Change Enablement and Incident Management amongst many others
- Collaboration and feedback – reducing or eliminating siloes and enabling faster communication also by adopting approaches such as ChatOps and embracing iterations and feedback, not just for software but also for processes through Agile Service Management. Perform backlog reviews, and leverage daily stand-ups as a means of collaborating, collating feedback and progress
- Self-service – permitting the internal and external consumer to be less dependent on the human resources of the service provider becoming increasingly able to seek and have service requests fulfilled autonomously (in line with the service catalog)
- Knowledge – ensuring that the end-to-end operations workforce (and beyond) iterates through innovative knowledge acquisition, including and not limited to DevOps practices, modern service management principles related to agility, cloud, and coding. For the latter, rather than feature (application) code, the engineer (specifically within the Network Operations Centre) is aimed at coding telemetry, automation of resource provisioning, reporting, testing, deployment pipelines, and more
The MITA Service Management Department is aware of the business evolution together with the resulting demands and is therefore constantly refining its vision to remain a critical pillar enabling the relevant internal functions across the Agency to deliver their respective solutions for consumption – as also manifested through periods such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a gradual, ongoing venture which requires planning, engagement, vision, experimentation, feedback, early failing, and of course determination. It also requires constant learning, with experience directing the resources on the ground towards a constantly moving target. It is ultimately about renewing the self, accepting that the business demand is evolving, no matter the context.
Service management and operations are a critical pillar for MITA. Our mission is to continually improve, allowing us to retain and improve the excellent quality levels that MITA has offered over its more than thirty years of existence irrespective of the changing landscape. We are determined to continue with our plan to modernize service management making it future-proof, resulting in continued value towards Government and therefore society at large, for the years to come.