IT provides a service to the business
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IT provides a service to the business

A successful internal IT initiative enables an organisation to be more effective and profitable and to win more customers. An initiative that is based on the service design approach takes account of the different interests of stakeholders, the business reality and goals. A successful execution requires staff to be ready and keen. This can be achieved by involving them early in developing and prototyping ideas, and listening to their feedback, confusion and complaints.

IT enhances efficiency and speed for businesses, but it is also a source of pain. Inadequate IT systems can even stymie their own organisations. A service design approach, therefore, comes to the rescue by connecting the potential of IT with the business reality and the people who use it.

A reality check

Businesses often expect IT to bring about radical improvement in efficiency, productivity and cost savings. But in reality, it is not always the case. Any IT initiative is working alongside internal departments, external customers and the business reality. Each group has its own challenges and interests, which add to the complexity of the project. Therefore, a good design should understand and take account of all these challenges.

Involving internal customers encourages cross functional alignment.

Customers and users are not aligned

For any internal IT initiative, customers are company executives who are more concerned with strategic business goals, while users are operational staff who use technology in their daily routines. If the initiative fails to address the gap between strategic vision and user reality, it may create solutions that do not fit for purpose. Such problems can be avoided if both customers and users are engaged early in the project cycle.

Clear business goals

Many IT initiatives are actually not necessary. There are always cheaper non-IT means to address the same issues or perceived needs. Therefore, every initiative should be supported by clear and valid business goals. A service design approach ensures this from the beginning of the project.

Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all

John F. Kennedy,

Create productive discussions

In large organisations such as banks, utilities and telecoms operators, there are always chasms between the IT department and other internal operations. Internal users expect the IT department to always properly attend to and understand their requests, and to deliver exactly what the users expect. Service design is a toolkit that visualises and tests these requests, and helps create productive discussions between the IT department and other operations.

Involve and listen to customers and users

For users, IT initiatives are always mysterious and felt like “black box”. Therefore, it is important for users to be ready and keen when the initiative is implemented. It can be achieved by involving users in developing proof of concept and prototypes, and incorporating their feedback in the project.

Once the project is live, the complexity can easily confuse users and cause pain for internal customers and users. It is useful to constantly identify, acknowledge and fix these pain points. Truly listening to them is a form of effective engagement as well.

Empower businesses to win more customers

IT is a service that supports internal customers and users, so that they can more effectively engage with and win external customers. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to engage internal customers and users early in the project cycle, and to ensure the initiatives are driven by clear business goals and to take account of the business reality and other challenges.