Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Service Owner – The Missing ITSM Role
There has been much written about the role of the process owner being a critical success factor for any effort that attempts to manage cross functional processes across a silo based organized. However, processes are not the only things that need to be managed across the deep management chasms that separate our IT domains.
Consider that most IT Services are also agnostic to organization charts and require the same enterprise accountability and oversight. This role has been largely missed in the ITIL literature to date.
The Service Owner is accountable for a specific service (Infrastructure, Application or Professional Service) within an organization regardless of where the technology components or professional capabilities reside. To ensure that a service is managed with a business focus, the definition of a single point of accountability is absolutely essential to provide the level of attention and focus required for its delivery.
Much like a Process Owner the Service Owner is responsible for continuous improvement and the management of change affecting the services under their care. In both cases these horizontal roles are effective or not according to the level of empowerment (true power) given to the lucky person by the executives of the IT organization. The Service Owner is a primary stakeholder in all of the IT processes which enable or support it. For example:
- Incident Management: Involved in or perhaps chairs the crisis management team for high-priority incidents impacting the service owned.
- Problem Management: Plays a major role in establishing the root cause and proposed permanent fix for the service being evaluated.
- Release Management: Is a key stakeholder in determining whether a new release affecting a service in production is ready.
- Change Management: Participates in Change Advisory Board decisions, approving changes to the services they own.
- Configuration Management: Ensures that all groups which maintain the data and relationships for the service architecture they are responsible for having done so with the level of integrity required.
- Service Level Management: Acts as the single point of contact for a specific service, and ensures that the Service Catalog is accurate in relationship to their service.
- Availability and Capacity: Reviews technical data from a domain perspective to ensure that the needs of the overall service are being met.
- IT Service Continuity: Understands and is responsible for ensuring that all elements required to restore their service are known and in place in the event of a crisis.
- IT Financial Management: Assists in defining and tracking the cost models in relationship to how their service is costed and recovered.
Is this role missing in your organization?
“If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.” ~Douglas Adams