Earlier this month I presented at the itSMF Belgium Conference – you can see the slides here – Let’s demonstrate value, not what we do.
The theme was a simple one – how do IT and technology organisations not only deliver, but also demonstrate value…?

Sadly, more often than not, this question is still met with all the wrong kind (not to mention volume) of information.

The ‘inconvenient truth’ is that conventional IT reporting is for the most part of little business or IT management value. Once this is truly understood and taken on board, there is a a real opportunity for IT to demonstrate value in a way that brings maximum benefit both to its own department and to the organisation as a whole.
How is this achieved? By making several key shifts in focus:

  • Move from systems to services – let customers know that you 1) understand their needs and 2) deliver on time
  • Ensure that you have a clear ‘menu‘ and processes in place – service catalogue and ongoing SLM projects
  • Know where you’re going – create an SLM route map with your customers at the core to keep you on track
  • Keep it simple and clear – communicate and report back to your customers in their terms, not IT terms
  • Walk the walk with your customers – actually go out and talk to them, spend time with them, experience their perspective

The  essence of all this?
Put your customers first
The overall theme of ‘taking the customer/business view’ is one I’ve promoted and supported for many years – thankfully it is now starting to be taken seriously and as a fundamental part of any successful service management approach.
This is good news for our ITSM industry and can’t happen soon enough in these fast changing times.


  • There certainly are lots of reports that look inside-out using an IT-centric view of the world, and the organizations responsible for producing these would do well to follow your advice.
    There are also many IT managers who would really like to report real metrics to their customers, and fully understand the value of an outside-in approach to service management, but they are dealing with customers who like to micro-manage their suppliers. This can be a really difficult situation to resolve, this kind of micro-management makes it really hard for the service provider to innovate, so they can only ever make incremental improvements. The relationship between customer and service provider may be based on a lack of trust and require a lot of work to fix – but until this has been done the service provider cannot begin to report in the terms you suggest.

    • barclay says:

      Good points and I appreciate that there are many great business-based reporting examples out there – only too few.
      I also of course get that this is a 2-way process and that it can be very frustrating for IT organisations who want to do the right thing – if they come up against business customers who are disinterested or overly controlling.
      However I’ve met (too) many IT folk who give up too easily on the basis that they are ‘not understood’ / ‘we’ve tried this before they don’t listen..’ – when in fact their approachand language has clearly been ‘inside out’.