10 most essential jobs for delivering IT as a business

10 most essential jobs for delivering IT as a business

Summary: IT service management -- rebranded as 'service management and automation' -- requires skills including architecture, design, finances and, of course... service.


IT Service Management, we hardly knew ye.

There has been plenty of momentum toward ITSM principles and practices, in which IT  focuses on running more like a business, delivering services to internal and external customers. It is a more lightweight component of the ITILmethodology. Now, it seems, ITSM is dated -- just as it's starting to appear on corporate radar screens.

Programmers-US Bureau of Labor Statistics

For starters, drop the "IT" from ITSM, says Forrester's Glenn O'Donnell. (Seconded by his colleague Stephan Mann, who surfaced O'Donnell's original report.)

Successful ITSM, O'Donnell and Mann state, "requires customer obsession, relentless focus on just the right portfolio of services, automation, and an expansion far beyond ITIL and the walls of the infrastructiure and operations organization." In other words, a lot of business and customer-service skills.

So, drop the IT from ITSM, and add "automation," the analysts urge. The result, "service management and automation" (or SMA for short), better addresses the need to "deliver customer outcomes faster, cheaper, and at higher quality."

Within their newly minted service management and automation realm, O'Donnell and Mann describe the 10 job roles that are and will be essential for making SMA stick and deliver:

  1. Automation architect. Designs, implements, and maintains the automation system
  2. Service manager. Has ultimate responsibility for the services -- "will own that service (and service delivery) from cradle to grave."
  3. Process manager.  "Like the service manager, the process manager has ultimate responsibility for the processes under his or her jurisdiction."
  4. Service designer. Oversees services assembly using the principles of systems engineering.
  5. Financial manager. Brings business sensibilities and discipline to service development.
  6. IT marketing manager.  Sells IT services to the rest of the organization -- highly needed, O'Donnell says.
  7. Sourcing and vendor manager. Works with available suppliers and vendors for tools and systems.
  8. Capacity manager. Controls IT infrastructure "in such a way that resource shortages are anticipated and corrected before they occur no matter if on-premises or off-premises solutions and infrastructure are used."
  9. Problem manager. Able to "comprehend dependencies and has the ability to see through the mess to identify and resolve problems that cause recurring incidents."
  10. Knowledge engineer. "Responsible for encouraging, enforcing, and creating a knowledge management process and disseminating knowledge across the organization."

(Photo: US Bureau of Labor Statistics.)


Topics: IT Priorities, Data Centers, Software Development, IT Employment

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  • IT Marketing Manager

    Thanks Joe, Great Article. This is the first time I've seen certain roles articulated properly. How important do you think the role of IT Marketing manager (internal) is to a company of let's say 50 people. Do you think it could be a standalone role in an organisation of this size?
    JD Farmakidis
    • Re: IT Marketing Manager

      In an organization that small, it would probably more be a part of someone's job. The IT evangelist could even be the CEO!
      • Evangelists lead cults

        Be careful what you wish for.
  • Call me old fashioned but....

    Jobs 1 through 10 could be combined to a single rol... It's called a "SysAdmin"
    • My thoughts exactly!!!

      The entire list looks like an over use of the word "manager". In other words, a nice exaggeration of the actual work required by the job.

      If your company needs to divide the job between so many titles ... then your company is not working efficiently.
      • Agreed. Labor is not valued. Bean counting and "management" apparently is

        And your points are perfectly said; so many titles, amongst so many managers and no workers and will you really trust outsourcing every last little detail, aka "EVERYTHING"?

        Subcontracting and outsourcing are not always for the best... at a place I worked, a newly made building had a pipe break... it had to go down a lengthy list of sub-subcontractors, but the responsible entity was found... it ultimately cost more by having so many sub-sub-subcontractors than people taking actual responsibility, ownership, and care...

        There are lots of inefficiencies, but the short-term sticker prices look so nice, anything beyond that is a non-issue, no?
    • It depends on scale

      The point of the roles is to define the list of responsibilities that the people in the organization would need to take on. It's not a one-to-one relationship with staff. You could, and in most cases should have one person taking the responsibility of multiple roles.

      Your argument of having just SysAdmin's would apply to shops that are either smaller or have very monolithic application landscapes. I've seen organizations move from having a half dozen big apps that are fairly well segregated in terms of functionality to an more integrated service architecture and their sys admins fall apart. A process starts to fail and it gets passed from admin to admin because each is only concerned with their own app and it takes forever to troubleshoot a problem that spans multiple systems.

      If your internet goes down, would you call the ISP and want to be passed from an engineer that's responsible for the modem, then to an engineer responsible for the last-mile link, then to an engineer for the trunk network, and finally to a person in the billing department to see whether your account's still in good standing? You'd want someone who knows the dependencies of your internet service and has some kind of dashboard that helps them pinpoint where to look. And that's just the "keep the lights on" type of operation, not to mention all the constant process and service improvement responsibilities that come with an large IT organization.

      As organizations adopt more of a service model with their IT and start abstracting all the complexities behind the service from the business, they need a management and operational structure to match. It's great to see that concept laid out in this article.
      Shan Gu
      • Good Point

        Shan, I agree with your statements. It really does depend on scale. Larger organizations (50K+) would never survive without dedicated resources.
  • Thank you..

    Thank you....Great Article. This is the first time I've seen certain roles articulated properly.http://www.pennyauctionreporter.com/bids-to-give-scam/
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    • Spam is best served in a can

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  • Service Management and automation

    I believe that delivering "customer outcomes faster, cheaper, and at higher quality," should be the result of high quality service management and automation. I also believe that many IT departments / organisations think that they are running as s business but in reality this is far from the truth and if those organisations do not step up and realise the facts ... they wont be running IT in the future!

    "requires customer obsession, relentless focus on just the right portfolio of services, automation, and an expansion far beyond ITIL and the walls of the infrastructiure and operations organization." very wise words in my opinion and I have seen IT departments / organisations do this - these are the ones that will not only survive .... they will thrive!

    Just taking one part of that quote as an example - focus on just the right portfolio of services - I still regularly see IT organisations who dont focus on the portfolio. They just keep running everything they have always done and feel this makes them unique and for some strange reason more like a business! They couldnt be more incorrect. You need to provide services through the most cost effective means. That may mean you broker service provision for some elements and run it yourself for others. That simple process of looking at the portfolio and the most cost effective service provision is the start of thinking like a business.

    As for the IT Marketing manager .... we should have been doing this for years so long over due in my opinion