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Designing the IT Organization for Service Management
By Michael Reagin, Corporate VP & CIO, Sentara Healthcare
As with many organizations, IT plays an important role in optimizing cost efficiency and enabling ongoing growth. Service Management is an essential philosophy that aligns all facets of technology management and delivery to business strategy.
Behind the scenes, IT organizational structures must be customer-centric rather than focused on the needs the IT departments. The traditional IT structure compartmentalizes infrastructure and applications as key pillars with each of these pillars having several connecting points within the business, representing an entry into IT for issues, requests, status, projects and decisions. Furthermore, personnel within the traditional IT organization have many roles, including continuous service management, relationship building and project management. This model begins to break down as organizations grow larger and/or when serving a variety of customers.
Organizational models that encourage and build efficient, scalable and predictable capabilities are what IT organization need in order to be successful. Our organization structure has created a system that supports these capabilities and represents four basic elements: Relate, Innovate, Run and Process.
Achieving New Capabilities
This new model allows the Sentara Healthcare IT team to focus and specialize in these capabilities.
RELATE - The Relate function is designed to have business relationship managers (BRM) who act as advisors to the business, bringing new ideas and advising on how IT can best support their needs. A BRM acts as the single point of contact, sharing status reports, updating project timelines and developing IT operational metrics. The business unit leaders and BRM develop business cases which are presented to governance teams for leadership input and approval. They also provide the translation of strategic objectives back into the IT organization and assist in navigation across departments for their customers’ projects or requests.
RUN - The Run function is the core of the IT shop for daily operations; housing applications and infrastructure teams. They are the team that allows the organization to scale by building repeatable processes and driving out cost from common tasks. This part of the organization focuses on Service Management and is the delivery group for minor work and operations.
PROCESS - The Process function houses the Project Management Office (PMO) and manages the development of project management processes, IT strategy development, and project delivery.
Service Management is an essential philosophy that aligns all facets of technology management and delivery to business strategy
Also within the process organization is IT security. Having all of the global processes in one group enables a consistent approach to major IT initiatives, while also establishing organizational expertise for process management.
INNOVATE - The Innovate function focuses on managing a pipeline of new ideas, developing concepts, intellectual property management, testing feasibility and business development. Once a concept is established, it can be incubated both internally or externally with partners.
By separating process from content, each part of the organization becomes more specialized and effective in delivery of IT and business objectives. By organizing our teams to optimize service management processes, we have been able to achieve key goals, including:
• Significantly improving customer service
• Increasing productivity
• Reducing expenses
This new model allows the Sentara Healthcare IT team the opportunity to focus on their respective capabilities; hence, aligning staff to perform utilizing their strengths. Helping to eliminate the pull in varied directions allows a more focused approach to excellence in service delivery.
It is notable that dedicated teams are set up to focus on developing expertise in each of these functions. This focus drives team members to be more proficient within their designated functions while also allowing horizontal movement for career development and growth.
Streamlined and efficient customer interaction with the IT department drives value not just for the IT department but for the overall organization as well. By focusing on the Voice of the Customer, we have the ability to leverage a more collaborative, effective way to perform. This means we are designed to rationalize our application portfolio, implement more effective service desk solutions and avoid multiple points of entry for initiating work, among other benefits.
Getting it done!
Sentara IT has positioned itself as a high performing department within a high performing organization. Our foundation is based upon transparency to our customers, quantifying how we are doing (meaningful metrics-driven approach), focusing on intake of issues and requests that are impactful, and paying close attention to service level agreements. An essential component of our success is that IT leaders have bought into this model and our transformation is supported from within the organization which allowed for change and further growth.
The business of the IT department can deliver the most value to the organization when built upon thoughtful approach, relationship management and partnerships. The outcomes for outstanding service delivery are numerous, bringing a level of high quality and value to the organization. Organizing for success can make the Service Management journey more efficient and effective when we capitalize on the strength of the IT team.