IT Service Management at 30,000 Feet

Chris Dancy and Malcolm Fry have it right — almost. I remember listening to one of the ITSM Podcasts (Chris would remember the exact one!). Chris mentioned something to the effect that IT is in every business — except maybe farming. I also remember Malcolm Fry introducing his ITIL Lite concept (fascinating if you have never heard it) with the illustration of the check-in kiosk for a flight. His question, “If there is a problem with the check-in kiosk were does IT fit in?”

I said they have it right — almost. I say “almost” because I believe that IT is EVERYWHERE. With all due respect to BMC’s statement “Business runs on IT,” that is no longer a valid statement. IT as we know it IS the business, and that includes the farmer. I have a farmer friend, and he told me that everything from the how much fertilizer is applied to the GPS that directs his combine at harvest is driven by technology.

I recently had an experience on the airplane that made this point very clear to me. We were at cruising altitude on my flight to New Zealand when the gentleman seated next to me watched his monitor go on the fritz. He called the flight attendant over and pointed out the defective monitor. The flight attendant said, “Let me try to reboot the screen for you.” (Does any of this sound familiar?) After numerous unsuccessful attempts (including moving the wires under the seat around) the gentleman has to move (first time I was thankful that a “break/fix” didn’t work.) Now, I’m assuming that being a good service desk technician the flight attendant should have logged an incident against that CI/asset? At 30,000 feet? What exactly does IT at 30,000 feet look like? What does IT look for my friend in a combine when his GPS and computer-enabled fertilizer isn’t working?

The bottom line is that everyone needs to shift their paradigm and thinking about what it means to provide IT. IT service delivery is no longer about people huddled in their cubicles (although still pertinent). Vendors, like Cherwell Software, need to think about the implications for their software. Does the flight attendant need a way to log an issue? Does he need access to a knowledge base? What about my farmer friend?

IT service delivery can no longer be relegated to some fine, hard-working people huddled in a cubicle trying to troubleshoot a laptop issue. IT service delivery is now enabling a farmer to troubleshoot his GPS and get his crops harvested in time. IT service delivery is now the flight attendant with little or no IT experience helping a customer at 30,000 feet troubleshoot a monitor that is not working.

IT no longer RUNS the business, IT IS the business, and the sooner that IT and vendors can adjust to the new paradigm, the better. Malcolm was on to something with the airport check-in kiosk and how it impacted the Service Desk; he just didn’t go high enough! Chris was right, IT is in EVERY business, and that has to include the farmer.

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