ITSM and Universities – what I’ve been thinking about lately…..

IT Service Management has never been more important to the higher and further education sector than it is now. Everybody has the technology, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is here and isn’t going away anytime soon. ‘New and Shiny’ will get you so far but I don’t think it’s the differentiator it once was. My experience with universities over the last couple of years has led me to the conclusion that it’s the service provided and the effectiveness and efficiency with which it is provided that is going to be key moving forwards.

Now before you say, “you would say that, ITSM and ITIL are ‘your thing’” hear me out. When I was at university studying Manufacturing Engineering, there were loads of Apple Mac classics and computing was something which was done to generate documents for coursework (is that the sepia tone of nostalgia that some of you are feeling?). IT support was tucked away in the library and mainly dealt with printing. I had very little in way of dealings with them and then I bought my own PC. I never saw them again and a career in IT was born. IT has changed an awful lot since then….

Now, managing and supporting a highly diverse, potentially globally distributed set of IT services is now the goal of university IT departments everywhere as they seek to increase revenue, cut costs and increase their reach to a wide, disparate customer base.

There’s something else that I’ve noticed recently though and I think this is the biggest challenge of them all:

Actually getting the wider institution to take an interest and engage with the IT service delivery unit. Getting them to tell us what they need. We need a steer. This is crucial and yet seems to be the part of the puzzle that’s missing the most.

As a starter for 10, I reckon that ITSM could be helpful here because it…

  • Considers the strategic aspects of service delivery and, crucially, provides advice and guidance on engaging with the customers to help drive alignment. Start the debate about how IT engages with a disparate customer base and understands their needs and requirements across a wide range of disciplines.
  • Encourages cost effective delivery and focussed investment to achieve value for money.
  • Makes better use of limited resource with better, and better used, processes. With greater common understanding comes greater consistency and less reliance on ‘single points’ when delivering IT services.
  • Encourages better management of knowledge. Change the conversation from ‘knowledge is power’ to ‘power is in the application of knowledge’ and encourage everybody to be empowered through better shared knowledge.
  • Supports the need for great communication. Organisations need to focus on this key aspect. ITSM can help identify improvements and address this most fundamental of considerations.

You may believe that this doesn’t apply to you and yours, that ITSM has nothing for you and that’s fine. But it's not what I’ve been seeing. With Brexit on the horizon and the challenges that lay in wait, I believe ITSM’s time has come for these institutions.