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From Silos To Services – Transforming The IT Organization Part 2

Author by Randy Steinberg

It should be recognized that the ITSM transformation needs to operate as an ongoing program, not a one-time project. This program will start by putting the overall ITSM foundation in place in terms of organization, vision and governance followed by implementation of targeted activities to achieve first short-term wins and then longer-term strategies over time.

Undertaking The Transformation

Benefits cannot wait years to achieve. Therefore, it is suggested that the program, once organized, operate under the principle of continual service improvement, executing targeted activities in 6-9 month waves with measurable defined value delivered at the end of each wave. Selection of those activities will be tied tightly to specific business problems and issues that need to be addressed. Sprinkled into these efforts will be a parallel implementation of strategic tasks that keep the ball moving forward towards the longer term ITSM strategy. Without this parallel effort, there is a risk that the ITSM program could degenerate into many tactical efforts that never come together or reach the broader strategic goals.

It is suggested each improvement wave in the program operate with a repeatable consistent set of lifecycle tasks that guide the effort from vision to operation.

The following framework is suggested for a typical transformation wave executing ITSM implementation tasks to effect the transformation:


The top layer of the framework represents the work phases of the transformation effort. Within each transformation phase (Vision, Plan, Design, Build, Validate and Go-Live) there are 6 tracks of effort that run in parallel. These ensure that a holistic approach is taken to the solutions being developed.  A description of each phase task is described as follows:



Key Activities




Set standards and guiding principles for all program threads. Establish the alignment of the overall program with objectives. Put service governance processes into place, prioritize activities and assign overall program leadership roles and responsibilities.

  • Program organization and management office
  • Assigned leadership roles
  • Service governance structure
  • Program business case
  • Program strategy, goals, success criteria and measurements



Identify the program initiatives that will be executed in the current wave. Develop a detailed plan of action for each initiative.

  • Program initiatives
  • Transition roadmap
  • Assigned teams
  • Initiative project plans



Expand the scopefor each initiative into detailed requirements. Utilize a holistic approach for each initiativ considering people, process and technologies. Compare business requirements against existng IT technology and process capabilities.

  • Process and technology requirements
  • Initiative design packages




Configure and test the business and technical designs that were developed in the Design phase.

  • Installed technologies
  • Installed processes
  • Solution training and communications
  • Solutiion deployment plans



Execute tests, measurements and checklists to ensure that each ITSM solution initiative being implemented is deployment ready.

  • Test results
  • Pilot results
  • Soluttion signoffs for deployment


Go-Live and Support

Execute the system and business cutover. Perform actual business operations with the new solutions. Measure attainment and prepare to execute the next round of service improvement cycle.

  • Operational results and data
  • Operated solutrion delivery
  • Benchmark of operating results achieved versus those expected

The program tracks that execute in parallel within each phase are described as follows:


Focuses on helping the organization identify and realize both the tangible and intangible benefits.

Project Management

Provides planning, executing and management of the transformation, within the approved scope, budget, and timeline.

People, Change and Learning

Provides tasks that communicate the need for change, the effects of  change, and undertakes activities to ensure that the organization can realize change.


Tasks that design and implement processes that will support the ITSM solutions. 


Tasks that help an organization make the transition from its current environment by identifying, designing, and implementing the needed technologies that will be used to support the ITSM solution.

Infrastructure and Integration

Tasks that focus on integrating the technologies, people and process into the existing organization to support ITSM solutions.  


Causes of Failure in ITSM Transformations

Regardless of construct, ITSM transitions will be challenging. The following table describes some common pitfalls and risks to consider when moving forward:

Risk Area



Losing Momentum

Lack of Senior Leadership Commitment

Ensure senior leadership is committed both financially and also walks the talk by participating visibly in key meetings and events

Poor communication, role definitions, inability to address organizational anxiety

Developing an organizational change and communications strategy and executing on that strategy throughout the entire transformation

The dictators’ approach to transformation

Although tempting to use to bypass communications and change efforts, this approach has a limited success record, so it is recommended to not use this approach

Goal State and Operating Model Design

Big Bang approach to transformation to Service Based Delivery

Avoid this approach and utilize a repeatable wave of service improvement and transition efforts not to exceed 6-9 months as recommended in this paper

Lack of clarity around service definition - confused with product, process, request etc.

Ensure that services are well defined, communicated and agreed across all stakeholders that will both supplying and using them

Poor involvement of business partners / customers

Obtain representative participation from all affected stakeholders from the outset and include them in the transformation effort on at least a part time basis

Prioritization and Transition

Not a ‘once and done’, but more a continuous improvement approach

Consider use of agile implementation approaches within the transition and recognize that this is a continual service improvement effort from the outset versus a onetime project

No ‘teeth’ in the new organization

Establish a program governance structure from the outset and ensure that it is staffed with senior executive leadership participation

Letting other day-to-day priorities take precedence over the program


Publish and communicate progress through measurements that visibly demonstrate program success and the negative impacts of not addressing improvement initiatives

Overwhelming people with too many changes

Don’t try to implement too many things at once - prioritize improvement initiatives such that the pace of change does not exceed the organization capabilities to absorb it


Start the transformation effort by setting the initial vision, measurable goals and key strategies at the beginning. Recognize that this is truly a program of continual service improvement with progress measured in waves. This is not a onetime project. Charting the course for IT success with ITSM is best done as a series of improvement efforts that take place over time. When combined with an overall ongoing improvement program, they can provide opportunities for noticeable business value and keep the momentum going for almost any IT organization undertaking their IT Service Management journey.



Randy Steinberg

ITSM Process Architect