What are the words that we should use to describe the way IT should define its services? I have heard all of the above by now, so let’s take them apart, OK?
Bottom-Up : This means define them technology based. IT should define its services based on what it knows best, the T in IT. This results in services like “Quad Processor 4 Gb WINtel Server 64-Bit Windows Server 2008”. These services can be easily compared to other providers, probably resulting in thoughts about outsourcing, especially since these services do not contain the additional business support effort internal IT provides. IT is way below business in hierarchy and looses out.
Top-Down : This is often used to indicate that the services are business defined. Now IT receives the services it should provide from top down. This indicates that IT is beneath the business and results in IT being a sub par partner, the services will loose touch with IT. Services can not be compared, but since IT is not capable of delivery (the service level targets were set by the business) the perception of IT in business is lousy. Thoughts of outsourcing appear, since the big providers can do this better, can’t they?
Inside-Out : In this scenario IT believes to be on par with the business. They start defining a lot of business related service but do not get early business involvement or acceptance. This results in IT missing the expectations of the business. Usually Inside-Out IT shops quickly become Bottom-Up ones.
Outside-In : IT acts as a proper service provider should and meets the business on par. ITs position is strong but service orientated resulting in business relevant IT services which can be achieved. IT knows when it should say yes and it can say no to requirements that can not be met. Since IT now thinks as a business, it will start to organize itself according to the business requirements. It may decide to out-task certain standard products and will meet IT service providers in a professional manner resulting in functioning agreements.