End users are often tired about the opacity and complicated nature of IT service management but it need not be that way, according to a senior Toyota executive.
David Paine, CIO of ITSM at Toyota Financial Services (TFS) believes transparency holds the key to unlocking the 'black box' of IT, something which his team is attempting at a business which – while undergoing tremendous operational change and digitisation – has always had selling cars as its mainstay.
Speaking at a ServiceNow event in San Francisco, Paine said: "At TFS we are digitising and introducing changes to our business like never before. Yet at the same time our IT team's core competency is not in churning out fancy gadgets and killer apps; our game is to ensure seamless service delivery value around the financing and moving of automobiles for our lease customers.
"That's as creative as it gets. Given this background to our ITSM remit, my team keeps track of the simple stuff first. That's applicable to any customer facing organisation."
But ITSM complexity not only frustrates end-users, IT professionals are also tired of increasingly multifarious business requirements, often undocumented policies, processes and 'tribal knowledge' used to meet them, Paine added.
"When we devised our (ITSM) platform in conjunction with ServiceNow a couple of years ago, there was one overriding parameter – we issued vendor instructions to work up a clear, simple and sustainable service delivery mechanism. It did not happen overnight, we worked at it for two years to reach a level of satisfaction."
However, Paine also cautioned industry colleagues about a rush to ITSM door either for the sake of it, or without conducting a grassroots business audit. "CIOs have to prepare their IT story before they share it. You get it wrong and it will kill you."
Additionally, he also urged fellow CIOs not to live on an 'ITIL island'.
ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a set of recommended best practices for ITSM that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business. In its current form, ITIL is published in a series of five core volumes, where each of these covers a process lifecycle stage.
The framework, promoted by AXELOS, a joint venture between Capita and UK's Cabinet Office, is used to demonstrate compliance and to measure improvement.
But Paine noted: "If ITIL doesn't match your corporate DNA don't do it; don't accept it as a fad. You can always embrace accountability and process transparency, as you should, in other ways. Key thing about ITIL is not to call it ITIL. If I can't define it in business terms I shouldn't be saying it."