Enterprise business services can create new revenue streams for an organization by attracting and retaining new customers. They also can make internal IT processes run more smoothly, leading to improved ROI for an organization. Nevertheless, getting a program up and running isn't always easy: It calls for strong IT business services management chops on the part of the CIO and other IT executives.
Do you know how to develop new enterprise business services, repurpose existing programs for business service value and achieve success by putting new business service ideas to work? Learn more about all of these topics -- and more -- in this guide.
This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.
- Business service development in the enterprise
- Creating effective IT business services
- Repurposing existing programs for business service value
- Achieving success with new IT business service ideas
- More resources
| Business service development in the enterprise
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FedEx Corp. is a prime example of how IT is just one component of the business: There is no question about whether technology will be used for business service development. The only question is how.
From developing its package-status tracking application in 1994 to its latest endeavor, the SenseAware service, the FedEx innovation group, which reports to the technology and marketing departments, resolves customer challenges with technology.
Geared initially to scientists, SenseAware allows customers to track real-time data about their shipments including whether the package has been exposed to light, where it is in the system, and what its temperature is at any given time.
The FedEx innovation team may be responsible for bringing new products and services to market, but everyone at the company "carries responsibility for driving innovation in some form or fashion," a company spokesperson said.
In other words, FedEx doesn't think of IT as an entity unto itself. Technology doesn't lead the charge when the company develops a new service, nor is it an afterthought; instead, it is an integrated business process.
Learn more in Business service development: Lessons learned from the frontlines. Also:
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| Creating effective IT business services
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When a new market opportunity presents itself or an organization has to adjust its business model to change with the times, the CIO has the best seat in the house to make things happen.
The CIO and the IT department have a detailed view of the processes across the breadth of the business. IT knows the technologies on which IT business services and underlying business processes are built. This insider knowledge puts CIOs in a prime position to help the business develop new internally and externally facing services.
The insight that's often missing, however, is business knowledge: how an employee in sales interacts with customers, or which information customers need to help them grow and, in turn, help the business grow.
"We [as CIOs] see processes. We know what technology can do and we can improve internal processes, but from a business-product standpoint and a customer standpoint, we need to engage with customers to see how we can improve their environments," said Ed Bell, interim CIO serving the House and Senate of the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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| Repurposing existing programs for business service value
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The kiss of death for many IT and corporate business services projects is a lack of vision. The business does not plan for the future, but focuses instead on speed to market and cost. That is not to say that cost savings can't make or break a project, or that agile project practices designed to expedite services delivery are not the right development paths to take.
Agile development practices are being used as a foundation for business projects that, in some cases, have nothing to do with technology.
Agile, or any methodology you follow for developing IT and corporate business services, should have a long-term strategy attached to it. If not, a platform built for one service could end up being a one-trick pony.
That's what Continental Airlines Inc. set out to avoid when it built a new e-discovery and document management system. When the Department of Transportation informed airlines they would be fined if passengers spent more than three hours in tarmac limbo, Continental had a new system in place to track and reduce tarmac delays before the April 29 DOT compliance deadline.
Continental was able to get a new service in place quickly because it had planned ahead, knowing that its industry required fast reactions to changing regulations. Driven by the legal team and with flexibility in mind, a new e-discovery and document management Microsoft SharePoint portal had already been built.
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road to agile IT runs through IT services management and PPM
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Agile projects can mingle Scrum and waterfall approaches, but proceed with caution. Program managers share agile best practices and pitfalls.
| Achieving success with new IT business service ideas
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Even though I'm an "IT guy," I sometimes have what I think are great business service ideas.
Admittedly, some of these business service ideas don't turn out quite the way I think they should. For example, many years ago, I worked as CIO for a consumer packaged-goods company. One of this company's struggling segments was the "high-income male" category. I had the brilliant idea to replicate Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket promotion by slipping invitations to the Masters Golf Tournament inside a few packages containing a product for a high-income male. My less-enlightened marketing counterparts scoffed at the idea, but I persisted. It took some doing, but they finally came around to thinking giving out Golden Tickets to the Masters was actually a good idea. We printed up six Golden Tickets, put each one into a package containing a product designed for a high-income male, and waited for sales to climb. And waited. And waited . . .
The promotion never caught on, and the Golden Tickets had absolutely no effect on sales. Of the six packages with the Golden Tickets inside, only one was sold. A couple of years later, the company abandoned the "high-income male" category.
To balance such failures, some of my great business service ideas actually panned out.
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| More resources
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This was first published in August 2010