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GCN : January and February 2016
PHOTOCREDITHERE MANAGEMENT really automate the process and flow of work,” Alfieris said. The ServiceNow platform is built around a set of software suites for IT ser vice, IT operations and business management. It is also used as an application development platform. The suites are built on a single code base, “which allows us to capture all the activities of those independent applications,” Alfieris said. “Instead of having to start a development process all over again, [developers] are able to leverage natively inte- grated applications to support the automation of the business process.” From choppers to staff onboarding ITSM also came in handy when the Army’s Program Executive Office for Aviation wanted to develop a life cycle management system for its helicopter forces, which officials had been man- aging with non-integrated tools. Today, the office treats each component of the end-to-end management of the helicopter fleet — from technical tasks to human resources documentation — as an IT service. “Our organizational attitude is to use [ITSM] for anything and everything,” said SAIC’s Stephen Light, who works as an enterprise ser vice manager for special projects for PEO Avia- tion. “The idea is that IT affects everything. There is nothing that a person in the workforce does that’s not IT-related, includ- ing onboarding new employees.” At PEO Aviation, adoption of the ITSM approach started with simple IT provisioning and expanded to include more technical workflows, including tasks as small as overtime requests and as big as an engineering configuration change to the helicopter fleet. “ We want to keep this simple,” Light said. “Find success in automation where you can; sometimes it’s the small wins that turn into the big wins.” One project involved replacing a paper-based application for requesting contract funding with a web-based form. “So that office now is adopting a service management approach, and they don’t even know it,” Light said. “IT was kind of a driver for that behind the scenes.” No more ‘Mother, may I?’ Similarly, Oak Ridge’s Howerton believes the focus on IT has overshadowed the importance of services and results in discus- sions among agency IT managers and users. “I think the idea is quit talking about data center, quit talking about all these different technologies and start talking about what’s the service we’re trying to deliver,” Howerton said. “ We also need to talk about what success looks like and how we measure the ability to meet that.” The lab’s user base is a mix of sophisticated scientific re- searchers, program managers and support staff who do not re- quire a “Mother, may I?” approach to service calls and requests, he added. Instead, he envisions the lab moving to a broker model for supplying services, whereby the IT department offers users a catalog from which to choose a range of self-service-based tools and options. “We want to empower those users by saying, ‘Here are the services we offer. Pick whichever one you need to accomplish whatever science you are tr ying to do. You are the one who is in the best position to know what you need to get your job done,’” Howerton said. “It’s IT’s job as a broker to give you a Chinese menu you can pick off of to deliver whatever it is you need to do,” he added. In the past year, the lab has established a bring-your-own- device program as a self-ser vice model, in part to find out how to make the program cost-effective. Users were offered a digital services catalog and went through a series of steps to enroll. Provisioning was handled on the back end. “Historically, without a platform like this, they would have had to schedule time to go to our help-desk area, maybe they have to wait in line,” Howerton said. “Now they do all this themselves with zero touch on the IT side.” For Oak Ridge’s IT managers, the project’s primary lesson was about finding the right tool, he said. “The core technology problem was that we had relied on email to do this stuff, but it really was not the appropriate tool for ser vice delivery.” The lab also gained feedback on the proper role of the IT de- partment in setting up BYOD and similar ser vices. Today, lab officials are using self-service management tools for other functions, such as reserving and checking out sci- entific equipment. “You can now reserve high-end scientific equipment from your phone the same way in your personal life you reserve a haircut at Supercuts,” he said. “It’s all about empowering through self-service to everybody in the lab, not just to IT.” In the future, “we may be a back-end provider or we may not,” he added. “But we don’t want to be the provider for all things. Instead, we’re trying to use the ser vice concept and the catalog to deliver self-service for end users. So we’re making that shift, and we’re gluing it all together through the ser vice management framework with a goal of transformation — not IT transformation but organizational transformation.” • 28 GCN FEBRUARY 2016 • GCN.COM It’s IT’s job as a broker to give you a Chinese menu you can pick off of to deliver whatever it is you need to do. — TRAVIS HOWERTON, OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LAB 0216gcn_026-028.indd 28 2/4/16 12:42 PM
March and April 2016