with Service Portfolio
My ﬁnal “back to basics” recommendation is to make sure you have good SPM. This is to
ensure that the services you oﬀer your customers are the ones they actually need, and that IT
is driven by business priorities.
Some years ago I came across the term zombie services. A zombie service is one that nobody
has any use for, but the IT department continues to deliver because there is no mechanism to
measure and understand the value of services to the business, and to retire services that are
no longer needed. Nearly every IT department I have worked with over a very long career has
had one or more of these zombie services.
The other side of this issue is that a really great IT department sits down with their customers
and discusses how they can help the business to innovate. They think about how all the data
they have could be combined in diﬀerent ways to create business value. They combine their
knowledge of emerging technology with their understanding of the industry they work in to
create insights about possible opportunities. As a result of these discussions, they invest in
creating new services that make their customers more competitive.
Most people working in IT don’t have signiﬁcant inﬂuence over the service portfolio, but we all
have an opportunity to identify services that are under-utilized, or to share our ideas of new
things that IT could be doing. If you are responsible for the services your IT organization oﬀers,
then here are some ideas of things you could be doing:
Make sure that you have documented the things you do as services, focusing on your
customers’ needs. If all of your services are just applications, or technology components,
then you need to rethink how you deliver value to customers – unless of course you are
providing infrastructure services as a service to other IT service providers.
Maintain a service portfolio, which describes all of your services in terms of cost and value.
Share this with your customers so they can see where the money is going, and so they
can inﬂuence decisions about which services need more investment, which should be
maintained as they are, and which should be retired.
Include ideas for possible future new services in the portfolio, so that you and your
customers can see the whole story when planning future budgets.
Encourage IT staﬀ to contribute ideas to the service portfolio. IT departments are
usually full of clever people who really do understand how IT can make a contribution.
If you encourage people to make suggestions of how IT can create more value for your
customers, then you may be surprised at how many great ideas you get. Many of these
can be added to the portfolio for discussion with the business.