Increasing numbers of companies are outsourcing non-essential duties to IT consulting services, rather than attempting to do everything in-house. This article explores two ways that partnering with IT consulting services can result in improved IT department management.
An IT Consultant’s Approach to IT efficiency: ITIL, Service Catalogues, & Configuration Management Databases
Nowadays, IT management often includes overseeing dozens of vendor relationships and contracts. In this new complex IT jungle, it’s easy to miss the forest (the overall IT picture) for the trees (the individual IT programs). IT consulting services can help any company achieve a “big picture” view of how their IT department works. This broad perspective makes it easier to prioritize key programs.
To understand how the different aspects of a firm’s IT procedures fit together, an IT consultant will often begin by following International Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) guidelines. The ITIL suggestions are an international set of best practices for information technology.
To meet ITIL protocols, an IT consulting service first creates a service catalogue, which lists all of the different tasks that a certain IT department conducts. For instance, IT employees could be responsible for fixing day-to-day IT problems, manning the customer IT help desk, and so forth.
Once every IT task is listed in the service catalogue, the next step that an IT consultant typically takes is to create a configuration management database. Basically, an IT configuration management database lists the technologies required to perform each task listed in the IT service catalogue. IT consulting services prefer to create a service catalogue and a configuration management database because, taken together, these databases show which approaches are benefiting the company, and which are simply pulling down its ROI.
Outsourcing Non-Core IT Duties to IT Consulting Services
As you work with your IT consultant to create a service catalogue, it’s smart to add a column to track whether each IT duty is essential to your mission as a business. Most IT consultant services refer to this data as “Core vs. Chore.” Chore tasks are those that must be done, but which don’t have much to do with your central business goals or beliefs. Core duties, in contrast, are at the very heart of what you do. If you don’t do those tasks in-house, your customer service and business performance will suffer. Another way to think of this: Core duties speak to why you formed your business in the first place, while chore tasks are non-central to why you do what you do.
There is no universal list of core vs. chore tasks, since how you label each duty depends on what it is that your business does. For example, while an online jewelry store would probably consider their running IT customer help desk a “core” task, the same duty might be seen as a chore by an online newspaper.
After determining which IT tasks in your service catalogue are at the core of your operations, and which duties are just chores that must be done, you can farm out the latter to an IT consulting service. This kind of smart outsourcing skyrockets departmental productivity by allowing in-house employees to devote more time to the heart of the business.
One final way that IT consulting services can improve operations is by delivering an unbiased, fresh viewpoint, so that management can better understand the IT challenges at hand.