[IT system] agility. You need to be able to switch from one technology to another and offer personalized services to specific customer segments,” said Sylvain Pinchon, head of digital transformation at Orange Business Services. He added that automation through IT service management plays an important role for reducing IT challenges in enabling these.Unknown Object
Not all businesses are made equal
Information speed is another matter. Joe Chan, project manager – Operations & IT at Chinese Estates Holdings, noted that it was only a decade ago when information was received after overnight batch jobs were carried out.
“Now we do not have any rest time, and enterprises need to work 24 hours. Also information is now going to mobile devices and is being consumed at ever faster rate. I think technologies like Service Management help a lot in this aspect,” he said.
The issue is actually less about IT and more about mindset. According to Alexander Hioe, Senior IT Management Service Manager, MTR Corporation Limited, whose company operates across Europe, China and Australia, he puts more emphasis on changing the mentality of his IT team to meet the needs of businesses.
“In the past, we listened to the users and tried to help them by implementing key features. But I think these days the real customers are our passengers, the retailers, the residents and even our internal end user. IT is becoming more client-focused. So we try to give ideas and instead getting orders from them we offer suggestions on new technologies to consider. This requires a change in the mentality of our people, to make them see their end customers as partners,” he said.
Understanding the vision
The above reasons are exactly why ServiceNow is seeing value in driving Service Management.
According to ServiceNow’s Leinwand, the traditional role of IT was the fixing of printers, networks and computers. “Then cloud came into the market and reawakened everyone on the value of providing better services. So instead of IT being the guys who fix printers and laptops, we are enabling them to become the guys who can change the way you do things. That’s essentially what Service Management means to me.”
He also noted that using cloud to offer Service Management is a natural fit. But cloud adoption is still in its infancy in Hong Kong. When asked, participants noted that it depends on the industry as well as whether going to the cloud offers a better advantage.
“It will take some time before we go to that stage [full cloud adoption], especially when we need to consider integration with the back end operations,” said Ida Lau, senior manager of cloud products and services at Hutchison Global Communications.
Sidney Hui, assistant general manager for Group IT at HKR International Limited, noted that the concept of enterprise service management (ESM) via the cloud has its own merits. “I think that is a good vision, especially for productivity gain and efficiency. In our case, we do not have the [internal] resources to do everything ourselves. Users are demanding more and we have the budget. So we are outsourcing some of these projects,” he said.
Stephen Langley, deputy CIO, IT, Corporate Affairs, at the Securities & Futures Commission, noted that there needs some executive support for service management to be successful. “Only then can you drive some cultural change.
Also data silos can be a huge hurdle, argued Mark Carr, chief architect at The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“What we want to do ultimately is big data analytics. But you can’t do that if you have big pockets of data in departments. You need to centralize. And you need to look at it as processes, and enable information to be passed between processes. So you need to get to the departmental heads, and into the heads of department heads and show them the benefits of working at the abstracted layer,” he said.
In this respect, Henk ten Bos, CIO at Ageas Insurance Company (Asia), noted that his company is showing good progress.
“We are in a good situation. We are kept in the loop of all decisions that involve technology and can make conscious decisions where departments can work directly with external vendors,” he said.
Can too much of a good thing be bad? Maybe, noted to Rajagopal Gampa, group vice president for IT at the Rosewood Hotel Group. He said that user requirements add up quickly. “We then end up not being able to provide all the features.”
Making business sense
Despite security and compliance concerns, attitude toward clouds is changing. According the Ageas’ ten Bos, cloud will not be a huge concern when evaluating a cloud-based SM. “I will evaluate multiple options and look for the best.”
Vitasoy’s Chow, HKR’s Hui and HGC’s Lau agreed.
“If it is down to me personally, I will evaluate the solution on its merit,” added HKJC’s Carr, who noted that his organization takes a conservative view to cloud adoption.
For Rosewood Hotel’s Gampa, it is a matter on how much more benefits can a cloud-based ESM provide when compared to an on-premise one. “It is not about cloud vs. on-premise. Rather, it is about what I can do more in the cloud that I can’t with an on-premise tool,” he said, adding that going to the cloud to manage a global operation makes sense.