Who needs to know the most about technology?
- The manager who runs all the technical staff
- The technical staff
If you answered B, congratulations. You got that right.
If you answered A, you need to rethink the role of service management in an IT organization, and the skills required to excel in that role.
How Much Does an IT Service Manager Need to Know About Tech?
Some of the best service managers in the industry consider themselves “luddites,” having little or no technology acumen at all. Rather than believing that “if it is to be, it’s up to me” they will immediately call in an expert to answer any question regarding technology. That’s just not what they do.
What they do is they manage service excellence. Beyond that, they need to know enough to know when a technical expert is trying to deceive or confuse them during interviews or when discussing customer issues.
What Does an IT Service Manager Need to Know?
At its core, IT Service Management depends heavily upon the science of logistics, which is the process by which the right materials and the right personnel with all the right skills, the right information and right documentation get to the right place at the right time doing the right things at the right cost to get the right outcome for every customer.
When a customer calls or writes in with a problem, or automated systems indicate an anomaly, IT Service Management needs to collect all the necessary information about the problem. This is far more extensive than one might think! You need to know:
- Who the customer is
- Where they are located, precisely
- How to reach them by phone, email, text, and other means
- Call entitlement – what entitles them to receive the service they are requesting. Specifically, are they covered under an active contract? An active manufacturer’s warranty? Do they currently have an approved account they use to directly pay for all services when rendered? Is there some other payment arrangement?
- What is the nature of the problem?
- How severe is the impact of the problem on the customer’s ability to produce work?
- What specific units of hardware, software, or other are involved in the problem?
- What happened leading up to the problem?
Once we’ve collected all this information, and more, it’s time to make several critical decisions:
- Based on the Call Entitlement, how quickly are we committed to resolve it?
- What replacement parts may be needed?
- How quickly can we obtain those needed parts?
- Will the customer require a replacement unit?
- Are they entitled to one based on their Call Entitlement?
- Who is the most appropriate person to have resolve this problem?
- When are they next available?
- Can they resolve this remotely or will an in-person visit be required?
As you can see, there’s no technology information required for IT Service Management to get their job done, beyond some familiarity to assist in understanding the problem description. Technology information requirements begin when the assigned expert needs a Knowledge Base to consult if the problem is too unusual or complex. They may need network diagrams, or a network run book, or other documentation regarding the customer’s IT environment.
What an IT Service Manager needs to know is how to keep a customer satisfied and manage the successful completion of the delivery of each service, right through compensation. Payment for IT services comes from many sources including warranties, service agreements issued by your own company or third-parties, pay-as-you-go and other programs. IT Service Management must assure that every request for service is thoroughly documented, executed on time, within budget, and at a level of excellence in excess of the customer’s expectations.
Becoming an ITSM Professional
While it is true that ITSM professional require less technology background, the logistic and professional skills required to excel are still considerable. ITSM professionals have the wonderful opportunity to build great relationships with every customer the company services, and enjoy the experience of satisfying their biggest challenges. To begin charting your path to an ITSM career, talk to your New Horizons counselor today or visit our website to see all out course offerings!