What’s CSR Got To Do With IT? #8

Seven weeks ago I started this series of blogs in the lead up to the itSMF Australia National Conference being held on 23-25 August at the New Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

My keynote presentation at this years conference is entitled:

What’s CSR Got To Do With IT?

IT Service Management and Corporate Social Responsibility

You can access the full conference programme at the itSMF website here.

This is post #8.

In the previous posts we looked at the link between CSR and IT and why it is so high on the CEO agenda. We looked at what it means to the CIO and where the pressure to respond to the demands of CSR was coming from.

I suggested that there are four key areas that the CIO should have on his/her agenda in order to underpin the agenda of the CEO in relation to CSR.

These were integration; transparency; employees and green IT.

This week I will start to look at question being posed – “What has IT Service Management got to do with CSR”?

IT Service Management has absolutely everything to do with CSR. ITIL best practice guidance can help the CIO meet the objectives of the CSR of the organisation without the need for additional frameworks or methodologies.

The CIO can use ITSM to ensure that there is alignment with the business and the CSR policy of the organisation.

Alignment and Integration

The CIO and IT has to align with the business and ITSM (and ITIL) provides the framework to establish IT as a service provider that has a strong partnership with the business.

Service Strategy describes how the service provider needs to understand the customer’s business and the desired outcomes.

Gaining insight into the customer’s business and having good knowledge of customer outcomes is essential to developing a strong business relationship with customers. Business Relationship Managers (BRMs) are responsible for this. They are customer focused and manage opportunities through a Customer Portfolio. (OGC, 2007)

It is only through establishment of this alignment and partnership that IT and the business can work together to achieve the objectives of its CSR.

The BRM will work closely with the Product Managers who take responsibility for developing and managing services across the lifecycle.

It is only through this alignment can IT and the business become integrated and ensure that on an ongoing basis all services entering the Service Portfolio are supporting the CSR of the organisation.

Business Service Management ensures that IT priorities are aligned with other drivers of business value. In order for IT to organize its activities around business objectives, the organisation must link to business processes and services – not just observe them. The CIO and “IT leadership must engage in a meaningful dialogue with line-of-business owners and communicate in terms of desired outcomes”. (OGC, 2007).

Each step of Service Portfolio Management – define, analyse, approve and charter – must ensure that CSR is forefront of mind. These steps are shown in the following figure.

The business case must justify a course of action that achieves organisation goals including adherence to CSR. It not only looks at service worth from a financial perspective but also:

  • Mission imperatives
  • Compliance
  • Trends
  • Intangible benefits
  • Strategic or business fit
  • Social responsibilities
  • Innovation

Each and every one of these factors concerns the CSR of the organisation. Each proposed service will be analysed before being approved and chartered. The associated termination of service will also be considered. Few providers have clear plans for retiring increasingly redundant services. Not only is this not cost-effective but it is also not sustainable from an ecological perspective.

The approval stage will determine the outcomes for existing services that include retain, replace, rationalize, refactor, renew and retire.

Communication of new planned services and their support of the CSR will take place across the organisation clearly and unambiguously – no greenwash!

Next week – in the last of the series – I will look at the other ways in which IT Service Management can support the CSR policy of the organisation.

Karen Ferris is a Director at Macanta Consulting.

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