The ITIL Service Owner is dead… long live the Office 365 Service Owner

The ITIL Service Owner is dead… long live the Office 365 Service Owner

Traditionally, the view of a Service Owner within an ITIL framework spans across the Service Lifecycle from Strategy to Design, Transition to Operation, and Continual Improvement. This involves a number of high-level responsibilities.

The role of this Service Owner is often described as more reactive, rather than proactive. They might find themselves in a situation where there are several months or even years between service changes.

Proactive development of the Office 365 service owner

Moving to the Office 365 environment is the trigger for the traditional ITIL Service Owner to develop and grow into a more proactive role to manage the volume and velocity of change. The Office 365 Service Owner is essentially accountable for the service across the whole organisation, no matter where the technology components or professional capabilities reside.

In their new form, they become a single point of accountability for managing cloud services with a business focus. They need to be aware of upcoming changes before they are implemented, that will affect end-users and IT Operations Teams.

Develop a process for knowledge management

Microsoft assists with this challenge by providing a public roadmap and a message center to keep Service Owners informed of changes, new and updated functionality. Handling this information requires a process for capturing, developing, sharing and effectively utilising this knowledge within their organisation.

To ensure that the Office 365 service is managed with a business focus, the appointment of a single point of accountability is absolutely essential to provide the required level of attention and focus for the delivery of Office 365 services to the business.

From servers to services

The Office 365 Service Owner operates in a new world where the operational functions and processes have shifted focus from ‘infrastructure support and maintenance’ to ‘services’.

End-user Service Management is now an integral part of the new role where end-user experience is proactively understood and improved seamlessly without waiting for the user to raise a request. The Office 365 Service Owner is also equipped with new tools and data, allowing them to measure the performance of their services and the engagement of their users.

Understanding the environment

When you move to a new environment, it is key to understand how it is being used, it is therefore key that you monitor performance. For example, with Skype for Business, collecting usage, trend, and quality of data for the communication sessions can be beneficial in a number of ways, including:

Return on Investment – compare usage data against previous systems

Device Inventory Management – identify old devices still in use that need to be replaced, as well as identify expensive devices that are not being used

Help Desk – troubleshooting data

System Troubleshooting – enables administrators to detect major issues preventing end users from performing tasks

To achieve this, there needs to be a paradigm shift within the organisation, moving from simply looking at what the technology is capable of to a more service-oriented mindset where the focus is on using Office 365 services to solve business problems and ensure end-user collaboration and engagement.

Finalising the transition

This transition from a reactionary environment to an empowering one means the Service Owner acquires or builds the skills to:

1) Develop the right criteria to pick the right service offerings which support their business goals and objectives

2) Ensuring the businesses requirements are aligned to the Office 365 services as a part of an overall strategy

3) Focus as a cloud service owner is to clarify the new and enhanced capabilities and deliver these to their end users

Long live the Office 365 Service Owner

With this new DNA, the Office 365 Service Owner now works with teams that have also undergone a skillset change from deep technical knowledge to allowing them to focus on higher-level strategies and become more customer-centric when providing IT services.

This new environment is all about optimising your cloud investment and solving your business challenges where IT and business are strategically aligned enabling businesses to achieve their goals.

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