Mindful Monday: Is the Enterprise ready to strike back?

While simplifying things is not so simple, it remains an important key to a great customer experience. The enterprise needs to simplify services, as well as how they are managed.

The digital disruption we find ourselves in today has resulted in an almost unlimited number of choices, which can drive the number of customer touch points through the roof. This can have a negative impact on the customer experience.

A successful customer outcome/experience is one that makes the customer’s life simpler and easier— as well as more successful. The basic improvement techniques of eliminating moments of truth (MOT), process break points (BP) and business rules (BR) apply today more than ever.

These elements — MOTs, BPs and BRs — are often MUDA from the customer’s point of view. This is why we want to streamline the customer journey, right?

The desire to accelerate flow from concept to product through a CI/CD pipeline may also be important to customers. They all want desired new features as quickly as possible, right?

But be careful about our desire to accelerate flow and spew out hundreds of new features that may not necessarily be what the majority of your customers want. Often their basic desires are much simpler, and in fact our frantic desire to find ‘Muda’ inside CI/CD pipelines can lead us back to inside-out thinking.

Another reality is that service management in today’s world of digital disruption is made ever more complicated as existing and emerging practice frameworks evolve. In fact, as service management expands to the entire enterprise now might be a very good time to think about simplifying your service management system.

Why simplifying service management can accelerate value delivery

How you manage services across the entire enterprise is no longer just an IT responsibility.

Establishing a simple, sustainable service management system will provide the basis for meeting customer expectations on a consistent basis and applies to the entire enterprise.

“…simplifying internal processes and structures will have positive impacts on the entire value creation capability of a company.”


The USM Method’s 5 processes and 8 standard workflows apply to all service providers inside or outside the enterprise and is one way today’s enterprise can strike back against the exponential increases in complexity felt by employees and customers.

“Managing complexity well can create… higher returns…lower costs…improved customer satisfaction…”


Want to find out more?

Join me over at ITSM Academy:

September 15th, 2022 at 11:00AM EST for a webinar titled ESM and the Big Re-Think and find out more about the Unified Service Management Method.

I’ll be following this with a series of two webinars over at the itSMF USA with the first one on:

September 22, 2022 at 1:00PM EST titled Simplifying Service Management for the Enterprise: ITIL v4 and the Unified Service Management Method

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Is IT4IT for you?

I recently took a look at IT4IT’s version 3, and while there’s a wealth of information in there, I’m not sure it’s for me. Frameworks and standards such as ITIL and IT4IT provide huge bodies of knowledge, but today’s complex digital services demand a simplified and sustainable management system.

As the name suggests, IT4IT is limited to digital services. In fact, the IT4IT standard not only changed IT service to digital product it ‘changes this focus to address technology or code as the main actor in the delivery of an outcome of a service, removing those services performed by human labor[1].’

People are still actors in the delivery of outcomes. USM provides a sustainable management system for any enterprise service, not just IT services, so it applies to everyone in the enterprise. This also makes it far easier to consume than the IT4IT standard.

Again, as the name suggests, IT4IT is inside-out. The seven value streams described in the standard are designed to ‘combine all of the necessary capabilities to deliver value and support to the dependent parts of the Digital Product lifecycle’.

USM describes customer-driven service delivery. Four of the five processes and five of the eight workflows are customer-facing; USM is very much outside-in!

IT4IT provides a very detailed reference architecture that is designed to manage the business of IT. It ‘prescribes the value streams and capabilities required to manage the Digital Product lifecycle’. Similar to ITIL, IT4IT is practice-oriented; it provides ways to perform tasks in actual situations.

Whether IT4IT is for you depends on who you are and what you’re looking for. Jan van Bon posted about this years ago. I think large enterprises in particular will find plenty of good information in the IT4IT standard, and it should find a place in the enterprise reference library.

But what all enterprises need today is a dose of simplicity, and the Unified Service Management Method delivers that very well, as outlined in a single book.

USM is a method that provides the architecture and the management system to deploy any combination of practices in one integrated system, for any combination of teams or organizations, in any line of business.

Get a simple, sustainable management system in place with the USM Method; then pick and choose what other parts of your reference library apply to you.

[1] The Open Group IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0

Inside-Out Value Streams

Stuck in the Muda Again…

If we agree that all value originates outside the enterprise (i.e., Drucker), then the most important value stream is the customer journey value stream. And as that leads us to dive deep into the process river searching for ‘no-value-added activities’ we should be mindful about getting stuck in the ‘Muda ’ all over again.

Stuck in the Muda again…

Muda is a Japanese word meaning “futility; uselessness; wastefulness”, and is a key concept in lean process thinking


While the focus on experience level agreements and value streams gets us aligned with external customers, and a wealth of guidance from practice frameworks help us pinpoint potential improvements, these are sometimes worlds apart.

No question about it, the need to accelerate flow is business-critical — accelerated ‘concept-to-product’ in the digital world is important. Movements like DevOps and CI/CD are happening for good reasons; every business wants to accelerate the time between “Ah-Ha!” and “Ka-Ching!”.

However, the rush to accelerate flow and spew out hundreds of new features is not necessarily what your customers may want. Often their basic desires are much simpler, and in fact our frantic desire to find ‘Muda’ often leads us back to inside-out thinking. The ITIL 4 guidance and things like experience level agreements are doing good things to help us avoid that.

Indeed, ITIL v4’s approach is to leverage the 4 dimensions (organizations & people, information & technology, partners & suppliers) along with value streams and processes to get a holistic view of service delivery.

While we can quickly adopt industry best practice frameworks, adapting them to ever-changing internal and external customer requirements is not so simple. This is partly because the who (people) and how (tools) are often tightly woven into a practice, which are ways of performing tasks in actual situations.

In addition, weaving partners and suppliers into the mix quickly gets even more complicated as we expand service ecosystems across internal and external service providers.

What happens is an endless game of chasing redundancy and waste (Muda). As our internal and external providers seek to improve — and change who and how they work— it forces change at higher levels of ‘process’ precisely because the who and the how are tightly woven into practice (the what).

Establishing a unified service management method can compliment your existing investments in practice frameworks by de-coupling the who (people) and how (work instructions/tooling) from what must be done as well as by providing a unified definition of a service for any internal or external provider.

In fact, it’s simple, cost-effective, as well as easy to learn and use by all stakeholders in the enterprise. By establishing 5 processes and 8 workflows for any service, providers can tailor procedures (who) and work instructions (how) without having to change the heart of the process (what).

The USM Method can be used for assessing the management system of a service provider, improving the management system of a service provider (i.e., an organization or team), determining outsourcing of tasks, and/or testing against external requirements/standards (i.e., audit).

Don’t stay stuck in the Muda.