Enterprises can come up with all sorts of schemes for cutting waste and costs, ranging from cancelling coffee machines to selling off entire business units. Not all of these schemes make sense when managing IT Service Management.
For example, companies may succumb to the temptation of cutting marketing and advertising costs in an economic downturn, a time when these investments (assuming they are properly done) are often the most needed.
Elsewhere, waste reduction has become a finely tuned science that works well. The use of lean principles in manufacturing to cut out waste and enhance productivity is one example. Can such principles also be applied to IT Service Management?
The point of a lean approach is to identify the real value concerned and minimize the effort, money or process to spend the least while achieving the most. Indeed, in IT Service Management, less is also often more.
Expensive tools that generate myriad reports on service performance and disruption can be overkill. Worse, by generating too much information, they make it impossible to cut through to the essentials.
Similarly, KPIs are usually more effective when they are few in number, but highly relevant. Part of the challenge of IT Service Management theories, tools and frameworks like ITIL is in picking out what you need, instead of applying everything everywhere and trying to reassure yourself that you have thus covered all eventualities.
Lean principles therefore apply to what you generate via your IT Service Management, as well as to the infrastructure and resources you put in place to do IT Service Management in the first place.
Perfection is not the goal. Excellence might be the goal. “Good enough” is a strong candidate, too. A lean approach should strive to find the right balance between effectiveness and cost-efficiency.
An IT Service Management lean approach should also take into account that by trying to be better than “good enough”, you may effectively end up with more waste and cost than when you started.