UKN Group stakes the business on service management

Given that UKN Group is an IT service provider, it comes as little surprise that service management is highly prized at the organisation. More than just a best practice framework, for such companies it is direct contributor to competitive advantage.

Nevertheless, the degree to which ITIL and service management have permeated the organisation demonstrates the extensibility of the concepts.

The company, which today specialises in providing remotely managed thin client desktop services, began to adopt ITIL practices around five years ago as it began to move from a consultancy to a managed services provider.

“We wanted to put in more structure to our services and provide best practice to our customers,” recalls Dean Coleman, head of service support. Adopting the Sostenuto service management toolkit from Sunrise Software (a winner in last year’s Information Age Innovation Awards) allowed UKN Group to implement ready-made ITIL-compliant processes. Having begun with Sostenuto’s incident management module, UKN Group has since deployed problem management, configuration management and change management.

Interestingly, there are at UKN Group business users who apply configuration management processes to the remote infrastructures of their clients. As an IT service provider, extending or changing the level of service they provide is essentially an IT configuration management project.

Also, the configuration management database represents the inventory UKN has sold to a given customer. The finance department, therefore, uses the CMDB to calculate how much to bill clients for. The business was not always so ITIL-aware, however. “Even though we would talk to our clients about ITIL, two years ago it wasn’t all that well understood within the company,” recalls Coleman. “People felt that we were banging on the ITIL drum, but they didn’t know what it meant for them.”

The company ran ITIL awareness programmes for employees in all divisions, which helped them to appreciate how it related to each of them, and has significantly improved buy-in across the board.

Despite its supplier status, UKN Group’s example shows how extending access to service management tools outside core IT can allow business departments greater control over the design and financing of services. But it also proves the importance of training if one is to export a traditionally technicalfocused methodology in such a way.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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