Services University: The Outside-In Approach

Why do so many universities get it wrong when it comes to Service Catalog? Historically, IT organizations within a university have been set up to support the technology versus being set up to support their customer base. To get the true power of Service Management it is critical to start with an Outside-In approach vs. the traditional Inside-Out approach.  This means beginning with the services customers utilize and defining these services in terms that resonate with faculty, staff and students.
At a university, it is important to know the types of customers that IT engages with, the services they currently utilize (service catalog) and additional services they may be looking for (pipeline).  Let’s begin by understanding the university’s customer base:

  1. Students: these are the true consumers of the services the University supplies overall – Education.  If education services are not provided, classrooms would be empty and faculty and staff would be out of jobs.
  2. Faculty: students rely on the education that professors (and supporting faculty) provide to them via lectures, online videos, and other media formats.
  3. Staff: each staff member plays a factor in making education a reality for students.  This not only includes IT, but other organizations such as Facilities, Administration, Admissions, Financial Aid, and Residential.
  4. Other Colleges: At a high level, there are essentially two models for how IT is organized at universities.  The first is a decentralized IT organization where there may be many IT organizations that reside in the different colleges.  The second and preferred way to organize is to have a centralized IT organization that supports all of the external colleges and university entities.

Because of the diversity of the customer base at a university, it is not a trivial process when defining, publishing, and communicating services. In our upcoming whitepaper, we further explore this topic.

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