February IIBA – IT Service Management? IIBA? Cincinnati?

In my never-ending efforts to be in two places at once I somehow didn’t succeed a couple of weeks ago. The CINNUG overlapped with IIBA, and I missed the February IIBA meeting. So here, just under the wire (it’s almost March), is the February IIBA report provided by strong man and all-around LUCRUM stud, Paul Stephens.


There is a powerful movement that has been gaining momentum for many years in Cincinnati and the IIBA event I attended highlighted that fact. The event I am referring to is the notion of IT as a service. What is that?
Last week, I attended the International Institute of Business Analyst’s event “ITIL/ITSM for the Business Analyst” held at the Kroger IT center in Blue Ash, OH. First of all, for anyone not in-the-know, allow me to quote a few definitions regarding business analytics from WikiPedia:

A business analyst or “BA” is responsible for analyzing the business needs of their clients and stakeholders to help identify business problems and propose solutions. Within the systems development life cycle domain, the business analyst typically performs a liaison function between the business side of an enterprise and the providers of services to the enterprise. Common alternative titles are business systems analyst, systems analyst, and functional analyst…

The International Institute of Business Analysis has the following definition of the role:

A business analyst works as a liaison among stakeholders in order to elicit, analyze, communicate and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies and information systems. The business analyst understands business problems and opportunities in the context of the requirements and recommends solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals.

The British Computer Society proposes the following definition of a business analyst:

An internal consultancy role that has the responsibility for investigating business systems, identifying options for improving business systems, and bridging the needs of the business with the use of IT.

So you if you didn’t know, you now know what a business analyst is, and the IIBA is the independent non-profit professional association serving the growing field of Business Analysis. Whatever your role – requirements management, systems analysis, business analysis, requirements analysis, project management, or consulting – if you are involved in analysis for systems, business or process improvement, IIBA can help you do your job better. So what was the event about and why does the Cincinnati IIBA care? Why do I care?

The event was about IT as a service. What this means in a nutshell is this… the survival of a company is dependent on how they view and treat their IT organization. Business users today are savvy and more computer literate, so… many companies treat IT as a cost. The result is the view that IT does not add to the bottom line, thus investments in IT are meaningless until a disaster strikes or someone needs something new and shiny.

What if an organization’s IT department becomes a service center? Now IT is important because they manage processes and practices. They can charge-back to departments any requested service. They have a bottom line that they are responsible for. The movement I spoke about in the beginning is the fact that more and more companies view their IT departments as service providers, not a bottomless pit for investments. The reality is that most companies do receive a return on any investment they make in their IT organization because the ‘business’ depends on IT for its existence. This is what the topic “ITIL/ITSM for the Business Analyst” addresses.

ITIL or information Technology Information Library is a framework for defining how an organization should run a mature IT service center. This framework is paramount for business analysts (BAs), because BAs are the key to ensuring that IT services are properly aligned with business processes.

The IIBA’s speaker on this topic presented a very thoughtful and to-the-point speech, so I would be remiss if I did not thank Leanne Medlock of Watershed Solutions. A little background on Leanne, she operates her business out of Cincinnati. She is certified in: ITIL Expert v3 – 2008, IT Service Manager v2 – 2005, Service Level Management Practitioner, Support and Restore Practitioner, and ISO/IEC 20000. She is a top ITIL trainer in Cincinnati working with companies like Kroger and GE.

Leanne’s presentation really drove home the fact that when strong business analytics are aligned with a proven IT service model, the IT organization can develop and mature an iterative approach to providing top-notch services to the enterprise. Notice, I said enterprise. Once business processes and IT are aligned, you have a machine, an enterprise that no longer views IT as a cost pit, but a valuable asset.

For the business analysts who understand ITIL and work for companies who are implementing the ITIL framework, you have a challenging yet exciting road ahead. For those interested in learning more about what ITIL is all about, contact Leanne… I hope she doesn’t mind the plug! 🙂

For anyone who wants to learn about business analysts, or analytics, or the IIBA of Cincinnati, come to one of our events! Check out IIBA events @ http://cincinnati.theiiba.org.

If you’re still lost and have any questions, feel free to contact myself at pstephens@lucruminc.com or Melissa Messersmith at melissa.messersmith@kroger.com.

… by the way, my name is Paul Stephens and I approve this message.

~ by Andy on February 29, 2008.

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