Less than half of companies formally measure the performance of their IT services, and under a third have a best practices policy for IT services delivery, according to a survey.
Research commissioned by Hewlett Packard (HP) among 200 UK IT and business managers found that improving the management of IT services to show the value of IT is a priority for many companies.
Only 45 per cent of companies formally measure the performance of the IT services delivered internally, and just a quarter are aware of BS15000, a standard for IT service management.
And companies are not adopting IT services management because business managers still view their IT departments as a support function, the report found. But firms that have implemented IT best practices have seen considerable benefits.
IT services management is the idea of delivering high quality, consistent IT services internally and externally through the use of best practices.
But most companies fail to progress beyond even the most basic steps, such as an IT services desk.
Aidan Lawes, chief executive of the IT Services Management Forum, admitted that the uptake of IT services management is disappointing, but pointed out that companies such as Barclays, Diageo and Procter & Gamble have adopted it.
"More and more companies now recognise that having a process driven-approach and a philosophy of IT services delivery to the business offers real value," he said.
"Ten to 30 per cent savings on IT support costs are not uncommon. There are some real quick wins that give some quite staggering returns within a short space of time often with very little investment."
George Bathurst, software marketing manager at HP, suggested that historical reasons and an outdated structure of IT departments are often to blame.
"Typically there's one chap who looks after the network, and another who looks after the customer interface. They are silos," he said.
"Another reason is that people lack the tools to measure what is going on and why, for example, they might be losing customers.
"Business hasn't yet started to insist on aligning IT costs with revenue. IT has been a special case where you throw money in without measuring what the impact is."
But IT departments stand to gain substantially from an IT services management approach, Bathurst added.
"It is an opportunity to re-engage the business," he said. "If things go wrong, it's a much more constructive way to jointly deal with things. It's not about finding scapegoats; it's about improving services."
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