Should Enterprise IT Offer a “Dollar Menu”?

It seems that there is still so much friction in the request and fulfillment of IT services. Need a quick task tracking website? That’ll take a change request, project manager, pair of business analysts, a few 3rd party developers and a test team. Want a report to replace your Excel workbook pivot charts? Let’s ramp up a project to analyze the domain and scope out a big BI program. Should enterprise IT departments offer a “dollar menu” instead of selling all their service as expensive hamburgers?

To be sure, there are MANY times when you need the rigor that IT departments seem to relish. Introducing large systems or deploying a master data management strategy both require significant forethought and oversight to ensure success. There are even those small projects that have broader impacts and require the ceremony of a full IT team. But wouldn’t enterprise IT teams be better off if they had offered some quick-value services delivered by a SWAT team of highly trained resources?

My company recently piloted a “walk up” IT services center where anyone can walk in and have simple IT requests fulfilled. Need a new mouse? Here you go. Having problems with your laptop OS? We’ll take a look. It’s awesome. No friction, and dramatically faster than opening a ticket with a help desk and waiting 3 days to hear something back. It’s the dollar menu (simple services, no frills) vs. the expensive burger (help desk support).

Why shouldn’t other IT (software) services work this way? Need a basic website that does simple data collection? We can offer up to 32 man hours to do the work. Need to securely exchange data with a partner? Here’s the accelerated channel through a managed file transfer product. So what would it require to do this? Obviously full support from IT leaders, but also, you probably need a strong public/private Platform-as-a-Service environment, a good set of existing (web) services, and a mature level of IT automation. You’d also likely need a well documented reference architecture so that you don’t constantly reinvent the wheel on topics like identity management, data access, and the like.

Am I crazy? Is everyone else already doing this? Do you think that there should be a class of services on the “menu” that people can order knowing full well that the service is delivered in a fast,  but basic fashion? What else would be on that list?

Author: Richard Seroter

Richard Seroter is Director of Developer Relations and Outbound Product Management at Google Cloud. He’s also an instructor at Pluralsight, a frequent public speaker, the author of multiple books on software design and development, and a former editor plus former 12-time Microsoft MVP for cloud. As Director of Developer Relations and Outbound Product Management, Richard leads an organization of Google Cloud developer advocates, engineers, platform builders, and outbound product managers that help customers find success in their cloud journey. Richard maintains a regularly updated blog on topics of architecture and solution design and can be found on Twitter as @rseroter.

9 thoughts

      1. True…but you’d need something close to that type of self-service/automated provisioning/etc. coupled with lifecycle management to prevent costs from spiraling out of control.

  1. Once I was working with small team which was doing the whole development for pretty big company. Why it was possible? For two reasons, the first was, they boss didn’t care at all what they are doing, because all departments were happy. The second reason was, the developers really liked developing. It was weird. But the standard situation is when instead of a small team a then-fold bigger department is working with equal or less results.

    Kitchen SWAT


    * Web-service cooking

    * Data moving

    * System integration sandwich

    * Helper boy, doing everything

  2. Yes, you’re crazy. But this article is well thought out, points to quicker deployment, and probably money saving.

  3. I’ve consulted at some larger companies where the help desk was pretty quick. I’m assuming that they had something like a “walk up” service concept. The help desk dealt with any desktop issues quickly and the rest of IT provided the slow methodical projects.

  4. Wow – a convert in EA .. I never would have thought it. This is just what the business WANTS us to do for 75% of its needs.. problem is we contracted out pretty much all our in-house IT development expertise to 3rd parties that need you to log calls and write requirements specification and test plans for your Excel based data entry form.

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