Courthill Systems Service Management Expertise for Medium Business    
It is well known that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. So this is me, Clive Porter-Brown, trying something different to land my new permanent role.

IT is a diverse, often complex, and constantly moving environment. A big part of the problem is that the essential focus on the business by IT is missing.   because IT is too engrossed in doing what they want, not what needs to be done for the business.

The purpose of IT is not to introduce the latest technology and put

I find that senior level jobs are often filled before they even get to market.  This has been reflected in my own career where only 2 of my roles were gained through adverts.  The rest were through promotions or through my network of contacts. 

I am using my Service Intelligence White Paper, website and social media (LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter) to reach out to future employers and headhunters.  I aim to get the attention of senior leaders who are going to market because they realise they need someone different, someone that can see through the technology minefield, someone to drive services that are needed.
Connect with Clive Porter-Brown on LinkedIn

What do I do Differently?

What of the future and the skills and capabilities that I bring to an organisation and what of me as the person? My CV is a retrospective, listing my past achievements. Experience obviously plays a part, but as a future employer you want to know how I will bring change and improvements to your organisation, challenge the status quo, engage the stakeholders, lead and mentor the teams, make IT and shared services happen.
“The main difference between service and manufacturing is the service department doesn’t know that they have a product.“
W.Edwards Demming (creator of the Plan-Do-Check-Act improvement cycle)

Service Intelligence, is my collaborative service model for shared services, bringing them closer to the business by ensuring a focus on the structure and dynamics of the organisation and its goals.  This in turn leads to a more collaborative design process and effective transition to operational delivery.  The model will extend across key service areas of IT, HR, Trade Compliance, Legal, Finance and Facilities, building a common foundation for customer service.

Delivering value to the business through a collaboration and transparency to improve customer satisfaction whilst offering operational efficiencies and managing costs. The root of Service Intelligence is enabling data consistency which is leveraged through Business Intelligence (BI), enabling organisations to strategise and execute through data driven decisions, leading to efficiencies and improved performance.  The objective of Service Intelligence is ensuring shared service is data led to build value driven services that are fit for purpose and support the business.

What is my desired outcome? Titles and roles are often not the same from one organisation to the next.  Quite simply, I am looking for a new permanent role as an IT Director, Shared Service Operations, Head of IT, Lead of Service Delivery or equivalent.
Download the
 Service Intelligence White Paper
"I simply have to share this condensed yet valuable narrative from Clive Porter-Brown which highlights the approach to service excellence through the alignment of service management, culture and strategy. His outlook delivers a fresh opportunity to lay the solid foundations which are absolutely necessary for successful digital transformation across today's enterprise organisations."
Ian Taylor,TFM Group

The Shared Service Challenge

As a business increases in complexity, efficiencies are required to optimise costs and resources and these can be gained through applying a shared services model.  Shared services are especially applicable to multi-company /multi-site / multi-division organisations, where a large amount of replication can take place and they can also be positioned to take advantage of corporate wide buying power.

Embarking on a shared service strategy does require proper planning, part of which is identifying the current and future state models. Why are shared services needed, what are the consequences for doing otherwise and what is the vision, the plan to get there and how to measure progress are all key.    Applying Kotters principles for Continuous Improvement is a clear guide here.

Shared Service Models

In communicating the future, it is essential to set out what the future state actually looks like and what steps are to be taken along the way. Starting with the vision is not as straightforward as it sounds, as can be seen in the list below, there are many different versions of what can be presented as a shared service model. 

Model Value Realised Description
Functional Low A functional area provides specific services to the Enterprise, whilst other functions are managed at the divisional level. Examples of a functional shared service include Information Security or the Service Desk.

Corporate Low The corporate team drives specific services that are used across the enterprise but only so far as to satisfy the corporate function.   Examples of a corporate shared service include financial or compliance reporting.
Divisional Low Divisions operate a common model with their subsidiaries but operate autonomously from other parts of the organisation. Collaboration with other division(s) is more ad-hoc than formalised.

Federated Moderate Leveraging core services across multiple domains without the direct ownership of the infrastructure.  An example of a federated service would be email.

Mandated Low The mandated model in a multi-division organisation is fraught with risk. This is taking the drive for standardisation to the extreme. It is unlikely that two businesses operate successfully under the same business process model and driving this through will result in a broken business. It is likely that desktop standards could be mandated, but this would not be a successful approach for critical business applications.

Enterprise / Hybrid High The corporate team drives the technology roadmap and owns the contracts, in consultation with the divisions. There is a great deal of collaboration between the corporate and divisional teams, even though they may not have shared reporting lines for the teams. Adoption rate of the enterprise driven services will vary across each division, being driven by the need to adopt due to expiring services. Where required, the model allows for divisions or units to run with their own point solutions. Some functional services will be managed by corporate IT to help drive the success of the services. These corporate services could include architecture, support, information security and financial management.

The motivation for shared services will vary although a common factor is to improve operational capability through more effective application of resources.  In other words, as a starting point doing better with what we have.  Part of this model will also include restructuring of teams to better support the future state. 

  • Effective use of headcount
  • Moving teams from generalist to specialist roles
  • Better use of budgets
  • Reduced operational complexity
  • Minimise technical debt
  • Creating a scalable environment
  • Enhancing M&A support
  • Establishment of operating standards
  • Leveraging of best practice

With a clear understanding of the direction of the business and an understanding of the target model it is then possible to move forward, creating a scalable architecture that lends itself to being adaptable to the varying business demands and underpins the future success. 

Shared Service Areas

 Although much of this article is focused on technology and IT, shared services are a model for repeated functions across the business. In addition to IT other functions such as HR, Trade Compliance, Finance, Facilities, Legal, Supply Chain and Sourcing all offer opportunity for optimising delivery of their services through a shared service model. The key is not to treat each of these in isolation, but understand their mutual touch points and create efficiencies that benefit all.

The Future is Bright

Although there is no "one size fits all" solution, the model will follow a familiar pattern. Driven by a core architecture and data model that pins together a hybrid service model.  A flexible and adaptable data driven model, enabling business to grow and flex in the manner that suits each business in the organisation.

Enterprise Shared Servcie Model

Getting there requires leadership support as well as engagement by all stakeholders. Collaboration and trust between the divisions, shared services and the corporation to devise, agree and follow the roadmap. As anyone can tell you before you start, just the thought of change will surface resistance. It will take courage and fortitude to meet the challenges, supported by an organisational change model to ensure engagement at all levels. 

The result will be a technology rich environment that works alongside the business working to deliver a shared services for shared success. The benefits are a leaner, more agile business which engages with its technology partners and is better able to serve its customers.

Presentations and Articles

"If you only tell people what to do, without working with them to build common understanding of each other, you will always be disappointed with what they deliver."

Leadership, people, customers, users, suppliers, empowerment, trust, technical change, organisational change, culture, communication, services, outcomes finance, policy, governance are just some of the equation that drives business forward.  Read more articles from Clive Porter-Brown on how he enables business and IT to work together, successfully aligning  and satisfying demand to deliver on the business goals.

CV - Clive Porter-Brown - IT Service Leader
April 2020
 My CV showing more of my career history and achievements
Clive Porter-Brown CV / Resumé
Please contact me for a current copy
April 2020
As well as my employmeny history, my linked in profile contains a numebr of articles (listed below) as well as comments and posts.  These reflect the way I think and are representative of the thinking that I would bring to an organisation, covering the tactical operations and the transformation through to implementing the strategic direction.
24 Mar 2020
On 23rd March HM Government imposed controls on movement of people in the United Kingdom in order to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.   The backdrop to this announcement was the organisational change strategy required in making the necessary behavioral changes across the UK, so as to minimise to not compromise either the health service or the national infrastructure.

I usually try to space out my articles, om this occasion I did not want the relevance to the reader to be lost.
Change Becomes Us
15 Mar 2020
Covid-19 has had a massive impact on business, but what has been the impact in employees suddenly thrust into not having an office.  Stop and think beyond the immediate, what does the future hold for your culture when things start to return to normality?
Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes
23 Jan 2020
Each of us has a value system by which we measure the world around us. What impact will the value system of you and those across the business have on effecting change to transform your organisation?
Harmony in my Head
PowerPoint Presentation
15 Jan 2020
PowerPoint with Audio Examining the inter-dependency of culture and strategy and how they impact on achieving a successful digital transformation.
Aligning Culture and Strategy for Digital Transformation (17MB PowerPoint with audio, allow 15-20 minutes)
31 Dec 2019
Communication is all around us, but are we really any good at it? How do we know that the right message is being received, relayed and acted upon?
Are you Receiving Me
6 Nov 2019
Change Management is more about people than the technology if you really want to be successful.
Time Marches On!
17 Oct 2019
Why should the business be interested in service management for IT and shared services?
The Value of Service Management
9 Jun 2019
A seemingly innocent action can have massive consequences on IT and their ability to service the business.
The Cost of Unintended Consequence


Sample Work and Templates

My teams were running into difficulty understanding how to select a UPS to meet required service availability targets.  I created this tool to help them gather the load information which would give them the total load requirement.  Coupled with the required runtime, they used the data to select an appropriate device.  I also included some advice to help them build their business case by looking at the cost of running the business and the cost of loss of service. This would all be tied back to the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to help ensure the business support
UPS Load Calculation Tool (Excel, no macros. Will download as a zip file)

Service Improvement Example A technology roadmap sits as part of the business strategy, showing how technology will be aligned with the future organisation, taking a vision to a reality.  To support the newly created enterprise steering committee, the roadmap was required to show the current plan and identify any required changes.  Working with my peers and with business leaders, a road map was created that brought together the different work streams across IT including Operations, Information Security and Applications.  the completed road map was interactive, allowing drill down of each stream, thus offering the high level view and a more detailed plan with milestones.  The high level view started appearing on business level presentations, showing the IT and the business were aligned.
Service Improvement Example The move to a global model for an organisation that is made up of disparate business units can be fraught with risk.  One key one being staffing.  Who controls the staff is usually determined by those that pay them, making the need for a clear model essential. An organisational change plan was created, showing the available options.  The recommended path was agreed and this was implemented, changing the reporting lines whilst maintaining service levels within respective operations.  A new layer of business unit IT directors was created, creating a common interface between units and enterprise IT, enabling units to operate as currently suited their business structure, whilst enabling standardisation of common services.  Staff understood their operational and technical reporting lines, the scope of their influence and how they were expected to interact.  This also enabled them to be supported by others across the organisation, leveraging their experience which allowed individuals to move from a generalist to a more focused role that interested them, which in turn improved staff retention.
Service Improvement Example Licensing can be a challenge, especially within enterprise models and it is very easy to use the wrong license, resulting in unnecessary expense.  Such a situation had been identified through our licensing review when compared against our internal asset management data, revealing a significant financial risk.  I created a policy for the use and application of licenses software, in particular the use of Enterprise, Standard, Express and Developer editions.  A procedure was also developed detailing how a service could be downgraded to the proper edition without compromising the service.  I then ran a programme with the affected sites, tracking their progress to right size their installed base, I was then using this data to provide a weekly update to senor executives showing the progress being made and the amount of the outstanding risk.  This resulted in an annual saving of $900K on licence fees and avoided penalties for a license breach through incorrect reporting.
Service Improvement Example Global operations means being able to support users and systems, wherever they are in the world. This entails a variety of systems and platforms.  The challenge was to establish a solution that was seamless to both support teams and to users, meaning it must also work across multiple unconnected networks.  Another challenge would be poor bandwidth in certain locations, requiring an agentless experience for the user.  After looking at a lot of different solutions and meeting with suppliers, I implemented a service that was cloud based and leveraged existing SSO.  The minimal footprint and concurrent licensing meant the solution was cost effective and met the operational demands.
Service Improvement Example Manufacturing of energetics means that certain waste cannot be disposed off in the conventional way and relies upon burning in diesel.  Site operations required a reliable method to assess the weather conditions, wind speed and direction to determine if it was safe to ignite the fire.  To fail to do so could mean acrid smoke being blown over properties resulting in health concerns and an expensive cleanup.  I built a tool that connected to the local METAR weather observations, extracting the forecast information with wind speed and heading.   This was compared with allowed vectors and wind speed tolerances to provide an advisory of whether burning would be allowed.  Through automation, the service was configured to generate a web page that was viewable both on demand and at the weather station.  As part of the process for each burn, a hard copy from the service was generated, acting as an audit record for public inspection.
  • Policies and Procedures global framework - Enabling compliance with NIST and registering outstanding POAM's
  • Migrating from GPMS to GSC - Following advice from HMG, created and implemented plan to migrate business to new classification scheme, with handling method for changed and referenced documents
  • BBC World Service - Downloading news stories from streams, formatting as RTF with standard template and saving to document server.
  • Kerridge Motor Systems / Kalamazoo Motor Systems - Created integration pack enabling them to successfully access Renault mainframe as part of the dealership standardisation program
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