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Today, service delivery organizations operate in a highly dynamic, complex, competitive, and globally distributed environment. There is constant pressure to reduce costs and improve performance and quality. Success demands the ability to continuously learn and adapt. Standardization is recognized as essential to reducing variation and, therefore, costs, as well as managing quality. Public frameworks and standards, such as ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), provide best-practice guidance and a common vocabulary for managing IT (information technology) services. In this paper, we explore the role that social networking and “crowdsourcing” can play in socializing and developing best practices for a service delivery organization. We draw on our experience developing and deploying a social networking application, called Cyano, which is being used by approximately 13,000 IT professionals to capture and maintain day-to-day activities, processes, and artifacts used for problem and change management of several hundred outsourced infrastructures. Cyano is a new breed of social networking enterprise applications, in which crowdsourcing is leveraged to enrich and maintain IT processes and social networks are not created by explicit membership, but rather are implicitly discovered by the type of activities and infrastructure elements that various users support. In this paper, we focus on 1) the architecture of Cyano for supporting social tagging and linkage across different layers of management applications, 2) process customization and governance, and 3) an automated recommendation system that has been well received by thousands of IT professionals. We also highlight research challenges in this space.
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