This is a repost of a popular post from four years ago. More applicable to cloud than ever.
For the IT organization to start behaving as a Managed Service Provider, it will have to create and nurture the role of "Product Manager". The product manager assembles and defines the services which will be offered to the business and its consumers through the Relationship Manager.
They are the central coordination point between all the stakeholders, including the customer.
Service cut across silos, they cross different functions -- it is the product manager's role to assemble them into unities that make sense to IT's customer. The product manager both leads and collaborates in defining, supervising and enhancing services to achieve the needed levels of customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, and operational effectiveness. Outsourcers and most high-tech companies have this role already.
This role is responsible with coordinating defining both the specific services to be provided as well as the roadmap of future IT services. This is done in conjunction with both the relationship managers, IT executive management and owners of specific service domain. To do this the product managers must own the definition the SLA’s, measures, bundles, resources, pricing, cost allocation.
They are the ones who design the options between quality and cost which the customer can then select. Because of this, they are responsible for the strategic roadmap for improving service quality and cost -- they do this in conjunction with the IT planning function.
PM’s are responsible for the competitiveness of their offer in their marketplace. That means benchmarking their offers against external providers, leaders in their industry, the important metrics.
There’s a lot more than that… but don’t despair, here are a few resources to help you construct a definition for you.
Gartner wrote a report on "Evolving Roles in the IT Organization: The IT Product Manager (Article G00131012)" for those of you that have access to client access Gartner.
While IT Product management is a new role, product management is a well-established discipline. You may want to talk to product managers in your organization to get an overview of the job. There are also resources like this one and this one (PDF). They are more traditional ones but the fundamentals are similar. There are even organizations that train on traditional product management.
They have this neat image that gives you some sense of the different activities a Product Manager undertakes: