In an effort to ensure that we are providing our business with an exceptional service experience, we strive to improve within our own department, which is IT. Within service management there are many places we might start. Depending on our organization we might review the problem process to ensure the reduction of recurring incidents; in turn, we may review the metrics of the incident process to ensure that we resolve critical incidents in a timely fashion. We may also review change management to make sure that we are reducing changes that are impacting services negatively.
While all of these things will outline areas for improvement, we also need to consider the process that faces our business regularly. Since request fulfillment is something that the business interacts with regularly, we need to be mindful on how that is viewed from the business as well as the support perspectives to get a full picture.
From the Business Perspective
Typically the business sees the interface of the Service Desk as the single point of contact for IT. Requests go in and to some capacity services are provisioned. The review should look at the effectiveness of this interface.
- Is there a single place to satisfy the business needs?
- Is there any type of self-service capability to get information, answer questions, or make simple requests?
- Is there a catalog to choose still other more complex services that may require approvals due to cost or security?
- Is there a way to interact with the people in the IT department?
Keep in mind you don’t need to have a fancy tool to facilitate this. What you really need to know is how the business navigates the process of request fulfillment. It will either be through automation or knowing someone who can “hook you up.”
The CEO and an HR person are in the elevator one morning when the HR person sighs, “My new hire report hasn’t been provisioned to my phone, I guess I will have to call the Service Desk yet again…”
The CEO sees the dismay on the HR person and replies, “Not too worry, the Service Desk always gets things done right away!”
The elevator arrives at the HR person’s floor, and as they exit they reply “…if you’re a CEO it probably does.”
What is illustrated here is that in some cases there may be a flag for urgency to have a certain person(s) as a VIP, and we handle these requests with white glove treatment. While originally there may be reason for doing this, there may also be significant drawbacks that are now more of a constraint than a benefit.
From the IT Perspective
The function of request fulfillment is to manage the lifecycle of the service request. This process can have huge volumes of work associated with it, so understanding all the moving parts is critical. It is important to review the process regularly to see where some streamlining activities can be undertaken to further improve not only the customer experience but to identify where IT work can be automated to free up valuable IT resources.
- Leverage your metrics – rate of service is important, but…
- Look at the quality of completed work. Are tickets being re-opened?
- Review the requests at close. Are there inefficiencies from escalations to multiple teams?
- Call source –how is this done? Email, phone, IM, social media – what makes sense for our business?
- Communicate within IT – what is working well for us as a business unit and what is not? Where can we improve as a whole for service delivery?
While there is no budget at the current time for a new Service Management tool, the IT Operations Director had decided to leverage the metrics from his teams to identify the cost associated with delivering certain requests. Her plan was to illustrate that the cost of the tool in next year’s budget would be outweighed not only by the cost of the manual work being completed (quantified by hours spent,) but also being able to cut the average completion of those requests in half (customer satisfaction – dollars not as quantifiable).
At the end of the day taking stock of how we fulfill requests for our customers is a good start. Leveraging the tools we have in place to measure how we do this will allow us to make judgments on how we can improve the service we provide our customers.
Quite often we, as an IT unit, will focus on how we are delivering service. The trick is to get a big picture sense of what is going on by having the business perspective taken into account.
For more brilliant insights, check out Ryan’s blog: Service Management Journey