The aim of Service Management in theory is simple. Providing services and products that meet customer needs and enable strategic business goals to be achieved. So why are so many companies getting this wrong? This short article explores the expectations of businesses and customers in 2022, the shortcomings of taking a purely operational approach to Service Management, along with recommending some focus areas for CIOs and IT Service Leaders to help ensure success.
So, what are the key things that your users and customers are looking for this year that should guide your strategy and approach?
Ease of access.
Your users and customers want and expect a mix of self-service and human assistance that works intuitively together. Services must make sense, give people choice, and be easy to consume if they are to be valued.
Understand my needs.
Customers expect their requirements to be fully understood, and for you to have knowledge of what they need technology for and what they need it to do.
Anticipate what I will need in the future.
Your customers expect you to predict the challenges they will face, what will help them be successful, and provide continually enhanced services and products that will help them be productive.
Educated and informed employees.
Your customers expect that the people they speak to will understand them, communicate clearly with them, and provide a solution to their problem, no matter who they speak to or how they communicate with the Service Desk.
Please tell me what to expect.
Your users and customers don’t expect miracles, but many are left scratching their heads after receiving things that they don’t know what to do with or don’t see the value of. Service and product expectations and standards need to be agreed and clearly communicated.
If you commit to something, you must deliver it. This is the baseline that IT and digital services are now measured against. There can be no ambiguity, oversights, or misalignment of expectations with key parties and stakeholders as it can be detrimental to the business.
Do it right first time.
Customers ask that they receive services and products in line with their expectations, in full and at the first time of asking. Anything less can cause reputational damage and a lack of confidence. Although the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a very popular and widely adopted term, make sure that your customers and users know what MVP means.
Why have approaches to Service Management failed to deliver value?
`IT` Service Management practices have been used in many companies to better react to incidents and ensure that any changes to live services go through a robust governance process. Due to the absence of a common vision and goals to guide the right outcomes, many companies have ended up with similar problems –
- The Service Management function being by-passed by other teams as the processes and governance that have been set up stifle speed, innovation, and continual deployments.
- 80% of incidents are caused by poorly planned design, change and transition, as Service Management approaches are reactive, `silo’d`, and not joined up.
- Processes that stand up to external audits but serve no real world purpose other than to try and control a chaotic environment.
- Misalignment between IT activities, customer, and business goals, leading to an absence of perceived value and decreasing customer confidence.
With the focus of Service Management projects having been on tactical, `bottom up’ gains, the perceived value of Service Management in a Digital, DevOps based world, where a wider group of stakeholders and teams are involved is low and seen as an inconvenience. The strategic and customer facing elements are the two key missing factors that make Service Management valuable in a digital, DevOps world.
Do the basics well
CIOs and IT Service Leaders have an opportunity to `re-boot` their approach to Service Management in 2022.
Re-positioning Service Management in terms of its importance and value within the organisation is an important first step in enabling -
- Productivity – embedding Service Management practices that will increase the productivity of your teams and the value they provide to the end customer, as part of an integrated service model across Digital, Product and DevOps teams.
- Quality – continually increasing the quality of customer engagement and understanding of customer needs, with the goal of delivering services and products that are valued.
- Complexity – removing duplication and bottlenecks, so that services and products are easy to consume for the customer, and everybody knows the importance of their role in the end-to-end value chain.
You might think that adopting quality standards will result in rigid processes and cumbersome levels of governance, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Developing a strategy and vision, and quality standards with the right processes and tools to support this will in fact remove un-necessary work, decrease the escalation of issues, and greatly reduce the number of repeat incidents. You will then be able to optimise your resources, free people up, and be able to focus on delivering easily consumable services and products at a faster speed.
So, what are the key takeaways?
Many CIOs and IT Service Leaders have used Service Management practices, and linear approaches to ensure operational control, rather than delivering services and products that enable business enhancements. This has meant that there is no clear measurement of value and ROI, and customers do not receive services, service levels and products that will benefit them. To turn this around, leaders now need to base their Service Management strategy and goals on clear business enhancing objectives and delivering services and products that will enable this.
Re-positioning Service Management
Service Management, as discussed throughout, has traditionally been operationally focused and centred around a select number of processes and areas. Not as a strategic, business enabling capability. This means that only a limited number of processes are developed and restricted to specific areas and teams, with little in the way of integration across all key functional areas. Leaders now have the chance to take a practical and pragmatic view, and create effective, `just enough` processes across all key areas of Service Management, and the end-to-end Delivery lifecycle.
To make Service Management an enabler of success, you now need people with a broader range of business and stakeholder management skills. If you are going to create capabilities and service offerings that meet customer and business expectations, you need people on board with the appropriate background and skill set. This will mean a new profile of employee, with a wider range of interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and less emphasis on `technical` skills.
For a cohesive, Service Management approach that runs across all key teams and areas, here are two key things to consider -
- Integrating your Service Management system with other key systems across the business to ensure speed of decision making, flow of information, and greater visibility.
- Supporting `just enough` Service Management processes with workflows and automated approvals that enable speed but don’t compromise quality.
Only measure what matters
The number of incidents resolved in a period, and the mean time to repair are effective metrics for your technical teams to measure themselves against, but your customers will not gain any value from knowing about these without any context. Effective reporting and continual improvement in today’s world involves reporting service performance against KPIs that matter to your customer, and how effectively Service and Product delivery are meeting these.
Building on the paragraph above, you must decide what you are willing to invest in customer satisfaction to align with your service performance goals and KPIs. Setting a goal of achieving 100% customer satisfaction essentially means providing a service that is `all things to all people’ and will require both significant investment and major transformation. Therefore, it is wise to decide what is essential, what is `nice to have`, and find a viable balance in terms of cost and quality.
We have been in business for 25 years and are helping companies and organisations across several market sectors to modernise their Service Management strategy and focus to be effective in a Digital, DevOps world.
If you would like to discuss how iCore can help you then contact us on +44 (0) 203 821 1252 or email us at email@example.com