Monday, November 30, 2009
Raving Fans and Endorphins, oh my!
As you have surmised, I am not a happy camper when it comes to evaluating the service experience. Now I can’t really influence all the service givers of the world that I personally encounter, but maybe I can influence you to take some new approaches back to where you work.
Because I am so deeply involved in providing “service” I go through life constantly evaluating all the service that I receive as a consumer. It is almost a curse really. Because I can’t help but to rate the service I am getting and thinking of ways it could have been better. I am almost consumed by these thoughts. I wish I could get these thoughts out of my head, but I can’t. Part of the problem is the fact that most service stinks! OK, maybe it doesn’t actually smell bad, but most service is VERY mediocre. And the sad thing is that it is really easy to make it better. But why would a service giver want to make their service giving better? The old “What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) question. I’ll answer that question a little later.
I have really been in the “service” business for most of my career. When I was in sales and a sales manager I was always trying to convince potential customers that they should be buying what I was selling. And after they bought from me I was trying to convince them to remain a customer and buy more. So I had to be sure they were satisfied with my product and with me. So I saw early-on that when I provided “good service” I made more sales. When I made more sales I made more money and my boss was happier with me. So I easily saw the value of having satisfied customers.
Even when I left the world of sales and went into the technology world, I was still using sales techniques to make sure my customers were again satisfied. So nothing has changed here. But some years ago I read an interesting book called “Raving Fans” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. They introduced a brilliant yet simple concept about customers. They said you don’t just want “satisfied” customers. You want to go beyond satisfied so your customers become raving fans.
So how do you get from satisfied customers to raving fans?? Blanchard and Bowles said to give them what they expect plus 1%. In others words exceed their expectations just slightly. Not enough to overwhelm them, just enough to get their attention. If you continually do this they will evolve from satisfied customers to raving fans.
If you read the ITIL books you will notice that the goals and objectives of many of the processes state we should try to “meet and exceed the agreed (Service Level Agreements) targets of the business.” Seems like it would therefore be logical for us to try to create raving fans. So now that creating raving fans is an unofficial goal for us at the Service Desk (and the rest of IT for that matter) it stills begs the question WIIFM?
Well, I have a theory about that. There is no scientific evidence to back up my theory, and believe me I have tried to find it. I even tried to get a well-known university to conduct a study to prove my theory. But since I am not famous enough (yet!) they declined to respond to my query.
The theory is all about endorphins. Once you have an understanding of the role of endorphins you will have the answer to the WIIFM question. I will leave you with that thought to ruminate upon and will discuss my theory about endorphins in my next blog entry. Oh cool, I love cliffhangers!!!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
What Do You Think Of The ITIL Certification Scheme?
Aidan Lawes is something of an institution around IT service management. When I got into the ITIL world he was already spoken of that way. In fact I first came across him as the character St Aidan in the satirical Not-ITIL books, leading the ITIL flock. In reality he was a volunteer contributor to itSMF from its earliest days and then ran itSMF as the chief executive for eight years. They made him a life Fellow for his contributions. Recently he has moved very successfully into the IT Skeptic’s territory with an excellent blog at http://www.itpreport.com that displays his trademark thoughtfulness and directness.
Aidan will run three ‘Situation Room” sessions at the 2010 conference:
- Clarifying ITIL & ITSM – What They Are, What They Aren’t & The Benefits You Can Expect
- How To Fail At Service Management (Without Really Trying!)
- What Do You Think Of The ITIL Certification Scheme? And What, If Anything, Needs Changing?
Knowing Aidan, these sessions should be challenging and to the point. We talked, loosely, around the last of those three topics.
Skep: You have been vocal in your criticisms of the ITIL qualifications scheme on your blog. In fact I think you out-skeptic the IT Skeptic at times! For the benefit of those who haven’t read your blog (yet) can you summarise for us what you do and don’t like about the scheme
Aidan: It is good that the scheme covers all the ITIL books, but I am very disappointed in the actual qualifications and the testing style. I explain all my reasoning in my session and invite feedback.
Skep: We look forward to hearing - and discussing - those points further in your Situation Room briefing on the subject at the conference. Do you think these issues have any impact on ITIL’s future?
Aidan: Absolutely. Unfortunately too many people can’t distinguish between ITSM (essential) and ITIL (one means to an end). If the qualifications are considered to be deficient in any way, then ITIL and ITSM will suffer.
Skep: How important are the formal ITIL qualifications in the overall CV of a service management practitioner?
Aidan: In many cases, they are given more prominence than they warrant. Demonstrable ITSM knowledge and competence is what is really needed. ITIL qualifications are a part of the jigsaw, but they are only one route. There are MSc degrees that focus on ITSM, which are much broader than ITIL.
Skep: We are seeing a general rise in professional accreditation in IT, such as the new prISM pushed by itSMF in the USA , or the more general CITP in the UK (and all the other regional variants such as the ITCP we have here in New Zealand). How useful are ITSM-specific professional service management accreditations? Should they be sub-categories of the better-known industry-wide professional certifications?
Aidan: As we drive towards IT as a profession, of which I am a whole-hearted champion, we still have to recognize specialisms – in the same way that other industries do – but they should all be part of the big picture. There is work ongoing in the UK towards this end.
Skep: OGC owns ITIL core but TSO and itSMF own other ITIL copyrights. APMG and TSO are UK-based. itSMFUK owns an ISO20000 certification scheme. The itSMFUSA is pushing prISM. COBIT and ISO20000 are both pushing into ITIL’s guidance space. Is ITSM global or just fragmented?
Aidan: ITSM is global. True, there are a myriad of standards, frameworks, etc out there, but most of them are complementary not competitors. Some of them aren’t guidance about what to do, but mechanisms for measuring aspects of the solution. As so often, it is humans who muddy the waters, with each approach claimed to be the salvation of mankind. Actually, smart organizations use all the available material to develop THEIR solution.
Skep: The IT Swami (the IT Skeptic’s alter-ego) sees ITIL and COBIT either uniting or fighting it out in future. What do you see for the future of the ITSM movement?
Aidan: As above, if everyone tries to develop or promote the single panacea, we’ll all lose. The world is too complex for one-size-fits-all thinking. We need diversity, but we need competent people to be able to choose selectively and wisely. For example, there are many approaches to Quality – ISO9000, EFQM, Six Sigma, Crosby , etc – each of which has its own unique twists, but also with much common ground. The same is true for ITSM. I believe that ITSM will continue to grow and thrive, because it is so essential to all organizations. Whether one particular ideology or group dominates is a moot point. As is always the case, there will be waves or cycles of popularity and dominance, as organizations reinvent themselves or are absorbed by others.
Skep: I’m writing a book about generic service management and we’ve recently seen “Service Management For Dummies”. Is it time we lost the “IT” in ITSM, or will there always be a specialised IT version of service management?
Aidan: An interesting point. There was much debate about changing the name ITIL at v3 - but the decision was to keep the brand but forget what the letters stand for, something many of us had been pursuing for some time. Unfortunately some training providers still seem to think it is really important to spell them out, perpetuating the focus on the wrong thing. itSMF was originally called ITIMF, but we realised we were interested in Service not Infrastructure and changed. At the same time (over 12 years ago!) we put the it in lower case italics, so that it could fall off in due course. However, most of the people involved are from IT and they are reluctant to stray from their comfort zone. In most of my presentations, I talk about Service Management generically since the principles apply to any service really. There are quite a few orgs that use the ITIL guidance for other services and there are groups that focus on SM in general. Some of the hype about Business Service Management is merely vendors pushing the capabilities of existing products and needing marketing hooks to promote them. The reality is we should always have had the main focus on business services - the rest is just a subset.
Skep: Do you like to look even further into the future? Will ITSM be swallowed by something larger, or perhaps displaced by something different?
Aidan: I’m sure that there will be new frameworks and approaches that may overlap or supercede those that we use today - there are always people who don’t know about existing approaches or just want to invent something new. Sometimes this is healthy since it advances thinking; sometimes it’s just an irritation. As far as ITSM is concerned, the technology changes will certainly mean some different focus on what has to be managed and how. In 20 years time, the embedding of technology in business and human beings will mean a very different world
Skep: I think something will come out that encompasses governance, service and assurance (assurance=risk+security+compliance), and the market is moving to a point where they (we) need integration across those domains –a bigger-picture framework. I’m even getting ready to lay odds it is COBIT5
Aidan: I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
It’s now almost 3 years since the ITIL professional certification scheme was re-developed in alignment with ITIL V3. With the exception of the “Masters Level” all certifications are now in place and many Training Organizations have courses available to prepare you for the examinations. At the conference Aidan will review the scheme as it currently exists, give you his opinion and describe some of the buzz he’s heard as he travels around the world. So – what are your impressions of the certification scheme so far? What do you like, and dislike? What would you do differently? Here’s your chance to have your say! Aidan will lead a discussion with all participants and document the group’s thoughts and ideas. We promise to deliver all your feedback to APMG and the other Examination Institutes. Be there.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
EHOBOK Exhibit Strategy
Earlier we introduced the idea of EHOBOK, The Exhibition Hall Optimizer Body of Knowledge: the framework for helping you make the most of your Exhibit Hall (EH) experience.
We have come up with these key domains for version 1 of EHOBOK:
Exhibit Strategy: planning your EH engagement to optimize the experience
Exhibit Engagement: executing on your strategy by engaging with the EH
Exhibit Utilization-with-a-z: realising the value of individual exhibits
Today let us look at the make-up of the first of these domains: Exhibit Strategy.
ES covers four activities (once again we decline to call them processes because …well… they aren’t)
Check out the Exhibit Hall early. Make a fast walk around most of it, noting the strategic sites: coffee baristas, comfy seats, free internet… Most important of all check to see if there is free ice-cream anywhere.
Also note all the exits – not for an emergency but rather so you can get in and out as suits you not as suits the traffic flow planners. See, they put the food and other lures up the back to get you to flow past the main sponsors. But there is often a discrete exit up the back too, so you can readily access a buffet without running the vendor gauntlet.
Which reminds me, since you are in the EH you might as well check out where the vendor stands are too.
If you have time make a second, more leisurely exploration, noting the vendors who have products of interest to you, such as illuminated yo-yos, laser pointers, USB phone chargers or good chocolate.
Look busy and purposeful and avoid being drawn into conversation - at this stage you want to gather enough data across the EH to be able to plan and prioritise.
You might also note what they are actually selling while you are there, but showing any interest in what is in a booth only provokes the heavy sell before you are ready. That information is much more comfortably gathered in an internet café using the list of exhibitors (http://www.pinkelephant.com/ITM10/ExhibitionShowcase/Exhibitors.htm” target=”_blank”>see it here but check again for any interesting late additions just before the conference or once you get your conference pack).
Before you come to the conference you should make a list of the genuine requirements you need to fulfill and don’t just go “oooh shiny!’ and grab everything. This helps you focus and get maximum value from the Exhibition. For instance I’ll be looking for squeeze-balls because my dog chews them and I need a new laser pointer.
The same approach is useful when it comes to vendors’ products and services too.
Make time in your conference schedule to go to the Exhibit Hall.
Use the published conference agenda to work out when meals and drinks will be in there. Also in your reconnaissance note any announcements about putting competitions or IT Skeptic book signings. From these you can plan your visits to optimize the experience.
Try to visit the EH at least twice – it is amazing what you miss. I picked up a great memory-stick at one conference that I had missed until the last visit to the EH.
Allow time for one lap plus at least 50% extra time. Better 100%: you may run in to someone you know or even find an interesting exhibitor to talk to (it happens).
Route planning is essential to effective use of the EH.
You don’t want to get to coffee or food too late in your lap. Real EH pros will reach a comfortable lounge settee shortly after picking up a mochachino.
Make sure your route touches all the booths of interest for the good loot, and possibly for products and services of interest too.
Watch out for our next EHOBOK post, on Exhibit Engagement
Monday, November 23, 2009
Education and Training Issues
Training organizations, regardless of what topic they cover, seem to face the same issue; the students are not prepared despite the numerous times the training organization instructs them to do so.
The message exists on the website, the course description, the syllabus, the confirmation email, the preparation package, the reminder email, or phone call.
You are an instructor, you welcome the delegates, and when you start talking about the preparation work, they all look surprised and tell you they did not know anything about it.
This is, to me as an instructor, the most frustrating thing. It means i have to cater to the lowest common denominator which is to cover the basics instead of the advance topic I am supposed to cover.
questions like ”...but what does the book say about how to do it?...” The book usually does not in the world of best practices, as the literature Oh, sorry, and since there is an exam at the end, exam anxiety sets in, the frustration level mounts, the customer satisfaction levels plummets and when someone fails, the instructor, the exam, the syllabus, the books, and the examination bodies are wrong.
One of the biggest issues here is the culture we live in. Everything has to be fast, everything has to be now, and people don’t want to put in the effort. I am not saying people are lazy; they just don’t have the time. People commute long hours stuck in their cars or taking public transportation and they “work” long hours. However, too often people work on meaningless tasks, make work projects, surf the internet for personal reasons on company time using company equipment, or socialize too much.
There is also the fact there are too many meetings. The problem with meetings is that there is no action items assigned with a deadline. There is too much talk and too little actual work done. How can you expect people to do any work when all they do is attend meetings?
Additionally, the executives of many organizations think that implementing any best practice is like installing a video game on a PC from a CD. We all know this is not the case. Add to this that organizations (mostly overpaid executives in search of the biggest paycheck for themselves) want to cut costs “at all costs” and we have the out of control situation. People think they have to be connected all the time; they check their cell phones all the time. You speak with someone, his or her phone rings and answer the phone. This is rude. People do this in meetings, private conversations and of course in education and training situations.
As instructors, we always hear that people can attend a course but they still have to be available and they have to do their job on top of that. This is non-sense.
Business etiquette is not what it used to be. We fell into the vicious circle of deploying something we know little (or nothing about), overworked staff, too little staff, and the mentality of “I wanted it yesterday.”
Therefore, it is no wonder that people come to class unprepared for the executives do not believe in “long term” education. People believe that attending a three-day foundation course will give them all they need to know.
It is like everything in life; if you don’t put in the effort (what I refer to as the sweat equity) you won’t get any results. Let’s face it; what we are experiencing is a reflection of the society we live in; fast food, junk food, complacency, too much technology and greed. The education system is suffering just as we do. Kids download essays from the internet, don’t study and parents are against homework. I am a parent and I had to fight many parents who complained that 30 minutes of homework a nigh stressed out their kids.
How does this reflect on our industry? I call it the “I want you (the instructor) to teach me everything you know about a topic both theory and practical aspects in as little time as possible.”
So how do we address this? We start at the top. We do a massive communication campaign in as many outlets as possible such as blogs, magazines, conferences, presentations to executives, etc.
Companies have to invest in people. We need to get people to understand the difference between education and training. Education is acquisition of knowledge and facts; training is the practical application of that knowledge. Being in the classroom to learn the signs and rules of the road is education. Being in a vehicle and actually driving is training.
My message to every organization is clear and simple. Slow down. Get some fresh air. Invest in your people through education and training. Stop cutting the education budget. You (the organization) will retain your employees longer; they will be more productive and have a greater job satisfaction level.
I am serious. How can someone become an expert in any field just by attending one week-long course? They can’t. Give them the resources, money to pay for the course, the books, and the time to prepare and attend the course. By the way, when they attend the course, they are not available.
I know what many are thinking right now. I am out of touch and I am not realistic. If we continue the way we do things today, best practice consulting will be around for a long time and companies will pay exorbitant amounts of money and time trying to sort this all out.
FINAL NOTE: In regards to the overpaid executives, this has always existed. A long time ago, their titles were chieftains, dukes, barons, lords, emperors, kings, etc. This happened in all societies on every continent. Read your history books.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
More on restaurant encounter
A while back I did a blog regarding an exceptional service encounter I had at a restaurant while on a business trip. You want some service with that? The story seemed to resonate with a number of you since I have had blog comments and verbal comments from many people. Interestingly, some of the comments indicated that what I described was unusual (but not at Max’s restaurants). One comment stated that “some service is not good, we can’t blame anyone for this.” Interesting comment. My interpretation is that there is so much mediocre service out there in the world that we as consumers have accepted mediocrity and have become complacent about service. Maybe we can therefore “blame” ourselves!
But let’s dissect my story a little. When you get right down to it, what happened to me wasn’t really “exceptional.” But the outcome of the story could have been very different. Many possibilities existed including having to deal with the police to explain my inability to pay my dinner bill. Glad that wasn’t the outcome! What the waiter did actually was very simple and very easy. He just put the bill in his pocket and left it up to me to do everything else. This took a HUGE amount of trust in me by the waiter, but I did all the work (getting back to my hotel for my wallet and quickly returning to the restaurant). I guess I was so happy that the outcome ended up being very pleasant (compared to the police alternative) that I described the event as exceptional service.
So, back to my earlier point: We are surrounded in our lives by mediocre (and worse) service at every turn. But how is it at work for you? When you are the consumer how are you treated by your colleagues? Is anyone going out of their way to make sure you are happy with the encounter? Think about when you contact Payroll for information about your paycheck. How about HR when you have a question about benefits? Does your boss have your back? When you are out of the office does anyone make any attempt to do your work, or organize your desk when things pile up? Does anyone spontaneously do you any favors without being asked?
What about YOU! Do you do anything extra when you are the service giver?? Well, that is some food for thought. Think about it because I will have more on this subject soon.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Building A Successful Online Request Center
Our next interview of upcoming speakers at the Conference next year is with Bob Grinsell, Request Management Administrator at Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota, who is speaking on Building A Successful Online Request Center: A Two Year Journey.
I already know Bob. He was a staunch early supporter of the IT Skeptic and especially my satirical book Introduction to Real ITSM – he was the very first registered Real ITSM Practitioner (Official) or RIP(Off). We seem to have a similar sense of humour and world view. I’m looking forward to meeting a number of people for the first time at the conference, not least of them Bob. This is one of the key benefits of conferences, surely, and just about everyone who is anyone will be at the Pink one.
There has been much discussion and debate of Request Management on the IT Skeptic blog – and elsewhere: it seems to be coming up a lot. Personally I think it is because it is still so loosely defined in ITIL and not terribly well thought out, especially vis-à-vis Incident Management.
I look forward to hearing about Bob’s experiences. One key component of many ITIL Service Operation initiatives is the development and implementation of a Request Management process. Establishing a consistent process for requesting IT services can help reduce Service Desk call volumes, streamline and unify divergent practices and ultimately eliminate any number of separate forms, databases, webpages and manual processes that can develop over time. Bob will draw on his extensive ITIL knowledge and multi-year practical implementation experience to take you through the comprehensive two year process his organization has undergone to create an online “Request Center,” including: 1) using Focus Groups to clarify current state; 2) the importance of high level executive commitment and support; 3) creating detailed process flow charts and project documents to ensure a consistent process; 4) how to identify and prioritize request candidates; 5) using “Lean” and process analysis to avoid automating bad processes; 6) identifying and promoting key milestones in the project; and 7) keeping the momentum going over the long haul.
Skep: What on earth possessed you to get into IT Service Management? Didn’t your mother warn you?
Bob: I hate to say I just fell into it, but it certainly seemed like just a natural progression over the years. About 20+ years ago, I was working in a regional sales office, and one day corporate headquarters sent PCs out to all the offices, primarily to let us dial into the mainframe. I had to install the system boards, the operating system (DOS 2.0 I think), the software (WordStar!) and the Epson FX-80 printer. From there, and via many different jobs, I got into business analysis, which lead to software training and presentations which lead to corporate helpdesk work which lead to call and performance metrics, which lead to writing the company’s first SLAs and creating it’s first dashboard and status reporting. About that time we ran smack dab into ITIL and things just kept evolving. Over the years I’ve been involved in Incident, Problem, SLAs, Change, satisfaction surveys, contract negotiations, trend analysis and finally performance and process analysis. And as long as I seemed to be gainfully employed my mom wasn’t too worried about the details.
Skep: What was the driver for this Request Center effort? Who was the sponsor?
Bob: Request Management was part of a bigger redo of all of IT Service Management at our company. It was partly tool driven (finally replacing Tivoli Service Desk) and party ITIL driven, as we were getting people certified and trying to structure more of our work around the ITIL framework.
And we were fortunate to have support up to the VP level, with a commitment to keep it moving forward. The entire project has been on-going for three years and it is still highly supported.
Skep: So this was an internal IT “hygiene” project rather than a business-driven one?
Bob: Well, internal in that we were trying to clean up our own house, but business driven in that we wanted to make it easier for the business to interact with IT. For instance, our service desk tool slowed down the techs on the phone, which resulted in longer hold times. We called our new webpage “IT2B,” meaning “IT to Business” to emphasize that all our interactions should be geared towards business needs.
Skep: Are they harder to pay for?
Bob: Can’t say I was part of those discussions, but it has been a key part of our budget, as we continue to expand what services we offer via the new tool. It’s always been listed as one of the top 10 projects by our governance committee.
Skep: To what extent did ITIL help in setting up the system?
Bob: One of our goals was to become an “ITIL Shop,” so many of our decisions were based on an ITIL approach to Service Management. It pretty much defined our framework on which we built our processes.
Skep: Do you think ITIL does enough in defining and describing Request Fulfillment?
Bob: I’d say it’s a bit light yet. I guess the fact that they call most things “x management” (incident management, problem management, etc) and they call this “Request Fulfillment” seems to imply it’s of a lower order. But the impact to the business of a well run service request process can be quite significant, so it deserves the same level of management as other processes.
Skep: Do you separate Incident Management and Request Management or do you treat incidents as one kind of request?
Bob: The Service Desk still handles a lot of calls that are categorized as Service Requests, but the goal of Request Center is to give people a place to submit requests that can go directly to the correct support group, so the Service Desk doesn’t have to handle it. As more people get familiar with the online forms, they should have less reason to call for help.
We tend to define requests as “standard, pre-approved changes, with a clearly defined fulfillment process that involves little or no impact to systems,” so technically Service Requests are a part of Change Management. Now, there can be all sorts of discussions about what type of actions require Change Management involvement (we’ve had several of them here), so it hasn’t been fully resolved yet. But we do feel that as Request Center gets more mature, there should be a decrease in the submission of Change requests.
Skep: You drew on Lean to help refine the processes. Tell us more about that.
Bob: One of our concerns was automating bad processes, where there are excessive steps or unnecessary information requested. Holding a Lean Event allowed us to bring together Subject Matter Experts from various areas, document the current process and look for opportunities to create a more streamlined process. We had people from departments who had never been in a room together before then, and now were able to share ideas and suggestions because of the Lean event. It created a great sense of teamwork, as well as identifying some great opportunities to improve our work.
Skep: How do you measure success of the project?
Bob: First by participation – how much interest did various departments have in getting involved and how much request volume were the new forms generating. Secondly we did user and service provider surveys 90 days after an intake form went live, to judge how well it had been adopted and if it was perceived to have been an improvement.
Skep: So what? A successful improvement project is great, but what is in it for an individual reader attending this session? What will they take away?
Bob: I hope to share some real world experiences. I’ll talk about mistakes made and lessons learned, as well as successes. It won’t just be another ‘theory” or best practice (or even adequate practice) discussion; it’ll be actual war stories about what worked and what didn’t.
I think Bob Grinsell and his colleagues at Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota are doing important work treating requests holistically and managing them consistently. They have also clearly approached this as a cultural change program, addressing people issues as much as process (a strong common theme with the earlier interviews).
Request Management is a big area of interest for me, and it is at the frontline of developing thinking around ITIL. Don’t miss this session at the conference.
What is the Service Offering and Agreement course (SOA) all about?
This certification is about the “transition” (no pun intended) between the Strategy phase and the Design phase.
Service Portfolio Management provides documentation for services and prospective services in business terms
- The portfolio helps IT understanding what IT “sells” to its customer, what is coming down the pipeline, and explaining it in business terms
Service Catalog Management is about the production and documentation of the Service Catalog from a business and a technical viewpoint.
- There are two major components to the service catalog. The customer and IT both see and use the Business Service Catalog” section
- IT is the only one using the “Technical Service Catalog” section.
- The two sections are connected together.
The restaurant menu is the Business Service Catalog
The recipe book, the ordering system, the cash register, how to use the appliances is the “Technical Service Catalog”. The restaurant patrons don’t need to see this.
Financial Management is about ensuring the understanding of the service value and the management of all financial considerations
This process is about understanding how much it is costing us (IT) to deliver the services. One item delegates have a hard time differentiating is cost vs. price. From the IT perspective, we think of our “costs”. Then we decide what “price” we want to charge back to our customers. The difficulty arises when the customer asks, “How much does it costs?”
Pierre’s rant: IT must stop talking to the customer using “techno-babble” such as bits, bytes, gigabytes, and MIPS. IT must use the language of the business, MONEY!
Ex: Implementing this system will cost $50K but will save you $250K over three years.
Service Level Management sets up a Service Level Agreement (SLA) structure and ensures that all SLAs have an underpinning support structure in place
- The strategy phase has already decided what the services will be and described in the portfolio. It is up to the Design phase to fill in the blanks in the Catalog and determine what levels of service we can provide given the limitations (constraints) we have in IT, based on our capabilities and resources available.
- The other major constraint relates to the existing contracts we already have with our suppliers. Renegotiating is expensive and may not be worth it presently.
Demand Management identifies Patterns of Business Activity to enable the appropriate strategy to be implemented
- It is about understanding how much we anticipate the service to be used (demand).
Questions to ask:
- What are our busy periods (daily, weekly, monthly)?
- What are the reporting periods?
- How many users use this service?
- How often do they use it?
- How many transactions can we process?
- How big is one transaction on average?
- What is the maximum size of a transaction?
- Who uses the service?
- How knowledgeable are they?
- Which service is more important at any given time? (Not all services are always critical all the time)
Supplier Management ensures all partners and suppliers are managed in the appropriate way and includes contract management
- A major constraint relates to the existing contracts we already have with our suppliers. Renegotiating is expensive and may not be worth it presently.
- IT needs to manage the relationship with its suppliers properly.
- It is easy to blame the supplier especially when the contract not not support the business needs. However, the supplier only delivers what is in the contract, next time, negotiate the contract after you know what the true business requirements are.
Finally, it is about managing customer’s expectations about what they can expect to receive and it is about educating IT as to what the agreements are. This is called COMMUNICATION.
Business Relationship Managers have the responsibility to represent customers and ensure the Service Catalogue and the Portfolio both have the right needs
In order to ensure good communication, IT staff involved with SOA must understand the operational activities of processes covered in other Lifecycle phases such as Incident and Change Management
Monday, November 09, 2009
What’s hot in ITSM software for 2010
As part of our ongoing support of your Exhibit Hall experience, here is our 2010 software fashion forecast.
There’s an edge to tools this fall, while sophistication begins to sparkle and shine.
Giordanio Federici, the software fashion czar, about this fall’s hottest software trends says “Discovery, monitoring and call tracking are the staples for this fall’s software portfolio. Look for cloud support and virtualisation agents, top them off with a stylish CMDB or a trendy catalogue, and you have a great look that transitions easily from work to futzing. Remote access tools continue to be strong for fall, and service desks with Indian accents, self-service or delicate IVR integration will carry right through into the holiday season.”
The itSMF runways for Fall 2009 display trends described as “bohemian software.’” This offers a great mix of unexpected SaaS in newly sophisticated themes. Look for lots of rose, olive and blues on the palette.
“Fall software designers have explored mixing more soft feminine user support with edgy and bold root cause analysis that make it easy for the consumer to follow the latest trends while exploring self expression,” says Luke Zebedee, designer for the chic-yet-affordable Service-Then. His fall line offers both essential architectural layering in these debut protocols along with bohemian-inspired forms, reports and accessories.
What’s hot this season?
You’ll see lots of faux catalogues and samples, as the user provisioning trend appears to be here to stay. But that’s not all – there will be a lot of tailored, contemporary catalogues too.
Skinny clients have been hot for several seasons now. You’ll continue to see sales tools and CRM. It’s part of a trend leaning toward sleek, slim and streamlined.
I love this trend because it’s GREAT for us consultants who don’t have a lot going on up there – but it works for those of you who do, too. Federation is technical, new and pretty much universally applicable.
We can blame it on Iraq, but it was actually on the way back before Afghanistan. The military application – incident, change, even configuration – is a huge fall case-study staple.
So the question is, then, how do you incorporate this season’s trends into your portfolio?
Fall is my favourite season and while the weather remains snow-free we should embrace it by adding some of the new tools into our portfiolio. But you do not need to break the bank in order to do so. Add a user experience monitoring agent under a messaging console with your preferred reporting tool. Pick up a service desk in this season’s database and maybe a wiki user knowledgebase to jazz up your intranet. Or if you are simply looking for a software update, purchase the latest release, a process review with your favourite consultant, and you are ready to go.
Just remember that with software there are no rules. Have fun with your portfolio and add tools that you feel good in and love to use.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
The EHOBOK maturity model
Recently we introduced you to the idea of EHOBOK, The Exhibition Hall Optimizer Body of Knowledge: the framework for helping you make the most of your Exhibit Hall (EH) experience.
As part of the BOK, here is a maturity model to asses yourself against.
|EHOBOK maturity model|
|0||:||Doesn’t go to the EH.|
|1||:||Ad-hoc: wanders randomly around EH. Forgets essential questions. Loses brochures and business cards. Never gets to a key vendor. Misses the party.|
|2||:||Managed: knows what to look for. Considers which booths to visit. Asks same questions.|
|3||:||Defined: Carries a booth plan. Creates a schedule. Has question notes.|
|4||:||Measured: Tracks progress. Rates products/services. Writes notes. Keeps media and business cards.|
|5||:||Optimizing: Learns from vendors, changes questions, adds and removes from booth plan, reschedules.|
Naturally, as an ITSM consultant, I strongly recommend that you get objective external professional assessment against this model instead of attempting it yourself. That way you get the same result you would have yourself, only spiral-bound from someone in a suit.