It is time to break away from the status quo when developing ITSM processes.
Most organizations view the various processes associated with IT service management (ITSM) as internal IT related processes meant to help the IT department be more structured and efficient. They implement processes without considering how they impact the customer and the company. The adoption of best practices isn’t linked to an overall strategic plan and the value of the processes being implemented is never fully recognized. In many cases, the processes may help IT but they become detrimental to the broader organization and they negatively impact customer satisfaction.
When developing processes, it is fairly standard to identify the process purpose and description, inputs, activities, outputs, roles and responsibilities, and policies without really considering the true opportunity that exists and how all of the associated work can benefit the customer and the larger organization.
A significant opportunity exists when you step back and take the time to look at the problem that needs to be solved rather than following the standard practice of developing and implementing ITSM processes. Consider how the processes may change if you first approach the problem in the context of the overall business. This creates an opportunity to find innovative solutions that contribute to the business achieving their objectives which will ultimately improve customer satisfaction with the IT organization.
Rather than merely focusing on processes from the perspective of IT, reevaluate the problem you are trying to solve in the context of your corporate objectives and your customer objectives. Defining a problem statement is a good place to start and it will change how you go about determining the solution and ultimately, defining ITSM processes.
Let’s look at an example for incident management. What is the problem you are trying to solve? Many organizations will say the problem is reducing downtime for the customer. Is the problem we are trying to solve reducing downtime? This is an objective. It isn’t the problem. Why do you want to reduce downtime? The problem could be that technology challenges and outages cause a lack of productivity or loss of revenue. When looking at the problem, look at the bigger picture in terms of the broader organization and the customer.
If the problem statement is too narrow or if there are assumptions made about the problem, the resulting solution will be fairly stagnant. The opportunity to find a new or innovative solution is significantly diminished. If the problem statement is incorrect, the solution will not have the anticipated impact.
The conversation and solution associated with reducing downtime versus technology challenges and outages causing a lack of productivity or a loss of revenue will vary greatly. Framing the problem statement from the corporate and customer viewpoint will open up the opportunity to find a very different, innovative solution. As a result, often there are changes to the activities associated with a process, new roles and responsibilities identified, additional processes implemented, and existing process deficiencies illuminated.
Many IT organizations struggle with the concept of framing the problem based on the company and the customer. They worry that the solution will not be based in the reality they face relating to resource constraints, technology, or funding. Every department faces similar challenges. If boundaries are noted when defining a problem, the opportunity to be innovative is immediately eliminated. A bit of realism can easily be applied as your processes are being developed but it should not be used as a limitation when defining the problem statement.
Beginning your process development work by defining a problem statement for each process will result in an overall stronger process set that supports business objectives and improves customer satisfaction.
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Organizations don’t change but people can change the organization. Your staff and customers are critical to success. A recent survey indicated that 83% of organizations believe change resistance is inhibiting the organization from realizing the value of their ITSM initiative.
With technology changing rapidly, if an IT organization is unable to harness change and leverage it to the organization’s advantage, they will continue to struggle with customer and employee satisfaction. If organizations are to recognize the value of an ITSM related initiative, they must take steps to minimize change resistance.
What are the top 3 actions you can take to minimize change resistance?
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, innovation, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change in IT. For more information about our Change Adoption course, vision and strategy development, or other services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 520-591-2427.
Written By: Pamela Erskine
Business Relationship Management (BRM) is a process focused on ensuring IT is supporting the business in meeting their objectives. The role of the Business Relationship Manager is primarily concerned with customer satisfaction. In theory, the BRM role is working closely with the business to understand their strategies, goals, and objectives. They are capturing high level business requirements and deadlines for the IT organization. They are serving as a consultant to the business offering advice on existing and new technology and/or coordinating conversations with subject matter experts in the IT organization.
To ensure success with the BRM process and role, it is important to set goals and objectives for success ensuring that progress can be tracked and measured.
What are key metrics for business relationship management?
· Customer satisfaction levels are the primary metric. When referring to customer satisfaction, both end user and customer views are important. The customer is responsible for the business outcome and they may be paying for the services provided but the end user view is also relevant. Satisfaction with IT supporting outcomes through services should be considered. While transactional satisfaction with incident management or request fulfillment is important, it is a small subset of the customer’s overall view of the IT organization.
· The number of escalations and complaints from the business should be trended. As the BRM process and role mature, the services offered and supported by the IT organization will meet the needs and expectations of the business. Complaints and escalations about service should diminish.
· Requirements to support every new service are known and agreed to by the business and the IT organization. Signoffs by the business and IT occur in each lifecycle phase. The number of new services with documented requirements and signoff metrics should be tracked against new services without the appropriate documentation.
· Changes to the customer environment are evaluated and result in changes to the IT services or strategy. Customer satisfaction levels will reflect this metric however; evaluating the number of changes brought forth and implemented due to the BRM role will assist IT with understanding the value and performance of the Business Relationship Manager.
· The business consults with IT to understand how technology can enable more efficient and effective business process. When solving business problems, does IT have a role? If the customer is asking the Business Relationship Manager to sit in on business strategy or process improvement discussions, the BRM role is having an impact. Ultimately, customer satisfaction levels will reflect success in this area however; tracking the level of BRM involvement and recommended actions or solutions implemented will provide IT with additional value and performance data.
· Metrics to reflect IT’s performance in relationship to business objectives. While operational metrics in the IT organization are important, when working with the Customer, the Business Relationship Manager can translate how IT is supporting business outcomes into meaningful business based metrics for the IT organization. Rather than merely tracking availability, mean time to resolve, or some other operational metric, business relationship management should help the IT organization develop business based metrics such as new sales supported, claims processed on time, diagnostic tests performed, patients scheduled, etc. The BRM process owner and BRM role should ensure IT is focusing on both operational and business based metrics.
Business relationship management can be a pivotal process for strengthening the relationship between IT and the business. Measuring success of the BRM process and role is crucial to maturing this aspect of IT service management (ITSM).
Attend the Building Your Business Relationship Management Capabilities Workshop to grow in your role and strengthen your relationship with your business customers!
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