Cure Your Service Desk With Customer Experience

One of the best TV comedies in the UK over the last couple of years has been The IT Crowd. It is about a fictional IT department and plays to all the possible IT stereotypes. One of my favorite scenes is from the very first episode in which a ‘user’ is left waiting for their call to be answered for an excruciating amount of time and then another ‘IT professional’ is shown speaking to a ‘user’ in complete technology gobbledygook. Yes, this clip is funny but surely these are all extreme cases and only slim comparisons can be made to Enterprise IT today? 

I have to be honest here and say that during my time as an enterprise management consultant I saw all that happened on this clip, but surely modern day IT organizations don’t suffer from these problems? Well, maybe not to the same extent but how often have you heard, or even whispered, these famous words when working with the IT service desk or help desk:

 “Have-you-logged-a-ticket?”

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Practical ITSM Advice: Defining Availability For An IT Service

As a follow up to his presentation at the 2013 itSMF Norway conference, Stuart Rance of HP has kindly donated some practical advice for those struggling with availability.

Many IT organizations define availability for IT services using a percentage (e.g. 99.999% or “five 9s”) without any clear understanding of what the number means, or how it could be measured. This often leads to dissatisfaction, with IT reporting that they have met their goals even though the customer is not satisfied.

A simple calculation of availability is based on agreed service time (AST), and downtime (DT).

If AST is 100 hours and downtime is 2 hours then availability would be

Customers are interested in their ability to use IT Services to support business processes. Availability reports will only be meaningful if they describe things the customer cares about, for example the ability to send and receive emails, or to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Number and duration of outages

A service that should be available for 100 hours and has 98% availability has 2 hours downtime. This could be a single 2 hour incident, or many shorter incidents. The relative impact of a single long incident or many shorter incidents is different for different business processes. For example, a billing run that has to be restarted and takes 2 days to complete will be seriously impacted by each outage, but the outage duration may not be important. A web-based shopping site may not be impacted by a 2 minute outage, but after 2 hours the loss of customers could be significant. Table 1 shows some examples of how an SLA might be documented to show this varying impact.

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Squeezing The Value Out Of ITIL, Or Any Other IT, Training

I promised a second blog based on the English-language presentations at the itSMF Norway annual conference but then I had a better idea … rather than just giving you the something akin to Twitter highlights I decided to be cheeky and ask a couple of the presenters to write blogs based on their presentations. Smart or lazy, I think it is better for you the reader.

Here is the first from Paul Wilkinson of GamingWorks – no stranger to writing blogs for my Forrester blog roll. The second is by Stuart Rance of HP and this will appear soon. Paul’s topic?

“How to improve the Return On Value (ROV) of an IT service management training initiative”

To quote Paul: “Hardly an innovative, exciting, sexy subject when everybody wants to hear about cloud, BYOD, social media, and all that new stuff.” BUT Paul was asked to present the same session he delivered in 2012 given that it was one of the top 3 well-received the previous year. I personally thoroughly enjoyed it – Paul is good at making you believe that there is “a better way” when it comes to changing the way we think about IT service delivery.

What were Paul’s key messages?

What was so important? Why should you read on? What should YOU now do differently?

Paul set the scene nicely. In his words (with a little editing by yours truly):

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People In IT Love Stats But They Probably Won’t Love These

I’ve written a number of blogs about IT service management (ITSM) and IT service delivery many of which have expressed opinions based on observations and conversations rather than “facts.” A new Forrester report by my colleague Eveline Oehrlich has some facts to substantiate what we already knew even if we chose to ignore it.

These facts reinforce a figure that I use in most presentation to show that without exception IT professionals think that they do a better job than their business colleagues think they do. So we have this perceptions gap or perhaps we should call it a “perceptions gulf.”

The IT perceptions gulf

This is one of those pictures that really is worth a thousand words. In fact all three of these figures make it easy for me to cut short the commentary.

It’s interesting to see the geographical differences but, despite these, we still see a consistent gap or gulf between “How IT thinks it is doing” and “How customers think IT is doing.” Funny how our metrics aren’t a sea of red – in fact our metrics dashboard is often a sea of green.

“But that’s just perceptions” I hear you cry, “We still do a fantastic job in enabling business activities with cutting-edge IT.” But could we do better? Please read on …

Could we improve business productivity?

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