Posted by Stephen Mann on November 4, 2011
Warning: my soapbox is well and truly out …
When will our IT Support people learn (or be taught)? Listening to a family member talk about the issues they’re having with their corporate laptop and how IT Support has responded has made me both angry and embarrassed to be associated with the IT Support community.
Sorry for the potentially gross generalization, I do know that there are a great number of excellent IT Support people out there who bend over backwards to help their internal customers; with “customers” the key word here. However, like many other internal functions, IT Support can forget that they are dealing with internal customers or the internal consumers of IT services (OK, they can only forget if they knew it in the first place). They forget that it is not about the IT, that it has to be about the people and the business.
So what happened?
It started with a virus (where was the corporate antivirus when it was needed?). The IT Support first contact response was “Bring it into the office tomorrow. You will be in breach of contract if you don’t.” Say what? Is that how we treat our “customers”?
Anyway, two days later the laptop is handed back with an older version of IE and no shortcuts to anything other than Office. “There was no time to do more” the IT Support response. The “customer” response: “I'm giving up on my work laptop and using my own” and I&O continues to encourage its own downfall.
OK this might be an extreme example but I think it emphasizes the point; that despite our investment in ITIL and our talk of service-centric and customer-centric IT, we are only as strong as our weakest link. It doesn’t help either when the “weakest link” is where the internal customer can see and feel it most: IT Support.
The I&O organization as a whole can’t afford to just sit there and ignore such a big issue. Having great ITSM processes and the latest and greatest enabling ITSM technology is somewhat pointless if our people fail to deliver on our IT service delivery promises. Something has to give, or the business will vote with its feet and its checkbook.
The I&O organization needs to revisit or review the people-side of IT service delivery in the context of the changing IT and business landscape.
Internal customers or consumers expect so much more by way of corporate technology and IT services BUT they also expect way more by way of overall quality of service and user experience (please don’t start an IT customer vs. consumer debate in the comments section … after all we don’t send out “consumer satisfaction questionnaires”).
So the desired level of customer-focus has to permeate the IT organization as a whole, so that we succeed together, otherwise we fail. That is failing the business and us.
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