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Posted by on in Service Desk

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Come the end of a busy week, does your IT service desk ever look a little bit like the set of a western movie?

The atmosphere is dry and barren. Random objects are strewn across the office like 21st-century tumbleweed. With your team members staring blankly into the distance, eyes burned by the constant glare of their monitors, tired and reeking of apathy. It’s been a heavy week, and you’ve been consistently ambushed with incidents. The service desk has spent day after day in the firing line of end users, having to repeatedly circle the wagons under the glare of SLAs and stretching performance targets. And now your team is tired.

Pinned to the notice board is a sign, “Wanted: Motivation.” Best not to mention the wild west reference to dead or alive.

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Posted by on in Service Desk

Is Your Business Value in Color?

ITIL® tells us that there are three components to business value:

  • Business outcomes
  • Customer perception
  • Customer preferences

Once this has been successfully memorized for the ITIL Foundation Certification exam, most people then forget it. That’s a shame because it gives an insight into why customers might be less impressed with the services they’re getting than expected. In this blog, I’d like to take a look at how each of these concepts can help us get things right.

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Posted by on in Service Desk

Customer journey mapping (CJM)

“Customer experience” you say. What the heck is that?

If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. You see we’re big evangelists of the customer experience and believe that it’s something that every organization should have the opportunity to wrap their head around and to introduce into their business.

Why? Take a look at organizations such as Apple, Disney, Virgin, and Tesla. What’s the one thing that these companies all have in common? Other than being some of the biggest names in the world of customer service (as well as all being valued at over a billion dollars or more), they all understand the importance of the customer experience, and have “gone above and beyond” to ensure that their organizations are finely-tuned customer experience machines.

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Posted by on in ITIL

Supplier Management Is More than Just Negotiating Contracts

We all know IT organizations that run into difficulties working with their suppliers. They seem to really struggle, enduring fractious relationships and contracts that don’t meet their needs. On the other hand, some IT organizations enjoy positive relationships with a range of suppliers and seem able to get really good value for money. What is it that helps them achieve this? And what gets in the way?

Some Contracts Are Not Perfect

Some of the IT organizations that I work for rely on their procurement department to manage their suppliers. I’ve worked with a number of IT organizations that have less-than- ideal contracts with their suppliers due to typical scenarios like this:

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Posted by on in ITIL

ITSM Incident Categories

I was thinking about incident management and categories and it came to me that really, every single day, we find ourselves being categorized and pushed into a specific pigeonhole. In fact, it happens so often and naturally that we’ve come to expect it:

  • Like in the frequent surveys after online purchases when we’re asked to choose from a pre-set list of responses, for example  “good, average, bad,” or “rate us from 1 through 9,” or just "HappyIndifferent, or Unhappy"
  • When we buy insurance or complete a tax return, we must always choose a work classification. If we don’t fit into one of their pre-set categories, then we just have to pick the nearest fit.
  • And, of course, when we log a call, even if we (as end users) aren’t presented with a list to choose from, we know the operator, whether human or automated, is deciding which of their little virtual boxes we best fit into. And if it’s via a self-service portal, we’ll end up choosing our own best-fit pigeonhole.
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Posted by on in Service Desk

What's Better in ITSM, Getting It Right or Looking Good?

I recently ordered some items from a web site that I’d used before. The checkout price was $30, which I paid with a credit card and then forgot about it and got on with life while waiting for the items to arrive. A few days later I was checking my credit card statement, and there was the transaction, but at $31.85! Of course $1.85 isn’t worth too much effort, but it wasn’t the money, it was the principle. So I went back to the website and submitted a ticket pointing out the error. Within 30 minutes, I had a profuse apology and compensation with $10 worth of freebies - nice!

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Posted by on in ITIL

IT customers

Why do we IT service management (ITSM) people have trouble understanding and predicting how our customers and other colleagues in the business will behave?

Really understanding the customer’s perspective requires more than good intentions. On occasion, our own attitudes and preconceptions get in the way. Sometimes it feels like we’re struggling to understand a foreign language, and there is a reason for that – in a way, that’s exactly what is happening. Our own opinions can deflect us from accurate observations, seeing a familiarity that isn’t really there.

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Posted by on in ITIL

Configuration Management – Learning from the Past

Configuration management is about collecting and maintaining useful information. In IT service management (ITSM), this means knowing about everything from hardware and software through to documentation and people – all of which is used to deliver services. We collect and hold data about those items, including information on how they are connected together.

Configuration management itself is way older than ITSM, with its roots firmly in old-fashioned engineering. Although we don’t know the equivalent term in Ancient Chinese, Egyptian, or Mayan, I guarantee that configuration management was being done in those times. They all must have understood the principles in order to get the Great Wall, the Pyramids, and Stonehenge right. And those creations look relatively simple compared to the bridges, ships, and railroads that mechanical and civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his successors were building – and crucially also maintaining – in the 19th century.

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Posted by on in Service Desk

Service desk rules

My colleague Ivor McFarlane once described the concept of intelligent disobedience to me. This term was first used in relation to guide dogs.  Service animals need to be trained to obey their owners. However, there may be times when the dog has more knowledge about the environment than the owner – for example if the pedestrian crossing light is green but a car is approaching very fast. In that case obedience would actually pose a threat to the owner’s safety. Dogs can be trained to exercise judgement and to refuse to obey orders when this is the case.  This idea has important business applications; we can train staff to exercise judgement rather than always mechanically follow rules or predetermined scripts. Staff who know when they should NOT follow the rules, and who are empowered to act on this knowledge can make better decisions.

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Posted by on in ITIL

ITSM Capacity Management

Capacity management was an important driver for the development of ITIL®. The original team writing the ITIL books back in the 1980s evolved from an earlier team dealing specifically with capacity management and performance measurement.

Initially, capacity management was almost completely technically focused, reflecting the expensive hardware and storage days of the 1980s, where efforts were rightly focused on getting the best possible performance – and maximizing the capacity – of the hardware available, to secure the best possible value for the considerable quantity of money typically spent on that hardware.

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