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Posts Tagged ‘Continual Service Improvement’

A New Year’s Resolution for the Service Desk

January 5th, 2011

I love the New Year.  January is about fresh starts; hopefully you have had a break over the holidays and feel revived for the challenges ahead. On the Service Desk this is a time for renewal too, and there is no better time to evaluate your current Service Improvement goals for the year.  The business case for Service Improvement is easy to make – identifying ways to reduce costs and improve service is something all levels of management get excited about!

One of the easiest things to do is to find out what your customers’ think of the service that you provide. Many Service Desks’ find all kinds of excuses not to do this, however, by following some simple guidelines you can do a survey and get a snapshot in time of how your customers feel about the support you provide.

#1 Establish a repeatable approach to assess satisfaction and action improvements as part of a continual improvement practice. Make a commitment to survey and re-survey at regular intervals and if you want to improve response rates then share the results with your customers.

#2 Collect information within a Satisfaction Framework to create “actionable” information and simplify analysis and trending. You can measure satisfaction in key dimensions of the service for ease of analysis and action. Use a Service Quality Model to measure important service quality dimensions like: “ON TRRAC” – Timely, Reliable, Responsive, Accessible and Cost effective (see Survey Framework Overview below for more details).

#3 Focus initially on Client (IT User)  and Practitioner(IT Provider) satisfaction with the Service Desk and Incident Management Practice. (Later, you may want to consider adding a survey of the Business-Level Client (Business Executive) to help understand their satisfaction with key elements of your overall IT Services and IT Executives to see how well aligned they are with their Business’s satisfaction/importance ratings.)

#4 Execute an annual survey to baseline the satisfaction and inform annual improvement action plans. Client Surveys target users collected by business area. Practitioner Surveys target both the Service Desk and Technician level collected by group.

#5 Schedule “Checkpoint” surveys to gauge progress and to provide needed information to flag in-year corrective actions.

Client Surveys at targeted intervals throughout the year:

  1. Auto-generated short survey at the closure of every incident;
  2. Call-back short survey to a set # of users every month (closed tickets); and
  3. Optional – Warm call transfer short survey to users upon completion of their call to your Service Desk.

#6 Ensure that all survey results are routinely analyzed and incorporated into the Service Improvement Plan (SIP), results are presented to primary performance stakeholders AND that feedback is published back to survey recipients, provide them with the ‘What We Heard’ along with planned actions, ‘What We Are Doing About It’.

We make many of our tools available for use at no charge.

Start surveying your Clients (IT Users), Practitioners (IT Providers), IT and Business Executives today with ITSM Coach: Satisfaction Surveys (included as part of ITSM Coach).

To learn more click here…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

December 8th, 2010

Most IT organizations, if asked would say that they ‘continuously improve’; however there is a gap between saying it and being able to demonstrate that it exists.

For CSI to work in the long term, a culture of improvement needs to be instilled within IT. 

If the culture of improvement does not exist, the first step is to identify improvement behaviours and perform them consistently and repeatedly (let’s call the identification of these behaviours; performance tweaks).

Overtime these behaviours will begin to take root and become part of ITs fabric, impacting every project that is taken on board.

What is CSI?

Simple Behavioural Steps

For an organization who wants to get started with Service Improvement, there are some simple behavioural steps that can be followed to get started:

#1 Baseline your current performance (pick an area you suspect there could be an opportunity to improve upon and measure what you are doing today),

#2 Analyze your performance data and build a list of wins based on cost/technical complexity and benefit (this is key, as the organization will resist change unless you have the numbers to back up the benefit),

#3 Identify a group of people within the organization that need to be involved to address the issue you identified,

#4 Set a realistic meaningful goal and timeframe,

#5 Implement the agreed performance tweak, into your environment

#6 Track and measure how performance is changing with the performance tweak in place,

#7 Report on your success and set a new goal to sustain your improvement,

#8 Repeat this process for something new!

The key is to focus your initial performance tweaks on something that won’t cost a lot of money to change, but can provide a big impact.

If you follow this process just once a month, you will be taking the necessary steps of instilling the culture of improvement within your IT department.

About Us (ThinkITSM Corp.)

ThinkITSM Corp. manufactures tools that help organizations implement practical CSI initiatives within their organization. Our service (which we call ITSM Coach) takes a snapshot of your current service desk performance and baselines some key measures.

We help you learn how to analyze the information you gather in your service management tools to inform service improvement goal setting and help you establish internal changes necessary to meet your desired goals.

We make many of our tools available for use at no charge and you can get started today with a free baseline assessment of your Incident, Problem and Change processes.

To learn more click here…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , ,

Signs that a Service Management Initiative has Stalled

November 8th, 2010

Continual Service Improvement is the fuel that provides long term momentum for any Service Management initiative. The fuel of momentum is vital; great IT Service Delivery is a journey that can take months and sometimes years to reach the productivity and cost savings that were sold at the beginning of a project. 

Many Service Management initiatives stall soon after the beginning because, as we try to achieve efficiencies we generate organizational resistance (the human condition is that most of us resist change) and if we don’t have the ammunition to overcome the resistance then the project stalls, inertia overtakes and the Service Management initiative never has the opportunity to reach its potential.

Signs that a Service Management Initiative has Stalled:

You implemented a Service Management tool a few years ago and you have not performed any significant customizations to the tool since it was implemented;

You implemented a couple of practice areas (Incident, Problem, Change) but have not been able to move much beyond those areas due to time and cost restraints;

You did a Process Maturity Assessment over a year ago and have not completed a re-assessment to measure the differences over time;

You generate reports for management but there are no defined ‘next steps’  to improve service after looking at the information;

You survey your customers but do little with the results of the survey;

You are not sure what the business outcomes are for a successful ITIL or ITSM Practice;

And if you do know the business outcomes, you are not sure whether you are meeting them.

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , ,

IT Service Delivery is a Journey not a Destination

December 8th, 2009

Organizations increasingly recognize that proven frameworks are key to improvement in IT Service Delivery and aligning IT operations to the needs of the business. Often the recognition that ‘things need to get better’ manifests itself through the purchasing of a new ITSM tool and/or the hiring of a consultant to implement some basic operational processes such as Incident, Problem and Change Management.  Meetings are held; documents are drafted, re-drafted and re-drafted again until everyone is happy with the outcome. The new tool gets implemented, the consultant leaves and those process documents that everyone spent weeks or months building get filed away in some electronic repository often never to be seen again.

If this scenario rings true, you’re not alone. Many IT departments treat Service Management or ITIL process implementation as a project and not a journey. Like losing weight, if you do not have a plan for ongoing success then the weight will come back and all the gains you made with hard work are simply lost.

Conveniently, the answer to help us through this scenario is given new prominence in ITIL’s latest incarnation of version 3. CSI or Continual Service Improvement, which was merely implied in previous ITIL frameworks, is now thrust into prominence and has its own book and its fair share of the limelight. CSI provides the process that drives the value out of your other ITIL practices. The Incident Management process in itself does not generate value – certainly, it would tell you something like how incidents can be escalated to reduce impact to the business. This in itself provides cost savings and improved productivity but it does not speak to the elements that drive a business; it does not tell us how many incidents we escalated last month, what the areas of improvement are and how we will do better next month. The incident management process assumes that everything remains constant – of course, the business changes.

CSI provides the wrapper to the ITIL processes you have in place. It enables you to baseline where you are today, where you need to be and to drive a path through to the goal. Getting a baseline for your existing performance is key, because it is difficult to get to your next destination if you don’t know where you are today. The good news is that there is a range of knowledge and resources that can be tapped inexpensively to help you through this process. For example, The ITSM Coach from ThinkITSM gives you the ability to assess your end user satisfaction and help desk maturity for free, highlighting the area’s most in need of addressing. Often we know much of this information informally but to have objective data enables the change process and gets disparate groups on board to adopt positive changes in how work is done.

CSI and Quality improvement has revolutionized manufacturing and have given automobile companies such as Toyota and Honda a fundamental competitive advantage that they translated into market share gains and profitability. It is now time for IT to embrace quality improvement processes and truly drive business value from IT Service Delivery.

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , ,