IT operations have traditionally focused on delivering to internal customers, with an emphasis on efficiency and supporting complicated business processes.
Meanwhile in the outside world, things have changed. IT is now at the heart of delivering to 'real' customers – consumers whose service expectations are higher. In the time it can take to raise a trouble ticket on a service management system, a consumer problem can surge on Twitter and reach thousands, damaging an organisation's reputation. As a result, IT is being expected to provide much higher levels of service and meet more flexible requirements, whilst delivering for a lot less.
A small but growing number of IT organisations have taken note, and are rethinking how to design and run their IT. They are going beyond IT service management towards service experience; that is IT designed and delivered for the benefit of real customers.
In practice, service experience boils down to implementing a small number of key principles:
Designing IT operations around service
'Service' to IT people means 'service levels'. Consumers, on the other hand, only know one service level: "do I like it?" Service experience means changing attitudes, behaviours and competencies in IT operations to focus on service, in the sense that a hotel would, rather than service levels. Great service people are proud of their ability to solve customers' problems and make customers feel great. If you know an IT service manager, try asking them if they're proud of their job. You'll find that many want to be proud of their service, but that they're not right now.
Knowingly delivering service
IT managers typically know where they're not delivering. They know less about how the business as a whole is delivering using IT. In a service experience world, companies look to understand the end-to-end processes and know that they're delivering. IT has the job of ensuring that its contribution to the service experience is end to end too. This means taking ownership of supporting service end to end, and being much more pro-active about monitoring and managing that service.
Getting service right first time
When companies launch new products and services, consumers are less inclined to be forgiving because services are new. Expectations are that services will both work first time and be simple to navigate and use. For IT, where services are often more complicated and involve more suppliers and partners, far more effort must be put into the design and launch of services. Getting service right first time has traditionally played second fiddle to day-to-day operations – but in the world of service experience, both are equally important.
Earning the right to deliver great service
IT operations is a tough field where you're only as good or as bad as your last outage. If IT organisations don't get the basics right, they don't get the right to invest in change. So designing It operations around service experience means being really clear on where IT makes a difference to external customers. Where it doesn't, IT should be ruthlessly simplified and standardised.
Moving to service experience
Rome wasn't built in a day. And it will take time for IT organisations to shift to a service experience focus. But the pace of change in the real world is accelerating. Think how differentiated Apple iPhones were when they launched. Now think how quickly Samsung and HTC caught up.To keep pace with customers' changing expectations, IT organisations need to start thinking now about how they can refocus IT operations on supporting the service experience.
To find out more about how your organisation can refocus IT on service experience, contact us now.