My good friend Michelle Major-Goldsmith and I have had many discussions about how to make IT service management more relevant to the business. We know there are many IT professionals out there that are working their cotton socks off delivering real value to their organisations and yet they are only too aware that their efforts and the value delivered are not fully appreciated.
This was brought home to me at the recent Service Desk Show in London. As you might expect there was a particular emphasis on the Service Desk and this was highlighted by discussions initiated by the Service Desk Institute (SDI) around demonstrating Service Desk value and the meaningful metrics that have to be gathered to achieve this.
So what aspects of Service Desk performance matter to the business?
Well, as you might guess, the business isn’t particularly concerned about how many functional or hierarchical escalation rates or call abandonment rates. They are concerned about the percentage of incidents resolved within agreed service levels and the level of overall customer satisfaction with the service.
They are concerned too with one element that we’re not that good at measuring: Cost!
How much does it cost to provide support services? How much does it cost, on average, to resolve a call? How can the costs be reduced whilst maintaining (or even improving) the levels of service offered?
Daniel Wood, Head of Research at SDI, has produced a really valuable paper “Demonstrating Service Desk Value Through More Meaningful Metrics” that is essential reading for anyone engaged in the management of IT services.
Daniel’s paper re-affirms the conclusions that Michelle and I came to. If you want to engage with the business you have to talk to senior management in the language that they understand. Tell them how they can reduce cost and increase revenue. How much user/customer time is lost waiting for calls to be resolved? That is a key measurement that directly impacts the productivity of the business. What is the cost of down-time in business critical applications – particularly those that are customer facing?
It’s time to grow-up and ask the questions that will lead us to a more mature dialogue.