University of Westminster: From First Call Resolution to Revenue

15222132819_08a97144ec_zFirst call resolution (FCR) measures the proportion of issues that can be addressed during the first call. In theory, the more issues are addressed immediately without the customer having to call back or wait for service – the happier they should be.

For the University of Westminster, healthy first call resolution means happier students, which means better ratings in University leader boards, which has a direct relationship with incoming revenue.

 

IT Support as Competitive Advantage

Students wishing to complete their studies in the UK’s capital have plenty of choice – with over forty Universities situated in and around the London area.

China is also busy building it’s own Universities to attract students from the Asia-Pac region – previously a good source of supply for London, plus reports from The Telegraph suggest that the higher education system is becoming a “buyers’ market for applicants” with students getting record numbers of offers from universities. It seems that supply may be exceeding demand.

“Competition is tougher than ever. We have pressure to increase league table scores with no extra budget,” said Lee Rose, Associate Director of Information and Communication Technology at University of Westminster.

Lee was hosting a press event with representatives from Bomgar and was keen to demonstrate the University of Westminster’s progress with the remote administration appliance.

 

The Student User Experience

Unlike campus-based institutions, the University of Westminster is dispersed geographically across the West of London with 2,300 staff and over 20,000 students.

“We’re not a Campus,” continued Lee; “Our students expect to come into our institution, to start at a particular time and leave at a particular time. If that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, if affects their experience. In contrast, students that attend a campus based University can find something else on campus to do during their downtime.”

Fee structures and trends in mobile and Internet technology have been a significant challenge for the University. Lee said, “The moment the fees went up the expectations went up too. The real challenge is mobile; students are turning up with 3-5 devices each. Mobile access has really hit us hard, we’ve had to ramp up significantly with mobile and we’ve had BYOD issues to wrangle with too. We’ve moved from a technology-based business (shiny, shiny) to a user experience led business. Parents and students, especially those from abroad, refer to Times and Guardian league tables which take into consideration several areas such as Entry Grades, Student to Staff Ratio and Student Satisfaction Scores with the latter able to be effected by any bad experiences the student may encounter during their University life – including experience with IT systems and services.”.

 

Doing More with Less

The University has increasing demands and competition but IT teams find it difficult to ask for extra staff “Efficiency and how you are working become very important. Tools like Bomgar can enhance the experiences of students and allow our existing staff to work more productively” said Lee. Interacting with students online and addressing their concerns immediately means a lot less pounding the corridors of University.

Lee stated their implementation of Bomgar was going well and was being well received by the business. Three key benefits to the University were identified as:

  1. The IT support team could remote control into any device, anywhere. “It’s one of the best tools we have on the service desk because we can reach out to customer like never before”
  2. Bomgar’s ease of use. The appliance has received great feedback from students and staff.
  3. First time call resolution has decreased through remote handholding and IT team collaboration.

The Bomgar implementation included a cultural change in the approach to IT support. IT teams are encouraged to resolve issues remotely if possible rather than face to face, which is very different to how support has been delivered traditionally at the University, but ultimately leads to faster support and a more efficient use of resources.

 

See also “Supporting Digital Change” in CIO connect.

 

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The Only Way Is: Essex County Council ITSM

The only way is.... ITSM
The only way is…. ITSM

Essex County Council might not have its own glamorous television series dedicated to the highs and lows experienced on its own personal IT Service Management (ITSM) journey, yet.

But… the organisation has been doing admirable work in this field and helping (to some degree) local government overcome budget challenges

Excellence through ITIL

The council points out that a focus on improving and refining ITSM through the adoption and adaption of ITIL is helping local authorities to meet objectives despite continued financial pressures. A new case study, presented by AXELOS Global Best Practice, outlines how Essex County Council used ITIL to improve services while reducing costs.

As many readers will know, AXELOS is a joint venture set up in 2014 by the UK government and Capita to develop, manage and operate qualifications in best practice.

Local authorities have faced cuts in their budgets in recent years, and this is set to continue.

Councils in England have been warned that they face an average cut of 1.8% in their overall spending power, according to the provisional local government finance settlement for 2015-2016 published in December 2014*.

“Improving ITSM practices is helping councils with budget restrictions to meet service obligations. Councils across the country have seen very strong results – such as England’s second largest local authority, Essex County Council, which provides services to over 1.4m people,” said Kaimar Karu, head of ITSM at AXELOS.

The council’s 200-strong IT function supports around 10,000 staff and is led by Chief Information Officer (CIO) David Wilde, who joined the organization in 2011.

 “When I joined the council the customer base had little or no faith in the IT department and there was a service report full of red Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). We had silos of knowledge without adequate tools to enable sharing and out of date documentation,” said Wilde. “As the council was and is under continued financial pressure, with aspirations to become a truly mobile and flexible workforce, we needed to standardize our estate, meet our Service Level Agreement (SLA), gain control of the service, get our underpinning contracts into line and capitalize on sensible outsourcing opportunities, such as our networking.”

Wilde had previously worked for the UK Government and was involved in the early design and creation of ITIL, the most widely accepted approach to ITSM in the world. The use of ITIL over the past four years has helped to improve the council’s ITSM, with the whole IT department now trained to at least ITIL foundation level.

He confirms that ensuring everyone is trained to foundation level has really helped to gain momentum and increase awareness and understanding. ITIL provides the right blend of service management, infrastructure management and customer focus.

AXELOS’s Karu added, “The Essex County Council case study highlights how empowering stakeholders in every level of the organization is one of the main factors in the successful adoption of ITIL. David’s experience shows that ITIL plays an important role in successful delivery of services and can help public sector organizations improve service management, even during times of austerity.”

The full case study can be found on the AXELOS website at https://www.axelos.com/case-studies-and-white-papers/essex-county-council-an-itil-case-study

How to Get Bigger Budgets

Didier_Moretti_Headshot_5

This article has been contributed by Didier Moretti, VP/GM Service Desk Business at Atlassian Software


 

At the start of every year or quarter, senior managers across the organization get pulled into the tug-of-war of budgeting and headcount planning. And few feel the pain as much as IT. If your team is viewed as a cost center, as IT more often than not is, asking for a bigger budget or head count increase can be a daunting task. But not doing so is not an option either. If you don’t properly plan and make a compelling argument to senior management for those extra resources you need, teams that are stretched get even more stretched resulting in a decrease in quality of work and employee burnout; neither of which helps the employee, the IT team, or the company.

They say if you can’t measure it you can’t fix it. Equally true is, if you can’t measure it, you can’t justify it to management. It’s time for IT teams to learn a lesson from customer support.

 

Why Customer Support?

I don’t mean wearing a headset and wishing every one a nice day. Though your co-workers would probably like that. I am referring to the practice of building a strong competence in measuring how much work the IT team is taking on, how quickly they’re responding, and how satisfied are the people who depend on them. Sounds simple? It should be, but astonishingly many IT organizations are so mired in the day to day blocking and tackling that they don’t remember to remind everyone how much they’re getting done.

Customer support organizations for years have become masters of analytics. They live and die on measuring key performance metrics like average response time, number of requests solved per person per day, and customer satisfaction.

The benefit? Support organizations can tell you exactly what their team utilization is and how good of a job they’re doing. More importantly, they have the numbers and analysis to credibly ask for a budget and headcount increase when they need it.

Not just IT, but every internal business team could think of themselves as a customer service organization across HR, Finance, Legal and others. Though no one is closer to customer support than IT. IT is the internal customer service organization, troubleshooting software and hardware problems for employees. If IT is similar in many ways to the external support organization, then they also need to mimic support’s best practices on gathering the right data and using that information to show their value to the business.

 

Here are 3 steps internal teams can take to report the kind of performance metrics that executives understand and respond to.

Establish and Document Processes for How Work Gets Done

The biggest barrier to measuring anything is a lack of a consistent method of execution or in other words, a process. If all requests for work, be it in IT or outside such as reviewing a contract or updating an employee benefit plan are executed in an inconsistent manner with varying levels of efficiency, it’s hard to get a read on how long a task takes and at what rate it can be executed. Further, if all requests for tasks are received and responded to over email, it’s easy for teams and managers to lose sight of the total volume of work being serviced by the entire team over any one quarter and how that volume is either increasing or fluctuating in that timeframe. In the support world, processes are well documented and automated so customers get quality and consistent service. Requests for help from customers come through applications and systems that document not just when the request came in but the time it took for each step in the support process from inception to resolution. While many IT teams do use ticketing systems they rarely have the same sophistication as those used by external support. And if they are not user friendly and zero-effort to use, employees bypass them with email or fly-bys to the IT agent’s desk.

The common mantra for many teams is that no day is typical. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a process that accommodates flexibility. Often there will be an 80-20 rule; 80% of requests will follow a certain pattern while 20% might be outside the norm. By shying away from documenting and following a process at least for the 80%, IT departments are missing out on a crucial ability to not only better track their work but also service their stakeholders better by bringing increased consistency and quality control into their daily tasks.

 

Measure Everyday Activities

This might seem overkill at first but it’s the only way to truly understand how long it takes for you or your team to fulfill common requests. Even rough measurements will go a long way to give you an idea of how to plan your day or week. As teams grow and become geographically distributed, understanding how long tasks take is critical to planning capacity. Software developers often use a method called agile development where each task gets a number score that indicates how long the developer thinks that task will take. This allows a product manager to ensure a product release is adequately planned, staffed, and on track. Lawyers and consultants regularly clock their hours since they need to bill clients per hour. There are many examples of different functions bringing an increased measurement rigor in order to not only track progress more efficiently, but also help managers better plan and staff every quarter.

Best of all, there are many work management or task management systems that make it easy for employees to track time spent on a task, similar to the many apps for your smart phone that will help you count calories and track exercise routines.

 

Use Processes and Measurement to Build Your Personal Analytics Dashboard

Once you have documented the process and put in place steps to either manually measure time taken or in an automated manner through a tool, you’re ready to start building your own personal analytics.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could answer questions like:

  • Last quarter with 3 people we supported 342 IT related requests for help from employees and on average were able to provide a response within 2 hours.
  • The number of requests were up 12% from last quarter
  • For the next quarter we expect a 8% increase based on company wide headcount growth

Imagine the possibilities you have armed with those kinds of numbers?

Now you no longer have to say – “I think we need more headcount, because we’re swamped and working late most nights.”

Instead, you have real numbers, tied to measurable results, that executives love and respect. To further spice things up, you could add employee satisfaction surveys to demonstrate your successes.

So now your analytics read:

  • Last quarter with 3 people we supported 342 requests with an average employee satisfaction score of 77%.
  • The #1 issue many employees cited was the length of time it takes to get help
  • For the next quarter, we’re looking at a potential 8% increase in # of requests.
  • With an extra headcount we are confident we can scale to meet demand while boosting our overall customer satisfaction to our stated goal of 90%

 

While you may not get what you ask for, if you ask for it enough times in the right way, often good things will happen.

It’s time for IT teams to embrace the best practices that have led to customer service organizations becoming the lean mean fighting machines that they are. There is no substitute for good analytics, but that comes at a price; the need to follow a process for how work gets done and measure the time taken to perform the steps along the way. But the upside is huge. Not only are you able to build the type of reports and analytics needed to succeed, but the people who depend on you get fast, consistent service they can trust. There are many tools and systems in the market to help you on your journey.

So in 2015, think like a customer support organization. Your company will thank you for it.

 

 

Coming Soon: ITAM and ITSM Integration Group Test

Our next Group Test will explore the relationship between the IT management disciplines of IT Asset Management (ITAM) and IT Service Management (ITSM).

The review will explore the opportunities for managing assets and interacting with ITAM teams whilst maintaining everyday ITSM processes.

We’re looking to review:

  • ITSM tools that offer ITAM functionality or integrate with tools that do
  • As well as ITAM tools that provide value add to ITSM lifecycles

Our Group Tests review and compare the features and strengths of technology for a particular use case.

Previous Group Tests:

The aim of the review is to support prospective buyers with their selection process by providing features to consider when building integrations between ITAM & ITSM – highlighting key competitive differentiators between products.

ITAM and ITSM (2+2=5)

To be agile in making financial decisions in IT, we need to shift from ITAM being a reactive process (counting up the mess after it has happened, performing true-ups) to be Proactive. ITAM need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the architects and project managers making technology choices to support them and help the business make smarter decisions. Decisions need to be made whilst considering efficient delivery of services (ITSM) whilst also considering risk and total financial impact (ITAM).

The table below highlights the six most likely sources of change within your IT environment. By embracing and working with these sources of change, we can help the business make quicker and smarter decisions.

ITAM can be an enabler and source of business intelligence for ITSM and IT teams in general – addressing change at a strategic level rather than in a reactive fire-fighting capacity.

Sources-of-Change1

The diagram below shows a typical cradle-to-grave lifecycle of an asset and where I believe the opportunities exist for providing more agile ITAM and integrating with ITSM.

Where-ITAM-meets-ITSM1

ITAM & ITSM Integration Group Test- Key Topic areas:

  • Inventory – How do you manage an inventory of assets and ensure accuracy?
  • Change Management – How are formal changes communicated to the ITAM team?
  • Request Fulfilment – How are asset costs and authorisations delivered via requests?
  • Relationship Mapping – How is the relationship between users, assets and services managed?
  • Asset Usage – How are unused, AWOL or stolen assets managed?
  • Installs, Moves, Adds and Changes (IMAC) – How are everyday changes to systems reflected in asset data?
  • Procurement – How are ITAM and ITSM data combined to allow smarter procurement decisions?

Have I missed anything – what else would you add to this list?

Suppliers who wish to participate should contact us.

ISO/IEC 20000 – An Opportunity to Grow

Drago 3This article is a guest post and has been contributed by Drago Topalovic, ITIL & ISO20000 expert.

 

The first thing to consider when implementing best practices and standards in service management is motive.

Why Should We Do It?

When you provide IT services, you have to be the BEST you can. In other IT areas like development, infrastructure, and business system deployment, you can perform slightly under par and still add perceivable value to a customer’s business. In service management, your good performance is usually taken for granted, and every error is highly visible. Service downtimes adversely impact a customer’s business, and SLA breaches are penalized.

Every resource and every configuration item (CI) has to be utilized efficiently. Business processes and functions have to be organized with defined roles, responsibilities, and action sequences. Ambiguities and a lack of definitions and organization promptly lead to user dissatisfaction. So, IT service organizations should take any help they can get.

 

Is ITIL Enough?

ITIL is abundant with best practices, describing life as it should and could be in IT service management. You have all the options laid out in front of you – the sky is the limit. Like living in a big city, you can go to theatres, fancy clubs, and whatnot. But, do you? Living with ITIL alone tends to move you to roads more travelled, and to neglect service management components you don’t feel comfortable with. Knowing your ITIL is good; you can competently implement all the interesting processes and functions, and safely ignore the other ones, knowing that you can turn to them when the time comes.

It differs from one type of service provider to the other, but typical evaded processes in IT are financial management, supplier and customer management, and Documentation management.

For some insight on ITIL benefits, please have a look at the article Why ITIL?.

When you live with ITIL long enough, whether you are a managed services company or internal IT in a small/midsize/large company, you start to realize a few downsides of doing ITIL alone:

  • ITIL certification is personal, and as people come and go, you start to wish for a way to keep your organization’s intellectual property more anchored, instead of being strongly affected by the fluctuation of your staff.
  • With all the options of best practices, it is hard to get the firm management commitment to what really has to be done, and without it, you are on a slippery slope. There are always more urgent things to attend to.
  • ITIL 2011 addresses more processes and functions then before, and implementing all of them seems like mission impossible.
  • It is really difficult to say when enough is enough.

Once you have improved those processes that cause you the most pain, you may realize that your focus shifts to things you didn’t consider important at first. For example, you implement Incident and Change management, and it suddenly becomes obvious to you that your Configuration management lacks the power to support these processes. That’s a good sign that your organization is growing. And, it’s usually a sign that you should start considering ISO/IEC 20000.

 

ISO20000 – An Opportunity to Grow

ISO/IEC 20000 provides a very strict set of requirements for implementation. The scope can prove to be very demanding for most of the growing IT service companies in the beginning. But, as you mature, you start to consider the advantages of a service management system that takes care of what SHALL be done in order to make you a competent IT service management organization, as opposed to what could or should be done.

At some point, this set of opportunities will start to feel more appealing to an organization.

SMS
ISO/IEC 20000 process groups

 

ISO 20000 Benefits

By implementing ISO/IEC20000, the organization benefits from the following:

 

  • Integrated Service Management System (SMS) supporting the vital service management functions.
  • Organization focuses on all key processes. Measurements and control of integrated SMS brings new perspectives and ideas about organization’s service management business. Since all 16 processes are implemented, combined results from say, Budgeting and accounting with Capacity management will give you the better idea on which customers are more valuable to you.
  • Better alignment of IT services and the business it supports. Adopting the common language and the knowledge about processes usually helps in building trust and confidence of customers.
  • Better reputation on the market. Having an ISO20000 certificate is still not a very common thing; it proves you are serious about your business.
  • ISO/IEC 20000 certificate stays with the company, not individuals. The SMS helps to keep knowledge about service management business within the company, as its intellectual property.
  • Roles, responsibilities, and ownership of all processes remove bottlenecks and ambiguities in service management domain.
  • By defining key processes and agreeing about them internally, ISO20000 helps to overcome natural barriers between organizational units. For example, Sales is forced to cooperate more tightly with internal IT in order to offer more cost-effective services to external customers.
  • Vertical communication in the organization is usually greatly enhanced. Management is involved in the process from the beginning, and the feedback they receive regularly enables better quality of tactical and strategic decisions.

 

I am fully aware that the above benefits are primarily aligned with an IT management perspective. These are the pains immediately recognized by the IT members of the community. So, I intend to provide a separate post where they will be properly addressed from a business point of view. I would love to see some of the visitors’ comments regarding this.

 

Conclusion

The certification process for ISO/IEC 20000 is not an easy one. It’s a very demanding project, requiring a lot of resources. That is one of the major reasons it is not a common certificate. On the other hand, this makes it even more appreciated on the market.

If you are an experienced IT organization with good internal knowledge of key ITIL processes, the above-mentioned benefits should be inspiring to consider ISO20000. From my experience, it looks harder than it is. Just take the first step.

 

 


Drago is an IT Business Consultant oriented to Service Management and Customer Relationship Management, project management in SW development.

Specialties: ITIL Expert certificate, Implementation of service management tools, methodologies and processes. Preparation and implementation of ISO/IEC 20000.

You can follow Drago on Twitter here

 

An ITIL Evolution: New ITIL Practitioner Qualification From AXELOS

ITIL-Logo-large1It has been heralded as the ‘most significant’ evolution in the ITIL best practice framework since the launch of AXELOS, but what is it?

The new ITIL Practitioner Qualification has been announced this week at the ITSM Leadership Congress in Singapore.

ITIL Practitioner  is being developed to help organizations and individuals increase the value they obtain from using ITIL by offering additional practical guidance to adopt and adapt the framework to support the business.

An ITIL progression curve

It will be the next step after ITIL Foundation for professionals who have already learned the basics of IT Service Management (ITSM) and the business value of well-designed and delivered services.

The first ITIL Practitioner exam will be available globally by the end of 2015 — it will be pitched at a suitable level for individuals working for organisations of all sizes.

“ITIL is the most widely adopted service management framework used by thousands of organizations worldwide, with over two million ITIL certifications awarded, including 300,000 in 2014,” said Peter Hepworth, CEO of AXELOS. “ITIL offers many benefits to organisations, including supporting business outcomes, managing risks in line with business needs, showing value for money and supporting continual improvement.”

Hepworth contends that AXELOS surveyed ITSM professionals from around the world last year and received significant calls for ITSM to be treated as a profession.

Having this additional, higher qualification level within the ITIL framework is an important step towards that goal thinks Hepworth.

ITIL Practitioner will focus on:

  • Giving practical guidance on how individuals can leverage Continual Service Improvement (CSI), a fundamental lifecycle stage in ITIL, to maximise the benefits of its adoption and adaption
  • Aiming to improve the capability of individuals throughout the business, to adopt and adapt ITIL in their day to day roles for maximum business benefits
  • Making use of further evolved technological capabilities – such as automation, real-time reporting and Cloud computing – to increase the quality of service design and the efficiency of service delivery
  • Leveraging other philosophies, frameworks, good practices and methodologies – including e.g. Lean, DevOps, Agile and SIAM – to further enhance the value of ITSM.

Kaimar Karu, Head of ITSM at AXELOS said “ITIL is the overarching framework that brings together all the good practice in ITSM, globally. Traditionally, ITIL has focused on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, leaving it to the practitioners to apply the guidance in their specific organizational context and find the best ways for the ‘how’ of adopt and adapt. As good practices appear, evolve and grow, the need for more practical guidance on the ‘how’ has increased significantly.”

Karu insists that the numerous case studies demonstrating how ITIL’s guidance has helped organizations to succeed. ITIL Practitioner is being developed collaboratively with seasoned professionals worldwide to addresses new workplace challenges.

ITIL Practitioner will sit alongside the existing qualification levels of Foundation, Intermediate, Expert and Master.

Later this year,AXELOS will launch a new professional development scheme which will enable individuals to stay current in their knowledge and protect the investment they have made in adopting and adapting AXELOS Global Best Practice.

For news on ITIL Practitioner go to website: https://www.axelos.com/qualifications/itil/itil-practitioner

 

Self Service IT: Not as Scary as it Sounds

Stuart Power Mar 2014This article has been contributed by Stuart Power, UK Sales Manager at Matrix42.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve worked for a number of companies at which, as a new employee, it has taken days or weeks to be given the technology I need to do my job. I’ve no doubt it’s still happening in many organisations today. But as the proportion of ‘digital natives’ in the workforce increases, that scenario is becoming less and less acceptable. More importantly, it is becoming a serious business risk, rather than just a temporary inconvenience. Why? Because today’s employees expect to be able to use technology at work in the same way as they do in their personal lives. That means switching between devices at will, and accessing software and services at their convenience, often through a central app store. If that’s not possible, they are more likely to look for employment elsewhere.

Giving employees this kind of control over technology is a scary prospect for many corporate IT departments. But with the right approach to enabling user self service, the reality can be more fulfilling than frightening.

 

Start with the User, Not the Technology

Enabling your employees with self service access to the technology tools they need requires a fundamental shift in the way you deliver IT to users. Rather than the IT department acting as a local supplier of heterogeneous hardware and software, it needs to become a provider of standardised services – all delivered and managed from a central IT service/workspace management system. The process starts with the definition of a service portfolio (the needs of the business that the IT department must fulfil) and a service catalog (the actions required in terms of technology delivery to meet the business need). Importantly, both the service portfolio and the service catalog must be built around the needs of your employees, not the established capabilities and processes of the IT department. Once these needs and services have been defined, they can be realised within your chosen ITSM/workspace management solution, which should ideally feature an app store interface that gives users a consumer-style experience when choosing and consuming corporate IT services. That solution should also automate every service-related process, from order to approval and delivery, right through to on-going maintenance and management.

 

Standardise Services, Establish Value

Automating processes is all well and good. But automating a bad process is often worse than leaving it alone, because in an integrated ITSM system, the consequences will automatically impact other processes. That’s why it’s so important to standardise the processes within each service as much as possible, and thereby minimise the potential for error.

Equally as important is ensuring that users understand the value of the service they receive. If no cost or value is attached to a service, users will consume it at will, creating additional and uncertain cost and workload for the IT department. Equally, if a price is attached to a service without defining every aspect of the service being provided, business users and managers will invariably see only the hardware or application they are consuming. The accompanying admin, networking, security, support, management and maintenance work will be invisible. As a result, they may try to circumvent the service catalog because they will perceive the service to be expensive and believe that they can get it cheaper elsewhere. Both of these scenarios can be avoided with a centralised service portfolio and catalog that provide clear price/performance definitions for each service.

 

Five Steps to Self Service Success

So, you’ve made the decision. You want to give business users the consumer-style IT experience they expect, and prove the value of IT to your business. At Matrix42, we believe there are 5 essential success factors to be aware of, however you choose to implement user self service.

1. Define and standardise services

Efficient self service in corporate IT requires every service to be standardised around particular usage scenarios, such as the onboarding of a new sales person, and automated at every stage of the service lifecycle. Once this has been achieved, it becomes easier to make small adjustments that may be necessary for specific locations, such as linking PC orders to a local hardware supplier.

2. Integrate all the necessary processes

Ideally, users, managers and IT departments should all be using one IT service delivery and workspace management system that integrates all the IT and business processes required to order, approve, deliver and manage an IT service. This ensures cost and status transparency for all, and maximises IT service management efficiency.

3. Give everything a value

Services without costs attached encourage users to consume them freely, regardless of whether they are actually necessary for their work. To avoid unnecessary expenditure and workload, every IT service must be clearly and realistically described and priced. This ensures the cost of service consumption and expected service quality are transparent and predictable for users and approvers.

4. Ensure compliance

Your ITSM system should enable you to create and manage the relevant license agreements for each service centrally. This requires that your service catalog is integrated with your compliance solution, which should proactively alert managers to any over or under licensing. This will enable them to avoid compliance failures and continuously optimise costs.

5. Make it accessible from any device

Many of your users don’t work in one place on one device, so they expect to be able to order and use a service from wherever they are, and on whichever device they are using at the time. A complete, centralised IT service and workspace management solution will ensure that each service only needs to be ordered once for it to be made available on multiple devices.

 

Conclusion

With device and software diversity increasing all the time, and an ever-more demanding and sophisticated user base, greater IT complexity within organisations is almost inevitable. Introducing user self service into ITSM is one of the most important tools at your disposal for simplifying the management of that complexity.

The Scourge of Jargon

CL2

This article has been contributed by Chris Lee – currently working with Six Degrees Group who provide integrated managed data services linking people, places and clouds.

 

“Going forward, and with enough synergy, we can push the envelope on this project. We know it has social currency; we know it’s on brand. Let’s ship it by COP Friday.”

We all know someone who talks like this. Whether it’s your colleague, your boss, or even you! Nobody’s safe from the scourge of jargon and, what we like to call, “jargonistas” – the people who like nothing better than to throw some jargon into their sentences to both infuriate and isolate people out-of-the-know.

 

Of course, a world without jargon would be a peaceful, wonderful world, but it would also be a world where it would take much longer to explain concepts and tasks, and the office would be awash with people explaining things. Of course jargon isn’t tied to a specific industry, so who uses it the most?

A survey conducted by Six Degrees found that people perceive IT professionals as using more jargon than bankers, lawyers and politicians combined. This finding complimented by the fact that the meaning of the jargon is often unknown: 22% believed Platform as a Service (PaaS) was a new philosophy in railway management, while 16% thought Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) was a new road project.

 

The Internet is arguably the centre of the jargonista’s universe – for whatever reason, people online seem to use jargon whenever and wherever they can. We’ve had a look and found the following description of an every-day program that millions of people use daily, which was obviously written by a jargonista. Can you identify this service from the jargon-filled description?

[Service] is a cloud storage service that enables users to store files on remote cloud servers and the ability to share files within a synchronized format. [Service] provides an online storage solution powered by cloud computing service model of infrastructure as a service (IaaS). [Service] works by installing an application on client system, which immediately uploads the data to their own cloud storage servers. The uploaded data can be accessed from the installed application or through an online control panel. [Service] file sharing works in cohesion with file synchronization which keeps the file routinely updated across all shared nodes even if it’s shared among many people, therefore every single recipient will always receive the latest version of the file. [Service] is an example of a storage-as-a-service business model.

Got the answer? No? You may know it as as ‘Dropbox’ (definition source).

 

Jargon is hardly a new phenomenon, though it is a self-perpetuating one: an article from a 1987 issue of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication says “jargon persists because people think that business letters should use jargon and because using jargon enables authors to write or dictate quickly” (source).

Using the Six Degrees jargon buster we looked at which terms have the most use, and have given jargon-free definitions of the terms below. These illustrate how seemingly simple statements can be turned into tremendously tumultuous titles.

 

SaaS: 60,500 searches per month

“In a SaaS model, the cloud service provider is responsible for all technical elements from infrastructure, through platform, to the application itself. The customer will typically pay on a “per user, per month” model, e.g. if they wish to rent Microsoft Exchange mailboxes, this is delivery by the provider from their multi-tenant platform”

Example of this service: Gmail

 

PaaS: 3,600 searches per month

“A PaaS offering provides a suite of tools designed to provide the necessary database, management, development and deployment tools for the creation and delivery of business applications, mobile apps, social apps, microsites, websites, and other software-driven solution”

Example of this service: Google App Engine

 

IaaS: 1,900 searches per month

“The first few layers of the hosting value chain (see The Hosting Stack for more details) whereby cloud-based infrastructure (e.g. compute and storage) is provided as a Service for a time-based rental model (per minute, hour, day, week, month, etc)”

Example of this service: Amazon Web Services

 

Conclusion

Obviously jargon has its place (technical descriptions or emails where you’re trying to sound clever in front of your colleagues being the only two we can think of), however using it in your day-to-day speech isn’t always necessary.

Understanding which situations require language like the above, and then which terms to choose, is the hallmark of a successful communicator, whilst using terms like the above to communicate to anyone you meet is the hallmark of a jargonista. Feel free to deploy jargon in a situation where all involved will understand. Just be aware of the risk coming from when you use it to communicate with someone who isn’t clued-up on the terminology. Your colleague might understand what you’re referring to, but your mates at the pub? Probably not.

 


Chris Lee has 6 years’ experience in the online marketing and SEO space and has an interest in technology and cloud related projects. He is currently working with the Six Degrees Group to promote such projects in an interesting and accessible way.

 

ITSM drives global car fleet industry

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“A recent report from MarketsandMarkets found that the increasing number of vehicles globally (which is in some part resulting from a major boom in the emerging economies) is having a positive impact on the fleet management industry.”

Automotive industry and general driving pun writers need not apply, this headline already writes itself; the importance of IT Service Management (ITSM) to the trade has been validated. With the global fleet management industry expected to grow from US$12.06bn in 2014 to $35.35bn by 2019, organisations involved in car leasing are being urged to recognise the importance of a quality, structured ITSM during periods of growth.

Why the increased revs?

A recent report from MarketsandMarkets found that the increasing number of vehicles globally (which is in some part resulting from a major boom in the emerging economies) is having a positive impact on the fleet management industry.

In turn, this upswing has implications for businesses that structure effective ITSM into their operational architectures from the start.

First class (chauffeur-level) service

A new case study from AXELOS Global Best Practice outlines how one of the world’s leading car fleet organisations has benefited from a structured approach to ITSM, helping the IT department deliver a quality service to 6500 staff across 32 countries, enabling them to provide a first class service to customers.

LeasePlan Information Services (LPIS) is based in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and employs around 200 people who support IT services for the firm’s global organisation, which manages 1.42m vehicles worldwide. Within LPIS, the Service Support Team provides a central and local service desk function for all LeasePlan countries.

ITIL steering controls at the helm

The AXELOS case study outlines how ITIL as the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world has helped LPIS to deliver a high quality service to customers since it was established in 2003.

“ITIL processes are structured and make sense,” explained case study author Sandra Duigenan, LPIS service delivery manager. “They allow us to have a common language between support groups and to set clear expectations from a service delivery point of view. There are also flexible and robust systems available to support the use of ITIL in an organisation.”

ITIL is playing an integral part in the performance of the firm’s service support function and overall service delivery.

ITIL test, for service driver proficiency

Duigenan continues, “All new hires to LPIS are given ITIL Foundation training and sit their certificate exam within their first year of service. This training ensures that we all speak the same language and know the theory of the framework we have adopted.”

“We now have ten people in the support team in Dublin, providing a central and local service desk function to all LeasePlan countries. In 2014 the team consistently outperformed their service levels in the two main ITIL processes they deliver on – incident and standard request management.”

Peter Hepworth, AXELOS CEO has said that ITIL advocates how IT services are aligned to the needs of the business and support its core processes. He also emphasised that it provides effective guidance to organisations and individuals on how to use IT as a tool to facilitate business change transformation and growth.

“The experience of LeasePlan is a prime example of the value ITIL delivers to thousands of global companies going through periods of transformation,” said Hepworth.

Driving home the point

ITSM consultant, mentor and analyst Barclay Rae has commented on this story to underline the importance of services in the context of today’s modern economies.

“Traditional ITSM and ITIL approaches provide consistency, accountability and can manage risk for organisations – so this is an essential element for any company that is going through growth,”

Rae continued, “ITIL training and service improvement projects need to support business goals first – these must be applied with sensitivity and relevance to the culture and goals of the organisation. So an enlightened, flexible and adaptive approach must be taken to ensure success – just taking the exams and following the books by rote will not deliver value.”

The full case study can be found on the AXELOS website at https://www.axelos.com/case-studies-and-white-papers/leaseplan-information-services.

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Podcast Episode 10 – Self Service & Automation

In Episode 10 of the podcast Barclay Rae discusses the Self Service and automation with Simon Kent, Chief Innovation Officer at Sollertis Limited, Doug Tedder, ITSM Consultant at Tedder Consulting LLC  and Eddie Vidal, Manager of the UMIT Service Desk at the University of Miami.

Topics include:

  • What is self service?
  • The disconnect between domestic self service and ITSM self service
  • Self service beyond IT
  • Customer experience
  • Keeping up with demand

View all our podcasts on SoundCloud or iTunes.

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