Wednesday, December 17, 2014

THE 4 P'S OF SERVICE STRATEGY



Competition is extremely fierce in the world of business, only a handful survive, and some can barely keep up with the demands of the times. That's why it is necessary to have an idea of what it takes to be successful and an integrated strategy to help maintain excellent service results.

ITIL discusses at length the four “Ps” of strategy- perspective, position, plan and pattern, each of which represents a different way to approach your service strategy. Brief summaries are provided here:
  • Perspective - 
    • This is basically the vision statement of an organization.  Why is it in business, why is it doing what it is doing?  What are the plans and ideas for the future and how does the organization interact with its customers?  A perspective cements a service provider’s distinctiveness in the minds of the employees and customers
  • Positions - 
    • What is the competitive landscape and how will the organization compete with other similar providers?  What is the key distinction between them and other businesses in the marketplace and what are the capabilities that sets them apart?  Positions are not just a description of different processes and resources ... it could be as simple as cost.
  • Plans - 
    • This is the big one ... it takes into account the vision and the current position and talks about the future.  How will the provider move from one space to a future space?  What activities need to be done and how will they be done?
  • Patterns - 
    • Hum, drum day-to-day ... what does the organization or business do, how does it do it and what will it continue to do to be successful?  This is the housekeeping stuff that needs to be completed correctly for an organization to meet it strategic objectives.
The thing that I've always liked about ITIL is that it isn't esoteric or anything like that.  It is simple common sense and the 4 P's are a perfect example of this

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

MEASURING PERFORMANCE

"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can't measure something, you can't understand it. If you can't understand it, you can't control it. If you can't control it, you can't improve it."
- H. James Harrington
Performance management is all about measurement. This means knowing where you came from, where you are and where you want to be in the future.
It is only when you know those key elements will you be able to plan a path appropriately.
Remember always that measuring performance is something that you need to be doing all the time - good times and bad - and it should be proactive and not reactive.
Knowing what is broken when it is broken is not nearly as useful as knowing what will break before it breaks! Knowing what is going to happen while difficult is absolutely necessary in ensuring that you have the time to take the relevant steps to avoid it - while it might not be as glamorous for your career to be the person to avoid problems, from a companies perspective not having to fight fires constantly is a definite plus.
Measuring what is important to your business is actually not that hard, the hard thing is being consistent at it, as simply defining something as important is great but only measuring it for one month and then choosing an action based on the results in that period is less than useful. To really utilize KPIs in the correct way it is imperative that you measure your main issues for several months looking for specific trends and patterns – it is only after you have done this for a while will you be able to make a reasoned and rational plan to address the issue discovered.
When defining the KPI’s that you intend to use you need to keep in mind that KPIs are measurements designed to assess performance. Your choice of KPI needs to be based on your target market/audience and your intention with regards to their purpose. For example, what is the problem that you are trying to measure and what would be the ideal outcome if that problem didn’t exist? Once you have defined that then you can get around to building your plan for measuring it.
In addition to the problem avoidance points about measurement and performance, the other key point is that it is only through measurement that you can know whether or not a specific project or task has been successful.
Measuring a project only at the end however is not appropriate - with projects specifically there are "gates" that must be passed and at each gate it is key that you review whether or not you are on track for delivery or whether you need to make adjustments.

CALL CENTER KPI’S

The Call Center (Help Desk, Tech Support Team, Contact Center etc…) – it does not really matter what you call it, they all serve the same function which is dealing with customers on an individual basis in an effort to solve their problems and concerns – is a great place for KPI’s and in fact there are many KPI’s that have been built specifically for this group in an effort to ensure that customers are always receiving the best level of service possible. Some of the common KPI’s in use in this team are:
  • First Call Resolution – Measurement of the %’age of customer issues resolved at the first call.
  • % Uptime/Dowtime – Measurement of the %’age of time the service is available (or not).
  • MTTR – Mean Time to Resolve calculated as a percentage.
Constant and regular feedback to all the relevant teams and parties involved is necessary to ensure that you are able to adjust to any deviations and make the appropriate modifications necessary.
As a final point - measuring performance is necessary to ensure that you know the right things - you need to know what is and is not working and why you are having the problems you are.
If you want and expect your business to grow, you need to look for more efficient ways to do things as while throwing resources at a problem - be they people or equipment - can work some of the time, it is not the final solution and is definitely not the most scalable or cost effective solution.
By measuring where you are having problems, what the bottlenecks are and planning appropriately for future problems, you can not only avoid the problems you are currently experiencing but build a plan to avoid future problems also!

Setting up and Launching a Remote Office

In the early days of my career I was responsible for setting up an operation in a different city. It was a great opportunity for me and some...