This article was inspired by Mel Kerner, whose insightful comments on a recent LinkedIn post of mine started my wheels turning about the heart of service delivery.
Measuring and demonstrating the business value of IT is one of the biggest struggles for CIOs and IT leaders. There are thousands of articles, webinars, and commentary on how to demonstrate the business value of IT (I’ve even written quite a few of those articles!).
There are endless equations of metrics, KPIs, budgets, and technology that one can put together to demonstrate the value of ITSM. CIOs are hyper-focused on that bottom line. What does the IT line on the spreadsheet say about you and your organization?
That’s always the question, isn’t it? I’m not here to argue that CIOs don’t have to prove the financial sense behind their decisions on investments and projects, but I am going to pose another question:
What is at the heart of your service delivery?
I can see some of you rolling your eyes at this vague question that can’t be answered with metrics or financial projections. But I think we need to ask it because there is a goal of ITSM that can’t be measured with specific metrics or financial projections.
People, processes, technology… every IT leader has strategized over these 3 words. They are the 3 parts of every ITSM initiative.
We can measure how much technology is costing or saving the business. We can create baselines from which to measure the improvement of the effectiveness of our processes.
We can’t effectively measure the importance of people. We can capture metrics like call volumes and incident response times, but that doesn’t measure the service being provided. It doesn’t accurately demonstrate the importance of that service to the end-user – or to the organization.
This is important because sometimes everything adds up on paper, but IT is still struggling. Sometimes all of the financial plans make sense and the team is hitting its goals for all of its metrics, but users are still unhappy and service is still poor.
This is a very real disconnect occurring in organizations today. According to PWC, 90% of C-suite executives say their technology choices deliver what employees need. But 50% of employees disagree.
Is IT really delivering services if half of the organization don’t believe they have the technology for what they need? Even when the numbers on the spreadsheet are adding up, if the people in the organization are not satisfied and able to do their jobs, IT is not doing its job.
Impeccable service delivery starts with understanding how much that service delivery means to the most important part of service management: the people.
Do service desk agents understand the true value of solving a user’s technology problem? Do they fully grasp the frustration that arises when a piece of technology is getting in the way of someone doing their job?
Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between employee experience and company performance. It’s no wonder why employee experience has become one of the hottest topics in business today. For IT leaders, this is an opportunity. They can use this focus on employee experience to remind their teams what is at the heart of service delivery.
Consider author Simon Sinek’s famous quote: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Does your IT team understand the “why” behind their metrics?
For example, why is response time important?
Is it important because it’s a box to check off? Or is it important because a service desk agent providing a timely response is able to return a user to their job faster so that they can complete their own work faster. And completing their work faster may mean they are responding to a client faster, closing a sales deal faster, or they’re able to start another project. A timely response time helps a user be better, faster, and more efficient at their job.
Or why is recurring incidents an important metric?
Is it important because it’s annoying for the service desk agent to have to solve recurring incidents? Or is it important because recurring incidents damage the reputation of the IT organization and are a frustration for the user? It can cause their mood and productivity to plummet which can then impact their interactions with customers and colleagues. It can even impact their interactions outside of the office. If you’ve had a frustrating day at work, you may end up bringing that home. The service desk can impact that!
IT leaders must talk with end-users about their experiences with IT. They should investigate the pain points users experience when their service calls are poor and the satisfaction they feel when their work is uninterrupted and technology actually makes their jobs easier.
There needs to be a bigger “why” for IT beyond just collecting metrics and impacting bottom lines. There needs to be a heart to your service delivery and it may be as simple as this: Better service delivery improves the day to day lives of your end-users.
Why does all this even matter if you can’t measure it?
The work IT does is often misunderstood and unappreciated. Most service desk agents won’t be thanked by end-users. Feeling unappreciated and inefficient will lead to burned-out agents who deliver subpar service and that can create a ripple effect. Service management is directly related to employee experience, which is directly related to company performance.
The IT leader must constantly remind the IT team why good service delivery matters. IT leaders need to take the steps to dig into the true “can’t-be-measured” heart of service delivery and communicate that to their teams. Ask the hard questions, dig into how users use services and technology to enable business outcomes, and start capturing and pointing out those immeasurable wins, just as often as you count the measurable wins.
At the end of the day, the numbers at the bottom of the spreadsheet will still matter. But the real story of IT goes far beyond the numbers on the spreadsheet. The real story is the one that’s told and heard throughout the floors away from the C-suite. It’s the story that really matters- the story of the employee’s experience.Share