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Next Practices in Business Service Management

 

 

A CRM Approach to Business Service Management?
by Peter J. McGarahan

I have been designing, delivering and supporting IT services for most of my 27 years as an IT professional. Time and time again I’ve encountered IT organizations that didn’t keep the customer or their business top of mind when designing and delivering services. Instead, they delivered “cool” technologies or strategies that met IT’s expectation and requirements, but didn’t directly benefit the business customers.

In my favorite movie Apollo 13, the lead engineer dumps a box of parts on the table and tells the other engineers "this is what we have to work with!" IT Services have a tendency to be designed and implemented in a similar manner. We work with what we have in front of us, delivering services that are band-aided work-arounds compensating for tool, people and process limitations. IT simply needs to act like the service provider it is (a business within a business), with its sole focus on achieving business-based results as defined by your customers – or “business-oriented service management.” In delivering seamless, transparent IT services that are adaptive, scalable and relevant to the business with plug-‘n-play design components, IT organizations must rise above current restraints, restrictive policies and non-innovative thinking.

Simple, no?

You would think so, but the voice of the customer / business in helping to design innovative services that deliver business benefits is absent. Delivering exceptional customer service(s) to both internal and external customers must be a top-down priority and cooperatively delivered across all IT functional areas. Leaders should be held accountable with shared goals, performance objectives and bonuses. I hear the mantra now echoing in the halls, “We all work for the service organization!”

Our internal customers rely on these services to get their job done, to be productive, to service their customers and, in the end, make money. I always thought that it was our internal customers who allowed us to do what we do and get paid for it. I always feel the need to be an internal Customer Advocate, representing their collective customer voice to the all internal departments who impact their daily IT services availability, accessibility and usability.

A new year of challenges, changes and opportunities lie ahead. Let’s work on the art of possibilities:

What could we accomplish if we take a step back, start with a fresh piece of paper, ignore the voice of “we tried that once” thinking, and envision what success could look like?

Let’s continue in 2011 with a renewed sense of urgency and awareness to the rapid rate of business and technology change. Let’s plan the work and work the action plan with a better understanding of the impact on how customer’s buy, how companies sell and the services that make these transactions profitable.

Tomorrow’s services must be flexible, adaptive, scalable, and plug-‘n-playable (so to speak).  Constantly measure yourself in (BSM) terms of:

  • How easy is it to do business with you; 
  • How well you identify and close gaps in expectations and outcomes; and
  • How successfully you employ continuous improvement processes to get measurably better, smarter, faster, and cheaper. 

Most of all, always give your customers a voice in how you design and deliver IT services to them.  You will thank each other in the end!

Please feel free to read my latest article on customer care - Are you missing the point about customer care?

 

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