By Matt Musial
Historically, the relationship between organizations and their managed service providers has been greatly measured on standard key performance indicators (KPIs). Low abandonment rates, high first-call resolution rates and overall customer satisfaction were generally the recipe for a healthy partnership.
While these key metrics remain critical measurements for success, they are no longer the only ingredients in the pot. The accelerating pace of technology and the increasing generational diversity of the workforce have created a new mandate for service providers (and for the organizations they serve): To build successful partnerships in 2016 and beyond, service providers must adapt to technology’s pace and the workforce’s demands. They need to think more in terms of enabling customers, not just supporting them.
Success is more often the result of comprehensive, sustained efforts, not quick completion of À la carte undertakings.
We’ve already begun to respond to this mandate by increasing our focus on the Vitalyst Operational Excellence Program (VOEP). As our SVP of Business Operations Paul Rigby explained in a recent blog post, VOEP is based on the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) foundation and is made up of six core disciplines—reporting and analytics, transition management, quality management, License to Support, workforce management, and client knowledge. The philosophy behind VOEP is to boost end-user productivity by providing solutions that are focused on quality management and continuous service improvement.
In 2016, every organization should increase its focus on instituting a comprehensive approach like the VOEP. Here’s why:
Increased productivity cannot happen in a vacuum.
The intention of any technology upgrade is to increase efficiency with new or updated capabilities. But organizations cannot just hit the “go” button and close their eyes until it’s over. Unexpected challenges crop up. For example, a seemingly insignificant issue could cause a surge of service desk calls, which could overwhelm the IT department and halt end-user productivity.
Preparation—acknowledging and planning for all the What Ifs—is perhaps the most effective way to handle technology upgrade hurdles. For the example above, that would mean having a plan that ensures staffing needs are closely monitored and adjusted according to forecasts and actual demand.
Productivity is also closely linked with context. Context enables organizations, IT departments and service providers to identify and act upon many opportunities for increasing end-user efficiency.
For example, our “License to Support” approach ensures that our productivity advisors not only understand the software, but also learn business and industry knowledge, as well as customer empathy.
Every interaction is valuable.
Every call that comes into the service desk is an opportunity for improvement, whether it’s an across-the-board hurdle or a one-time hitch. With systematic reporting and analytics, each interaction is transformed into units of data, which can inform continuous service improvements. For example, if dozens of end-users call in with the same issue or glitch, the solution can be shared with internal and external service desk staff, and can be posted within a self-service portal. Similarly, if a notable number of end-users request help with specific applications or features, organizations can modify or add to their training offerings.
Customer relationships become meaningful instead of transactional.
Instituting a program that continually measures performance and looks for improvement opportunities needs to become the standard. Organizations and service providers should ask what should, could and cannot be resolved at the service desk, and use the information to improve processes and move resolution back to the service desk.
The work is never finished—and that’s how it should be.
In today’s enterprise, it’s archaic to think in terms of a project’s beginning and end, or even as an isolated endeavor. Organizational priorities shift, technology changes, and initiatives often involve multiple departments. Success is more often the result of comprehensive, sustained efforts, not quick completion of à la carte undertakings.
Each core discipline of a program like the VOEP works to drive opportunities for strong partnerships. The program’s early phases—including transition management, staffing strategy, License to Support training and client knowledge-sharing plans—are designed to align the service provider with the client’s key success criteria and business objectives. Later phases make sure objectives are met and success is achieved.
Without a doubt, organizations should strive to provide end-users with a solution that delivers the services they need, on their terms. Not only can this increase productivity, it can also enable organizations to direct more effort toward innovation, staying current with business and consumer technology trends, developing and maintaining best practices, and evolving with technology to ensure processes aren’t out of date.