Whether you like to call them users, clients, or customers the fact of the matter is that you are providing a service to a business unit(s) which in effect is paying you for said service(s) either directly through some form of billing, or as part of an organization via a budget.
To put this in a bit of perspective let’s think about a person (who we all know) which has been going to the automotive dealership to get all the regular maintenance work done on their vehicle because they believe that it is required as part of the warranty agreement. (If this in fact a requirement or not it has never been looked at by this person) After every visit the complaints are endless; the service was too slow, it wasn’t what I wanted, the prices are ridiculous, the complaints go on and on….
Now suppose that we were in a position to look around for a competitive advantage that would satisfy these issues at the same or lower costs, who would not consider that?
IT is really no different than the dealership in this example on many levels. The business, while part of the same organization, may at some point decide that a cloud based service (PaaS, SaaS or IaaS) may be the way to get the delivery that they are looking for with fewer challenges as they see it on their end. Viewing this from another angle the business pays our salaries and effectively ARE the customer, despite what we call them. If they continue to find alternates for their needs there dependency on IT resources could diminish over the long term
How can we ensure that we can be strategic partners with the business? Start with the following:
Need a strategy for aligning with their organizations goals
- Find out what the business goals are. This is likely whatever impacts the bottom line, driving up profitability and reducing costs
Standardizations which are repeatable either through the right team or through automation through the right systems
- Determine where you are currently to allow you to choose a few base Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Being able to measure and managed activities through KPI’s will allow you to improve on any improvements you make. Keeping these simple in the beginning will allow you to get the ball rolling to achieve goals
A service oriented culture
- Simply listening and collaborating with the business to see if we are satisfying them. Sometimes the “numbers” may suggest that we are doing one thing and a discussion will reveal another outcome altogether
Sustain the improvements you make
- Keeping things as simple as possible is definitely a way to work. Try to adopt best practices which can be applied to all business units. This way the business outcomes are the same. Remember that we are leveraging People, Process, Product and Partners to do this
Ensure we review the current state to continually enhance service
- Just because we have made an improvement, even a significant one, does not mean that there always going to be ways to improve the customer experience
Once all of these are in place it will be key to conduct reviews with all the stakeholders in the Service Delivery process to ensure we stay on target