Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is your service design proactive?

Here's what happens all too often with IT organizations;
  • Idea for a new product
  • Project is initiated
  • Designed
  • Built
  • Tested
  • Implemented
  • End of project celebration
  • Realization that new product needs support!
The result of this are IT services that are reactive to the operational need.  Usually IT starts with the "fix it if it breaks" approach and then as this becomes a pain point for their business partners they move on to some form of problem management and slowly mature the processes in response to the business frustration.

More mature organizations will realize that support will be needed before the implementation but usually there is little focus on what services need to be in place or how they should be delivered.

Listing the support you provide to each application may be a start but it's not the best approach to service design.  Good service design takes a step back.  Define what services you will provide, how and when you will provide them, understand the costs to provide them and understand the expectations of the consumers.

If you want truly world class service delivery you will need to think even bigger about your service design.  Does the way you perform the service not only keep the consumers happy but does it also give you ways to add more value?

Do you think it's just coincidence that the line in Starbucks passes the baked goods, mugs and holiday specials?  Of course not.  There are quicker ways of delivering the coffee to the customers but they cost more, are not expected by the consumers and would lose the coffee giant an opportunity to up-sell.  So service design is not just about making the delivery faster.  It's about making it better for everyone involved.

All of these things considered, you do have to do a balancing act.  The service must be efficient and add value but if it's badly designed and I now have to listen to 15 minutes of advertising to get my coffee, I'll be shopping somewhere else.

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