Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Service Management Reporting is all about Perspective

Reporting, much like anything else, has its own sense of perspective, both from an IT and business points of view. The challenge for IT is to deliver information which enables teams to make informed decisions to improve the delivery of services. The primary challenge is to ensure that the compiled reports are accurately reflecting the customer experience.

Traditionally your IT teams may submit reports to a manager showing the state of IT Operaions, in other cases IT management may do this themselves through a dashboard of some type. Either way, the first challenge with this is that we are still looking at things in a very “IT” way. Remember we are working to improve the customer experience so this method of thinking needs to be addressed

The second challenge is that culturally IT shares its reporting data with its leaders, who in turn share it with more senior IT leaders, who indicate that this is being reviewed by the business in some way. The question that you may need to address here is:

“Are the reports being diluted?”

While not intentional the message is passed on from person to person much like the "telephone game" and through this knowledge transfer something may be lost in translation. The issue here is that the business reviewer may have questions which are not going to be addressed directly as this communication goes back in the other way, or that the key points which the operations teams had identified were missed. The risk here is that this communication gap could impede any sort of service improvement initiative.

It is important to note that we report against from an IT perspective should ring true with the business in terms of how the delivery of services are perceived. For example if we say a particular service has had no disruptions last month our customers should be able to agree with that assessment. if they do not we have identified another gap to work on.

Another challenge, brace for impact, is that your reports will likely look worse before they improve. Keep in mind that as we review this with the business we are going to learn a considerable amount about what is important to the business and how well we truly provide service. Is possible that issues we didn’t even conceive of may exist and were not reported or even gained visibility. This is good, just come to grips that the “numbers” we had prior to business dialog may not be an accurate representation of what the business sees.

Lastly keep these discussions going. While there may only be a few people or teams in the mix at the onset, slowly adding more people, and ultimately insight into service, will only help to improve the ability for your business to achieve its goals

In summary
·         Stop thinking like IT – Think like the business
·         Share reports with IT leaders but validate with your business where appropriate
·         You WILL get worse before you improve
·         Keep at it – Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Keep these principals in mind and you will be well on your way to service improvements


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