Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Service Management and the Three Bears

Why is it that we seem to complicate reporting when it comes to service management? If we are really aligning to business outcomes it should be relatively simple, yet for some reason it seems that more effort goes into the reporting process than value comes out.

At a recent meeting with some like-minded people we were discussing this very topic. One person had mentioned that in their organization they were required to provide all reports in a summarized monthly document. When I asked what that looked like they said it was about 25 pages of tabular data with some bar and pie graphs thrown in. Literally all the reports summarized (seemed like a contradiction of terms). I asked them if it took a long time to pull together and they said that the system pulls it out and they do some editing so it really only took about an hour now that they had it down to an art form. What was more revealing was their department doesn’t really do anything with the metrics which are extracted. In other words the vast amount of data that was extracted is not driving improvement. They believed that while their teams wanted to improve they had no time to go through this “summarized” report.

Another person said that their problem was almost the opposite. They recently implemented a new service management tool which came with several canned reports as they tend to do. The leadership indicated that they should use those as they were simple and easy to read, and hey, they are already built and ready to go. They went on to say that while they were way quicker to go through than the previous organizations reports that they also had little value since they didn’t tie directly to their organizations operations and improvement strategy, if there even was one.

Much like the story of the three bears, there was a case of too much reporting, too little reporting and then there is the case where the reporting needs to be just right, which is where we want to live. To do that we need to ensure that we are measuring the things that will enable us to meet our business objectives. 

In the beginning start out simple, even focusing on one critical success factor with some KPI’s is better than blindly following some canned reports and far better than boiling the ocean with several reports with little meaning.

Once you have some measurable success you will be able to build on that momentum and continue on your service improvement initiative.

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1 comment:

  1. Great advice, thanks! I'd add that the things you track should change over time as your performance improves. I recall a client that had poor delivery performance - always late and over budget. So, they started measuring and publishing delivery performance stats.

    2 years later, they learned from a business partner that the performance stats were being ignored as they were no longer relevant - the business knew that systems would be delivered on time and within budget. What the business really cared about (now that delivery was predictable) was time to value - i.e., not when you implement the new system, but when the business is actually extracting the value from it!

    In short - you get what you measure. As you get it, the things you want change (sort of a Maslow's Hierarchy!) so the things you measure should change.

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