Written By: Pamela Erskine
Are your customers able to navigate the service catalog? Can they find the services they need? Often, IT Service Providers embark on an initiative to implement a service catalog only to find little benefit. In some cases, the service catalog actually creates dissatisfaction in their customer community as their customers can’t find what they need, they have additional questions about the service, or their requests take a long time to fulfill.
Key Steps for Success with Your Service Catalog Initiative
Introducing a service catalog should be a win for the IT Service Provider. You are creating a channel that allows the customer to better understand IT services and the value they bring to their organization. Engaging the customer at key points during service identification and catalog development and preparing the IT organization to effective manage the service catalog and efficiently and effectively deliver on requests will maximize your opportunity for success.
I’ve been changing a lot of the technology in my life. I upgraded my laptop with the new Windows operating system, my cell phone, and I’ve changed my corporate email account – all in a period of four weeks.
These upgrades have been filled with excitement over new features but also the frustration of learning new ways of working. Over the last few weeks, I’ve received emails that have huge buttons indicating if I click, I’ll get to check out the new features and functionality only to be let down when I click and the link takes me to something totally different. I was so excited about using some online meeting functionality that when the link failed to take me to anything related to an online meeting and I couldn’t figure out how to navigate to the functionality, I asked a colleague to figure it out. He spent about an hour looking for it and he was also at a loss.
I’ve been in technology for a long time. Granted, I’ve been in leadership or consulting for fifteen years but I’m still somewhat tech savvy. If I can’t find some of the functionality or settings that are cited by major vendors, how can someone without a technology background stand a chance?
My recent experience provided me with some great examples of how technologists and technology companies can become closer to the technology than their customer. They lose site of the customer’s objectives and the overall experience.
To everyone in the tech field, please review your customer’s objectives throughout the service lifecycle and seek feedback from uninvolved, non-technical resources prior to sending out your marketing material, technical manuals, service level documents, customer notifications, or other customer facing material. Take the time to ensure that you aren’t too close to the technology, the situation, and the material. The feedback you gain will be invaluable to ensuring alignment with the customer’s needs and providing a positive customer experience.
Service Owners can dramatically improve the IT Service Provider’s ability to meet customer expectations. They are an asset to the organization as they seek to understand requirements and ensure that services are meeting the needs of the customer. They work closely with Business Relationship Managers to understand existing and future customer needs and expectations.
To further understand the value of the Service Owner, consider their contributions throughout the service lifecycle.
Contributions of the Service Owner
Service Strategy – The Service Owner works with the Business Relationship Manager (BRM) and the customer to understand required business outcomes. They are instrumental in determining strategies to meet the customer’s needs. They develop maturity roadmaps for services and they direct investments to ensure that services meet or exceed the customer’s expectations.
Service Design – The Service Owner is key to defining the service offering. As they are working with the customer and the BRM, they understand the required utility and warranty of the service as well as how the service should be supported and the metrics that reflect the customer experience. Throughout the Design phase, they work closely with the technical resources to ensure that the architecture and functional design will meet the requirements. The Service Owner also works with the Service Level Manager to negotiate a service level agreements as well as internal operating level agreements and underpinning contracts.
Service Transition – During the transition phase, the Service Owner is the ‘voice of the service’ in change related meetings. They are routinely considering how proposed and scheduled changes may impact the service. The Service Owner will create Requests for Change (RFC) to address specific customer issues or to further mature the service. When testing occurs and readiness plans are developed, the Service Owner will work with the technical and business resources to ensure that knowledge is captured and transitioned.
Service Operations – Once a service is in production, the Service Owner evaluates how a service is operating to ensure it is meeting customer requirements. If questions arise about how the service is functioning or plans for the future, the Service Owner is often the first point of contact for the BRM and the customer. When a major incident occurs, the Service Owner works closely with the Incident Manager to resolve the issue. They also work with Problem Managers to identify the root cause of issues and determine an appropriate course of action.
Continual Service Improvement (CSI) – The Service Owner continually evaluates how a service is performing. They seek to understand trends relating to performance as well as trends in the marketplace which may offer improvement opportunities and/or the opportunity to reduce costs. They routinely discuss opportunities with the BRM and they champion service improvement actions within the IT organization.
The Service Owner provides value throughout the service lifecycle. They understand how the service and the underpinning technology, processes, and people provide value to the business. Their in depth knowledge of the business requirements and the service allow the IT Service Provider to improve customer satisfaction, ensure alignment with business requirements, and optimize IT investments.
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