Are you giving your customers the opportunity to provide feedback
throughout the service lifecycle? Many organizations send out surveys to customers when an incident or request is closed but this is merely one data point. In addition, the volume of surveys returned is often low and the true value of the information received is questionable as customers may provide an emotional response based on a feeling of relief that their problem is resolved or frustration related to having a problem in the first place.
Customer feedback is a gift. Whether it is good or bad, it can provide the IT Service Provider with valuable information about the customer’s perspective. Within the service lifecycle, there are numerous opportunities to collect customer feedback. Whether it is during strategy and budget discussions, requirements sign off, service level review meetings, post implementation, project related meetings, etc., customer feedback should be gathered for future discussion and use by the IT Service Provider.
Gathering feedback throughout the service lifecycle provides a holistic view of performance. It considers services as well as staff performance outside of the Service Desk. The impact of customer emotions will be minimized as the feedback is not always associated with a point in time where there is a disruption.
Consider developing feedback mechanisms for every phase of the lifecycle. The information gathered may surprise you!
Written By: Pamela Erskine
Change occurs every day in the workplace. Businesses must grow and change to stay competitive. Sometimes it happens without any fanfare but other times, it is a real struggle. Why are some changes easy while others are a challenge? A number of potential factors can affect the success of change in the workplace but the staff acceptance of change is the number one reason that projects fail. Roughly 70% of technology projects fail due to people. It is a staggering number.
What can your organization do to improve the odds of success?
1.) Define and plan for the behavior changes necessary for success. Without a true understanding of what behavior changes are necessary, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Any actions taken to support the change won’t achieve the intended outcome. How are people affected by the change? What changes should they make to support the outcome?
2.) Engage those affected by the change in developing the actual solution. I’m not referring to engaging Supervisors or Managers. Involve the people on the frontline. They know the current strengths and shortcomings. With the right facilitation and support, they can come up with some amazing solutions. Involving them will help to facilitate ownership of the changes and reduce difficulties with change adoption.
3.) Communicate – Communicate – Communicate. Everybody is busy and finding the time to communicate about projects can be tough but it is worth the extra effort. Fear and uncertainty are created when people don’t know what is going on. People need to understand what the change means to them and the company. It is more than just sending a corporate communication about the project purpose and schedule. Why is the change occurring? What is the value of making the change? What happens if the change does not occur? Be as transparent as possible regarding what is occurring and why.
4.) Create an environment where people can be successful. Ensure that documentation is available and training occurs so those impacted by the change can effectively do their jobs. Set up a support system which includes key contacts so people know where to go when they have questions.
5.) Reinforce accountability for the desired outcome by setting new goals and objectives for those affected by the change. Incorporate them into the review process. Include goals around continuous improvement relating to the change.
6.) Measure the outcome of the change. Compare baseline metrics to the outcome after the change occurred. Publicize the metrics whether they are good or bad. If the metrics are not as expected, ask those affected how to improve. If the metrics prove success, publicly acknowledge it. Continue to measure and publicize metrics until the changes are rooted in the organization.
Change in the workplace isn’t easy but you can improve the odds of success. It just takes some planning and some additional time to execute tasks associated with change acceptance. Considering the importance of people in the success of your initiative, isn’t it worth the investment?
A business relationship manager (BRM) is the primary IT point of contact for the business unit for strategy, planning, and service discussions. They function as a consultant by providing expertise and guidance on potential technology solutions. They are a navigator often helping the business navigate complex technology challenges. At times, they are a negotiator helping the business to understand current challenges and negotiating an agreement that works for everyone. Sometimes, they are a hero helping to solve issues which prevent the business from working effectively and sometimes they are a mediator helping to resolve unexpected issues between IT and the business.
To be effective, this role should be reporting to the CIO or the office of the CIO. Positioning them further down in the hierarchy presents challenges as this role requires the authority to negotiate on behalf of the IT Service Provider.
The business relationship manager wears so many hats that it can be difficult when hiring to determine the skills and abilities required. While every organization is unique, the common critical skills and abilities are noted below.
Top 5 Required Skills and Abilities for Business Relationship Managers
(The skills and abilities noted are not in priority order)
· Ability to explain complex technical concepts in business language. The BRM needs to understand technology and translate technical discussions into a language understood by their customer.
· A strong business acumen to allow a focus on optimizing investments. The BRM will recommend and justify technology and business investments based on competitive advantage, positioning, time to market, cost justification, etc.
· Strong analytical skills to understand business drivers and objectives, processes, and needs in order to help design effective solutions.
· Ability to establish and maintain strong relationships by developing trust, integrity, and credibility with both IT and the business.
· An operational understanding of best practice methodologies for process improvement. The BRM should be adept at identifying opportunities and strategies to use information technology to simplify, integrate, and otherwise improve the organization’s business and workflow processes.
Finding someone with a diverse skill set and the right temperament for the organization can be a challenge but given the importance and visibility of this role, the IT Service Provider should consider the effort an investment. This is a pivotal role and employing an individual with the appropriate skills, abilities, and personality allows the IT Service Provider to build a strong relationship with the business and further strengthen the value of the IT services by aligning IT investments with crucial business strategies and objectives.
Attend the Building Your Business Relationship Management Capabilities Workshop to grow in your role and strengthen your relationship with your business customers!
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