By Nancy Donnelly, RightStar ITIL Service Expert
ITIL v3 Definition of Service: A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating the outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.
At RightStar, we often meet with clients who feel their requirements are “unique” and that the technical solutions we provide “couldn’t possibly meet their requirements out of the box.” They want their newly purchased applications to work the way their previous versions did, and they have “special” reporting requirements. Or they simply want to provide functionality to their service desk because they have “always done it that way,” and they want them to continue with something they are familiar with doing to avoid additional training. As a result, these requirements, which may appear to be “simple,” add increased resource costs to maintain the application and increased risks in upgrading due to the complexity of customization rework.
In partnering with our clients, our job is to provide advice and guidance on our client’s processes and technology based on their particular business climate. We proactively work to bridge the gap between technology and business requirements to help them ultimately achieve their desired outcomes. How is this accomplished?
By asking “Why?”
This is often not a popular question, although the answers to “why” may reveal the need to make those difficult decisions and to change how our customers do business. Asking these questions provides an opportunity for our clients to review their requirements again and to confirm that additional costs, resources and funding are truly required.
These thought provoking “why” questions may include:
- Why is this requirement needed?
- What business challenge are you trying to solve?
- How does it work today with your current application?
- Describe the underlying business process that is driving this requirement.
- Is it fulfilling the desired need?
- Are there opportunities for process modification or improvement?
Once we capture responses to these questions, the next step is to provide options. These options may include suggestions for modifying current business processes based on ITIL v3 good practices. We do this by performing an analysis of our client’s current processes based on a series of criteria (company size, environment, industry, etc.) We can then present an assessment highlighting areas for improvement consideration.
In addition, there may be methods for accomplishing the same results using OOB (Out of the Box) tool functionality. During tool requirement meetings and discussions with our clients, it becomes clear that a “must have” requirement may result in increased support costs due to unnecessary tool customizations as well as the need to maintain an application that cannot be easily supported or upgraded. In many situations, customer satisfaction with the product may be negatively impacted due to increased end user work load. In documenting these discussions, we can recommend both process as well as tool improvements.
Our clients appreciate the fact that we are there to provide the best possible implementation experience rather than simply performing the work and moving on. As trusted advisors to our clients, it is our responsibility to ask the difficult questions.
Ultimately, our #1 goal is to provide customer value by facilitating the outcomes our clients want to achieve by proactively working with our clients to reduce project costs and risks. In this way we can better “close the gap” between technology and their business.