For service managers the concept of service is changing.
In crisis situations such as now, it’s not about service level agreements but managing the customer experience and anticipating things they didn’t know they needed. It’s about helping businesses prepare for and respond to the “unexpected” waiting around the corner. Consequently, ITIL 4’s concept of value co-creation is something service managers must think about every day.
What, therefore, is top of my service management to-do list for the new normal?
- Re-thinking what a major incident is for IT
By now, we shouldn’t think of inaccessible offices as a major incident.
From a technology perspective you have to understand what provider agreements are in place and customer targets: do they cover the scenario of people working from home? How reliable are the power and internet providers of each employee?
There are certain things under your control:
- Effective deployment of hardware and licensing to staff working remotely
- Reviewing critical IT staffing requirements to ensure people have what they need to work remotely
- End-to-end services should consider remote access, processing times and availability
- Prepare the service desk for new user questions such as “I don’t know how to use this” rather than “it’s broken”
- Balancing the risk of using more agile digital cloud services for remote workers against your own, slower data centre?
- The new normal and mental health
How will the current period and the new normal affect the mental health of service management teams? Our “always on” nature to deliver IT service 24/7 during a period of great uncertainty and extra responsibility (home schooling, dealing with upsetting news cycles) places a great burden on those available all the time.
This is not a new problem for IT teams and the general perception is that the rest of an organization gets to go home at night while IT does the essential maintenance, backing up and patching. We now need to agree when this essential maintenance takes place as customers now work outside of office hours.
This means we should be using technology to automate manual processes where possible, so service managers are not logged in 24/7 for everything and anything.
- Strategies for digital technologies and risk
What has been apparent during the pandemic is that few people are getting the right training from their employers to use the digital technologies that are becoming more prevalent, such as video conferencing.
For example, with Zoom webinars there is often a lack of knowledge articles created by the IT support team for users, which means people are finding it both stressful to muddle through and risk impacting their company’s brand reputation if they can’t get the digital tools to work properly with customers.
This situation becomes a “major incident” in a way it hadn’t been before, so the concept of how you deliver service has to change. Organizations need to recognize what has gone well or not during this time and put together strategies for business continuity, leadership and risk.
- ITIL 4 – re-evaluating your value streams
Working through the service management to-do list is where the ITIL 4 service value chain can help. You need to start mapping the value streams that will need to change and how you adapt service management to the new normal.
Leadership needs to start acting on this now. They need to understand the needs of people who could be working from home more permanently while still supporting organizations’ needs for velocity and market disruption.