Why is focusing on value – according to the ITIL® 4 Guiding Principles – so valuable when providing services?
We used to tell people: “Don’t focus on the technology you are managing; focus on services you enable or support with the technology.”
Now, we must take the next step because of the issues we see involving organizations and services: organizations focus on what they do, not on what their customers obtain from it. They are then surprised to see these customers leave because they don’t get the outcomes expected.
You may remember the old joke about selling holes, not drills. Well, in fact holes are not what people need either. What are the holes for – ventilation? Hanging a picture? Fixing a wardrobe? That’s why we should focus on ‘why’, rather than ‘what’ – and from the customer’s perspective, not the organization’s.
Who should receive value from the organization?
Service consumers should receive the value being co-created, but even this is not a homogenous group. Users have different needs and priorities from those of customers and sponsors – and service providers should understand both.
Plus, the service relationship should be valuable for the service provider organization. The best service providers also think of society and the environment and aim to enable value for the wider ecosystem.
To understand whether the right people are receiving value, practitioners need to follow other principles: collect and process feedback, collaborate, be transparent, understand the starting point and the journey, holistically.
What does the customer define as value – and how must everyone focus on it?
To be clear on what the customer defines as value, some service providers have the luxury of regular direct conversations with customers, even before the service design. Others have to make assumptions and experiment, by applying methods such as design thinking. Above all, it’s important to empathize, listen to the communities and collect feedback.
Once you have that clarity, it’s about ensuring that everyone involved in the co-creation of value should focus on it. Fundamentally, it’s a cultural thing: first and foremost, leaders need to demonstrate they are following the principles and encouraging the right behaviour. Also, promoting ITIL 4’s Guiding Principles across the organization should help embed focus on value, among the other principles, within the enterprise culture.
The success of embedding a focus on value is evaluated by tracking and measuring stakeholders’ satisfaction and loyalty. Exactly how to track and measure these will be described in ITIL 4’s ‘Drive stakeholder value’ publication, which will give you a lot of ideas!
Read AXELOS White Papers by Tatian Peftieva
ITIL Guiding Principles for Continual Improvement
ITIL 4 and VOCR: The Service Value Formula White Paper