If you’ve ever worked for, supported, or were a customer of a managed service provider, you’re probably used to reviewing service level agreements, objectives, critical success factors, KPIs, and related reports. Most customers examine recent performance, compare results to their objectives or service level agreement, and provide a historical view as to how the provider has managed the service.
In this post I’ll share how to go beyond stating known historical facts and metrics of a service and leverage them to achieve value realization.
When you look at service management proactively, you may think about knowledge, problem, and change management—but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated to the point where you need to reexamine your existing processes or methodologies. All you need to do is collect your current report types—all of them—and move from a “prove” perspective to a “show” perspective.
Prove: Demonstrate the truth or existence of something by evidence or argument.
Show: Allow a quality to be perceived; display.
Confused yet? Stay with me.
A common report you may be used to seeing is an incident response report. With this typical report, you might prove that specific support groups or individuals are (or aren’t) meeting expectations—and it could stop there. Look beyond response data to information such as categorization, time of day, and volume.
Since categories allow us to track and monitor areas of risk or improvement for the service, you can use category information to find areas where your service provider can add considerable value. All ticket types should be aligned to a specific category ; request and incident categorization by month and quarter should take precedence. For example, you may notice that 50% of incidents are related to the reporting category across one or more report sub-categories. That should be a red flag to take a deeper look into those tickets. To do that, engage an architect or support resource to explore workarounds or enhancements that could potentially lower the number of report-related incidents.
Ticket volume and time of day information can help you correlate burn rate and work effort. It can also help you correlate known environment activity such as bulk onboarding or a new release due to short-term ticket spikes. For contracts that limit the number of incident or request tickets the provider should handle during a set period of time, you and your service manager should monitor ticket volume closely. As far as burn rate is concerned, the service manager can investigate ticket volume by assignee vs. the assignee's time entry for a specific period. This is more of an internal control process to ensure that the service provider is not overcharging the customer or burning through a fixed price contract too quickly. Controlling these areas and forming a plan to combat these trends will lead to value realization over time.
Shifting from proving that objectives have been met to showing customers value by helping them mature and improve their service demonstrates that the service provider cares about quality, professionalism, and going beyond the delivery standard towards reaching long term business objectives. If your service manager doesn’t follow the above steps, your awareness of the importance of these steps can help you collaborate with him/her to deliver added value to your company. If your service manager does follow the above steps, he/she is a leader who may quickly become indispensable to your company. Show your customer value and you will both inherit the success.