One challenge always seems to exist for IT Support teams as they look to improve service delivery: How to make lasting improvements that add value.
The reason that this becomes a challenge in the first place stems from the fact that many support organizations look at support from the internal perspective only. While doing this gives a sense of what support is doing well (or not) its impact on the result of service delivery seems small.
Motivation can make or break
What does this do to the teams that are making these improvements in terms of morale? As those in a support role will attest to, getting various teams to align enough to make some measurable improvements in the first place may be like moving a mountain. To get the same teams to do this in a continuous way is even more difficult.
Consider this; the support teams have agreed to make some level of improvement. They have put aside any internal grumblings, decided on a plan of attack and made some commitments to get this done. A few months down the line if the improvement initiative is a success there still is a risk that the business doesn’t quite see the fireworks that the support teams thought, or were promised, they might.
The level of effort does not seem to make the business any happier than they were beforehand, so this becomes very deflating to the support teams and in some cases, things go back to the way they were. Worse yet there are plenty of ‘I told you so’ moments having potential impact on further improvement initiatives.
So how do we get around this?
To begin with we need to understand what the business wants, in other words line up to business objectives. I am sure that you have heard this a million times before but its not the only thing that we need to consider when looking to generate value.
Knowing where we want to end up is critical but not the only thing we need to consider. While we will need to align support to business outcomes, we also need to consider how we get there as well. This includes all the activities that happen to achieve the business outcome. It is here that we see how important understanding flow is to realize true value.
This doesn’t need to be very complicated. The less constraints on service delivery the easier the services are delivered. Making this flow effective and efficient saves time, which saves money. It removes any waste activities along the way which likely makes for a more productive support organization which also saves money. All of this produces a better experience for the business and allows them to; wait for it – achieve their business objectives.
So now we know the secret sauce to get what the business needs, the trick is to market to all those involved on the benefits to making improvements. In many cases this means that improvements we want to make line up to removing constraints and when we speak about this with support staff we are doing it for the greater good of the organization.