In terms of technology, the technologies, operational capabilities, and performance measurement systems needed to implement customer-centric IT management are, at best, emerging. Therefore, the implementation of a consistently customer-oriented orientation of an organization is generally still associated with risks.
How can you meet these challenges? Which strategies for the implementation of a customer-oriented service management are successful?
1. Application of agile methods to develop an organization into an integrator
In a connected world, multi-sourcing is a reality today. Today we are talking about rightsourcing. The question remains what should be procured in which way. In SIAM, the focus is on informed decisions. The focus here is on which skills are to be retained and which are to be procured externally. It is less about the outsourcing of certain technologies or organizational parts. This enables flexibility in the implementation of transformations in phases. In our experience, big bang approaches are no longer possible today because of the increasing dependencies resulting from the networking of organizations, services and processes without bearing a high risk with an unclear outcome.
2. Develop a robust approach to assessing and improving consumer relationships
The traditional approach in service management of separating customers and users of IT services and viewing them in isolation should be questioned due to the rapidly changing environment in many organizations, because ultimately users strongly influence the opinion and subjective perception of service quality.
In most cases, a customer is also a user, and the interactions (e.g. via social networks) mean that customers are less and less able to afford to ignore the opinion of the majority of users when making their decisions. We therefore speak of ‘service consumers’ today. And it is precisely this consumer, namely customer and user at the same time, who, as a digital native, wants up-to-date support from IT services. An important prerequisite for this is that the effects of IT services on the behavior of service consumers and their business activities are transparent. For example, information should be available about how often which services are consumed, which services are dependent on the functioning of other services in what way, how sensitive the failure of a service is for the business activities of the organization and how availability affects the achievement of business goals.
Operational measures such as The number of canceled tickets or the first-time success rate in digital self-service can be compared with qualitative data, such as the ratings and comments from consumer feedback, are combined to sharpen the picture. This only scratches the surface, but it conveys the kind of robust analytics and reporting IT managers should have available to improve customer loyalty
3. Encounter of complexity through 'Design Thinking'
‘Design Thinking’ is about understanding the world through the eyes of the customer and learning through direct observation. Managers, frontline workers, and even IT executives should get involved in the design process. ‘Design thinking’ in connection with constant customer feedback helps to create services that are better adapted to the requirements of the specialist areas. Often services that initially function correctly due to migrations and new requirements are no longer adapted to today’s environment over time and the associated risks are tacitly accepted for reasons of cost.
Service marketing can also be better tailored and more targeted using ‘Design Thinking’. The goal is not to get consumers to buy the existing services, but to effectively improve their daily professional life in the experience with the services and to anchor continuous improvement as a basic attitude in the operational areas of IT. This earns you long-term trust and loyalty! The best IT services then focus on improving the customer experience, which often also lowers deployment costs. Corporations often face complex challenges with regard to old IT systems and data that digital-native companies do not have. But corporations also have a significant advantage: they usually have customer data collected over decades and have the resources to use it.
4. Alignment of the multi-sourcing operating model to customer needs
Extensive customer information and “Design Thinking” will not be able to develop their potential if IT organizations do not introduce new operating models that drive decision-making right down to the frontline employees, reduce cross-functional friction losses and allow the use of data and methods by using the focus organizational culture on customer orientation.
SIAM is the abbreviation for ‘Service Integration and Management’ and has been an effective standard for IT organizations with a focus on multi-provider management since 2010. SIAM not only enables medium-term participation in the digitalization concert, but also gives IT organizations an adaptable frame of reference for the transformation and provision of IT services for their customers in order to gain strategic competitive advantages. How this can look in concrete terms can be read in general in the SIAM Foundation Body of Knowledge or you can find out for your organization by visiting Blueponte.
The question today is not where you can squeeze a few more euros out of IT or whether you might invest better in data and technology, but how you can best use the investments that are already necessary in order to remain competitive. It is easy to blame the pressures of the environment for the short-term nature of decisions (or non-decisions) in IT.
Do IT managers / heads also do their part when the focus is on reducing costs instead of customer orientation or when insufficient investment is made in the required skills in the service desk, customer relationship management with the specialist departments or in the analysis of the environment and the marketing of results and services? The active optimization of the operating model in IT plays a decisive role here. Even if it looks tempting on the spreadsheet at first, it would be irresponsible in the long term to outsource service and product management skills to companies whose business model is primarily geared towards optimizing operating profit.
At Blueponte, we believe there are alternatives. Namely, to bring the advantages of outsourcing back into the focus of IT strategies by means of rightsourcing in multi-provider management. In this way, strategic competitive advantages can be achieved. Methodical and social skills in implementation are decisive for success. We therefore recommend that board members not only demand solid investment calculations, but also demand corresponding forecasts and later evidence of how IT can increase company value. This can be implemented using modern operating concepts such as SIAM.
All stakeholders will benefit: The users of IT products and services will experience that their daily life becomes more efficient and more transparent. The employees will benefit from the motivation they experience. IT management and those responsible for finances in IT will recognize a “return on investment”. And ultimately, service providers can look forward to working with a customer organization that is not just about saving costs.