customer experience
Time to reflect on an another engaging and successful SITS (Service Desk and IT Support Show) last week in London. Of all the ITSM conferences to me this feels the best of all, where the industry comes together and across all areas to do business, discuss ideas and generally do some real collective networking.
This year I was delighted to be asked to write the research paper – sponsored by SITS, SDI and Cherwell – launched at the first day’s breakfast briefing. This was based on research around Customer Experience (CX) and highlighted the need for ‘Human to Human ‘ interaction, plus the value of using a structured approach for understanding and building a successful Customer Experience. Producing the report and research was a really interesting experience – particularly talking to some practitioners who had used this to good effect.
For example QBE had brought a failing outsourced help desk back in-house and in doing so consulted with customers to build a set of desired IT staff behaviours and attributes – on which they then hired staff. So customer input on the experience of dealing with IT was more focussed around how they were treated rather than just the basics of technology.
The panel debate around this was interesting, from which it was clear that there are different interpretations of CX – although in essence we all agreed in principle about what it is and the need for it. Certainly we should be focussing our technology and ITSM projects on this area first and foremost. To me CX is the piece of jigsaw that we’ve all been waiting for – we have of course been doing this for years in service desks, but bringing it out as a defined concept across IT helps to focus the activities of service desks and service provider organisations to be doing the right things for the right reasons.
I also was involved in facilitating a panel discussion on the future of ITIL – The Final Countdown? In the past these sessions have ended up as neo/luddite battles around the value or quality of ITIL, whereas on this occasion we were trying to ensure constructive debate about where ITIL is/and where it is going – as such it was great to have the ‘emperor of ITIL’ himself Kaimar Karu on the panel (i.e. head of ITSM for AXELOS, as well as Andie Kis (TCS), Ian Aitchison (LANDESK) and – everyone’s favourite consultant/ITIL author – Stuart Rance (Optimal Service Management).
Some of the key points coming out of this:

  • ITIL is positive and useful content that can be used to improve service and support practitioners
  • The books and content need to be shorter and more readable, as well as providing more practical guidance and advice
  • CSI needs to be embedded all the way through rather than seen as the (separate) ‘book at the end’
  • There’s not enough guidance around human interaction, despite this being agreed as the most important aspect of Service Management

My own sessions on CSI and Service Desk Respect  were well received – in particular the simple view of CSI including Problem, Reporting and Knowledge management (See slide)
I also got a lot of positive feedback on the issue of service desk respect, where I suggested that there is still an issue with the level of respect and attention given to service desks – see also my recent blog – it seems that this is still a sensitive area and several people indicated that the presentation had helped them to formulate their own thoughts and responses to this. I know many other sessions from my industry peers were also well received – the quality and consistency of these sessions as a mini-conference equals and perhaps even outshines that of many other conferences.
We discussed this and other themes from the show in a podcast for The ITSM Review which features a cross section of show participants – James Finister, Melanie Kuranantne, Simon Kent, Toby Moore, Stuart MacGregor and of course our star visitor from India – Suresh GP…! It was great to meet Suresh at last in person and his knowledge, energy and enthusiasm for the industry and meeting new people was infectious and engaging. James and I also contributed to a LANDESK publication on Shadow IT which was launched at the show as a limited edition print run, and which will be available globally as an e-book soon via the LANDESK site.
So several strong themes emerging – Customer Experience, Service Desk Respect and the need for practical CSI, getting value from ITIL, now and in future, as well as how technology can be best leveraged to support these initiatives. For me the real point of focus and take-away must be the true understanding (at last!?) that we are people and need to interact as such – i.e. Human to Human. This is our job in IT as much as anywhere else and should be our starting point for successful IT and ITSM delivery.
If you have any further or differing thoughts or views from SITS14 please let me know here…
Finally I was thrilled and honoured to receive the inaugural ‘SITS14 ITSM Contributor of the Year’ award – beating off some strong competition from James Finister and Andie Kis amongst others. Well done to everyone who was nominated and voted for – and of course many thanks if you voted for me. It’s a real blast to get this as voted by your peers so cheers..!
SITS award SITS14