On our recent RV vacation through New Mexico and Texas, my husband and I spent most nights at the campgrounds offered by the US state park system.
This is a wonderful service for travelers – your basic needs are met in breathtaking settings – and I crafted my retirement plans then and there around being a volunteer camp host.
I thought: “What kind of host do I want to be?”
I want to be like the host who interrupted her dinner to come out and greet us as we arrived. I thought: “Now that’s service!” After a friendly “hello!” and an inquiry into which site we were looking for, she graciously told us she’d love to have us but there was no site #87 at her campgrounds. Cheerily she gave us directions to the campgrounds up the road and sent us off with a “… but you’re welcome here any time.”
Now, if that woman had not felt it was her responsibility to deliver quality service with a personal welcome, we would have been circling that campground for a loooong time!
Let’s consider for a moment the services provided by IT. Most organizations will have an IT services catalog that defines what’s available to business units, as well as the more elementary services IT uses internally to bringing these business services to life. An IT service model helps to classify and standardize IT’s “products,” in turn helping IT to understand what functionality it needs to deliver and what infrastructure is needed to deliver it – functionality and infrastructure making up the “bill of service.”.IT can thus plan and manage its activities and costs in a business-oriented manner, aligned to business needs and operating efficiently.
Yet to really deliver quality services, service products need to be more than items in a catalog.
My colleague laid it out in a recent Alfabet Portfolio Playbook webinar about enterprise architecture: “Using EA to Optimize Service Management.”
For purposes of transparency into what services you have, you need:
- Service documentation including both the provider and consumer perspectives, and multiple taxonomies to accommodate services used for different purposes
- Architecture impact and gap analysis to let you understand the impact to a service when architecture is changed (and vice versa) and see what happens when a needed service has no architecture to support it
- Service and architecture roadmap analysis to ensure you’re not left without IT support for a service because the supporting architecture has reached the retirement phase
- To understand initiatives and programs that will show you how planned projects could affect services
- And, of course, you’ll need service level agreement (SLA) monitoring for quality checks as well as cost monitoring and contract perspectives to ensure the economic viability of a service.
The saying goes: “Quality is never an accident.” Take a look at the webinar and then you can offer a big, cheerful and confident “Howdy!” to business users in need of your services.