Align from top to bottom, with customers first: the fifth key to getting it right
Successful Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) begins with the customer. As with everything else involved in running a successful enterprise in a data-driven world, having the customer in mind is an important first step. And if you want customers to return, you must achieve efficiency and improve the effectiveness of your technology supporting them.
It is the job of IT to ensure that organizational technology assets are well-managed and aligned with the key performance indicators (KPIs) that customers care most about:
- Accurate, complete data
- Available and fast when it is needed
- The whole picture relative to the services delivered
- Ability to understand impacts and make tradeoff decisions
As I discussed in a previous blog post, customers want a high-quality experience. They care less about the technology and more about the convenience of accessing services. Here’s where IT comes into the picture to ensure that the technology used delivers services to customers in a reliable and high-quality fashion. What has happened as a result is the emergence of the Service Owner, who manages end-to-end service for customers.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure
Establishing baseline metrics is useful for measuring the performance of your asset and configuration program. The customer KPIs highlighted below (Figure 1) form the top of the metrics pyramid. From the customer, it cascades down to the service owner. KPIs then become Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Service Managers are bound to SLAs which include measuring customer satisfaction. Other SLAs include consistently setting and meeting delivery expectations, and ensuring service availability.
Figure 1: Simplified Asset and Configuration Management supports KPIs that customers care about
Continuing down the pyramid, SLAs become Operational Level Agreements, or OLAs, which are rolled up into the SLAs which deliver the KPIs. Then, taking the elements of the pyramid and working as a team, continuously seek to improve service delivery as well as the measures of success, helped by visible alignment to the customer.
With SACM enabling modular, reusable sub-services, you can even do a trial build of a “prospective” service – a service you might want to offer – before getting in too deep. Look at what the performance and delivery might look like end-to-end by adding up the sub service SLAs / OLAs around delivery times, performance, and even cost.
In sum, as you move through the SACM building process, consider the 5 keys that we have covered in our most recent blog posts: “Why is my Configuration and Asset Management Program Failing?,” “Why Build an Asset and Configuration Management Program?,” and “Follow These Keys for Planning a Simplified Asset and Configuration Management Program." (You may also want to watch our webinar, with demo "Simplified Asset and Configuration Management: 5 Keys to Getting It Right).
First, the data must be right: too much data or bad data can bring the success of your service organization to halt, therefore, limit the data. Remember to always start with the end in mind with the intent to complete the circle. And keep in mind that improving your data requires that you are proactive in designing a clear process. Lastly, manage customer down (KPIs) rather than provider up (OLAs / SLAs) – this will ensure you align naturally with your customer and the business.
About the Author: Don Casson is CEO of Evergreen Systems, an IT consulting firm helping medium to enterprise public and private sector organizations to dramatically transform their IT operations. Don is a frequent writer, blogger and presenter, and has delivered over 50 webinars on topics in Service Management, including IT and shared services.
Feel free to contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org