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Better Service During Change Case Study

Key issue

During a period of significant change and use of technology, the key issue was to reduce the incident workload and potential loss of customer satisfaction.

What you need to know

Metrics were incredibly important to success in this case, as was a commitment to continual service improvement. The Key performance indicators were based on increasing the fix at first contact, reducing process overheads and increasing customer satisfaction.

Adopting an integrated process approach based on the ITIL® processes for incident, problem, change, asset and configuration management together with Service Desk improvements helped to deliver significant benefits. Continual service improvement ensured that the new ways of working are sustainable.

The methodical approach in this case study did not just work within the case study organization. ConnectSphere has used the same and similar methods to deliver improvements in organizations from 2,000 to 100,000 employees delivering projects from £50,000 to £50,000,000. The key to success is always adopting a consistent approach, accountability and integrated processes.

Introduction to the case study

The organization was going through significant changes, both in technology used and in the organization as a whole. Service level management was effective and there was a good understanding of the targets expected of each service. These targets where appropriate to the level of service expected by the customer.

Challenge

The organization had to reduce costs while increasing customer and user satisfaction. The organization was running a project that planned to increase the users take up of new technology.

Approach

The strategy for improvement was to adopt consistent processes for Incident, Problem, Change and Release and deployment management.

It was clear that the incident workload would increase. An objective analysis of the current and projected data was essential. For example, one SAP deployment had a 4 fold increase in calls for 25% of users. This was not planned and the Service Desk was flooded.

The potential increase in workload volumes was modelled based on industry benchmark that gave a rough guide to average incidents per user per month:

Mainframe                                     1 contact per user per month

Steady state distributed                  1 to 2.3 contacts per user per month

During migration/deployment            up to 7 contacts per user per month

The strategy was to deliver a structured and integrated, top down approach. Good policies were drawn up and well communicated. Absolute accountability and responsibility were defined to ensure everyone knew the part they had to play in the changes happening. This included the Problem management process owner and the operational Problem manager.

We made sure there was certainty across the organization in terms of what we needed to do.

The improvements

The adoption of consistent processes across teams helped to drive a cultural change, enforced by consistent behavioural changes throughout teams and individuals.

Metrics were incredibly important to success in this case, as was a commitment to continual service improvement. The Key performance indicators were based on increasing the fix at first contact, reducing process overheads and increasing customer satisfaction.

The improvements were introduced in stages that included:

  • A consistent incident management process was adopted first.
  • Problem management process was introduced. A central team identified and prioritised the top problems to resolve. Operational teams implemented fixes or provided workarounds.
  • Service Desk and individual teams were assigned to fix the known errors. This central team was chosen for its knowledge and experience; its technical AND business knowledge was vital for this task.
  • A consistent change management process was introduced – zero tolerance for unauthorised change. This was supported by a service catalogue and an asset inventory
  • Configuration management was implemented and this provided the integration of records, better metrics and reporting.
  • Continual improvement was established to ensure that productivity and customer satisfaction remained high. Often Problem management provided inputs into improvement initiatives.

An integrated approach gave greater control and visibility of cause and effect. Problem management takes data from incident management and analyses it to identify root cause. Once the root cause is understood problem management identifies a fix. Control of the proposed fix then passes to change management for full assessment of the viability of the change required to make the fix, any contrary indicators and scheduling. A change can be deployed through release and deployment management. If a change causes incidents and problems this is visible and continual service improvement is applied.

Outcome

The organization achieved the return the investment made on the integrated project quickly by reducing the number, frequency, and outages caused by incidents and problems.
Customer satisfaction surveys showed significant improvements, and future projects were able to deliver with far less impact on day to day delivery.

About ConnectSphere

ConnectSphere specialises in the application of ITIL and other service management best practices. ConnectSphere trainers and consultants have a wealth of experience planning and implementing service management.

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