Improving ITSM by leveraging user feedback
by Dr Nigel Martin, on 20-Oct-2017 15:32:00
2015 has become a defining moment for CIOs. Research such as Deloitte’s recent CIO study has highlighted that the time has come for CIOs to decide if they are going to focus on their existing core IT systems or rise to the challenge of supporting business growth through technology and service innovation.
71% of CIOs top priority is to support new business needs in the next 12 to 18 months, but examination of their investment in innovation reveals the scale of the challenge. Nearly 50% of CIOs have allocated less than 10% of their budget to innovation and an alarming 19% have ring-fenced less than 1% of their budget.
The CIO has a difficult balancing act: to ensure the core IT systems which enable the business to function are stable, increase the alignment of IT with new needs of the business and ensure that the process does not adversely impact the user experience today whilst planning the changes which will improve their future experience.
It is fundamental that IT leaders actively capture, analyze and action feedback from business users to use as a strategic resource for improving the service delivered by IT and use it as the catalyst for innovation.
A Voice-of-the-User (VoU) program allows you to engage with the end user community, align services with user expectations and drive innovation to meet continually changing business demands.
By doing so, IT can move from the traditional, technology-focused, “inside-out” philosophy to a more customer-oriented, “outside-in” philosophy – one where IT customers get what they need because IT knows what they need.
Engaging with end users – in a number of different ways – means the IT department can get to grips with the true end user needs; going beyond the usual KPIs and metrics to discover opportunities for innovation that really work for better end user productivity and business profitability. Through a Voice-of-the-User program, the IT department can re-establish itself as a business value provider and restore much-needed confidence and trust from the business.
What is Voice-of-the-User?
Service provision is a two-way deal: it is, by nature, a more interactive process than most product-consumer/product-vendor relationships. Yet in the world of IT services, the IT department often forgets that end users are part of the equation. Services are frequently designed, deployed and managed from within the IT silo with little interaction with the end user groups that use them. This disconnect is a problem to be solved if IT is to deliver services that meet business demands.
Voice-of-the-User is about listening and engaging with end users to make them a core part of the way services are conceived, designed, launched, managed, supported and improved. There are a number of listening and engagement methods but, in essence, these processes, methods and listening posts throw open the doors of IT, acknowledge the importance of end users in the service equation to get both sides of the equation working more closely together to solve business problems.
Why do you need a Voice-of-the-User program?
End users understand the business problems they face far better than IT, because they deal with them every day. By incorporating end user feedback into IT processes, IT can break down the silo walls and establish a proper dialog between service provider and service user, dissolve the “us and them” mentality, and ensure IT is innovating in the right direction.
Innovation is not an ivory tower phenomenon, nor the sole preserve of the IT department. End users are innovators too. Feedback from end users enables IT to gain a better understanding of business problems and where IT services fail to help them solve their pressing problems.
By embracing end user feedback as a catalyst for change, IT can focus service improvement on the areas that are most important to end users, innovate in the right direction, and improve overall satisfaction with IT. Ultimately, a Voice-of-the-User program is a strategic capability; creating a stream of ideas that the IT department can act on to drive business productivity and profitability.
How should you approach a Voice-of-the-User program?
In order to become customer-centric, IT needs to take action - not just make bland statements that “IT is now customer-centric”. To put the end user at the center of what IT does, IT needs to make the voice of the user central to strategy – and then act on that voice.
Gathering and analyzing data is just research; it gets you to the start line of innovation. This must be followed up by action to introduce new services and improve the existing portfolio. In essence, the process is simple:
- Find out how happy end users are with the services they use.
- If they’re not happy - find out why. Seek out dissatisfaction to identify problems and opportunities.
- Investigate these problems from the customer perspective.
- Work with end users to conceive, design, deploy and test solutions.
- Measure how performance has improved.
Find out more about how you can create a Voice-of-the-User program in the full guide: How-to guide: Improving ITSM by leveraging user feedback: