Cloud & Service Management blog
Rebecca Swindell 270003U1MK REBECCA.SWINDELL@UK.IBM.COM Tags:  buildings management facilities caldicott claire potter tririga cities joe iibm service smarter penny tivoli rachel 2,629 Visits
Only one week to go until IBM are the key Sponsors at the Government Property Event, at the QE11 Conference Centre in London - Only one week to go until IBM are the key Sponsors at the Government Property Event, at the QE11 Conference Centre in London - http://bit.ly/GCPB1a
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  service pulse cloud simulator management 2,029 Visits
This year at Pulse, we will be running another Cloud Service Management Simulator Workshop.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  service ivor empowerment ibm service-management itsm tivoli itil 2,280 Visits
I recently had some first hand experience – from the receiving end – how much of an effect genuinely good customer service can have. The experience started in dismay but was recovered well beyond expectation.
Anyway, to start at the beginning ….
I had to go and ‘swear an affidavit’ –
which for those of you not into the jargon of jurisprudence means to formally
promise what you are saying on a form is true. In
Now, it started, I admit, with me failing in my responsibility to be a proactive customer. I did not think
through what I knew. County Courts in
So, I had a perfect example of a ‘Moment of Truth’; putting me instantly, and very extremely, ‘anti’ the staff and the processes. It seemed obviously the staff are required to leave common-sense at home and not bring it to work with them.
And thus, in a bad mood I reached the court officer with whom I was to sign and swear that my forms told the truth. She spots my mood, finds out why and explains that the rules are for protection and cannot be altered – causing no improvement in my mood. She then looks at my forms and points out that I have not brought all the right documents – and then throws in for good measure that my solicitor has supplied my with the wrong set of forms.
So … it is now clear to me that I have driven into town, paid for my car parking, lost my knife for the duration and all for nothing because my paperwork is wrong. But fear not – after this it gets better. I had been expecting a businesslike word or two of sympathy and if I allowed myself a glimmer of optimism then maybe even an explanation of what I needed to go back and fetch, so that it would work when I came back.
Instead the lady reacted very differently. She pointed out that the forms I have forgotten are copies of documents they already have lodged with them, and that they have blank forms of the right kind. She fetches the missing forms, lends me a pen and helps me understand what is needed on the right form, checks it through, makes corrections and then duly witnesses it and formally logs it in the system as sworn and correct. As she put it “Well the purpose is to get your stuff recorded, if I can make that happen then why wouldn’t I help?”
Of course she was perfectly right, her job is to help get these things done, and so thinking for herself and helping people get there is an obviously correct attitude. Isn’t that exactly how everyone in service delivery sees it?
Well, of course we all know that it isn’t – not yet! The sad aspect of this kind of story is how surprised we all are by them – that they are worthy or repeating because this quality of service is still unusual.’
The key aspect of this story – with its two different approaches to dealing with the customers - is how much good service experience depends on customer facing staff that are knowledgeable of the customer’s context and goals. But more than that even, the management trusted and empowered (at least some of) their staff to use common sense and do what was right – maybe even if it didn’t follow exact procedures.
Are the customer-facing staff in your organisation trusted and empowered? If not, is it because they can’t be trusted, or because they have been given the knowledge? Or is it just that no-one has ever thought it would be a good idea to trust and empower them? What happens in your organisation – do you get good service or do you a strict process delivered, whether or not it is appropriate?
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  integrated services products smarter management service 2,860 Visits
I can remember the day in 4th grade when I got my first calculator. Other than my "Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots", that Texas Instruments 1030 was THE coolest, most magical consumer product that I had ever owned up to that point. It featured the standard four math functions, buttons for percentage, square root, and pi, and an 8 digit LCD display.
Now fast forward to 2011 and consider the fact that it takes dozens of microprocessors running 100 million lines of code to get your average car out of the driveway, and a complex ecosystem of developers, engineers, suppliers and partners to bring smarter products to market.
From automobiles to meat cases to artificial hearts, today’s smarter products represent a new generation of capabilities that fuse together sensors, actuators, electronics and mechanical systems.
By all accounts, smarter products and services are transforming the world and the way we interact with it, and IBM is at the forefront of all of the above.
So visit our recently launched Smarter Products and Services web site and learn more about how we help make your everyday products and services smarter!
....AND THEN take a look around your house and office, and let us know what product or service is the "smartest" of them all....or maybe the dumbest? We'd love to get your opinion!
(This blog had additional contributions from Betsy Thaggard...Thanks BT!)
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  service tivoli rational integrated management innovate 1,965 Visits
This weekend partners, developers, and IBMers will be descending upon Orlando, Florida for Innovate 2011, the Rational Software conference.
Not surprisingly, Rational's "first cousin" Tivoli will have a prominent presence at the conference, including 30 sessions that highlight the Tivoli/Rational integration, six booths in the Solutions Expo, and several executive speaker slots.
Tivoli delivers innovative solutions to address business priorities, with Integrated Service Management providing the Visibility, Control and Automation™ to overcome growing complexities and keep up with global competition. But more specifically, Integrated Service Management is the catalyst that can smooth out the interactions between development and operations for IT and business professionals across all industries.
So be sure to browse all of the Tivoli sessions using the Innovate 'Streams and Tracks' tool, and if you are already registered, start building your agenda .
Once the event begins, you can access all the keynote presentations and videos in real time on the web via the livestream feed, ...and follow social media coverage on the 'Innovate Conversations' page or by using the Twitter hashtag #ibminnovate
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  innovate tivoli management integrated simulator rational service 2,243 Visits
Are you looking for a reason to head down to Florida next month?
Tivoli will have a large presence at next month's Innovate2011 conference in Orlando, with over 30 sessions which highlight the Tivoli/Rational integration, and six booths in the solution expo. In addition, you can check out the Tivoli executive speaking engagements including Danny Sabbah (GM, Tivoli Software) at the executive summit presenting on 'Collaborative Development and Operations', Jamie Thomas (VP, Tivoli Strategy and Development) on organizational agility and efficiency, and Steve Robinson (GM, IBM Security Solutions) on 'Security in Industries'.
Also, be sure to check out the 'Service Management Simulator Experience' at Innovate, a hands-on role playing game focusing on the challenges and business value of implementing Service Management best practices in a real life scenario!
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  tivoli management rational service simulator integrated 2,220 Visits
Now that Pulse is in the rear view mirror, we can focus our attention on INNOVATE, Rational's flagship event for 2011.
Innovate 2011 is the event for software innovation. It is the conference totally focused on helping you transform software innovation and accelerate better business outcomes.
Need another reason to attend Innovate 2011?...
You can also take part in the 'Service Management Simulator Experience', a hands-on game focusing on the challenges and business value of implementing Service Management best practices in a realistic and exhilarating scenario. Over the course of a few hours, you'll use gaming and role playing dynamics to mirror the real-world interaction between IT and the business, from both a strategic and operational perspective. In the end, you will come away with an actionable understanding of how the effectiveness of IT processes impacts your business!
- For more information, visit the Simulator web page
- Check out this 3-minute youtube video from a previous workshop
- Read the rave reviews
- To register or if you have questions, send an email to email@example.com
BTW...Readers of this blog may recall that we also conducted a simulator workshop at Pulse this year.
Join us and the Tivoli community at Innovate 2011 – it’s a great opportunity to network with your peers and take away valuable insight that you can use today. If you haven’t yet registered for the conference, you can register here.
We look forward to seeing you at Innovate 2011!
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ivor service-management itil itsmf ibm service itsm 1,971 Visits
As may have been noticed from recent blogs I spent most of the last month travelling. Actually thinking about it, most of my last 33 years has been travelling for work. So while I might spend much of my time talking about service with IT professionals; the services that most impact my life tend to be related to the travel industry. Seems to me that service is service, and many of the lessons learned in travelling – and watching people while travelling – are very relevant in all aspects of service delivery, IT related or not.
What has really impressed itself upon my mind recently is how receiving services – of whatever kind – can so often make you feel offended, insulted, slighted or just plain angry. Objective thought makes it pretty obvious that the intention was actually to deliver good service, but somehow it can be hard to believe that when you see some of the symptoms of not thinking things through.
Let’s start with a fairly innocuous and
almost silly example from the
What I couldn’t help but notice, and that stuck in my mind more than anything else, were the local information maps displayed – a good and helpful feature that shows important buildings near enough to walk to from each station. They show where places are using colour-coded dots, for example pink dots show hotels. At my local station there were three hotel dots – so I which hotels were served by that metro stop. But it didn’t tell me which hotels they were – just that they are hotels – how much more effort would it have taken to write the names on? And how much would that final piece of data been worth? I think that’s what bothers me – when suppliers seem to do 90% of the work right but that missing 10% destroys 90% of the value.
But OK, I am sure that will be remedied - eventually. There is, however, a characteristic of physically delivered services that I see so often – and bothers people so much – that I have tried to give it a name. Best I have so far is VNS, Visible Non-Service. I am sure you have seen it – travellers will see it at airline travel desks and immigration counters, but all of us see it almost daily at banks, post offices and shops. Let me set out a typical scenario - one I saw last week (and most times I travel). There are 5 or 6 customer service desks; two of them have staff serving the waiting line of customers, one by one. At another desk are two of the airline or airport staff – every now and then a customer in a hurry goes up to them, only to be turned away. These people are not attending to customers. No, it might be that they are doing some critically important task, vital filing, discussing long term business strategy etc. But why do they do it in font of the customers? We can see only paid supplier staff NOT helping us, and apparently not caring. Actually, I think banks are amongst the worse offenders, frequently seating staff at customer facing positions to do non-customer facing work.
It seems to me that this is a failure to think through how customers perceive things. Of course it might make perfect sense to the planners and HR people – making best use of physical space, having managers where they can see staff working etc. But – if you feel tempted to do this, or anything else that customers will see - please think through how it will look and feel to someone who was NOT there when you planned it.
In fact VNS and other ways to disregard customer perception – once you think it through – have significant implication and consequences: whether that is IT applications that decide to archive your records when at times apparently selected to annoy you the most, scheduled maintenance that seems to target your busy periods or supervisory staff walking around apparently doing nothing helpful while customers wait in long lines. The more complex our world gets, the easier it is to get things wrong. Like the maintenance slot that is obviously good to the planner in New York but which hits the obvious usage slot in Dubai (where Sunday is the first working day of the week, and you want your administration services – like expense reporting – up and running at the start of the week – which is when business travellers typically do their expenses.
So if you are planning services that a customer will see, please do me a favour: try and think how it will be seen and perceived, putting aside how logical YOU already know it is. As the man said – perception is reality, try to make your customers’ perception into your reality.
Final story, about how it is possible to get it right. Many years back, when I worked for the UK Forestry Commission, I recall talking with our Recreation Planning Officer. He had just designed and constructed some way-marked walks through a forest he personally knew very well. Before he allowed them to be opened to the public, he brought his children in, and walked behind them on the route – noting down everywhere they had trouble seeing the right way – and then he corrected those faults. I believe that nowadays this might be called ‘User Acceptance Testing’ – and what it needs is users, not suppliers pretending they can see it from a user perspective.
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  simulator service tivoli management pulse ism 2 Comments 2,577 Visits
Last week, I attended my first IBM Pulse conference. I really enjoyed the sights and sounds of Vegas, and met many of my Tivoli colleagues for the first time. I also probably walked the equivalent of 15 miles over the five days within the mammoth MGM facility. But what I found most valuable over the five days were my interactions with our customers and business partners.
On Day 1 of the conference, my focus was the ISM Simulator workshop that I helped coordinate. Given that the workshop was:
a) taking place prior to any other Pulse activities,
b) located in the bowels of the MGM hotel, and
c) three hours in duration...
...I was a bit apprehensive that all the customers and business partners who had RSVP'd would actually show up. But when people started rolling in 30 minutes before the start time, I was confident that this workshop was going to be a success.
When we got started, we had 21 participants sitting around four tables, which is all but ideal for this role playing workshop. Like other simulator workshops that I have attended, it started out a bit chaotic, as participants tried to process the firehose of information that was being thrust upon them. By the end of the three hours, they had come full circle, and were effectively working together to the tune of a $5 million profit for their hypothetical shipping company.
As I chatted with some of them after the session, and listened in on some of their video testimonials, the words I heard most often were "eye-opening", "outstanding" and "insightful".
On Monday and Tuesday, I worked on the expo floor and showed off our cool new ISM Simulator video game. The game allowed users to experience various issues affecting service management and corporate profitability in a simulated organization. At the ped, I got great feedback from customers and partners, who, by virtue of playing the game, were able to get a better grasp of the sometimes abstract concepts of service management.
You can play the IBM Service Management Mission game here.
All in all, it was a great conference, and stay tuned for the video from the workshop!
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  ism management itil pulse service macfarlane ivor 1,701 Visits
Next week, I'll be attending my first Pulse conference, and I have a full slate of activities planned: