2012 is the Year of Service Desk 2.0
You first heard me talk about it in my predictions for 2012 , and like #Back2ITSM it is already gaining momentum despite being a Work In Progress. Aale and I have already presented a very sketchy outline of the concept in a recent Bright Talk seminar, and work is well underway on a joint white paper in conjunction with Aale's continuing exploration of why we need to Unlearn ITIL*,
Let me sum up SD 2.0 for you as it stands.
First of all we aren't talking about a product or a methodology, although I can see how both those elements could be developed. SD 2.0 is about an approach, and it is an approach based on the realization that a lot of conventional thinking around the Service Desk** is in danger of becoming obsolete before the year is out. You know as I wrote that I could picture Rob England reaching for his bottle of green ink to say that we are just scare-mongering to earn consultancy dollars.
Whether we like it or not both customers and users (and as I wrote that I could imagine Aale reaching for the green ink as well, because he thinks that is part of ITIL speak we should unlearn) are having their personal experience of IT transformed. The use of mobile devices has exploded and people are bringing them into the workplace. They are also beginning to experience, accept and except*** new support models, of which the Apple Genius Bar stands out.
- Users will be accessing and using services on non standard BYOD devices in the workplace on the road and at home, and some of those services will themselves not be provided by the IT dept.
- Users will combine different services in real-time to support business processes, in the way they built email into critical business activities without telling IT they were doing it.
- Users will use self-service /Google/SocMed facilitated peer support before coming to the SD - filtering out all the simple,typical first time fix interactions. Aale and I like the term interaction which we've borrowed from the SDI
- When they speak to the SD the users will by default know more about their issue than the agent who is desperately Googling to catch up with them
- Since the interactions are non-standard the simple ITIL process models will be hard to apply and harder still to measure meaningful - we need to de-construct them and reassemble them in more useful ways. Charlie Betz has been contributing to that discussion with some "must read" papers.
- When users interact with the SD they will expect that Apple Genius Bar experience, not a dumb (in the nicest sense) agent.
In the beginning there was the Help Desk. Then ITIL got hold of it and we saw the wholesale renaming of Help Desks as Service Desks. This was done with the best of intentions, but I don't believe the expected value was delivered to the business. It was bad timing that in the UK this shift in thinking coincided with the move to the wholesale out sourcing of service desks off shore.
A well thought out SD 2.0 strategy**** would include:
- Accepting the reality that this is happening
- Blending on shore and offshore support so self service interactions are fielded by an industrialized service desk back office
- Making the service desk genuinely accessible to users - no more "Service Desk - No Visitors" signs on doors
- Integrating innovative channels for both support and knowledge management
- Revising the entire metrics framework to build a newly balanced scorecard
- Enabling and empowering service desk teams and removing micro-management*****
A Beautiful Dream
Perhaps Rob is right, perhaps this is all wishful thinking. But why not think it - and if you think it, why not make it happen?
Please, please let me know your thoughts.
"Transform or you will be transformed!"
Judging by some of the comments and the blog Rob posted in response to this one I need to make some points much clearer to avoid either confusion or willful misrepresentation. I don't want to edit the original text because I stand by the integrity of what I said. So I'm afraid you are stuck with a shed load of footnotes. I've put them in small type though, so they will be easier to ignore for those who want to. Also so that hopefully the footnotes will appear shorter than the article.
* "Unlearn ITIL" is the tag Aale is using. My own view is that we need to unlearn certain elements of ITIL, but perhaps more importantly we need to unlearn bad habits that we all develop when thinking about and with ITIL. For instance we can get too hung up on the flowcharts in ITIL being holy writ. We gloss over that ITIL seems confused over what is a process, a function and a capability, and that the "common vocabulary" breaks down when you try and use it across a complex supply chain. In this specific context my main beef is that "incident" "event" "request" "change" and "problem" as defined in ITIL don't explain what exactly the service desk should be doing, and how that links to what is happening in the world of the user. I'm not saying they are wrong, I'm saying they represnt a partial, slightly artificial and inadvertently inside-out view of the world.
** It is inevitable that this article will be seen in the light of a larger debate about ITIL and ITSM, but my prime focus here is the Service Desk. There is a certain snobbishness in the ITSM world about the Service Desk, as if they are not members of the club.
*** This is something a lot of people seem to be missing. This is not like previous IT led attempts to get users to use the technology. This time it is the business who are keen to explore new ways of working. After all nobody likes hanging on the phone for half an hour just to get their password reset. Disintermediation has become a fact of life, just ask your high street insurance broker...ah, you probably can't because they lost their job four years ago.
**** It seems eminently sensible to me that with the prospect of these changes on the horizon a professional IT department would be looking at the potential implications. Most of the suggestions I make here hold good whether the so called "revolution" takes place or not. I am left uneasy by the comment from more than one pundit that the service desk will "just evolve" to meet these challenges. The last twenty years of trying to get a reasonable standard of ITSM into many organizations should have taught us that it isn't going to work like that. What is true is that some service desks will end up extinct.
****** The three most ardent critics of this article are people who I have a lot of respect for. It saddens me, then, when one says "I notice all the people who say xxxxx are all IT technical people" and another "Sometimes I think we're surrounding by highly dangerous ITSM Consultants armed with a few certificates which are no substitute for using your brain" Now let me be perfectly clear that there are areas of the ITSM world where I totally agree th. However I'm far from convinced that it is highly relevant or helpful to this particular debate******. Those being vocal on both sides of the argument all have many years practical experience of ITSM and all have a reputation for promoting the cultural aspects of ITSM. I ended the article with a quote from Rob Stroud for a reason.
******* I'm British. I'm being polite. What I actually think is unprintable and I've broken the * key on this computer from over use.